In recent weeks, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre from around the world visited Greece to take part in concerts, the Peace Run and meditations for the New Year.
On Boxing day 26th, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run was warmly welcomed by the mayor and people of Kalamata during a one off run to mark the Christmas / New Year. The run was joined by local school children and the mayor of Kalamata. (See: Peace Run)The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run in Kalamata, Greece
On 3rd of January 2017, the all male acapella choir, Oneness-Dream, performed a concert of Sri Chinmoy’s songs in a church of Kalamata.
The group have toured many countries around the world, performing in churches and sacred venues. It was the first time they had the opportunity to perform in a church of the Greek Orthodox church. The concert was warmly received by the local priest and parishioners.Oneness Dream performance of Sri Chinmoy’s songs
On the 4th of January, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre performed a play to a packed audience at the theater in Kalamata.
The play, written by Devashishu Torpy, incorporated elements of Greek and Indian culture – combined with excerpts from Sri Chinmoy’s own writings – to offer an insight into the shared aspects of the eternal spiritual quest.Songs of the Soul, Athens
On the 5th of January, there was a Songs of the Soul concert in Athens, where groups of international musicians performed the music of Sri Chinmoy, during a two hour concert. Many people attended and were appreciative of the soulful and uplifting music.
In addition to these activities, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, on their annual Christmas festival took part in running races, the performance of plays and daily meditations.Race along Kalamata sea front.
Photos: Yatkara Aleksapolskyy and Tejvan Pettinger
Impossibility Challenger is an event organised by members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, where individuals are given the opportunity to test themselves in seeking to transcend their own limitations. During the event, individuals or groups of people can choose any number of challenges which inspires them to seek their own self-transcendence. This can be either to set a new personal best or try to set a new world record.
This year event was held in Berlin, Germany. During the weekend there was a varied collection of events – ranging from attempts to run the fastest 100 metres whilst wearing flippers – to reciting an entire poetry book. Notable events included
- Most one handed claps in a minute
- Juggling 3* 5kg balls
- Pulling 10 tonne tractor, plus driver
- Memorising longest sequence of binary numbers in one minute
- Most push ups on raw eggs in a minute.
- Mahiruha’s Klein attempt to memorise and recite 843 poems from Sri Chinmoy’s poetry book Transcendence-Perfection.
The event was founded by Sri Chinmoy who sought to encourage people to try gain joy from transcending their achievements and capacities.
“Either forget impossibility’s challenge
Or challenge impossibility’s pride
To become truly happy.”
– Sri Chinmoy
Video of event
Video: Devashishu Torpy
Recently, the Czech music group “Agnikana’s Group” toured parts of the British Isles to give free concerts of Sri Chinmoy’s music. The group played in the major capitals of London, Cardiff, Dublin and Edinburgh, and also York, Bristol and Ipswich.
Agnikana’s group in London
Outside London Church
Agnikana’s group is an all female ensemble who perform the music of Sri Chinmoy. The concerts were well attended and received positive feedback with audience members describing the music as ‘beautiful, peaceful and ‘connecting with the soul’.
The group played in Edinburgh.
The previous week, the Sri Chinmoy Centre had been part of the Edinburgh Festival of Peace and Spirituality, with this artwork displayed at St John’s Church in Princes Street.
Final concert in Dublin, Ireland.
- Agnikana’s Group at Radio Sri Chinmoy
The Sri Chinmoy Choir had the honour of performing arrangements of Sri Chinmoy’s songs dedicated to the UN and peace at a programme entitled “Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace.” The event was held at the United Nations in the prestigious Economic and Social Council Chamber the evening of 28 October 2016. Hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Durga Prasad Bhattarai, the Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, the event was webcast live, and the video is also available on the UN website (UN live weblink). The choir opened the programme, after the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nepal, Mr. Nirmal Raj Kafle, offered a few remarks on behalf of Ambassador Bhattarai, declaring that the wealth of yoga belongs to humanity in general.
Ms. Nilima Silver, Programme Coordinator of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations and UN Staff Member, was invited by the organizers to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. In introducing the Choir, she explained that in 1970, then UN Secretary-General U Thant invited spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy to conduct meditations for peace at UN Headquarters in New York. Until his passing in 2007, Sri Chinmoy offered his multifaceted inspiration to the UN community through twice-weekly meditations, concerts and other programmes for peace. Sri Chinmoy also founded a non-governmental organization accredited with the UN Department of Public Information, the international Sri Chinmoy Centre, which provides humanitarian aid and promotes a culture of peace.Sri Chinmoy Choir
The singers are honoured to continue in this spirit. On this occasion the choir started with a poem by Sri Chinmoy, followed by several of his songs dedicated to peace and to the UN, with arrangements by members of the Choir.Ms. Yogmata Keiko Aikawa
Following the choir, the guest of honour, Yogmata Keiko Aikawa, gave the Keynote Address, which was followed by a panel discussion, with questions and answers.Deputy Permanent Representative of Nepal, Mr. Nirmal Raj Kafle
The event served as a continuum to the UN International Day of Yoga, first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech to the General Assembly in September 2014. The Assembly later unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing that “wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population,” and declaring 21 June the International Day. (See link to the resolution and draft showing initial co-sponsors)Panel of speakers
- A/69/L.17 Draft Resolution – Day of Yoga and Co-Sponsors (2014-Nov-07)
- A/69/L.17/Add.1 Added C0-Sponsors for Day of Yoga Draft (2014-Dec-11)
- A/Res/69/131 International Day of Yoga Resolution (Adopted by UN General Assembly 2014-Dec-11)
- Background to International Day of Yoga (excerpts from UNGA Meeting Record A/69/PV.69 and UN Press Release GA/11601)
- See Links at UN site: http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/resolutions.shtml (Resolution and Meeting Record in 6 Languages: Arabic عربي, Chinese 中文, English English, French Français, Russian Русский, Spanish Españo)
UN Secretary General Message for IDY (2016-Jun21)
- With photos of SG-Yoga: http://www.un.org/en/events/yogaday/message.shtml
- SG ST/SM/17867-Obv/1631 Release:-“respect all” : http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sgsm17867.doc.htm
Pope Francis blessed and held aloft the Peace Torch from the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Run during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square on 12 Oct, 2016.
