Saturday, April 3, 2004
by Arpan DeAngelo
The function tonight was very sweet with a few nice surprises. It started out with the Aspiration-Ground guards singing the songs known as Twenty Very Special Song–Flowers in My Heart-Garden 1 Once or twice they had to sing a song over, but at the end Sri Chinmoy stood up and led a long standing ovation for them, saying, "Miracle, miracle, I call it a miracle." He was very proud of them for accomplishing this very difficult performance of songs, also praising them after the first song, Jago Amar Swapan Sathi.
There were two plays following that stellar performance. The first play was performed by Abakash's troupe, with a very soulful introduction by Prahlad. It was about Sashi Kumar Ghose (Sri Chinmoy's father), and his tremendous compassion and concern for people - even strangers - which he demonstrated even in his last days on earth. It was quite a touching and at times humorous performance by a great bunch of regular performers, with Abakash playing Shashi Kumar.
After the play, Sri Chinmoy commented on what faith can do. Then he related another story about the ashram where he spent his teenage and early adult years and how just by repeating his father's name with utmost faith, someone was able to cure a problem they were having that could not otherwise be solved. He related a few other examples of how people are using faith to try to do what others say is impossible.
Next was Palash's troupe doing a play about the Buddha. It showed how he did not initially accept young students or women as disciples. But his son Rahul, at the age of ten, soulfully convinced his father, now called the Buddha, to accept women and children onto his path. Using his tremendous love and compassion, the Buddha realized that he must treat everyone with equal respect.
Rijuta then read out a wonderful article she wrote about a very close friend of Sri Chinmoy's who was an Ambassador. This gentleman has praised Sri Chinmoy to the skies because his wonderful advice helped the Ambassador in his career of public service, and may even have saved his life. During this reading, which took 16 minutes, Sri Chinmoy was exercising on the stationery bicycle. Afterwards, he commented on the wonderful article about his friend.
We then saw an incredible video of Sri Chinmoy's recent efforts at the seated calf raise. In a matter of a few days he worked up to lifting 1100 pounds in weights in a seated position with his lower legs. After warming up with 600, then 800 pounds, he did an incredible lift of 1100 pounds even higher than he raised the lower weights. We saw it over and over in slow motion and it was absolutely astounding and almost unbelievable how high over a half ton of dead weights were lifted. The last time he attempted that weight was November of 2002, almost a year and a half ago!
Even Sri Chinmoy commented that when he sees the heavy weights with his mind he is the first to get frightened and puzzled. He added that it is nothing short of a miracle and that this miracle is founded upon the unconditional Grace of the Supreme. Then to add to the drama of the miracle, he commented, "the floor trembles and shakes" when he did the lifts.
We then saw a video made by Utpal of Saturday's two-mile Self- Transcendence Race. It began with the preparations before the race, with Rupantar, Sundar and Achyuta loading up the van and driving to the course. On the way, they saw Sri Chinmoy walking along the sidewalk. After the race, Sri Chinmoy offered this Race Prayer:
The real spiritual life means
Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
The victory of
The 100th Race Prayer offered since Sri Chinmoy started offering them on December 31, 1999 in Curitiba, Brazil was also celebrated today. There was a special lime Prasad handed personally to everyone at the race and a big cookie with a prayer from the 100 prayers given so far. It read:
My Lord, my Lord, my Lord,
My running is the rose-beauty
Of my God-blossoming heart. 3
Overall, the video was brilliant except for the fact that we did not see Sanjay in any of the video, and he was the winner of the race. Somehow he must have been too fast for the cameraman. Sri Chinmoy himself commented on this irony a number of times.
Sri Chinmoy then read to us some wonderful anecdotes of famous people such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, George Bernard Shaw, the Emperor Akbar, Isaac Newton, and Jules Verne. He shared some of the uniquely humorous or surprising events in their lives. He was like a father who so lovingly was offering us important life lessons in entertaining and amusing ways.
After Prasad there was a book handed out personally to us called I Am Not the Author, Part 10 by Sri Chinmoy. On the cover is a photo of Sri Chinmoy with a very humorous smile, characterizing the contents of the book. There are 44 stories and jokes picked out by Sri Chinmoy which demonstrate both wit and humour of people from all walks of life. Needless to say, Sri Chinmoy's love of innocent humor plays an important role in helping our mind to be free of stress and worry so that we can concentrate and meditate in a happy and soulful way.
Sunday, April 4, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
When I arrived at the tennis court, Sri Chinmoy was giving special prasad in honour of the Aspiration-Ground guards, who had given an excellent singing performance the previous night. The prasad was a chocolate Baci.
Guru then invited everybody into a large tent on the tennis court. It was very cosy inside, a sharp contrast to the cold NY weather - last night it was below zero (centigrade). Also, before everybody could get in, we had to remove literally hundreds of flowers from inside the tent.
Sri Chinmoy was very eager to show us a video filmed that same morning, and asked us to be in a soulful frame of mind when watching. Firstly, Guru played some well-known songs on a synthesizer. Then we saw him doing several pull-ups, lifting himself quite high off the ground. Guru then commented to us inside the tent, "Now watch this." On the video he adopted a weightlifting pose, with a look of great determination. For a man of 72, his physique looks very strong and muscular.
On the video he then said a short prayer, (I think it was): "My Lord Supreme, I bow to thee, I bow to thee, I bow to thee. My Lord, My Lord, My Lord."
Sri Chinmoy then meditated with folded hands, whilst playing a tape of himself singing various songs. After the video somebody asked him what was happening when he was meditating. He replied jokingly: "I can't remember what happened five minutes ago, let alone five hours."
Also Guru told various stories about weightlifting. He said towards the end that his weightlifting feats were all due to the Grace of the Supreme.
Pulak was then sent to get some extra prasad and the function finished.
Monday, April 5, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
There was a short function at the tennis court this afternoon. Sri Chinmoy arrived at about 2pm, and then asked for Paree's group to come down.
Guru then said he was going to practice his singing. He said he would probably make mistakes and sing imperfectly, so he wanted Paree's group to sing the songs back correctly, so he could learn.
Guru sang many of the 20 songs he has selected as his favourites. He sang a few songs differently (not like the printed music), but it didn't seem to matter. It is always a great joy to hear Guru sing, his voice is so powerful and soulful at the same time.
