Latest news and features

from Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world.
24 March

Meditation at home

Many people around the world are finding themselves in the unusual situation of having to stay indoors for prolonged periods. One effective approach to this challenging situation is taking the time to learn and practise meditation. Meditation is very effective for helping to cultivate inner peace and happiness - the most powerful antidote to dealing with the stress and anxiety of outer turmoil.

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Students of Sri Chinmoy give free meditation classes all around the world, but at the moment most of these have temporarily been put on hold. Although it is best to learn meditation in person, we can always try to make the best of the situation we face. Hopefully, the pages on this site may offer a start to your meditation journey.

“When we meditate, we make our mind calm, quiet, vacant and tranquil, and we receive Light from above in infinite measure.”

Sri Chinmoy

How to get started

If you would like to get started with meditation, there is an introductory page on meditation here.

There is also a Meditation home study programme here.

The most important thing is to try and schedule a time for your meditation - either in the morning or evening. A good routine which might combine exercise, reading, meditation, leisure can be a good strategy for dealing with living from one place.

The great thing about meditation is that it is not complicated or need a lot of preparation. We can start right away - just find a comfortable place to sit still for 15 minutes and begin.

On this site, we have quite a few resources which will enable you to get started. These include

  • What you need to get started with meditation
  • Some simple but effective meditation exercises
  • Music for meditation
  • How to stay inspired and make meditation a regular part of your life
  • Mantras and chants

Further reading

16 March

Notes from a concert

These notes were written by Mare from the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Skopje, Macedonia, during a visit by the the Swiss music group Mountain Silence.

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2020
Our meditation night

The last of the disciples are arriving at the centre.
While everyone carries different things with them such as enthusiasm, the aspiration for change and growth, the wish to be happy - tonight they have a thread that binds them all together, and that is gratitude. Everyone is grateful that Mountain Silence have arrived here in Skopje and brought with them the enchanting magical silence. It is this silence, with the scent of tranquility that casts off any doubts that there are shortcomings in the preparations for the concert announced for March 6th. This silence alone whispers to us that all will be well, that every disciple will offer their best in their own way.

Thursday, March 5th, 2020.
Rehearsal day before the concert, which is titled as “Children's Voices for Peace”. Mountain Silence will be joined by a choir of children.

A day filled with children, pure and spontaneous and being in peace, living in love - and the girls from the group; shining jewels in the inner and outer world! The two worlds met. One are already living and growing through our Guru's magical music, and the others that have recognised this magic with great ease.
Ones that are going through a conscious process of evolution, which teaches them humility, deep peace and acceptance, and others more or less aware, but which have joyfully turned prayerful music into pure childlike cry for peace.

Friday, March 6th, 2020 - 8pm.
The concert has begun. It is all silence. Extremely deep silence. This time, the silence speaks through music. It awakens the primordial in the souls, the urge to be closer to the Divine.

Guru's music gave the feeling of being in peace, strong and filled with love, but at the same time gentle and soothing.
The call was clear - Let us become humble students of peace, as was Sri Chinmoy so fond of being remembered.
Let us all pulse together tonight as one big and divine childlike heart, in the rhythm of peace and love that springs from our souls.
The expression on the faces of the audience, clearly stated that they had experienced peace in a new and a magical way, and that the same magic would consciously or unconsciously become an intimate but real ocean of peace in their everyday lives.

Skopje,
March 16th, 2020

10 March

New meditation book

Blue Beyond Books in the UK is releasing the second in their Sri Chinmoy Meditation Series. This book brings together two of Sri Chinmoy's celebrated volumes from the 1970's in a beautiful, compact edition.

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Around this time was Sri Chinmoy was giving many lectures universities around the wold. After the lectures and at other occasions, he would often answer questions from sincere seekers of truth. So we are fortunate to have a very wide range of questions about meditation, including the meaning of different meditation experiences, how to make meditation practical and the intrinsic value of meditation. His answers have helped people from all backgrounds to learn how to meditate, to make a regular meditation practice a part of their lifestyle, and to constantly make progress in their meditation.

You can find out more at the Blue Beyond Books website

7 March

Sri Chinmoy's paintings exhibited in Kyiv

Sri Chinmoy's original Jharna Kala artworks were displayed during January-February 2020 in two well-known exhibition halls in Kyiv, Ukraine, and attracted over 2,000 visitors.

The opening night of the exhibition in the Ukrainian House of Actors - considered to be one of the most remarkable monuments of architecture and artwork in Ukraine - featured a performance by the “Inner Journey” musical group; a cleverly created literary and musical composition with elements of meditative practice.

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An extremely wonderful concert of the “Inner Journey” group was held in the House of Actors’ on Tuesday, February 28th. Sri Chinmoy said that when you give the world what you have the best, the best will come to you. This was strongly felt at the event. People, who entered the hall before the concert being tired and anxious, came out of the hall with shining eyes and happy smiles being very much inspired. We are very grateful!”

Evelina Beketova
Executive, Ukrainian House of Actors

Sri Chinmoy composed over 140,000 of these mystical artworks. He gave them the name Jharna-Kala, which means 'Fountain-art' in his native Bengali language - art which flows from the divine source inside each of us.

4 March

Start of the European Peace Run 2020

Recently, the European Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run began in spectacular style in Lisbon, Portugal.  From the presidential palace, the team of international runners were warmly greeted by the President of Portugal (Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa) and were later joined by many school children, officials and ordinary people as it began its continental journey. The European Peace Run will spend the six months covering 16,000 kilometres as it takes a message of peace and harmony to 36 different European nations.

