Six and Ten Day Races 2017

In Flushing Meadows, New York the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team are promoting the twenty-second annual Sri Chinmoy Ten Day Race. The event also encompasses a six-day race. The event was founded by Sri Chinmoy as a means to promote the ideal of self-transcendence – giving runners the opportunity to stretch their capacities – physical, mental and spiritual.

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Start Ten Day Race. Photo Utpal.

This year’s event has attracted an international field from across the world, including a total of 68 runners.

Runner enjoying the race. Photo: Utpal

 

The one-mile course is set in a pleasant park setting – near the famous areas of the World’s Fair of 1964 and close to the USTA facility, home of the US Open. However, the runners have to battle against variations in the weather, minimal sleep and the challenges of running as far as they can in the allotted time.

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The race is supported by a team of volunteers who offer food, medical supporting and counting of laps. Photo: Utpal

In Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy – self-transcendence plays an important role; Sri Chinmoy felt through self-transcendence we can all make progress, no matter our current capacity.

“Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others. We do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Follow the race

Bali Leaders Share their Oneness-Heart at Songs of Soul Concert

Recently, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre performed a Songs of the Soul Concert in Denpasar, Bali; the event began with an interfaith prayer for peace.

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“AUM Shanti Shanti Shanti AUM” – the atmosphere at Taman Budaya Art Center in Denpasar, Bali, was electric with spiritual energy on 5 February 2017, as over a dozen kings and representatives from the island’s royal families joined in chanting the traditional Balinese Hindu mantra, along with many religious and inter-faith leaders and over fifty visiting performers from the Songs of the Soul concert.

The concert, which featured the soul-stirring music and poetry of Sri Chinmoy, including songs he wrote for Bali and Indonesia, was presented in gratitude to Bali and all those who continue to nurture the spiritual and cultural traditions that are at the core of Balinese society and inspire all humanity with their love of peace and oneness. Over 300 members of the Sri Chinmoy Centres International were visiting the island for two weeks on their annual retreat; they had chosen Bali because, while he was alive, Sri Chinmoy loved Bali deeply and travelled there on several occasions.

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In a moving opening blessing for the concert, prominent religious leaders representing all the major religious faiths of Bali gathered on stage, each offering a prayer for peace from their tradition. The religious leaders — representing Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism and Confucianism — clasped hands in unity and bowed to the applause of the audience, before they took their seats to enjoy the concert, which was soulfully and charmingly introduced by the Balinese MC, Suhasini Mirah Septiarini.

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Of the several musical groups performing, a highlight was the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers, an international vocal and instrumental ensemble that has enchanted audiences in Bali over the years with their devotional songs. One of their presentations was a song written by Sri Chinmoy about Bali. Translated from his native Bengali, the song says: “Bali, Bali, Bali, you make my mind tranquil emptiness-fulness… Only one race and one code of life, the quintessence of Truth’s pinnacle-heights.”

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Another of the musical groups, the Sahadeva Ensemble, performed a dynamic, new medley of several songs that Sri Chinmoy wrote in honour of Hanuman, a central figure of the Ramayana epic that is so beloved in Bali. Between musical acts, inspirational poetry by Sri Chinmoy, translated into Bahasa Indonesia, was presented by Narottama Wayan Sidhakarya.

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In the powerful conclusion to the concert, over a dozen representatives of the royal families from across Bali and Surakarta were invited to the stage, along with the interfaith leaders and performers, to join in chanting AUM Shanti Shanti Shanti AUM, in the Balinese tradition. Special guests were offered a book of Sri Chinmoy’s poetry as a gift, to take home and cherish some of the evening’s peace.

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The political leadership of Bali joined in sharing the message of peace and oneness on other occasions during the group’s visit, when the Office of the Governor of Bali and the Office of the Mayor of Denpasar each hosted an event for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, on 31 January and 2 February, respectively, with hundreds of local students participating. Upon presenting the Peace Torch and offering the Torch Bearer Award to Mayor Rai Mantra Dharmawijaya, Salil Wilson, the Executive Director of the Peace Run, read aloud the soulful tribute that Sri Chinmoy had offered to Bali: “Of all the places I have visited, Bali is undoubtedly the best. It has everything: sincerity, simplicity, purity, humility and peace. Is there any divine quality missing here? This place is Heaven on earth.”   Addressing the government officials and international Peace Runners assembled, the Mayor, who is known for his efforts to preserve Balinese spirituality and culture in the face of modernization, commented with a big smile, “Sri Chinmoy is more Balinese than the Balinese!”