Tuesday, 6 April, 2004
Evening meditation function - first account
by Agragati Siegel
Just when I thought I was late to arrive at the evening function, to my wide surprise the Aspiration-Ground guards were out in full force, awaiting Sri Chinmoy's arrival. It was not unusual to see two or three on an average night; here, I saw at least eight or nine! I continued toward the function room, again noticing the hustle and bustle of people. Many visitors have now arrived, but the real events will not start until later on. The front section of seats was already filled to capacity. Folding white chairs had been set up behind them. I took one of those and awaited the arrival of my meditation teacher. Sri Chinmoy arrived just a few minutes later; he drove a vehicle down the hall, and then entered on foot. He walked onto the stage and sat down; he would remain there throughout the function. (9:15pm)
As it was slightly warm inside, Sri Chinmoy removed his blue jacket, revealing a green-collared shirt. He then asked for his students to "please walk past me," the women's section going first, and then the men. The walk-past meditation was very beautiful. As I walked past Sri Chinmoy, the smile and the light in his eyes penetrated me. I felt something react deep within myself to his presence. The connection between a teacher and his student can never truly be described.
Sri Chinmoy then asked his students with over 25 years in the centre to recite a "poem, aphorism or anything else" to the audience. There were some very nice offerings from people that we've all come to know and love. Once those offerings were complete, he then asked those who had been on his path for 20 years to make offerings. (9:40pm)
A visiting student, Harkara from Germany 4, gave a new keyboard to Sri Chinmoy. I believe that he crafted it specially for Guru, who put it on his lap and started playing with the keys. The sound was very delicate but strong as well. Before long, an impromptu concert was underway! Sri Chinmoy began by singing Akarane Prabhu while playing the keyboard; immediately, we all sat up and directed our attention to the mystical, spiritual sound and feeling that was pervading the room. He continued by performing Jiban Debata, Phire Chalo and other classic songs. After about ten minutes, he commented on the keyboard. He said it matches his voice and he demonstrated this by singing loudly and powerfully with it, then softly and sweetly. He also mentioned how Prachar blessed him with a flute which not only sounded good but was easy to use. He seemed genuinely happy about his new instruments!
Paree's group was requested to come up and sit on the stage facing Sri Chinmoy. He then asked each one to pick a spiritual quality; he would then spontaneously compose a poem or aphorism about it. Some of the qualities offered were: selfless service ("the fastest way to make spiritual progress"), sacrifice, self-giving, transformation, and more.
Sri Chinmoy asked one of the women in the audience if she had brought a video of a play; when she answered yes, he asked her to kindly bring it. When she returned, Mridanga set up a projector and screen. The lights were turned off. We watched a story by Sri Chinmoy about a seeker who was choosing between worshipping Krishna and Kali. The performers were all women. The message of the story was that Krishna and Kali are one and the same. While the video was playing, Sri Chinmoy's chair was off to the right side of the stage, facing the screen. As he watched, he tried to figure out which person was acting. The play was very well-done, with the actresses who played Kali and Krishna using all of the appropriate makeup and costumes. It was about twenty minutes long.
Sri Chinmoy then said he would show us "his stupidity." On the screen came an historic video, one that I had heard about for many years but had not seen. It is called "My Subway Experiences," and features a young Saral (who many of you know as a longtime local student) in the role of Sri Chinmoy. The video re-enacts a few subway stories from his early days in New York. In every story, Saral was wearing a suit and calmly walked here and there, with his hands behind his back, just as Sri Chinmoy would. The actors did not speak, but throughout the piece we heard Sri Chinmoy's voice, narrating the circumstances. Sri Chinmoy's music also played in the background. Here are the stories:
The first one described an incident when Sri Chinmoy put his subway token in the wrong turnstile; someone else went thru, laughing with malicious joy (played by an unruly-looking young Ketan, which evoked laughter in the audience). The next story was similar, in that Sri Chinmoy again put his token in the wrong turnstile. However, in this case a kind man put his token in Sri Chinmoy's turnstile to help him get through.
An elderly man was at a train station and was quite lost, so Sri Chinmoy helped him onto the train. The man was so grateful; he told strangers that Sri Chinmoy was his "Indian son."
Sri Chinmoy tried to enter through the turnstile, but his coin got stuck. When he told the subway attendant, the man said that "Indians don't know how to tell lies," and let him through. Sri Chinmoy's voice narration spoke of how this man had seen the India of the past, and was not aware of the modern India.
In the next story, as Sri Chinmoy was walking down the subway steps, he saw a man getting robbed at gunpoint. After the incident was over, the station manager asked everyone to wait for the police, but an elderly man grabbed Sri Chinmoy and took him away, to the train, telling him not to get involved. While Sri Chinmoy did not entirely agree with his philosophy, he was moved by the man's concern for him.
A train carrying Sri Chinmoy and other passengers was going out of control--it was unable to stop. Youths were screaming with joy, but all the other passengers were very frightened. During this moment, Sri Chinmoy met a Bengali woman who was born just a few miles from where he lived as a youth. He comforted her, but was also amazed that they were both so many thousands of miles away from home, in a train that was speeding towards disaster. Finally the train stopped.
A man decided to commit suicide in front of a train that Sri Chinmoy happened to be in. When the train conductor saw the man on the tracks, he hit the brakes, causing all the passengers to fly to the front of the car. There were many injuries; Sri Chinmoy injured his thumb.
As the video closed, it drew loud applause from the audience.
The last video presentation was of the one-mile race that occurred last week. Set on the usual course, the video featured the race setup, close-ups of the runners, and slow-motion of the male and female winners. This drew appreciation for Sanjay and the female winner (could someone please post her name?), and laughter at the dramatic, slowed video effect. Also shown: Sri Chinmoy reading a morning race prayer from his car. The poem was about the outer weather creating a challenge for us--appropriate, because it was cold and windy that day. Finally, there was an announcement for a three mile race (this Friday!) and the Self-Transcendence Marathon in August.
Sri Chinmoy concluded by discussing plans for future events.
Prasad was offered at 11:07pm; it included a muffin, a banana, and salted peanuts.
Tuesday, 6 April, 2004
Evening meditation function - second account
by Tejvan Pettinger
Sri Chinmoy arrived at the function about 8.50pm. After a short meditation, he called up those who had studied with him for over fifteen years to recite a prayer.
After this, Sri Chinmoy invited members of Paree's singing group to come onstage and each give a spiritual word for Guru to talk about. It was fascinating to see him be able to compose so much, almost instantaneously.
I tried to write what Guru said, but it was sometimes difficult to get everything. Please bear in mind that these are unofficial versions, with some words lost in dictation:
The earth-bound mind does not know what self-giving is.
The heaven-free heart does know what self-giving is,
And the self-giving heart practises all the time.
