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Finale of European Peace Run in Minsk

On 8th July, the European leg of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run finished in a ceremony in Minsk, Belarus. The uplifting international gathering marked the culmination of several months running through Europe and Asia, with five routes converging on the finish in Minsk.

five torches

Five torches representing the five different Peace Run routes converging in Minsk for the final ceremony.

peace-run

The European run began in Portugal in May. Since then an international team of runners have run across the European continent visiting many schools, local communities and people on the road to spread a message that 'Peace begins with me.'

peace run

At Minsk Victory Square. Selected runners release 'doves of peace' to symbolise humanity's aspiration for a more peaceful world.

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

– Sri Chinmoy

peace runSupporters of the run, including Vice Consul from the British Embassy - Ms Jane Elton and Vice Mayor of Minsk, Mr Igor Viktorovich Yurkevic - hold the Peace Torch.

peace run minsk

Runners from over 30 countries participate in the final group photo.

Video from event

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International Day of Yoga 2017

In 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.

The 2017 main events at UN Headquarters in New York, held on 20 and 21 June, were organized by the Permanent Mission of India in association with the UN Department of Public Information and the World Health Organization.

unisPhoto UNIS - International Day of Yoga, Vienna.

The theme for 2017,  “Yoga for Health”,  was highlighted in many local events worldwide this week  – recognising how yoga could help enable an integral approach to a healthy, balanced lifestyle which promotes long-term good health.

Yoga is an ancient art, combining physical, mental and spiritual practises to attain a union between man and the Ultimate Reality.

Since his arrival in the West in 1964, Sri Chinmoy has written extensively on the virtues of yoga and its capacity to expand the horizons of seekers and aspirants. In the very first edition of Aum Magazine (Sri Chinmoy’s first printed work in the West), Sri Chinmoy wrote about traditional yoga exercises.

“The traditional yogic exercises attempt to place the body in a state of receptivity in order to bring down peace and certain higher forces from above.”

Sri Chinmoy [1]

Sri Chinmoy teaches that through the practise of yoga, we can attain both peace of mind and an awareness of a more illumined consciousness.

“The very aim of practising Yoga is to have peace, peace of mind. When one acquires peace of mind, automatically one possesses indomitable inner strength.”

– Sri Chinmoy [2]

On 20 June, members of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations celebrated the Day with a lunchtime meditation session for staff at UN Headquarters in New York. The Peace Meditation Group also offered a commemorative booklet on aspects of yoga to participants of the “Yoga Session” held that evening on the UN North Lawn, as well as the “Conversation with Yoga Masters” held the following morning in the ECOSOC Chamber.

Further links

 

References

[1] Sri Chinmoy, AUM, Vol.1, No..1, 1965

[2] Sri Chinmoy, Realisation-Soul and Manifestation-Goal, 1974.

Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race - 2017

This year sees the 21st edition of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Ten runners took to the start line on June 18th to embark on the epic quest to complete 3,100 miles over the course of 52 days. Each runner will need to tap into deep reserves of - stamina, fitness, and inner strength - to meet the 60 miles a day average needed to complete the race. The race was founded by Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual teacher keen to promote physical self-transcendence as a way to the inner and outer enlightenment.

3100 mile race 2017Runners and team of volunteers before the start.

The race attracts international media attention for the unique personal challenge it presents. The race promoted by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team has an international flavour with runners drawn from Europe, US and New Zealand. In addition to the ten runners, a team of volunteers look after the runners through cooking, medical team and lap counters.

3100

    “We compete not for the sake of defeating others, but in order to bring forward our own capacity. Our best capacity comes forward only when there are other people around us. They inspire us to bring forward our utmost capacity, and we inspire them to bring forward their utmost capacity”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

Nridhuvi and Harita enjoying the start of the race.

3100 mile courseThe whole course is on a single concrete block, in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

Photos: Jowan and Utpal.


The runners this year include:

Vasu Duzhiy Age 51, St. Petersburg, Russia (5 finishes, one win)
Smarana Puntigam 46, Vienna Austria. Seven straight finishes.
Nidhruvi Zimmermann, 51, Vienna, Austria
Nirbhasa Magee, 37, Dublin Ireland
Andrey Andreev, 51, St Petersburg Russia
Sergey Kuzmin, 44, Nizhniy Novgorod Russia
Kaneenika Janakova, Age 47, Bratislava, Slovakia
Ananda-Lahari Zuskin, Age 42, Kosice, Slovakia
Yolanda Holder, 59, Corona,CA USA
Harita Davies, 42, Christchurch New Zealand

Full bios of runners

Paintings for World Peace and Harmony

In Geneva, several hundred paintings by Sri Chinmoy have been exhibited at the Palais des Nations, United Nations Office. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in Geneva, with support from the Cultural Diplomacy and Outreach Section of the UN Office at Geneva, in collaboration with the Jharna-Kala Art Foundation.

