- A Table for Peace for each continent
upon all the earth.
Not the peace of an inconscient sleep or a self-satisfied
Not the peace of a self-forgetful ignorance
And a dark, heavy indifference,
But the peace of the omnipotent force,
The peace of perfect communion,
The peace of integral awakening.
renowned Master Woodworker who was born in the United States
but worked in a Tokyo architectural firm prior to World War
II, came to Pondicherry in 1937 to help design and build Golconde,
Mother's beloved guest house in the Ashram. He was so touched
by Sri Aurobindo and Mother that he gave up all pay and lived
as an Ashramite for the two years he was in Pondy. Sri Aurobindo
gave him the name Sundarananda, 'One who delights in Beauty',
and Sundarananda continued as a devotee for the rest of his
life. He died in 1990.
Tables for Peace, 3.6 by 3.6 mtr,
one for every continent on earth
Some twenty years
ago, Nakashima conceived the idea of offering to each continent
of the world a Table for Peace, crafted from two great 300-year-old
Eastern Black Walnut Trees.
These trees had
grown into extraordinary natural phenomena in the state of
New York, something that, he said, "occurs perhaps only
once in the history of a nation". They were about 1.5
metres in diameter at the small end, 2.1 metres at the flare,
and 3.6 metres long. Their majesty called for a symbiosis
of nature and man in the deepest spiritual sense, and Sundarananda
felt the ultimate creative concept of their presence: "The
only true destiny of these noble trees, favoured to grow as
none of their peers were able to, is to be used in their full
length and width."
Two adjoining slabs
opened to match to make the most expensive pieces of furniture
ever, Tables for Peace measuring 3.6 by 3.6 metres, one for
every continent on earth, was the answer.
A token of man's aspirations for a
creative and beautiful peace
In 1984, Nakashima
related an experience he had had a few years earlier when
he received the huge trunk of a walnut tree in his Pennsylvania
studio. As he later wrote, "In a small but firm voice,
[it] asked to be realised" as an Altar for Peace. "It
will be a symbol, a token of man's aspirations for a creative
and beautiful peace, free of political overtones; an expression
of love for his fellow man. We have become so basically disoriented
with our blind faith in science and technology without spirituality,
it has brought us to the pit of madness."
Peace Table for USA in New York City
Ten years ago, on
New Year's Eve, the first Table was placed in the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine in New York City. That auspicious night
the beautiful ecumenical Peace Table of black walnut was dedicated
with a concert for Peace conducted by Leonard Bernstein and
blessed by representatives of the religions of the earth before
diplomats of many nations. In the ensuing years prayers for
peace in all tongues and traditions and by all people have
been offered there. When Sundarananda passed away in 1990,
mountains of flowers were lovingly placed upon the Table at
the interfaith memorial service.
Peace Table for Europe in Moscow
Some time ago, on
the 24th of September 1995, a second Peace Table was dedicated
at an interfaith celebration for the Fiftieth Anniversary
of the United Nations in the Cathedral of St John the Divine.
Its concluding ceremony, which included a keynote address
by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United
Nations, also included talks around the table by Mark Dixon,
the great grandson of Winston Churchill, and Ela Gandhi, the
granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. The ceremony included a three-hour
pageant with prayers and songs from representatives of many
religious faiths. The ultimate destination of this second
Peace Table was to be Russia, where it was officially placed
and inaugurated on June 26th,
Peace Table for Asia in Auroville
The 29th of February
1996 marked the inauguration of the third Peace Table, placed
in Auroville. The 29th of February was called by the Mother
'The Golden Day", for on this day in 1956 the manifestation
of the Supramental took place upon earth. "There have
been all kinds of predictions, by all kinds of prophets; it
had been said, 'There will be a new heaven and a new earth,
a new race will be born, the world will be transformed.' On
this day, a new world was born."
It was on this date,
29th February 1996, that the Table of Peace was installed
in the City of the Future, where the Centre of Indian Culture
graciously received it on behalf of Auroville until its final
destination will be ready
to receive it.
At the moment the Table of Peace is housed in the Unity Pavilion.
May this Symbol
of Peace be a token of humanity's aspiration for peace between
the peoples of the world, for love for all mankind, for peace