In the physical world nothing is permanent.
In the spiritual world everything is permanent.
Every good thing is permanent, eternal and immortal.
Serenity in the mind is absolutely essential to make the fastest progress in the spiritual life.
Quite often the desiring mind is terribly afraid of the all-illumining light.
My Lord, I pray to you
to bless my mind with an everlasting peace,
and my heart with an everlasting bliss.
Sincerity, readiness, willingness, eagerness and intensity are the most important servers of the Absolute Supreme - and again among these... intensity expedites the speed of all the members of this family.
If anything is extremely difficult to achieve in our spiritual life then it is humility.
The beauty of humility, The fragrance of humility, Plus the power of humility, Will forever remain ....
The pleasing power of humility is something absolutely rare.
God's smile eagerly awaits our heart's streaming tears.
The heart has to make progress, continuous progress.
God has given us the heart to make sleepless progress,
Because God has tremendous confidence in the heart.
Nothing will be as difficult as our nature's transformation;
But nature's transformation is not an impossible task.
After offering these aphorisms, Sri Chinmoy asked for three videos to be shown. The first one was a play about the oneness of Kali and Krishna. The second one was a highly entertaining account of Guru's subway experiences. These included:
- The runaway train (which didn't stop at any station)
- A story about when Guru witnessed a mugging (Rupantar looked quite convincing as a mugger.)
- A story about Guru putting a token in the machine and then walking through the wrong turnstile (One person profited from Guru's misfortune, while another helped him out.)
The third video was about the one-mile race earlier in the morning. On Monday night, Sri Chinmoy announced there would be a race--but only for the brave! (it was very cold). Jokingly, Guru said he was not brave enough. We would have to be brave on his behalf. However, Guru was there in the morning to give prasad from his car. A race prayer was also given, but I don't have it--perhaps somebody else does? The race was won by Sanjay.
Next at the function, one of Sri Chinmoy's students presented him with a new pale blue instrument--a keyboard instrument, like a synthesizer, bringing a new tote-a-tune to replace the one that stopped working properly at the March 24 function. Guru was very happy with the instrument and very grateful. He said it blended in with his voice very well. We were also fortunate enough to hear Guru sing several songs with the new instrument, such as Jiban Debata. As usual, this was a beautiful experience.
Finally, Guru celebrated a few birthdays. This is always a highlight for me. When Sri Chinmoy goes into a high meditation to bless someone for their birthday, his face radiates such beauty and poise. Finally Guru called for prasad about 11pm.
Wednesday, 7th April, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
The function hall was quite full, with many new arrivals 5, plus the local New Yorkers. At around 9pm Sri Chinmoy arrived and took his scooter down the hallway to the stage 6.
Guru then asked for excellent singers to come onstage and sing Happy Birthday to a very good friend of his. We then saw a video about the life and music of Guru's friend. This was very enjoyable and uplifting.
Next there was another video, taken by a student of Sri Chinmoy who had recently travelled to India. There were many fascinating locations, including many associated with Ramakrishna. These included:
- Rani Rasmani's Kali temple (where Sri Ramakrishna's sadhana took place)
- Belur Math
- Ramakrishna's birthplace
- A shrine to Vivekananda
It was very nice to be able to put pictures to these great images from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Also there were some shots taken of Pondicherry where Guru's brother Mantu still lives. Mantu's room was full of pictures of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Guru. It was also great to see Mantu, who appeared to have great inner poise.
Finally, a local student played on his guitar, and then Sri Chinmoy called for prasad--which included a special item in honour of Guru's friend. On his way out, Sri Chinmoy was enquiring about a student who had to have an operation the next day. For a short while, Guru meditated very powerfully on this student, before leaving.
Thursday, 8th April, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
Yesterday afternoon we celebrated the birthday of Sri Chinmoy's Mother, Yogamaya. This celebration took place at Aspiration-Ground. At the start the weather was almost perfect, with mild temperatures and sunny conditions. The tennis court was beautifully decorated with a vast array of flowers, pictures and statues. The pictures included Kali, Krishna, Ganesh, Shiva and all the members of Sri Chinmoy's family.
Also there were three large incense burners which created a subtle fragrance and helped add to the spiritual atmosphere. To those who had done the decorating, Sri Chinmoy later said: "You really create heaven on earth." And then, perhaps with a mind to the weather, he said: "Now let us pray to the heavens."
The function began with Ranjana ringing a bell in front of the different statues and pictures, invoking the blessings of the various Cosmic Deities. Honouring the anniversary of Guru's 40 years of service in the West, the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan singers performed 40 different bhajans. These included songs of Yogamaya and also Gurudev songs (such as Amar Guru), composed in 2001.
The performance was very sublime and beautiful; it was surprising how quickly time passed. The singers must have practiced very hard to be able to play so professionally, for such a long time. During the performance, Sri Chinmoy was meditating in a chair, on the middle of the court; sometimes he was meditating with eyes open and sometimes with eyes closed.
After about 2 hours there was a break for prasad (mango lassi and samosa). Amidst growing clouds and a darkening sky, Guru asked for people to sing a song, invoking the Sun. For a brief while, the sun did put in a welcome appearance, although later there was little light rain.
After the second half of the performance, a delicious Indian meal was served and Sri Chinmoy sang a few of his own songs, accompanied on his harmonium.
There was a second offering of prasad, and the function ended at about 4.30pm.
Thursday, 8th April, 2004
by Agragati Siegel and Arpan de Angelo
The function began around 9PM with a very nice seven-minute play by Aruna. It was humorous in that one of the performers forgot her lines ("When I was back in England--no I meant India").
The next performance was a soul-stirring rendition of songs written and composed by Sri Chinmoy from Paree's singing group. Arpan's group then came onstage and performed seven songs (songs #31-37 from the Christmas Trip).
Sumadhur's group (which is composed entirely of Canadians, including our beloved Trishakash) sang twelve of the twenty selected songs Sri Chinmoy has named "Twenty very special song flowers in my heart- garden." Kamalakanta then came up and offered a wonderful solo singing and electronic keyboard playing performance. Sri Chinmoy enjoyed it very much, as was evidenced by his encouraging comments.
Two Yugoslavian women performed next, using a cello and harmonium, with a singer who had a beautiful voice. Mridanga set up the video equipment, the lights were dimmed, and we were treated to two wonderful documentaries about large and popular events organised by students of Sri Chinmoy.
The first video was a detailed look into the "Impossibility- Challenger" games in Germany. This is a venue where extreme athletes and inspired individuals can prove their strength, will and determination by setting new records in categories which exist in the Guinness Book of Records--or which they invent themselves. This is an open event which was entered by a cross-section of people from around the world.