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The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa welcomes the Peace Run team. He joins other heads of state who have supported this initiative, such as Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev.
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Jorge Pina, one of the Peace Run Ambassadors is interviewed by Sport TV. He explains how the Peace Run seeks to inspired people from all over the world to make their own contribution to a more peaceful world.

The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987 as a vehicle to combine physical dynamism with our inner aspiration to create a more peaceful world. Since its inception in 1987, the Peace Run has continued to grow and has touched the lives of countless people from all areas of the world. Its simple message "Peace begins with Me" is a unifying force which resonates with people from all cultures and background. Sri Chinmoy considered himself to be a 'student of peace' who strove tirelessly to offer a message of peace.

“Lasting peace must begin within the depths of the individual, and from there spread in ever-widening circles as a dynamic force for world change.”

– Sri Chinmoy

The runners, president and schoolchildren pose for a photograph outside the Palace of Belem.

After the initial welcome, the Peace Run ran through the streets of Lisbon and went to the Restelo Stadium, giving the chance for many children to run with the torch and offer their goodwill to the spirit of the run.

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The Peace Run at Restelo Stadium.

Video of meeting with President

Video

Related

29 February

A new redesign for some of our favourite vegetarian restaurants

Sri Chinmoy's students have established vegetarian restaurants all over the world - you could say that working in these restaurants is an extension of our own spiritual practise, because they allow us to see and serve the divine inside everyone who comes through the door. Recently, two of our most beloved restaurants in New York and Seattle have undergone some renovation, so as to serve a whole new generation of customers and spiritual seekers alike.

The Smile of the Beyond (left) on Parsons Avenue, Jamaica, Queens
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The Smile of the Beyond was established in Queens, NY, way back in 1972 - almost 50 years ago! - and combines the charms of an old-style diner with a sumptuous array of vegetarian breakfast options, sandwiches, wraps and soups, with new dishes being introduced all the time. The diner has undergone a little bit of a refurbishment in recent months, and the new-look Smile was recently featured in a very nice article in Edible Queens.

Sri Chinmoy's bird drawings line the walls of the Silence-Heart-Nest

The Silence-Heart-Nest, a veritable institution in Seattle's Fremont area for many years, has also had quite a considerable redesign, and now has a beautiful pure white colour scheme.

 

21 February

Peace Runs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal

Many of our members are very active in organising (and running in) the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, which is a torch relay that Sri Chinmoy founded in 1987 and has since visited over 160 countries. Millions of people have held our peace torch, and their shared wish for a better world connects us all.

Hanuman holds the Peace Torch during our Grand Finale in Bali
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In 2019, the Peace Run began a momentous journey across the Southern Hemisphere - visiting all 44 countries that have their capital city below the Equator. The run began and ended Bali, Indonesia. To conclude the run, November 11 to 17, 2019, a large team - 27 Peace Runners for 13 countriues -  visited different communities of Bali, as well as school visits and ceremonies to share the message of peace. Our members from Bali organised each day of the program, so that the international members were able to immerse ourselves deeply in the beauty and purity of Bali.

Mediators Beyond Borders Conference The week before the closing ceremony, the Peace Run was invited to be part of the special international conference called Mediators Beyond Borders, at the invitation of Rotary District Governor and Peace Run supporter Princess Febri Dipokusumo.

In addition to the Peace Run presentation to the international audience, many of Sri Chinmoy's Jharna-Kala paintings were displayed throughout the venue.

The Peace Run was also very fortunate to meet again Nobel Peace Laureate and one of Timor-Leste’s foremost leaders Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, who was the keynote speaker.

The Peace Run with Dr Ramos Horta

Grand Finale A 6-hour ceremony featuring a parade made made up of numerous groups, from kindergarten to high school, playing traditional and Western instruments, clad in various types of Balinese costumes, along with the Peace Run team.

Once at the stage by the beach, the Runners were treated with several incredible musical and cultural performances by students of different age groups, and much more! A number of children’s peace drawings adorned the display boards set up on the sand for the occasion.

The final item in the programme was a sunset beach meditation for peace, with a little candle held by each of us around the Peace Torch in the middle—a truly memorable moment.

The following day the Peace Run met at the statue of Sri Chinmoy at the Agung Rai Museum of Art. The museum's founder Agung Rai joined us for the meditation and told us how this statue of Sri Chinmoy is raising the whole consciousness of the museum, and how grateful he is.



Malaysia February 2020 With the help of Princess Febri once again, over a hundred peace runners visited a school in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, visited an school run by the Indonesian Consulate for their immigrant families’ children in the region. This event was jointly organized by both Malaysian and Indonesian Rotary Clubs, as well as Consul General of Indonesia. The beautiful morning began by singing national anthems of both Malaysia and Indonesia, followed by the Peace Run theme song.

Kids with our Peace Runner Thamara from Brazil

Surabaya and Madura Island in East Java, Indonesia. Surabaya Rotary Club, with the leadership of Princess Febri, organized Peace Runs from February 6 to 8, in two regions of Madura Island: Pamekasan and Bangkalan, as well as in Surabaya, the 2nd largest city of the country. Along with Princess was Prince Dipo, who was ever so faithfully supportive of the whole series of events. The team had 17 members from 11 countries.

