About the Sri Chinmoy Centre

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The philosophy of the Sri Chinmoy Centre is simple - to improve the world around us we must first improve ourselves. When each person has peace, light and joy, we can have a more harmonious world.

Our teacher, Sri Chinmoy, showed us through his own example that there are infinitely many ways through which we can help each other attain this goal – meditation and spirituality of course, but also art, poetry, creatitivity, music, sports, and working on peace and humanitarian projects.

Contents of this page:
  1. Our Activities
  2. Sri Chinmoy's role
  3. Our Lifestyle
  1. Life in the Sri Chinmoy Centre - stories by members
  2. Frequently asked questions

Working towards a Oneness-World

Sri Chinmoy felt there was a deep connection between meditation and serving the world:

We can easily know whether we are meditating well or not just by the way we feel and see and think. Right after our meditation, if we have a good feeling for the world, then we know our meditation was good. If we see the world in a loving way in spite of its imperfections, if we can love the world even while seeing its teeming imperfections, then we know that our meditation was good.

Sri Chinmoy

The heart-centred meditation that Sri Chinmoy taught us leads us to feel the interconnectedness of the universe, and of all of us. He encouraged us to work selflessly for the happiness of others, and showed us that this could give the same joy and sense of inner expansion that meditation does.

Here are some of the events we offer to the general public:

Free Meditation classes and events

We organise introductions to meditation that suit both beginners, and also people with some experience who are looking for a meditation that suits them.  Find a class near you »

Athletic Events

Sri Chinmoy's students organise athletic events around the world to help athletes experience the joy of self-transcendence. More on our athletic events »

Concerts of Meditative Music

Music is an indispensable part of the life of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, and we frequently organise free concerts of soulful music for the general public. More »

We also organise art exhibitions, theatrical performances, poetry readings - we are always thinking of new ways in which we can bring this inner feeling of harmony to the world.

We also help to organise the logistics behind several worldwide grassroots initiatives founded by Sri Chinmoy to bring people together such as the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run - the world's largest torch relay - and the Oneness-Heart Tears and Smiles humanitarian initiative.

 

Sri Chinmoy's role

Sri Chinmoy, during a meeting with his students in Los Angeles airport, 1991

There is only one real Master both in Heaven and on earth, and that Master is God Himself. Here I am called a spiritual Master, but I wish to say that I am not a Master. What I am is only an elder brother to a small spiritual family. Because I have prayed and meditated, or because the Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has given me a little more Light than the other members of my spiritual family, I try to help them reach the highest Goal.

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The members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre consider Sri Chinmoy to be their spiritual teacher, or Guru, guiding and encouraging them on the journey of self-discovery through his example and his prolific legacy of meditation, writings, music and talks.

However, Sri Chinmoy often said that the only real Guru is God, and the spiritual teacher is like a messenger or intermediary, between God's Compassion and the seeker's aspiration.

Sri Chinmoy meditates with his students, upstate New York, 1976

For Sri Chinmoy, real spiritual teaching happens on the plane of the soul, the core of our being, which is birthless and deathless. This is why thousands of students still continue to draw inspiration and guidance from his teachings and example.

Indeed, since Sri Chinmoy's passing in 2007, a new generation of spiritual seekers are also relating to Sri Chinmoy as an inner spiritual guide.

 

Our Lifestyle

According to Sri Chinmoy, spirituality is not a life of escape from the world. One can make the fastest spiritual progress, and still be part of society. In over 350 towns and cities across the world we have Centres where we come together to meditate at least twice a week.

Meditation

For more on learning to meditate, visit our Meditation page »

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Video: A silent meditation with Sri Chinmoy

The cornerstone of the Sri Chinmoy Centre's activities is meditation, both as an individual discipline and a shared group experience. With meditation, spirituality stops being a dry theoretical knowledge and becomes a living immersion.

Sri Chinmoy asked his students to meditate at least once a day in the morning, and more frequently than that if possible.

I ask my disciples to go deep within and meditate on the heart, which houses the soul. Eventually they learn how to contact the soul and start listening to its dictates. At that time they have begun to make real progress toward discovering their highest and deepest Self.

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As well as silent meditation, Sri Chinmoy also wrote thousands of songs, prayers and poems that we draw on in our daily and group meditations. When Sri Chinmoy was still with us physically, we had the opportunity to visit him either in New York or on his many visits around the world, and learn directly from him through meditating in silence together. Thankfully, we have thousands of hours of video footage of Sri Chinmoy in meditation and in multifarious activities, so that a new generation of spiritual seekers can have the same inner connection with this modern-day spiritual teacher.

Balanced living

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Video: A Self-Transcendence race held in New York, April 2012; before he passed away, Sri Chinmoy would come to this race on Saturday mornings and compose a race prayer at the prize giving ceremony.

Sri Chinmoy also encouraged other daily disciplines to foster the growth and development of all parts of the being in unison, such as reading of spiritual books for the mind and regular exercise for the body.