The award for most disgusting performance would surely go to the Indian man who drank ketchup out of bottles using a straw! Also taking place were various memorization exercises (the computer would flash a set of numbers on the screen for a second, and the participant had to write them down; the record was set at over 40 numbers memorized in a second!). The guest star in the video was Ashrita Furman, the holder of the most Guinness World Records (you can find out more on ashrita.com) He watched as a young man did lunges in record time. Ashrita's comment was something to the effect of, "I felt total oneness with him--but I might try to break his record!"
The video also featured a strongman who had someone drive a car over his arm, pulled a car with his ears, and had rocks smashed on his stomach while he lay over a bed of glass. (This was not one of Sri Chinmoy's students.)
On a more spiritual note: Gabor from Hungary read for 27 hours from Sri Chinmoy's massive poetic outpouring "27,000 Aspiration-Plants." Gabor did this while visiting San Diego (I'll never forget driving him to the zoo at 2AM so he wouldn't fall asleep while reciting).
The Impossibility-Challenger games are held in order to share Sri Chinmoy's ideals of going beyond self-made barriers. The presenter of the video invited more of Sri Chinmoy's students to participate in future editions of the games, reminding us that part of Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is self-transcendence. "You can definitely find a record to break," she said.
The second video was a thirty-minute presentation on the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon Festival, held in Canberra. It featured highlights from this year's festival (which hosted over 2,000 participants), including interviews with Salil, Natabara and Ayurvan, clips of the runners, bikers and swimmers, set-up for the event, and more. It was very inspiring and also demonstrated how teamwork and dedication through the vehicle of service are able to accomplish amazing feats. Of particular note was the children's mini-triathlon, which inspired all of us.
Sri Chinmoy then said, "Please bring prasad" around 10:45pm. It was an orange, an Indian bread and a sweet, all together in one bag. After prasad was taken, Sri Chinmoy left the hall. Rupantar came onstage and made an announcement. The large audience then slowly migrated out of the hall.
Friday, April 9th, 2004
Morning 3-mile race
From: Arpan DeAngelo
This morning we ran a 3 mile race which started at 6:30 a.m. in Jamaica, New York City. The weather was quite chilly and damp to start; then the sun came out in all its glory to start warming things up a bit. Still, the cold was persistent enough so that we had to keep our long running gear on after the race.
Something else that warmed things up a bit was the presence of Sri Chinmoy, who arrived at 7:05 a.m. this time. He offered a wonderful race prayer and we recited it back three times. With a few hundred runners reciting this significant prayer, it was an energizing way to start the day after a brisk run around the neighborhood.
I do not have the results, as I had to leave immediately after prasad which was a cherry tomato handed personally to each person by Sri Chinmoy and a Vienna finger cookie. I do have the prayer, which I wrote down.
And God-surrendered seeker
Is absolutely the best
And the most perfect
- Sri Chinmoy 7
Friday, April 9th, 2004
Afternoon and Evening functions
by Nayak Polissar
During the day, at Aspiration-Ground tennis court, Sri Chinmoy celebrated the birthday of one of his students from Russia who is a member of the young women's singing group. She had written a card to Guru which referred to him as "My Heart's King", and Guru read out this phrase. It was a beautiful phrase and very striking to hear. The young women of this group were assembled in front of the small building where Guru sat, and while the audience of several hundred of us looked on, he honored this woman and her colleagues by composing a song based on this phrase. Each of the assembled groups sang this new, very new song, and they all sang it together as well.
From Sri Chinmoy we have learned the fine art of Oneness. Whenever Guru does something wonderful for anyone, we pretty quickly feel the joy of the occasion and identify with that person's lift. So, this very special birthday blessing for the young lady was echoed in all of our hearts.
At the evening function, each of the sub-groups of the young women's singing group performed this song, and their spirit of devotion deeply conveyed the song's meaning. The sub-groups are from Germany, UK, Czech Republic and USA, though each group has a fairly diverse mix of nationalities. As part of the fun that followed, Sri Chinmoy asked us (the audience) to vote for our favorite among the group performances, which we did by passing single file across the stage while Sahishnu counted. Each singing group, in turn, stood at the back of the stage while their voters passed in front of them.
Of course, this voting is great fun and everyone is keen to vote. It means a chance to pass right in front of Sri Chinmoy, allowing us to receive even more of the peace, light and joy which he is constantly radiating. Plus, we all wanted to see how the game would turn out.
Guru followed the counting closely, and ahead of time announced that he wanted people to vote with their conscience (and not, for example, just vote automatically for friends or countrymen). As he gazed upon us passing by, he also requested that everyone vote and not hold back without taking any side. There was amusement too, as when Projjwal was quickly the first to pass by in voting for the group that included his beloved daughter, Aruna.
As the voting drew to a close, the audience was all a-buzz, chatting about this and that interesting feature of the proceedings, and then Sahishnu announced the winner, which was Paree's group, followed closely by Agnikana's group. There was tremendous applause. What was gratifying was that each of the groups received a substantial number of votes, reflecting the fact that all had sung beautifully. In their variations on style, there was something for everyone.
Audio: The performance by Paree's group that got the most votes in the competition. 8
At another time in the evening, there was a fine slide show of photos taken by Projjwal during the Christmas trip, with a wide range of topics (from people on the street to Sri Chinmoy in his highest consciousness). These photos brought back the feelings of the trip. Excellent music composed by Alap especially for this presentation added a mysterious and inspiring depth to it. Plus, the ten minutes or so that preceded the slide show were filled with worried attendance to technical difficulties, and it was actually fun to just sit in the dark with Guru as he made little comments from time to time, and then called for Sandesh or Bhuvah or this person or that to come and rescue us from the technical dilemma (which was finally solved by I don't know who).
A play produced by Databir and his troupe brought together historical figures of tremendous importance in Guru's writings, commentaries and reminiscences, such as Laksmana (Rama's brother), Arjuna (Krishna's disciple), and Gorakshanath (a great spiritual master of the hoary past). I was especially stirred by Nripal's portrayal of a beloved figure from American history, one who was preeminently responsible for much of the freedom that America enjoys today. Nripal brought great diginity and depth to this American hero whom I love.
At the end of the function, many people stood outside the hall to see Sri Chinmoy as he left, and he waved to everyone. We wanted to enjoy just a few more seconds with this great soul, who for us represents the most sublime spiritual achievement. His loving presence is more precious than gold to us.