Our special guest during these Peace Runs was Dr. Davidson Hepburn, Former Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the UN, and President of the 35th General Conference of UNESCO.

It was our honour and complete pleasure to have this most accomplished leader-diplomat and dear brother-friend in the team. Not only was he a powerful speaker at important ceremonies, but was also an extremely friendly team member with superb sense of humour when doing school ceremonies.

Nepal February 2020 We had a big team: 27 members from 13 countries once again!

The Peace Run team at the Pokhara Marathon

We are also extremely grateful to Tej Bahadur Gurung, whom we affectionately call Tej Sir, for taking us in so wholeheartedly to be part of all the activities in Pokhara. Being a former athlete himself, and now as Vice President of Nepal Olympic Committee, he truly cherishes the athletic aspect of Sri Chinmoys’s spiritual philosophy.

Tej Bahadur Gurung holds the Peace Torch at the Pokhara Marathon

The Peace Run was featured prominently at the Pokhara Marathon, and the Marathon officials and participants were invited to the Nepali premiere of 3100: Run and Become, which turned out to be the perfect ending of the Nepal Peace Run.

30 November

Sahadeva Orchestra tours the Balkans

Often singers and musicians from Sri Chinmoy Centres all over the world come together to perform Sri Chinmoy's music, going on tour as part of a large concert ensemble. One such ensemble is conducted by Sahadeva Torpy from London, and has come to be known as the 'Sahadeva Orchestra'.

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Appearance on a popular Serbian morning show

Audio: Sahadeva Orchestra in concert

Their most recent tour in November - their second this year - took them to Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria. About 35 people joined the tour starting in Belgrade. The tour was widely covered on radio and TV.

As well as performing Sri Chinmoy’s music for so many people, the concert tour is a great experience for the singers and musicians. Most of us are non-professionals, and many of us grow and learn so many things in such an intense short time.

One of our few 'professional' musicians - noted flautist Premik Russell Tubbs

As the group conductor Sahadeva says: "Even though it’s exhausting and requires you to give everything, you have this magical feeling that the whole experience is a beautiful opportunity, and that your task is only to give your heart completely to the journey and be happy."

18 November

Peace Week in Palermo, Italy

Recently, a week of peace activities, inspired by the life of Sri Chinmoy, was held in Palermo, Italy. The aim of the week was to involve a range of people in initiatives including art, sport, interfaith meeting and a Peace Parade through Palermo, Sicily. The events were well attended and the week of peace was embraced by the local communities.

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With the Mayor of Palermo

Sri Chinmoy dedicated his life to offering a message of peace. He wished to be remembered as a 'student of peace' as he felt peace was a subject we should deeply value and try to embody in our lives.

Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run with a backdrop of Sri Chinmoy's art.

“This world of ours has everything save and except one thing: peace. And this peace has to start from within. If I have peace of mind, then only can I be of help to you. If you have peace of mind, then only can you be of help to me.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Peace Run team explaining the message of the Run.

A global team of runners from the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run were present at many of the activities - meeting local schools and communities to share the message of the run, which is "Peace Begins with Me." The Peace Run was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987 as a practical way to allow people from all walks of life and backgrounds to come together and share the common aspiration of humanity to work towards a more harmonious and peaceful world.

Staff from a local hospital welcome the Peace Run team.

The Peace Run was warmly welcomed by local dignitaries, hospital staff, schools, interfaith leaders and were given a special welcome at the University Games.

 

President of the European Peace Run, Devashishu Torpy said: "It was a really good experience to meet so many welcoming people and feel their genuine wish to support the aims and aspirations of the Peace Run."

Paintings for World Peace and Harmony

A Jharna Kala painting.

During the week, the Jharna Kala paintings of Sri Chinmoy were displayed at 14 locations in the city, including Falcone Borsellino Airport, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Botanical Garden,  the Faculty of Law,  the Polididactic Hall of Viale delle Scienze, the Court of Palermo, and the Sant’Antonino University Library. Some of the art exhibitions were also the venue for short music concerts, by groups such as Mountain Silence.

Parade for Peace

Peace Parade

A very significant event was a Parade for Peace, joined by many local people. It included a 100-meter long "Canvas for Peace" which was drawn by young school children, who all contributed their own artistic thoughts on themes of peace, harmony and brotherhood. The long Canvas for Peace was also joined by other groups to reach a total length of 150 metres.

 

Interfaith meeting

On the 12 November, the Peace Run team also visited a local interfaith gathering at a mosque. In attendance were representatives of all major religions who offered their prayers and wishes for peace.

This is just a snapshot of the many varied activities, which took place. More events and photographs can be viewed at the Peace Run website.


Peace quote by Sri Chinmoy from Sri Chinmoy, Run And Smile, Smile And Run, Agni Press, 2000.

16 November

Impossibility Challenger 2019 - Den Haag

Impossibility Challenger was an event founded in 1982 by Sri Chinmoy with the idea to give people the chance to transcend their limitations and make an effort to set a new world record or personal best. The event is organised by members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre and, in the past few decades, has been held in several cities around the world The unique event attracts a diverse range of participants who are keen to test themselves in the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of 'Impossibility Challenger'.

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Fastest skipping by Samalya Schäfer as spectators watch

This years edition was held in Den Haag, Netherlands, and attracted a range of record breakers from quickest time to solve a Rubik's cube and tests of memory - to physical challenges such as the fastest running whilst skipping.

flaming-sword
Ashrita Furman juggling a flaming sword.