The exhibit contains several distinct genre of paintings. These include a series of Peace-Bird drawings, originally exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, in 2006. Another series of 9”x12” acrylic paintings were first shown at an exhibition at St. Petersburg State University, Russia, in 2004.

At the opening event, H.E. M. Shameem Ahsan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh in Geneva, welcomed guests from the UN community and said that in “today’s conflict-ridden world, Bangladesh remains committed to and vocal for global peace and harmony”, and thus “deeply values the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, a son of the soil.” Noting that Sri Chinmoy taught that “by sharing goodwill and inspiration with others, and by spreading love and care, the world can be transformed and peace can be achieved,” Ambassador Ahsan said that Sri Chinmoy’s “paintings and music reflect his spiritual journey for the peace and well-being of humanity.”

Kenyan long-distance running champion and peace advocate Tegla Loroupe also spoke at the opening of the exhibit in Geneva, recalling how Sri Chinmoy had inspired her to work for peace. The event was moderated by M. Francesco Pisano, Chief of the Cultural Diplomacy and Outreach Section in Geneva. As Head of the UN Library there, he accepted a gift of a newly published book, Songs of Peace, collecting a number of songs that Sri Chinmoy had composed in dedication to the United Nations, as well as selections from his writings about the world body. Several of his compositions of music for peace were performed at the Geneva event, enhancing the peaceful atmosphere.

At the time of the 2007 exhibit of Paintings for World Peace and Harmony at the UN in New York, a number of world leaders and diplomats expressed their support. Nelson Mandela commented, “Within each of us lies the power to build a world where we respect each other’s beliefs, understand each other’s culture and support each other’s values — a world where hatred, pain and suffering have no place.  This is the great cause of world peace to which my dear friend Sri Chinmoy devoted his life and to which his Paintings for World Harmony at the United Nations are dedicated.” Mikhail Gorbachev commented that “Sri Chinmoy was a zealous supporter of the United Nations. He tried to inspire people who work in this worldwide organization. Therefore, it is remarkable that this gallery is taking place especially at the UN.”

During the 10 day exhibition, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre offered musical performances to those attending the art exhibition.

Enjoying the music.

30th Anniversary Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile

Recently, the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile in Oxford celebrated it's 30th Anniversary. The Peace Mile was inaugurated by Sri Chinmoy and the Mayor of Oxford back in May 1987. It serves as both an inspiring course for runners and a symbol of a more peaceful world. Sri Chinmoy considered himself a 'Student of Peace' and felt that running and the cause of inner peace had a complementary nature.

Sri Chinmoy at the opening of the Peace Mile with Bill Fogg, Mayor of Oxford

Peace Mile

Runners in the Anniversary Race organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.

Peace Mile

The Peace Mile was one of many Peace Miles located around the world. THe first Peace Mile was dedicated at Battersea in London in 1986. The Peace Miles are part of an initiative called "Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms" - places and areas of significance that have been dedicated to the cause of peace.

O dreamers of peace, come.
Let us walk together.
O lovers of peace, come.
Let us run together.
O servers of peace, come.
Let us grow together.

- Sri Chinmoy

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Oneness-Dream Tour in Tuscany

Recently, the music group Oneness-Dream offered 31 acapella singing performances of Sri Chinmoy's music at spiritual locations throughout Tuscany, Italy.

tuscany

The members of the group are students of Sri Chinmoy and come from several different countries. During the tour, they performed in churches and monasteries in Florence, Sienna and Pisa, and the surrounding Tuscany countryside. The music group is led by Prachar Stegemann with Adarsha Kelly the lead soloist.

The concerts were attended by members of the public and members of the local congregations. Those who attended the concert expressed their appreciation for the uplifting music.

During his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy composed many thousands of songs and also offered many Peace Concerts as an offering to seekers. Sri Chinmoy felt music could be a vehicle for bringing the heart to the fore and dissolving the barriers which can exist between people.