I must say that I enjoy these departures even more, perhaps, than the functions, because I love to see how honestly popular Sri Chinmoy is with his spiritual family. As Guru takes his leave, with his smile going in every direction, he offers many glances of appreciation to those standing by. Even these brief glances seem to communicate so much, and to be meant specially for each person.
These departures are moments of stillness for us. Then as Sri Chinmoy recedes into the distance, the stillness dissolves into people rendezvousing with friends, and a great lot of friendly chatting springs up. As I walked home (two blocks away), there was a stream of happy people around me, and I chatted with a new Czech acquaintance. As the stream broke into smaller rivulets heading to individual dwelling places, I had a distinct feeling of the meaning of all this as taking the light home to our privacy and our hearts.
Saturday, 10 April, 2004
by Prachar Stegemann
Note: there was a 2 mile race that morning, at which Sri Chinmoy had arrived and given the following prayer:
Each time an unconditionally
Meets with God,
God tells him,
“My child, you are the beauty
Of My Soul’s
And you are the duty
Of My Heart’s
- Sri Chinmoy This prayer was published in the book My Race-Prayers, (volume 2) Agni Press, 2006.
Around 10 past 8 this morning, many were flocked around the food tables, enjoying a post-2-mile race breakfast of muesli, a scrambled tofu concoction and fruits.
I was walking with 2 friends along the street when a young lady ran past: "Guru has come to the race!"
This news had spread fast, as from literally every direction, tracksuit-clad forms were reconverging, some walking briskly, some running excitedly, back to the race course. In reality, they were converging from a radius of not just a few blocks, they were coming and they have been coming on planes, trains, boats and prayers from every corner of the globe. (Yes, the globe does have corners - and you and I are each one).
My mind played a little game, asking the rhetorical question: "For what are so many grown men and women so eagerly hurrying and scurrying, as little children to a candy give-away? To catch a glimpse of our Guru? We saw him last night for many hours, and we shall be seeing him again for most of the day, so why the flurry? Why the haste?" The question was noted and filed, as I quickened the pace.
When I and my friends arrived, the morning prayer had already been given and recited, and a walk-past meditation was under way.
The women were filing past our Master first, giving me and my friends time to absorb the scene and prepare ourselves inwardly for the moment...
Even as we joined the slowly moving line approaching our Master, details from the physical-mental-temporal surroundings were evident - trees across the street swaying a very muted and gentle dance, I must do my laundry today, a middle toe reminds me these shoes are a half-size too small, birds' cheerful chirping, remember to inform so-and-so 9 o'clock singing practise is cancelled, a twig cracking underfoot...
then all is gone...
... in a smile.
There are no words for it - you can try 'beatific,' 'heavenly,' 'sublime,' 'exuding compassion,' all are good and correct, but none do justice to the interactive reality of this smile.
This is more than a smile representing an exalted state of consciousness - this smile communicates to every level of your being. It thrills the soul, magnifies the heart, silences the mind, surcharges the vital and even lightens the physical body. It transforms you.
First you look at the smile, then it draws you into itself and you find yourself inside it. For this smile is not just an outer smile on a face, it is an inner, all-pervading reality, a state of grace, blessedness and perfect oneness. In a few short minutes, hundreds of people have dived into and are swimming in that smile. It is everywhere, you don't have to see it now, you feel it as you float in its lap.
So that is why the people were hurrying, that is why many, many more would hurry, desperately and breathlessly hurry if they knew...
This smile strikes you dumb, takes your breath away, obliterates your worries, and elevates you instantly into bliss. Nothing else in this world can do that in one instant.
Only later do you wonder - how? For this smile sees no imperfection, no sorrow, no limitation, this smile sees only absolute perfection, absolute bliss, this smile sees and feels only God. This smile can only exist in the presence of God, a God who conquers all through His own Smile.
Yet how can that be? For this smile was at me, right into me.
More than that - this smile is within me.
It is mine.
It is I.
That is why I and we each hurriedly ran, to merge into this smile, to sip of this ecstasy, to rediscover the immutable reality that...
I am God.
My Guru's Smile is the proof.
Saturday, 10th April, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
On Saturday morning, Sri Chinmoy was lifting cars outside Aspiration Ground. In total he managed to lift 22 cars, including some heavy four-by-fours. I think that Natabara's car was the heaviest. This was all great fun for those who were present.
Later in the day, Sri Chinmoy lifted many of his students on a fairly new machine. The machine was a bit shorter than usual, enabling a faster turnover of people. I lost count of how many people were lifted, but it was a lot. As always, the outer act of lifting the person is symbolic of the inner act of lifting their consciousness. Also, Sri Chinmoy lifted 1,200 lbs in a seated calf raise twice. Finally he lifted a heavy weight 100 times in quick succession, with Rupantar counting as he did it.
In the evening, Guru said he was very happy with the lifts he had done during the day. He spoke quite modestly about his achievements, but was getting alot of joy and inspiration from his lifting. He was very keen to share this joy with his spiritual children. To honour his achievements, he gave out his favourite prasad item: a chocolate Baci which he threw to us as we passed by him. Jokingly, Sri Chinmoy said that if anybody dropped the prasad they would have to pay a fine. He continued: "If only people took me seriously, I would be a multi-millionaire." Quite a few people dropped the Baci, but of course nobody paid any fine!
Several singing groups performed during the function, including Prachar's group and Tanima's group. They each offered renditions of the song "My Heart's King,". As before, Sri Chinmoy asked the audience to vote for which performance they liked best. The women's group won by quite a bit. Prachar was applauded when even he gallantly voted for Tanima's group.
Tuesday, 13th April, 2004
Anniversary of Sri Chinmoy's arrival in the West - first account
by Nayak Polissar
The evening function was terrific, with every seat in the house filled. The peak for me was a walk-by with Sri Chinmoy meditating on each of us individually as we passed by, country by country. That sequence in itself was fascinating, as we tried to guess which country was now passing by. Some countries had many students, while others were represented by two or even one.
Now consider the enduring concentration of Sri Chinmoy during this period: for a full half-hour to forty minutes he was concentrating on each person as they passed, giving them his undivided attention and blessing. I know that when I passed by with the group from the USA, I felt very happy with the intense concentration of that expanded moment.
Another peak was listening to the beautiful letters that had been sent to Sri Chinmoy from various dignitaries and good friends around the world, including heads of state and other very accomplished people in a variety of fields. Guru would invite particular students up to read each of the letters, and his selection seemed so perfect--in some cases recognizing the connection that a particular student had with the state or country, and, in other cases, seeming to create that connection.