Sri Chinmoy encouraged this event because he felt that the personal effort and discipline of trying to better oneself could give a more meaningful understanding of our latent capacities and this effort to reach new achievements would give a genuine sense of happiness. Sri Chinmoy often described this effort of challenging ourself as a philosophy of 'self-transcendence'.

Either forget impossibility’s challenge
Or challenge impossibility’s pride
To become truly happy.

- Sri Chinmoy

At this year's event, one of the participants was Ashrita Furman, who holds the Guinness World Record for having the most world records. In a record-breaking career, since 1979, he has set over 700 Guinness Records and currently holds more than 200. At this event, he set a new record for cutting 59 kiwis in a minute and also - completing 66 rounds of juggling a burning torch, within one minute.

The event attracted a range of self-transcendence feats - including push-ups, paper folding, skipping, sack racing and fastest one-handed hand-clap. It also included an epic feat of poetry recital. American Mahiruha Klein recited, over a period of several hours, 1,000 poems of Sri Chinmoy from the poetry series "The Golden Boat"  He later commented that he recited from memory 965 absolutely correct, with just a few slips in the other 35 poems. For Mahiruha, the long period of recital was not about the outer display of memory, but a very rewarding inner experience to become immersed in a world of spiritual poetry.

The event attracted substantial media coverage from the local Dutch press who covered the unique challenges of the event.

Ashrita Furman undertaking record to slice Kiwis in a minute whilst balancing on a pad.
6 November

Songs for Peace in Hungary

hungary-concert

Recently, at the world-renowned Kodaly Centre, in Hungary, over 800 school children performed a special concert for Peace. The concert to promote peace and harmony was held in honour of the UN International Day for Peace. The concert also featured 15 different songs by composer Sri Chinmoy. The songs were in English, Bengali and some translated into Hungarian.

Full story

hungary-concert

The children came from 23 different schools across Hungary and were led by the music group Mountain Silence. Mountain-Silence have performed at venues across the world for the past 25 years, but this was a unique experience as they were joined by so many other singers, to create a wonderful harmony of voices.

Sri Chinmoy was a prolific composer who composed many songs on the theme of the heart's aspiration and inner peace. One of his songs on peace reads:

A new world of peace,
A new world of light,
A new world of height,
Can alone give me
Satisfaction-delight.

- Sri Chinmoy

The event created a positive and vibrant atmosphere in the famous concert hall, with the children enthusiastically entering the spirit of the music and creating a dynamic and uplifting sound. To further the aims of the Concert for Peace, members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run made a brief presentation on how they have been running for peace around Europe.

Song from Journey's Goal, part 1 at Sri Chinmoy Songs

1 November

Sri Chinmoy Heart-Garden Race

On 12 October, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team held their annual two-mile 'Sri Chinmoy Heart-Garden Run'  at the site of the Sri Chinmoy Heart-Garden in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York.

runners
At the start of the race.

The aim of the race is to celebrate Sri Chinmoy's belief that sport can be a vehicle for personal transformation and can make a small contribution to a better world.

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The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run at the event

The race is very much run in a spirit of appreciating the joy of running. After the two-mile race, there was a short peace walk with the Peace Torch - a torch carried by Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run to over 160 countries around the world. This short walk and ceremony gave everybody the opportunity to share in the Peace Run's message of oneness. 

Ida Keeling joins the race.

During this year's event, participants from all other the world were joined by several special guests and friends who shared their thoughts and wishes for creating a better world. We were joined by Ida Keeling, a 104 year old sprinter and former Bronx Borough President. Ida recently broke the world record for women aged 100-104 for the 100m sprint, completing the distance in 1 minute and 17.33 seconds (WR link). Still vibrant with life-energy, Ida is an inspiring example of Sri Chinmoy's philosophy of self-transcendence and never quitting because of age. After the race, she shared her secrets of old age, which involve eating well, staying positive and doing daily exercise. Ida was accompanied by her daughter Shelley Keeling, who is an accomplished masters athlete and who is the one who introduced her mother to sprinting. Shelley recently 2 Gold medals and 1 Bronze at the recent European masters games at the age of 68.

Nadirah and Askia Muhammad

Also speaking at the event were Nadirah and Askia Muhammad from the Jamaica area of Queens, New York.  Dr. Askia Muhammad is an imam who ministers to the Muslim community in Jamaica and is President of the Ummah Group, an organization dedicated to interfaith dialogue and spiritual development. He shared a very powerful opening prayer during the event. The Muhammads are parents of current 400m hurdles Olympic and world champion Dalilah Muhammad - asked about the success of his daughter, Dr. Askia modestly replied his greatest success was not to interfere with her God-given gifts - but only to gently encourage and support her daughter's decisions. Dalilah won the gold medal at the recent 2019 World Championships in Tokyo, setting the current world record with a time of 52.16 seconds.

We also were delighted to welcome our long-time friend Coach Jim Hurt, Head Track and Field Coach of nearby St. John’s University. Coach Hurt has spent 36 years with the St John's track and field and cross-country teams (the Red Storm); 29 of those years were as head coach, and he has had a tremendous amount of success in those years. Our final guest was Ms. Najibe Burger, who has served the Queens community in so many capacities - she is currently on the boards of the Queens Council of the Arts and the Queens Family Court, as well as being the President of Latin American Cultural Center of Queens.