Similar appreciation was expressed by Agung Rai, the founder of the ARMA Museum in Ubud, at a reception on 1 February opening an exhibit of Sri Chinmoy’s Paintings for Peace and World-Harmony. Since 2009, the museum has hosted a larger-than-life bronze statue of Sri Chinmoy entitled “Dreamer of World-Peace”, set among the lush green gardens. The ARMA Museum also actively seeks to preserve Balinese culture by offering expert instruction in gamelan music and traditional dance to local children. On any given day, visitors who come to pray and meditate for peace at the statue can also enjoy the intricate rhythms of the gamelan gongs and the children dancing nearby, all in oneness with the vision of peace and harmony that Bali and Sri Chinmoy share and offer to the world.

Photos: Bhashwar

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Ultra-Runners racing towards enlightenment

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team promote many ultra distance races, including the 24 hour race in London. In the latest edition of “The Week”, a popular British news magazine, a featured article was about the efforts of self-transcendence by the various competitors who take on this challenge.

The article, written by Adharanand Finn a journalist for the Guardian, gives glimpses into the motivation and joys of both those helping to set up the race and the runners who spend 24 hours racking up the miles.

the-last-word-sri-chinmoyThe London 24 hour race was first started 30 years ago by Ongkar Tony Smith, a follower of Sri Chinmoy and founder of the popular running shop Run and Become.

Sri Chinmoy encouraged ultra-running as a means for people to transcend their previous efforts and go beyond their mental limitations. As Shankara Smith, the race organiser, mentions in the article:

“Sri Chinmoy used to say it’s not mind over matter, but heart over mind. If you can’t silence that mind, then you can’t do it, because your mind will tell you you can’t. Here, you can’t tell yourself it’s you versus that mountain, because there is no mountain. It’s just you versus you.”

The article was originally published in the Guardian and syndicated by The Week.

In the photo chosen by The Week – ‘Sri Chinmoy in 2006’ – Sri Chinmoy was playing the esraj – an Indian stringed instrument. Sri Chinmoy was also seated beneath his weightlifting equipment. Quite often Sri Chinmoy would honour individuals as part of his “Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart” Award. Before lifting, Sri Chinmoy would play the esraj to create a meditative atmosphere. It is an example of how Sri Chinmoy combined meditation, music, and physical, sporting transcendence.

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Meditation techniques

In his writings and talks, Sri Chinmoy offered many different meditation techniques – from simple tips to still the mind – to the use of mantra, music and visualisation.

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An example exercise to transcend the mind and invoke the soul

“In order to purify your mind, the best thing to do is to feel every day for a few minutes during your meditation that you have no mind. Say to yourself, “I have no mind, I have no mind. What I have is the heart.” Then after some time feel, “I don’t have a heart. What I have is the soul.” When you say, “I have the soul,” at that time you will be flooded with purity.”

– Sri Chinmoy


222 Meditation Exercises

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222 Meditation Exercises is a compilation of over 200 different techniques from the writings of Sri Chinmoy.

With a wide range of different exercises, there is enough variety for any seeker to find some meditations which work for him.

It also mentions some of the factors which can help make meditation a more integral part of someone’s daily life – through cultivating qualities such as aspiration, gratitude and determination.

The exercises can be a good way for people to give a new focus to their own meditation.

visualisations “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.

More info on: The Meditation Book

Review

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.


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Sri Chinmoy Centre activities in Greece

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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Race along Kalamata sea front.

 

Photos: Yatkara Aleksapolskyy and Tejvan Pettinger

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Impossibility Challenger 2016

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.

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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

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  • 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.

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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

Agnikana’s Group tour of UK

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.

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Agnikana’s group in London

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Outside London Church

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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’.

 

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The group played in Edinburgh.

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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.

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Final concert in Dublin, Ireland.

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