During the daytime, the function began early at the tennis court with reasonable weather, and then turned into a real downpour at the end. The rain gave us joy, yes it did, and Guru himself said that Grace was descending from above.
During the day function he lifted several people--very accomplished people--and there was for each a special song that highlighted their service to the world, plus the thunderously rousing theme song, "Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart."
There were two major waves of prasad (food that Sri Chinmoy has blessed) plus a special cake--actually 40 separate cakes, one for each year of service to humanity and marking the 40th anniversary of our spiritual mission.
Tuesday, 13th April, 2004
Anniversary of Sri Chinmoy's arrival in the West - second account
by Tejvan Pettinger
After the heavy rain during the afternoon, it was nice to have the evening function in a comfortable, indoor arena. The function hall was beautifully decorated to reflect Sri Chinmoy's 40 years in the West. Above the stage there were 40 large photos of Sri Chinmoy. These included one from each year he has spent in the West.
These photos also reflected the vast array of Sri Chinmoy's different activities and interests, such as music, athletics and painting. Some photos had been taken whilst Sri Chinmoy was in a high meditation. Others showed him in a more relaxed state, usually with a delightful and intoxicating smile. On the stage itself, there were many beautiful arrangements of flowers and large maps of the five different continents. Surrounding these maps were more photos of Sri Chinmoy. These pictures showed Sri Chinmoy meeting various people or visiting important landmarks in those continents.
* * *
Sri Chinmoy arrived in a white dhoti, at about 6.30pm (not long after the epic afternoon function had just ended). After a powerful meditation, Sri Chinmoy soulfully said (this is from my memory):
"Today my name is not Sri Chinmoy. My name is Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, Gratitude to my beloved Supreme inside each of you."
After that, we joined Sri Chinmoy in chanting "Supreme I bow to you" about 40 times. Sri Chinmoy has achieved so much in the past 40 years, it was quite humbling that he wanted to offer his gratitude to everyone who has helped and supported him.
Next Sri Chinmoy asked for his students to walk by in order of their respective countries. (See Nayak's account.) After a break there were a few selected singing groups. When the Indian group came up onstage, Sri Chinmoy said he would be so happy if West Bengal and East Bengal could go up as one country. Sri Chinmoy said that at heart, both regions were like brothers, who loved each other.
Later in the function, we heard readings of many letters sent by dignitaries to congratulate Sri Chinmoy on his 40 years in the West. These letters offered gratitude to Sri Chinmoy for all his activities which have helped to promote goodwill, tolerance and greater harmony amongst peoples.
The function finished at about 11pm and we took prasad on the way out.
Wednesday, 14th April, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
Wednesday was another very busy day for Sri Chinmoy. In the early evening he met with a former Olympic Champion at a nearby airport. The athlete and his wife were very happy to meet Sri Chinmoy, and said some very kind words. The Champion weighed over 200lbs and still looked in great shape for his age (73). After receiving the "Lifting Up the World with A Oneness-Heart" award, he joked to Sri Chinmoy that "When I weigh 500lbs we must do this again!"
After this short lifting function, Guru came straight to the other evening function. These are some of the highlights that I remember:
Students from the New Zealand Centre presented Sri Chinmoy with many awards which they had received on his behalf from various dignitaries and athletic associations. They also showed a delightful video in which people wished Sri Chinmoy a happy 40th anniversary of service to the West. Guru was very grateful to his New Zealand students. He said they have so much readiness, willingness and eagerness to manifest the Supreme's light in New Zealand.
Then in honour of his 40th anniversary, Sri Chinmoy gave by a hand a beautiful book to those present in the function hall. The book was quite simple, yet soulful. Sri Chinmoy wished to honour the various places he has been associated with during his life's journey. The book was entitled "I bow" and included these tributes on separate pages:
I bow to the soul of Shakpura (Sri Chinmoy's birthplace)
I bow to the soul of Chittagong
I bow to the soul of East Bengal (Bangladesh)
I bow to the soul of Pondicherry (location of the Ashram where Sri Chinmoy stayed from 1944-1964)
I bow to the soul of India
I bow to the Soul of New York
I bow to the Soul of America
I bow to the Soul of Canada
I bow to the Soul of Puerto Rico (location of the first Sri Chinmoy Centre)
I bow to the Soul of Jamaica, West Indies (another early Sri Chinmoy Centre)
I bow to the Soul of Europe
I bow to the Soul of the World
Also, there were many soul-bird drawings and photos associated with these different places. The first photo was taken when Sri Chinmoy was only five years old. He said in those days he was very reluctant to have his photo taken, and had to be persuaded by his brothers and sisters!
On the 12th of April, the French prepared a special prasad for everybody; so Guru asked the British to do the same for everyone tonight. Hopefully people appreciated their English cream tea; of a scone, jam, cream and Earl Grey Tea.
Sri Chinmoy later said he liked a little competition between countries, so he asked the Czechs to prepare prasad for tomorrow. He also said that he didn't like to give too much time for preparation. If we have too much time, we spend too much time thinking. The best things are always done spontaneously.
Friday, 16th April, 2004
by Tejvan Pettinger
Here are some highlights of recent functions:
On Thursday evening, there was a slide show by Ranjit and Unmesh. These slides were taken on their recent visit to India. The first few slides were of the area close to Rishikesh. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty where the Ganges has just descended from the Himalayas. At this point the Ganges was flowing very fast and was surrounded by beautiful mountains.
In this idyllic location there were many Ashrams, scattered along the banks of the Ganges. It occurred to me that, this appeared to be a completely different world to here in New York. However it is worth remembering what Sri Chinmoy has often said: Even if we find a secluded cave in the Himalayas, the mind can still be as restless as a monkey.
Other photos included Ashrams associated with saints such as Sri Anandamayi Ma, Sri Ramakrishna and Troilanga Swami
Last Friday evening there was very enjoyable play, produced by Dipika and her group Immortality Flame-Waves Productions. The play was based on stories about Ahalya, daughter of Brahma. In the first part, Brahma persuaded the sage Gautama to look after Ahalya, as his wife. Initially, she was a very devoted wife and excellent student. However, Indra, king of the Cosmic Gods was jealous of her beauty. Therefore, he successfully tried to tempt her. When Gautama discovered Ahulya was being unfaithful, he cursed Indra and his wife. Not until Sri Ramachandra walked over Ahalya many years later was she freed from the curse. Sri Chinmoy's telling of this traditional story can be viewed at Sri Chinmoy Library.