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Runners

Flushing Meadows Park has a very special connection with the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, having played host to our running events since the late 1970s and our multi-day ultra races since the 1980s. On October 11, 2006, exactly one year before Sri Chinmoy's physical passing, this iconic section of Flushing Meadows Park was dedicated by the New York Parks department as the Sri Chinmoy Heart-Garden to celebrate the legacy and vision for world peace that Sri Chinmoy had encouraged.

Sri Chinmoy felt that sport and running gave us the outer dynamism and the inner aspiration to transcend our previous achievements. He also saw sport as an opportunity to promote happiness and goodwill amongst competitors.

"In competitive sports, our primary aim should be not to surpass others but constantly to surpass ourselves. In the outer life, when we run with our friends, we are seeing who is actually the best. And we cannot properly evaluate our own capacity unless we have some standard of comparison. But we compete not for the sake of defeating others, but in order to bring forward our own capacity."- Sri Chinmoy

Related

6 October

Peace Run across Africa

In the past few weeks, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run has begun its journey across the African continent. Starting in Lesotho, the run is travelling through South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The African Peace Run is part of a journey across the whole southern hemisphere.

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Schoolchildren join the Peace Run

The aim of the Peace Run is to bring people together in a spirit of peace, oneness and friendship. The run combines both the outer dynamism of running and the aspiration of cultivating inner peace and happiness amongst individuals.

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Meeting the runners.

“Lasting peace must begin within the depths of the individual, and from there spread in ever-widening circles as a dynamic force for world change.”

– Sri Chinmoy

 

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Holding the Peace Torch

Sri Chinmoy considered himself a student of peace, who sought to give people the opportunity to give voice to their own hopes and aspirations for creating a better world. During his lifetime, he visited the African continent several times to meet with political leaders and fellow peace-lovers.

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The joy of taking part.

Sri Chinmoy met with President Nelson Mandela on several occasions including On 9 March 1999, when he visited President Nelson Mandela in Pretoria at the President's Residence to honour the President with a "Lifting up the world with a Oneness-Heart" award for his magnanimous spirit in moving South Africa to a better future. On several occasions, President Mandela offered warm words of encouragement for the Peace Run, and the spirit of Sri Chinmoy's activities.

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Graça Machel, Sri Chinmoy and Nelson Mandela with the Peace Run.

“I am happy this moment has come. Your powerful group carries an equally powerful message for the world.” - Nelson Mandela

African Peace Run
The route of the African Peace Run.

As well as the Southern Hemisphere Peace Run. Other Peace Runs are simultaneously occurring in Europe and Russia.

9 August

Inspiration from this year's 3100 Mile Race

After 52 days of self-transcendence, this year's Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race drew to a close, with seven of the eight runners completing 3100 miles within the allotted time. Between them, the eight intrepid runners covered a total of 27,577 miles, or 50,252 laps of the humble 0.5488 mile loop located in the Jamaica neighbourhood of Queens, New York.

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Asprihanal Aalto - this year's winner of the race

For the outsider looking in, these statistics only give a partial insight into this unique race, which is a test of physical, mental and spiritual fortitude. During this summer, the runners had to contend with two mini-heatwaves which sent temperatures soaring to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Yet every morning at 6 am, the runners came to the start line to begin their inner and outer quest towards personal self-transcendence. The race has no sponsorship or financial rewards; each runner and helper must give up their own time to take on this unique challenge. Asked why they come to the race, the runners hint at an inner satisfaction which can be gained from pushing themselves to the limits of what they think is possible.

Harita Davies (NZ) - 1st woman

“I think so often in our lives, that we fashion ourselves to be well within our comfort zone.  It is only when you challenge those comfort zones that you find real fulfillment, but some times you can trick yourself into what a real challenge is.  This race is definitely a real challenge.  It brings out a lot of things in me that are challenging but also so extremely rewarding.”

Harita Davies

Inspiration

Each individual runner undertakes his/her personal journey, but the race has also inspired many people around the world, who are captivated by the simplicity yet dauntless nature of this challenge. The race has been featured on many international news outlets, such as the BBC, Wall Street Journal and NZ's News Now - and this media coverage and online coverage has inspired many to follow the race and pick up on the inspiration of those running in New York.

Locals inspired by the race

Race director Rupantar Larusso says that this year there have been innumerable visitors to the race who came for a short time to visit out of curiosity. He says that in many cases, the visitors from around the world ended up spending much longer than planned because they felt a very special atmosphere at the race.

Another reason for the heightened interest in this year's race is the recent release of a documentary film based on this race (and other ultra-distance events) called 3100: Run and Become. For example, after a screening in New York City, the film director Sanjay Rawal described how a few young athletes left immediately to go and see the race and runners in action.

Personal bests

Vasu Duzihy - 3rd place being cheered on.

During the race, many runners recorded some kind of personal best or new achievement. For the overall winner, Asprihanal Aalto, it was his 15th finish and eight-time overall winner. Although off his course record, he was happy to finish another race, despite arriving with little training. Despite suffering heatstroke mid-race, 2nd place Nirbhasa Magee set a new personal best of 48 days+09:04:57 and with it a new Irish record. Speaking about one of the motivations for running, he said of the race:

“You have to sense that the race is your job.  That while you are here, you are inspiring so many people.  That you are doing something beneficial.  You need a sense of dedication to that purpose.”

Nirbhasa Magee

The race doesn't stop for heavy rain or heat!

