In Memoriam


16 September 1947 Ė 10 March 2002

Henry Labouisse Hall, UNICEF House

Tuesday, 9 April 2002, 11:00 a.m.

New York, New York


Sunilís friends in the Meditation Group are deeply grateful to have the opportunity to share with all of you today our joy in having known Sunil.I am standing next to Sunilís closest friend, Shraddha.We all swam together when training for the English Channel a number of years ago.Once when swimming to celebrate a U.N. anniversary, we posed for photographs.I remember noting we naturally gravitated to either side of Sunil.†† There were jokes at the time about our different personalities, our different sizes Ė we invariably put Sunil in the middle time after time.A perfect gentleman, he was a bridge even amongst close friends.He was that link between many of us, a symbolic bridge that brought diverse peoples together.


He exemplified the essence of a true international server of humanity.He came to UNICEF to manifest his vision of unity and the dignity of the human spirit.He was a deeply spiritual man who applied his spirituality in a practical way; we all have memories of how poised and calm he was under all circumstances. He strongly believed in the goals of UNICEF and chose to spend his career here, striving daily in his interaction with each of us to reach those goals.


We often looked to Sunil for inspiration.He listened to his own inner calling and became a champion athlete. As his brother Gary has told us, it didnít come naturally. He worked hard for it, overcoming many obstacles.He ran the NYC marathon in 3 hours, 8 minutes; he swam the English Channel in 13 hours, 49 minutes.Ever striving for perfection, for new challenges, in recent years he focused on mountain climbing.He climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, including Mt. Aconcagua at 22,000 feet on the border of Chile and Argentina.He had been planning to climb Mt. Everest, often considered the ultimate pinnacle for a climber.


What we see today, by looking around the room, is what a perfect bridge he still is.†† We are a diverse group of family, friends and colleagues.He stood among us and brought us all together.Today he unites us once more.We believe Sunil would be pleased to see this room full of those he truly cared for, sharing our common bond: our mutual affection for a remarkable man.


His name, Sunil, means a superlative of the colour blue; blue connotes infinity. He inspired us with his pursuit of his own blue sky of infinite transcendence, and in his own quiet, serene way, encouraged each of us to do the same. I cannot think of a finer tribute than to continue to feel this inspiration as we say farewell to our dear brother-friend, Sunil. Alas, in the outer world he is no more. But in the inner world, he is more, ever more in our hearts with his soulís blue vastness-sky.


On behalf of the Meditation Group at the United Nations,

Adhiratha Keefe