There was also a slide show of the Aspiration-Ground guards attempting their various 40 challenges in honour of Sri Chinmoy's 40th anniversary of service to the West.
Prasad was taken at about 11.30pm. This evening, special Prasad was brought by the Austrians. This was a typical Austrian dish of apple strudel. Also, whilst we took Prasad, two Austrian students played a famous classical piece to accompany us.
Sri Chinmoy said "I like this way of having prasad. Tomorrow we shall have another country prepare something special." After a long pause (in which people were trying to guess a country), he chose Australia. So I am looking forward to a typical Australian dish tonight.
Monday, 19th April, 2004
Official last day of April Celebrations
by Nayak Polissar
At an evening function, Sri Chinmoy set one of his immortal poems to music. (It was actually the second half of the poem, "The Goal is Won.") He also changed one word of this poem - 'beside' to 'behind', and that portion of the poem will now read:
Your days of excellence-joys
Are ahead of you
And Not behind you.
Why, then, do you not Immediately run and declare:
THE GOAL IS WON. 9
This poem was written in 1974 during a 24-hour session of writing in which Sri Chinmoy composed 360 poems, each a jewel. You can visit the entire book The Goal Is Won at Sri Chinmoy Library
* * *
Today the musical performance the New Zealand and Australian centres was marvelous. It started with some intriguing mixtures of sounds and then grew into a very powerful and soulful tribute to Sri Chinmoy. For those who were not there, it took place at an afternoon function at Aspiration-Ground tennis court, on this, the next to last day of our Celebration of 40 years of our path and our Master. The weather had turned from its changeable self to pleasantly warm, and the change had been so surprising that there was a confused mixture of people in shorts and people still bundled up in coats and sweaters.
Act after act entered onto the tennis grounds, and while all were good, Prachar's group (the NZ and Australian group referred to above) stands out in my memory. The women were dressed in various shades of bright solid-color saris, and the men were wearing--well, you guessed it--whites, pure white.
The Australians, by the way, had distinguished themselves the previous evening with a truly delicious confection--a mixture of pudding, pastry, chocolates and candies and I don't know what else. I just know that I ate it with real concentration--it was that good. Fresh from that success, the musical performance took place amidst welcome sunshine. It lasted a few minutes, and I do remember paying attention spontaneously, both with anticipation of the next turn that the piece might take, as well as tearful emotion engendered by the soulful and powerful creation.
* * *
Today at the tennis court, Sri Chinmoy celebrated Panchajanya's birthday with music. "Panchajanya" is Krishna's conch, and the song that includes a reference to this famous conch is called "He Partha Sarathi." The song is an invocation of Krishna, calling on him to blow his conch, Panchajanya, at the outset of the great battle of Kurukshetra to "drive away this depression of the heart." The song calls on the great conch to inspire the warriors and "make them fearless who are struck with fear." The song has many stirring phrases, including a tribute to the immortality of the soul, which shall not die in this battle.
As part of the birthday observance, Sri Chinmoy called down singers to stand before him and sing this immortal song. I jumped at the opportunity to join in this rousing music. When I first joined the path, this was one of the first songs that I learned. This song gives you courage, it gives you a window into the immortality of the soul, it vibrates with the consciousness of brave spirituality.
We stood before our Master with Panchajanya of the birthday in our midst and let it rip, the song, with the greatest gusto and enthusiasm, and with perhaps two hundred voices adding to all that. It was terrific. Sri Chinmoy soulfully thanked us for our service in bringing this song to life so vividly (my words, not his).
I am grateful to Panchajanya for so treasuring this song that he printed a beautiful two-sided color handout with the musical notation, translation, and Sri Chinmoy's passage about the high role of the conch. The first few sentences of this passage by our Guru: "Of all the musical instruments, the conch is the most sacred and spiritual. Cosmic Gods and Goddesses hold the conch. Sri Krishna, Arjuna, and all heroes of the highest order used the conch. It is the symbol of victory."
Panchajanya heads "Gandharva-Loka", a chain of music stores selling world instruments. He is all enthusiasm for his name and its meaning, and he lives up to it.
* * *
The End of the Celebration
Nothing could be farther from the truth than the title of this posting, but it is also 100% correct. The "April Celebrations" officially end today, departure day, but there will still be several more days of functions and celebration-related activities. All day today I have been seeing people getting into taxis and other people walking along the street wheeling a suitcase and carrying a backpack, and I have seen people saying goodbyes. At the lunch venue, there are no crowds, and in the seating at the tennis court and in the evening function, it is very easy to find a place to sit. A few days ago there were people everywhere, and anything you wanted usually involved a queue. Yet that was great fun, and the numbers were good, because they told you that a lot of people love God and value the help of a spiritual Master in discovering that Self. We had tremendous fun over the two weeks or so, and there were so many soulful moments where your heart was in your throat, and tears in your eyes cured all the dryness of life. It was terrific.
The time comes to go back home and feel that sweetness in your heart, thousands of miles from your brothers and sisters and from Sri Chinmoy. When we leave Guru, it is sometimes so awfully wrenching to leave that presence and to go into the mundane and ruthless consciousness of, for example, JFK airport. Guru always carries us in his heart, and we are the only ones experiencing the departure--for he never leaves us. Everyone eventually has to go back home, even if it is the local students leaving Sri Chinmoy's presence for the evening, or the students from continents away who may not even see their Guru for another year or two.
So, the Celebration ends, but it also does not end, for the Celebration is the natural joy and delight of the Supreme, and it is our descent to the non-Celebration that is unnatural. I believe that God-Realization is pretty much a big and wholesome party, with ever-expanding joy, and it has been a privilege to be here in New York to taste just a bit of that.
Today, like every day, we have been able to be with Guru for hours and hours, and his presence is like a tank that is constantly filling with nectar-wine.
The Celebration ends in one way, but continues in another. Plus, there will still be a few precious days of daily functions. I hope that our various writers will bring mention of them to the Inspiration site.
An exercise in oneness
by Pataka Spacek
We got the opportunity to have our all-Czech-and-Slovak performance at the Aspiration-Ground. I am sure, for everyone and every country, it is always one of the highlights of their visit, those five or ten minutes standing with their friends in front of Sri Chinmoy and singing a song, reciting a poem or performing a sketch...
It's even a bit funny - I feel that there are many far more important things I could do for Sri Chinmoy; yet this is so simple and direct a way of expressing the love and gratitude to Guru and joy and determination and faith one has in one's heart, that I never want to miss this moment. It always stays in me longest of all the memories of the visit.