Vasu Duzihy has won the past two races, and this year finished in 3rd place in a time of  49 days+06:13:17. One of this year's most remarkable stories was Ananda-Lahiri Zuscin, who has started the race 15 times, making him one of the most prolific entrants - and yet has not managed to complete the 3100-mile distance in over 10 years. This year he managed to finish the race with some exceptional days of 80+ miles (including one day of 89 miles!). In addition, Smarana Puntigam finished in 5th place, coming back to successfully complete the race after his last two attempts in 2017 and 2018 fell agonisingly short.

Harita Davies was the only woman in the race, and she managed to also set a new personal best and New Zealand record. She summed up the attitude needed to complete such a daunting challenge.

"A huge part of the experience of this race is to just keep going forward.  When challenges arise you face them and try to figure them out.  Do your best and have faith, that everything will work out.”

Harita Davies

'Enthusiasm Awakeners' on the course

First-time entrant Todor Dimitrov faced a real baptism of fire. With six days to go, injuries and sickness had left him 32 miles off the cut-off pace. Yet he kept going to the end and finished with just a couple of hours to spare. Speaking at the end, Todor said:

 

"The race was a great transformative experience. Thank you all here. It makes me to feel the world is going in a good direction. To proceed with that good direction. So happy to know the runners who helped me to finish. "

Todor Dimitrov

Ushika Muckenhumer faced innumerable challenges in the race with getting injured in the early part of the race. But, his battling spirit kept him going for all 52 days. He finished with 2,777 miles. Ushika illustrates the central concept of the race that it is about personal self-transcendence and doing what we can given the circumstances we are in. Towards the end of the gruelling race, he talked about the transformative potential of the race.

Ushika racing in the evening sun.

“At this stage of the race you go so far out of your mind, that it is difficult to think through answers.  Life becomes very simple, especially the mind.  It is not the usual way to function.  But instead in a very cheerful and simple frame of mind."

Ushika Muckenhummer

Making history

The 3100 Mile Race was founded by Sri Chinmoy who initiated the very first race in 1997. In the past 23 years, only 44 different people have completed the 3100 Mile race - which the NY Times once described as "The Everest of distance running."

Sri Chinmoy at the start of the first 3100 Mile Race in 1997

Sri Chinmoy believed that through ultra-distance running, individuals could discover unknown inner and outer capacities and gain a real sense of satisfaction from challenging their own limits. Sri Chinmoy was also a visionary who saw how the race could inspire many people around the world. Speaking at the first awards ceremony on 2 August 1997, he said of the race:

"This 3,100 miles is an unprecedented journey in our world-peace-manifestation-dream. World-peace can come into existence only when we are inundated with patience and perseverance. Infinite patience we need in our inner life and perseverance we need in our outer life.

These 3,100 miles remind us of one divine and supreme reality: we can and we must do everything at our command to transform the world of lethargy and unwillingness to be dynamic. Unwillingness we do not leave behind us. Therefore happiness remains always a far cry. Willingness to give, willingness to achieve, willingness to grow and glow should be the message of our souls. With our souls' blessings we can and will fulfil our earthly life."

Sri Chinmoy (Source)

Further reading

19 July

Recitation of poems from 'The Golden Boat'

Mahiruha reciting poems from The Golden Boat
Mahiruha reciting poems from The Golden Boat.

On 21 June, Mahiruha Klein, a student of Sri Chinmoy's from Chicago, recited the entire set of 1,000 poems from The Golden Boat, a series written by Sri Chinmoy in 1974 exploring the multifaceted nature of the spiritual life.

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Sri Chinmoy often commented that learning spiritual poetry by heart can be a rewarding spiritual discipline, enabling the seeker to gain a glimpse into the spiritual essence of the poetry.

"Poetry is the short-cut to reach the subtle and tangible Goal of goals — Delight infinite. A poem starts in streaming tears and ends in soaring smiles."

Sri Chinmoy 1

During the marathon poetry reading at the Chicago Sri Chinmoy Centre, Mahiruha began at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and finished eight hours later, with just a two-minute break in between each set of 100 poems.

Speaking about the event, Mahiruha says he was physically tired at the end of the marathon poetry session, but also deeply moved by the experience.


He said:

"It took me three years to learn the one thousand poems of the Golden Boat. I practised the poems every day for at least an hour and a half to learn them.  I divided the poems and typed them up by themes, like sincerity, gratitude, etc. That made them a lot easier to learn. I further organised them in my mind by the first letter and also by picking a key word from each poem.  Then I just practised and practised them until I knew them all by heart.

At work I’ll often ask customers to give me a topic or key word and I’ll give them a poem from the Golden Boat based on that key word.

For example, one customer asked me for a poem on happiness. So I recited this poem:

Speak without words.
You will be happy.

Dedicate without proclaiming.
You will be happy.

Love without being loved.
You will be happy.

Surrender without being subjugated.
You will be happy.

Become without being known,
without being caught,
without being sought.
You will be happy.

Sri Chinmoy 2

The customer really enjoyed that poem immensely! These poems have transformed my life.  I feel I have grown and changed with these poems.

If I had to pick a poem that I feel expresses the loftiest height, it would be this absolutely immortal gem:

“My heart conceals
The pangs of ages.

My heart conceals
The failures of human races.

My heart conceals
The indifference of God’s faces.

But
My heart feels
Only one thing:
God’s Heaven-free
And
Sky-vast changes.”