“Music will play a most important role in bringing about world oneness, for music embodies the Universal Heart, the Oneness-Heart. Music transcends the barriers of nations, nationalities and religions.”

Sri Chinmoy.

One of the concerts in a Tuscan church.

This wandering monk happened to meet the group in Sicily in 2016, 15 months later he was very happy to 'happen by chance' to come across another performance in northern Italy.

Photos: Dhanu (except last photo, Suswara)

Seminar on Sri Chinmoy and Bangladesh Philosophy

Recently, an academic seminar was held at Chittagong University on 'Sri Chinmoy and Bangladesh Philosophy.'
Khoursed-Islam-speaks.-Eventorganizer-Prof.-Abu-Baker-is-far-right Khoursed Islam speaks during the conference

The historical "Seminar on Sri Chinmoy and Bangladesh Philosophy" was organised by the academic community of Bangladesh, and took place 19 February 2017, in Chittagong, Bangladesh. In the first of its kind, the one-day symposium, which was spearheaded by Chittagong University, brought together academics within and outside of Bangladesh. One goal of the symposium was to raise awareness in the Bangladeshi academic community about the philosophy, wisdom, and wealth of writings of philosopher, author, composer, and poet, Sri Chinmoy.
Professor-Kamrul-Ahsan Professor Kamrul Ahsan

Conference organiser, N.H.M. Abu Bakar, Chair of the Department Philosophy, Chittagong University, explained: "Here in Bangladesh, we teach different philosophies--Greek philosophy, European philosophy, British philosophy --yet the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy, a son of Bangladesh, has been neglected from our curriculum!" Professor Bakar and his colleagues are working currently to build a curriculum centred on the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy. The symposium was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Iftekar Uddin Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Shireen Akter, Pro-Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Sekandar Chowdhury, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities--faculty with Chittagong University. In addition, Prof. Lunthita Duthely, University of Miami, offered opening remarks as well. The conference opening was followed by a traditional floral reception, where the speakers were offered small flower bouquets by Chittagong University philosophy students. A total of six papers were presented. These included:
  • PhD candidate, Kamrun "Moni" Nahar, Dhaka University; "Spiritual Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy"
  • Prof. Lunthita M. Duthely, University of Miami, "Sri Chinmoy's The Path of the Heart Meditations in Education: Preliminary Findings"
  • Prof. Bakar, Chair of Philosophy, Chittagong University, “God Realization in Sri Chinmoy's Spiritualism”
  • Prof. Kamrul Ahsan, Jahangirnagar University, “Sri Chinmoy: A Spiritual Philosopher of Bangladesh"
  • Prof Shafiqul Alam, Chittagong University, “Sri Chinmoy and His Philosophy";
  • Prof. M. Shafiqul Alam, CU, "Sri Chinmoy and his Philosophy"
  • Mr. Sarwar Kamal, "Some Aspects of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind: A Compatibility Debate in Sri Chinmoy’s Spirituality"
  • Miss Shantishri McGrath, "The Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy".
Approximately 200 students and faculty attended the day-long seminar. The seminar consisted of two half-day sessions, which included a combination of paper presentations, discussions, questions, and other commentaries. Interspersed within the presentations were facilitated discussions by Prof. Kamrul Ahsan, Jahangirnagar University, and Professors Lutfor Rahman and Abdul Hai, Chittagong University. Two spontaneous, but spirited talks, led by Prof. Kamrul Ahsan on “Divine Love”, and another by Kourshed Islam on “Oneness of Individuals, Religions, and Philosophies”, captured the hearts and minds of the Chittagong University students. The program ended with performances of Sri Chinmoy’s music, as well as a quiz, where approximately 40 students won either a book or a musical CD by answering correctly, questions related to the presentations. According to Prof Bakar, there are at least 10 researchers throughout Bangladesh, from master’s level up to post-doctoral level, currently researching Sri Chinmoy's philosophy. To facilitate this work at Chittagong University, a scholarship fund was created to fund one student researcher who will compete for the opportunity to use the scholarship to research the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy was born in Shakpura, Chittagong, East Bengal on 27 August 1931. Then part of India, the region is now part of modern Bangladesh. Article by: Lunthita M. Duthely Related

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.

start-ten-day-race 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.

bahula-medical-1000163 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. 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_75-X3 “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. 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_02-X2 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. 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_25-X2 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.” 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_43-X2 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. 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_53-X2 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. 20170205_SOTS-Concert-Bali_37-X2 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 Related                

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. Related
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