It is the second time Pope Francis has blessed the Torch and offered his good wishes to all those who participate in the international Peace Run.
Salil Wilson, director of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run also gave the Pope a painting by Sri Chinmoy (founder of the Run) and a volume of selected drawings and messages of peace and love from children on six continents. The Pope expressed his gratitude for the gifts.
See more at Peace Run.org – Pope Francis blesses the Peace Torch.
Finale of European Peace Run
The meeting with Pope Francis was auspicious given the European Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run had recently finished its 2016 leg in Rome, the Eternal City, just a few days prior.Peace Run team complete their momentous journey in Rome.
“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 ChinmoyDoves of Peace Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run The finale
Many local Italian schoolchildren joined the event which sought to promote the ideals of peace and international friendship.
In a recent book, Adriano Passini from Brazil explains the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of successfully swimming the English Channel at his first attempt.
For Adriano Passini the English Channel was a life-long dream, though one that seemed out of reach. After studying meditation with Sri Chinmoy, he gained a new belief and confidence that it would be possible.
In this book, he shares the joys and hardships of his two-year-journey of preparation and finally completion.
Short extracts from book
“I feel that one of the greatest challenges for a person is to control their own mind. One main aspect of the spiritual life is to bring the mind and the senses under control in order to reach the ultimate goal: complete oneness with our “Inner Pilot,” the soul or God. This is not something that we will be able to achieve within a few weeks, months or years. It may take many incarnations of spiritual discipline to achieve this goal.”
“In long competitions, concentration and mental control are essential, and I believe that is why Sri Chinmoy encourages the practice of endurance sports. It is not only a question of having a healthy body, but also of developing our inner capacities through sport.”
“I have been learning more about this each day with my spiritual teacher. Through meditation it is becoming a reality, and I believe every day I am taking another step towards this inner goal. With each race I do, I am more convinced that this philosophy of self-transcendence in sports is helping us to learn to control and go beyond the mind. So we can tell our mind: “Look what I am capable of!”
“Occasionally, my mind was still invaded by some negative thoughts, but as soon as I became aware of them, I let them burst like balloons. I did not dwell on them. I prayed, meditated and sang in silence all the time. I had memorized a series of aphorisms to recite during the crossing, but I forgot most of them. So I sang the same five mantric songs over and over again. To relieve my mental tension, sometimes I remembered some jokes or some funny incidents that had happened in my life. I thought of people mimicking others and other funny moments. I did everything I could to entertain myself a little and eventually I even laughed. All of those things made my crossing more pleasant.”
“Up to the fourth hour, my mind had been a little agitated at times, but when the barrier of four hours was broken, things got better. My mind had adapted to the situation and started to calm down. It seemed as though the swimming became more defined, and I was better able to maintain a peaceful meditative state for longer periods of time. The time had come to appreciate the English Channel crossing even more. During the rest of the crossing, I tried to keep just a few thoughts in my mind. One of them was: “I will not give up. I will not give up. I came here to cross the English Channel and I will not leave it except on the French coast!”
“The mental control I needed during the second half of the crossing was extreme. I believe that, were it not for the meditation that I had been practicing for eight years, I would not have been able to achieve it, at least not on my first attempt. It is startling to remember how vulnerable I felt at times during the swim. Being in the middle of the English Channel with the waves of the sea, unable to see anything around me, not knowing where I was, felt frightening. When I read Sri Chinmoy’s line about the English Channel frightening the human body and puzzling the human mind, I did not quite comprehend what he meant, but now I really started to understand.”
- Adriano’s new book at Sri Chinmoy Races
A new book offers 222 different meditation techniques from Sri Chinmoy’s writings on how to meditate.
The diverse range of meditation techniques are useful for both beginners and more experienced meditators. The meditation techniques include visualisations, concentration, breathing exercises and even meditations whilst running.
The exercises can be a good way for people to give a new focus to their own meditation.
“Inside our heart-garden are all our divine qualities. They are like beautiful and fragrant flowers. First, repeat to yourself, “I am inside my heart-garden.” Try to see and feel all the beautiful flowers there. Then say, “I am my heart-garden. All the divine flowers inside my heart-garden are part and parcel of my own self.”
– Extract by Sri Chinmoy
The importance of meditation techniques
Meditation is an individual experience. Through developing a regular personal practise, seekers will find ways of meditation which ultimately work for them. Sri Chinmoy says the secret of meditation is for the seekers own soul to come to the fore and it is our own soul which will teach us how to meditate. However, in the beginning we value different techniques and guided meditations which help us to silence the mind and bring forward the heart and soul.
The book is well laid out, with excellent pictures and a feeling of simplicity and purity which is conducive to giving a good inspiration to our meditation. It is the kind of book which can be dipped into at regular intervals, allowing the reader to choose the exercises which appeal to them.