Sri Chinmoy 3


Previously, Mahiruha had recited all 843 poems from Sri Chinmoy's poetry series Transcendence-Perfection at a recent edition of Challenging Impossibility, an event organised by the Sri Chinmoy Centre where individuals are invited to try and transcend their limitations and achieve some challenging task (and where quite a few Guinness records have been set). These can be sporting, musical, test of skill or – in Mahiruha's case – a test of memory and devotion to poetry.

Mahiruha works at a health food store in Chicago, US.

More of Sri Chinmoy's poetry is available at Sri Chinmoy Poetry.

 

18 June

Start of the 3100 Mile Race 2019

On 16 June 2019, eight intrepid runners took to the start line of the world's longest certified road race - the 23rd edition of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Over the next seven weeks, the runners will aim to complete a daily average of 60 miles or more in order to finish the race within the official time limit of 52 days. The runners have to contend with the hot New York summer, a hard concrete course and the many physical and mental challenges of competing in this epic of self-transcendence.

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sri-chinmoy
Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the race.

The race was founded by spiritual teacher and ultra-running pioneer Sri Chinmoy, who saw distance running as a vehicle to enable runners to bring to the fore their physical, mental and spiritual capacities to complete this unique challenge.

“He is happy
Because every day he tries
And actually does
A little more than he thinks he can.”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

happy runners
A positive attitude and cheerful disposition is important in this race, which is as much a test of mind and spirit as a physical challenge

In this year's race, the runners include Asprihanal Aalto from Finland, an eight-time winner of the race and current course record holder in a time of 40 days+09:06:21. Also returning to the race is three-times winner and 2018 champion Vasu Duzhiy from Russia. Other returning 3100 Mile runners include Smarana Puntigam (Austria), Nirbhasa Magee (Ireland), Ushika Muckenhummer (Austria) and Ananda-Lahari Zuscin (Slovakia).

Inspiration
Harita Davies before the race

The only woman running this year is Harita Davies, who returns after a gap of two years, to see if she can improve on her first time finish of 51 days+12:48:14. Todor Dimitrov from Sofia, Bulgaria completes the field and he will be making his first attempt at 3100 Mile Race.

race
The race generates interest from amongst the local community. On a damp Sunday morning, many came out to cheer on the runners start their journey

As well as the eight runners, there is a crew of dedicated volunteers who put on the race, including counters, medics, cooks and the organising crew.

Video of day one

Video

To follow the race

13 May

Songs of the Soul tour Germany and Austria

Songs of the Soul, a concert tour dedicated to Sri Chinmoy’s music, travelled through Austria and Germany from 5-10 May. The concerts were organised and performed by Sri Chinmoy’s students from many different countries.

songs-of-the-soul
Agnikana's Group

On this particular tour, concerts were given in Graz, Vienna, Munich and Augsburg. A total of 1500 people came to watch the concerts, which are offered free of charge.

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Participating groups included Shamita and Dohai (violin and cello), Mandu and Visuddhi (harp and erhu) and Agnikana’s Group (instrumental ensemble). Each group performs the compositions of Sri Chinmoy with their own musical perspective creating a varied and soulful evening of uplifting music.

agnikana

Agnikana's Group perform Ami Chanchal (live)
Agnikana's Group perform Ami Chanchal (live)

Sri Chinmoy himself gave close to 800 public concerts during his lifetime. He felt that spiritual music had a unique capacity to bring people into the heart and away from the mind. He believed that by immersing ourselves in music, we can experience a great sense of inner peace and joy.

Music helps the spiritual seeker to go deep within to get the utmost satisfaction from life, from truth, from reality. The spiritual life, in turn, helps music to offer its capacity and its strength, which is the soul’s light, to the world at large.”

Sri Chinmoy

Songs of the Soul is an going series of concerts offered by the Sri Chinmoy Centre since 2008. The aim of the concerts is to share Sri Chinmoy’s musical legacy and give the public an opportunity to experience this unique musical offering.

Related

10 May

Oneness-Dream in England

Recently, the Oneness-Dream international group of male singers toured England to offer several concerts at sacred venues across the country. The group, which includes members from 11 different nationalities, perform exclusively the songs of Sri Chinmoy without any instrumental backing. The group was formed in 2011; they seek to offer seekers the unique experience of Sri Chinmoy's songs in a meditative and prayerful environment.

Listen to Oneness-Dream

Oneness-Dream performing the song Nirab Amare, during a recent live recording
oneness-dream
Oneness-Dream performs in Oxford
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Highlights of the tour included a performance at Kings College, Cambridge directly after Evenson, and performances at Ely Cathedral and Wells Cathedral. The songs of Sri Chinmoy touched many in the audiences who were moved by the simplicity and soulfulness of the singing.

marcus-braybrooke
Rev. Marcus Braybrooke with Oneness-Dream

At Dorchester Abbey, near Oxford, the concert was attended by the Rev. Marcus Braybrooke, a long-time friend of Sri Chinmoy who shared his dream of interfaith oneness. In 2003, Sri Chinmoy honoured him with the Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart award at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. After the concert, he generously appreciated the singers for their soulful songs and for continuing Sri Chinmoy's work of offering peace and goodwill around the world.

oneness-dream
Oneness-Dream in Bristol.

Towards the end of the tour, the group visited Bristol where they performed in the open air and recorded several songs for a future album.

