There is a wonderful story about Louis Armstrong, the famous jazz musician who was named a ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ by the United States. Along with his band The All Stars he visited 52 countries, winning people over with his music, his joyous smile and his infectious good nature. In 1956, while touring the newly independent nation of Ghana, 100,000 people showed up to hear him play at an open air concert. The police chief — concerned that his fast-paced jazz would overexcite the crowd — asked him if he could slow down. “OK, Daddy,” said Louis, “I’ll give ‘em a little slow beat.” And with that, The All Stars launched into the most soporific song in their repertoire, “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” quelling any concerns the chief had about safety. After the performance, people lined the street and, in a mile-long procession, followed Armstrong back to his hotel. It’s easy to understand why he was considered to be a national treasure — he expressed the qualities of his culture in a uniquely accomplished way, so much so that other people could obviously admire and feel the music he loved.
I think Prem Rawat is a global treasure. He expresses the highest ideals of mankind — like hope and compassion. He inspires and renews the highest aspirations in the people who hear him. Like me, for example. I've felt my life change many times because of his words. I have felt understanding come to me. I have felt profound gratitude. I have recognized, or remembered, how amazing it is to be alive. I credit him for those realizations.
There are many global resources that we have on our planet — some of them seem to be diminishing at a dangerous rate. Wouldn’t it be great to have a global resource that was free and kept increasing and getting better? I dream that someday somebody will invent an energy source that is cheap, convenient and doesn’t pollute. That would solve a lot of problems in our world. I also dream that Prem Rawat might someday be recognized as a global resource and be treasured, appreciated, acknowledged — because if we all felt some hope and compassion every day, that would solve a lot of problems, too.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.