But I wanted to mention this for another reason. It was only this time that I so much saw it as a most important lesson in oneness. I mean, oneness is of course one of the qualities Sri Chinmoy emphasizes while we are performing. But there is also a great deal of oneness and team-work needed while creating and rehearsing the performance - and oneness is much more difficult to keep while rehearsing than during those few minutes in the all-uniting silence-love around Sri Chinmoy.
We are lucky to be usually around 120 from the Czech Republic and Slovakia at the Celebrations. It is our good luck, as well as a challenge. For our April performance, we chose that significant poem Sri Chinmoy composed about his life a couple of years ago: "There was an orphan boy...", and our conductor started to have his visions about how to make it good. You may know he often has BIG visions, God bless him for that :-). The "trouble" is, they are rarely old-fashioned and easy-to-accept. So soon, many questions arose, doubting if certain arrangements are not too revolutionary and harmful to the original poem or song...
Now, none of us in Czechoslovakia is a blossomed seer yet, we have about the same experience with spirituality, and no one really knows the Truth (in spite of some of us having very seer-like balding heads). Yet, if you have some 70 people at a rehearsal, it's literally a whole national parliament - you may easily get seventy and one "correct" opinions on such a matter. What a common experience! :-)
Luckily, there was no war in the end. Things settled, some arrangements we did, others we dropped. And Sri Chinmoy seemed to be happy with the outcome... Perhaps it was also because we used, consciously or unconsciously, a few useful tricks to deal with the differences in opinion. (Unfortunately, it is not that we would always be very good in using them.)
There is usually more than one way to get someplace, and reaching the goal is what matters. In a performance, oneness-feeling is quite a noble goal to reach, I'd say; specially in a group of 120 people. I don't know, perhaps it is even one of the main reasons why Guru is having us perform - to make us do (spiritual) things together in oneness-joy. I believe, if there is oneness among us, we are able to receive more of his inner gifts. Anyhow, we realized again how good it is at times to "sacrifice" a bit of our individual opinions in favour of the oneness result. As Sri Chinmoy says, there is no such thing as sacrifice in spiritual life; it is just expanding our little selves...
After all, in cases like that, how do we really know what is right and what is wrong - how CAN we know? But whom to ask? We cannot ask our Master or any other illumined teacher about every little thing in our lives (what a pity). Well, an aphorism that Guru gave during the Christmas trip has helped me a lot with this (I hope I've remembered it well):
"God does not want to know Every thing that I do, As long as I keep His Vision-Eye In each and every action of mine." (unofficial)
It is not an immediate solution, for who of us, seekers, can say he always has and knows God's Vision in his actions... But to me, it is definitely the key, so I pray much for that - and have hope!
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Evening meditation function
by Arpan DeAngelo
Today I returned from Boston where I ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. It was the 108th running of this annual classic marathon. This one was among the hottest. It reached 86 degrees F, or about 27 C. One would expect that kind of weather in the summer, but after an extremely cold winter and a chilly and wet start to spring, 86F was a shocker. It reflected in the overall performances, including mine, which was my slowest yet. Nevertheless, marathons are thrilling experiences and I am grateful to have completed another Boston Marathon which is my favorite marathon.
I missed the last few days of events here in New York, but I was happy to make it home in time to attend Tuesday night's function. At 8:50, Sri Chinmoy came in on his electric cart and circled around in a very powerful and sweet meditation for 15 minutes. Parvati's group sang 13 English songs of Sri Chinmoy's. Here are a few samples:
- Fire devours firewood. Mind devours childhood.
- A single soulful prayer In my heart-temple, Is far better than One million prayers elsewhere.
- To draw God close, Devotion magnet Is par excellence.
- Only genuine aspiration Can be empty of expectation.
- Give up not hope. You too can easily be An excellent God-Lover And God-Server. 10
Following that, the "excellent singers" learned a new song and recorded it.
Stories were then read out from Part 6 of 'Compassion Miracles.' Sri Chinmoy called up the person who wrote each story to be read. He specifically picked shorter ones so as not to take all night. Some of the stories could move one to tears, while others were quite amusing. Pulak was asked to read out three of his stories which were moving and at the same time quite amusing. There were about 12 others who read out stories from this fascinating book.
Sri Chinmoy said that the visitors should hear some of the inspiring 'miracle' stories before going home. With the Celebrations officially over, there seemed to be less than 200 visitors left, and the auditorium had some empty seats.
After about two weeks of daily activities through a whole range of weather from wintery cold and wet to summer heat, and now with many blossoms bursting out on the trees and flowers, it feels as if ages have passed and this historic Celebrations has fed a multitude of sincere seekers for ages to come.
As things start to wind down here in New York and many people are returning to their respective homes, there is a strong sense of gratitude for the incredible 40 years of constant spiritual service that Sri Chinmoy has been offering. I am sure many people will carry these wonderul experiences of the last two weeks with them and try to share them with those people who could not come this time. For those of us lucky enough to still be here, we will try also to maintain the light and peaceful consciousness which has pervaded the events of this auspicious Celebrations.
- 1. On 25 February, Sri Chinmoy selected these songs as favourites out of all the songs he had composed over the years. The sheet music for the songs is available as PDF download.
- 2. Published in the book My Race-Prayers (volume 1), Agni Press, 2004.
- 3. Given by Sri Chinmoy on 4 March 2000 in New York, published in the book My Race-Prayers (volume 1), Agni Press, 2004. Arpan's original report indicated that this was the hundredth prayer - however this is very unlikely given the timing. It is more likely that the prayer given that morning was the 100th race prayer, especially as it is the last of 100 prayers published in the 'My Race-Prayers volume.
- 4. In the original report, Agragati confused Harkara with Panchajanya Burri from Switzerland, who also has supplied Sri Chinmoy with many musical instruments in the past.
- 5. April 7th is typically the day when Sri Chinmoy's students begin arriving for the 10-day Celebration of Sri Chinmoy's arrival in the west on April 13th.
- 6. Sri Chinmoy would often travel around the floor of Aspiration Ground in an electric cart. In later years he would begin many meditation functions by circling around the meditation grounds on the cart, meditating on each of the audience members.
- 7. This prayer was published in the book My Race-Prayers, (volume 2) Agni Press, 2006.
- 8. Source: Radio Sri Chinmoy - note that it specifies 10 April as the date in that performance, but 9 April is more likely given that it describes five female choirs performing and Paree's group winning.
- 9. The original poem is published in The Goal Is Won, Agni Press, 1974
- 10. These songs were composed by Sri Chinmoy on January 27, 2004 and published in the songbook Enthusiasm, part 7