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Photos top and bottom: Kedar

7 May

3100 film events around the world

3100: Run and Become was released last year in the US and since then has been opening in countries around the world. The documentary explores long-distance running in cultures around the world, including the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Here are just a few of the things that have been happening around the world:

United States

There have been screenings of the documentary all over the US during 2018 and 2019. Scott Fauble, a top American marathoner (2:09), came to a screening in Flagstaff in September; he published a top-selling diary of his fall training season and mentioned that watching the documentary made his workouts seem a lot easier! Chris McDougall, author of the famous ultrarunning book Born to Run, hosted a screening of the movie in New York in February and commented that the film was one of the best running films he had seen. Dr. Dan Lieberman, a subject of Born to Run and one of the world's pre-eminent evolutationary biologists, hosted a screening at Harvard University the weekend of the Boston Marathon. He absolutely loved the film and how it linked running to prayer, remarking how there also exists tribal communities in India who run long distances with that very attitude.

The film is available now to watch online in the US and Canada.
Watch on: iTunes  • Google Play  • Amazon

Video
Trailer for '3100: Run and Become'
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Bulgaria

Asprihanal and Ushika being interviewed for national TV

In January, Sofia was the first European capital to present the premier, which was screened in the National Home of Culture. The premier was attended by Ashprihanal Aalto, the men's record holder and Ushika Muckenhummer, who competed in the race last year for the first time. They were joined by some of Bulgaria's best ultrarunners: Hristo Tsvetkov, 12 and 24 hour Bulgarian recordholder; Krasse Georgiev, the only Bulgarian to finish Badwater; Todor Dimitrov “El Capitan” national record holder for the 6-day race. After the movie, Krasse Georgiev commented “While I was watching the movie I thought to myself: 'What I do is a summer vacation in comparison with what these boys do.'" The film has also been invited to screen in the International Red Cross Film Festival in Varna this summer; the festival director, Bozhidar Manov had some very nice things to say about the film. The premiere was broadcast on the national TV station, along with an interview with Ashprihanal and Ushika.

Bali

In February, the Indonesian premiere took place in Denpasar. The film's director, Sanjay Rawal, was on hand to answer questions, along with many 3100 mile runners, including the women's record holder, Kaneenika Janakova from Slovakia.

11 March

New book: plays based on stories by Sri Chinmoy

plays-1This month marks the release of a new book of ten plays by Sumangali Morhall, based on stories by Sri Chinmoy.  Each play contains between one and thirteen stories, set to rhyming verse.

This volume has since been accepted by the library of Harvard Divinity School.

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Sumangali comes from York, UK and this is her second book, her first being Auspicious Good Fortune, an account of how she came to the spiritual life.

In the introduction to the book, Sumangali explains how she began writing these plays:


"These rhyming plays began on a Christmas Trip with Sri Chinmoy in China, December 2004. On our winter retreats, as well as meditating with Sri Chinmoy in person, we had the privilege of immersing ourselves in his new creations: songs, prayers, aphorisms, stories and artwork. In the evenings it usually fell to us, his disciples, to entertain one another on stage. Much of the programme consisted of plays based on the Master’s stories – some of which are tales retold from Indian folklore, others anecdotes from Sri Chinmoy’s own experience, others born of his own creative imagination, and many seemingly from delightful worlds between.

plays

I rarely involved myself in plays up until then. I was – and still am – terrible at acting. My self-consciousness and inability to handle pressure led to a chaos of forgetfulness on stage. It saddened me not to contribute though, so that year in China I decided to take a risk and play to my strengths. I like to write. I could reliably read something out from paper. I could draw some faces on card, cut out holes for eyes, and tie them back as make-shift masks. The characters would mime, while others – including myself – would read their lines into a microphone off-stage. Hence everyone was hiding, which suited me well. The actors did not need to memorise their lines verbatim, which suited them too.

I was quite sure it would end in disaster even before it began, but to my surprise there were no accidents, even amongst the short-sighted, and any confusion was only a minor distraction. Sri Chinmoy was attentive, and I dare say even seemed quite pleased, which astonished me no end. So a new tradition began, and has continued beyond the Master’s passing, as the Sri Chinmoy Centre meets each year for Christmas Trips."

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While striving to preserve the original teachings, the plays are embellished – often in a humorous way – and sometimes carry a modern interpretation.

As the actors mime behind masks while the poetry is recited off-stage, the plays perhaps combine two ancient spiritual traditions – rendering spiritual stories into verse, and masked performances.

The Ramayana, one of the great epics of the Hindu tradition, is known as the adi-kavya, or first poem. Great spiritual writings – for example, the Mahabharata and the Christian Bible – have been wrought into poetry through the ages, as an act of spiritual discipline and devotion. Sri Chinmoy himself set to verse the works of Sri Aurobindo, his own Guru - at the age of fifteen, he created 188 lines of Bengali verse from Sri Aurobindo's short story Ksharma Adarsha. In 1956 he translated it into 107 lines of English iambic pentameter verse. He set the Bengali poem to music in 2002, and it remains his longest song.

sumangali-play-mask
Actors in masks and costumes

The use of masks in spiritual ceremonies dates back thousands of years, and later extended to various theatrical traditions throughout the world. In Asian countries such as India and Indonesia they are often used in elaborate performances of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the Middle East, folk theatre includes masked acting and puppetry, which has been a part of religious occasions for centuries. Actors in Ancient Greece wore masks, especially when depicting a powerful character such as a god. In Japan, Noh theatre evolved from more ancient forms of masked acting.

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Book available for purchase

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