August 30, 2009. Every August students of Sri Chinmoy from all over the world gather in New York to celebrate Sri Chinmoy's birth anniversary. The acclaimed spiritual leader was born in Chittagong, Bengal on August 27, 1931. Since he left his physical in October 2007, his vast range of creative offerings have been continuing to spread worldwide.
This year more than 1,500 visitors from 50 countries shared group meditations, musical performances, plays, and joyful games and sports activities over a two-week period.
An inaugural Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival held on August 29th featured lectures on Sri Chinmoy's poetry by various professors, recitations and musical performances from Sri Chinmoy's poetic canon.
New York University's Skirball Center was the venue for a Songs of the Soul concert on August 28th. Now a tradition during Celebrations in New York, this summer's tribute to Sri Chinmoy's musical repertoire included the Gandharva Loka Orchestra and Addwitiya Roberta Flack.
Athletic activities included:
- 2 mile Self-Transcendence Races on Saturday mornings
- A public Self-Transcendence Marathon organized by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in Rockland State Park, New York on August 25th
- A 47 mile Sri Chinmoy Invitational Ultra Race that started on midnight of August 26th
- A day devoted to games such as frisbee, volleyball, basketball, soccer and tug-of-war
The marathon in Rockland State Park drew a field of 600 participants and the overall winner was Oz Pearlman in a time of 2:39:25. The 47 Mile Race saw the overall winner VajinArmstrong from Christchurch, New Zealand with a time of 5:27 - the second fastest time ever since the race began in 1978. Dipali Cunningham was the top finisher for women and the 3rd finisher overall in the 47 Mile Race - winning it for the 24th consecutive time in a time of 6 hours 53 minutes and 37 seconds. Read more about her ultra running career on the Perfection Journey blog.
Feature length theatrical performances told the stories of Sri Chaitanya and tales from the Mahabharata, among others. During Celebrations, many meditation centres also offered musical performances of arrangements of Sri Chinmoy's songs.
Last but not least, on Sri Chinmoy's birthday Ashrita Furman unveiled the the world's largest lollip, setting another Guinness World Record with the help of an international team of Sri Chinmoy's students in attendance at the Celebrations. Ashrita dedicated the lollipop to Sri Chinmoy and has set other records on the occasion of Sri Chinmoy's birthday in the past - world's largest pencil, most candles lit simultaneously on a cake, biggest flower bouquet.