Many Centres around the world will have a 2 mile fun run each week, typically on Saturdays, and often open to the general public. These races are called Self-Transcendence Races, as the aim is not so much to compete with others as to get joy from challenging and raising your own standard. Quite a few of Sri Chinmoy's students are accomplished athletes in their own right, competing in areas such as ultra distance races (races longer than marathon) and English Channel swims. • More on Sri Chinmoy Centre sports »

Music

Sri Chinmoy often called music the next best thing to meditation, in its universal capacity to lift the heart and bring one into a higher state of awareness. Among the 23,000 songs he composed in his lifetime were songs written for us to use in our daily meditation practise. Our twice weekly meditations also will have some singing and sometimes instrumental performances. Some Centres have music evenings dedicated to learning and singing songs.

Sri Chinmoy encouraged us to make and perform arrangements of his songs and give concerts to the general public, and there are many groups from around the world that perform Sri Chinmoy's music in a variety of musical styles. More on Sri Chinmoy Centre music »

Sincerity

Among the things that Sri Chinmoy looked for from his students were a sense of sincerity in their approach towards the Goal. His students meditate at least once a day, and come regularly to group meditation meetings that are held twice a week. He asked that his students abstain from smoking, alcohol and drugs, since they damage the parts of the being that are needed to have lasting meditation experiences. He also advocated living a life free of emotional turbulence, to enable one to better see the divine inside themselves and inside everyone else around them.
 

Joy

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Video: An episode of Inspiration-News-Light, a humorous series of videos produced by Sri Chinmoy's students.

Sri Chinmoy felt a spiritual life should not be one of austerity, and placed a lot of value on innocent joy and humour. We frequently organise gatherings of our members - sometimes from many different countries - which combine meditation, sports, games and spiritual company, and which Sri Chinmoy affectionately called 'Joy Days'.

Joy and humour are also a feature of our international gatherings when Sri Chinmoy's students from around the world meet together in New York in April and August, and travel to our Christmas retreat in different locations around the world. Sri Chinmoy often encouraged us to put on impromptu performances of plays, which were sometimes on spiritual topics and sometimes based on humorous stories and observances on daily life that Sri Chinmoy had written over the years. Occasionally he would invite his students to come and tell jokes or funny stories; he himself published quite a few volumes of joke books alongside his prolific output of spiritual writings.

Life in the Sri Chinmoy Centre

One objective of this site is to gather as many different stories and experiences as possible, to give you a sense of how Sri Chinmoy's students pursue their spiritual goal in today's world.

  • First steps on the spiritual path: A collection of short autobiographical stories by Sri Chinmoy's students, where they describe the journey of self-discovery that led them to the Centre.
  • Meditation functions with Sri Chinmoy: A collection of diary notes from different students, put together chronologically in an attempt to create a sense of 'being there'.
  • Moments with our teacher: Sri Chinmoy had a unique way of being able to fill the smallest interaction with tremendous love and sweetness - these small anecdotes attempt to capture some of that feeling.

Books by members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre:

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if this is the path for me?
Sri Chinmoy gave the following advice on seeing if a meditation teacher is genuine, and if the teacher is the right teacher for him:

Even a beginner can easily recognise a genuine Guru. If a beginner sees someone giving out Peace, Light, Bliss and Purity through his eyes and through his consciousness, then he can be sure that this is a true Master. But although that Master is genuine, he need not be the seeker's own Master.

How can a beginner or anybody know who is his Master? When you see a Master, if you get an inner thrill all of a sudden, then you know that this is your Master. When a child sees his mother after a long separation, he simply jumps with joy. And the mother also gets tremendous joy when she sees her own child after a long time. In the spiritual life it is the same.

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How do you join the Sri Chinmoy Centre?
The easiest way is to attend a free meditation course or other event offered to the general public by the Sri Chinmoy Centre. Our meditation courses, concerts and other spiritual events are offered to the public free of charge as a service, without any expectation or obligation.

By coming and meditating with us a few times, and talking to our members, you will definitely get a sense of whether this is something you would like to continue with. If you feel an affinity with our spiritual path, there will be an opportunity to find out more about us and join.

You can find a Centre or class near you using the map below, or by going to the Centre site for the country you live in - the links to each country site are in the page footer.

I would like to know more about Sri Chinmoy, but I don't live near an established centre. What can I do?
A good start is to read through the writings of Sri Chinmoy. This will give you an idea of his philosophy. You can order some books There is also a selection of Sri Chinmoy's writings available at srichinmoy.org.  You can also listen to his recordings and video at Radio Sri Chinmoy and Sri Chinmoy TV.

Is the Sri Chinmoy Centre a religion?
No.

In my case, I only speak about the soul. My philosophy is that the soul is the only reality and at every second we have to listen to our souls. I have not said a word against any religion. On the contrary, I have expressed the greatest love, admiration and adoration for the Saviour Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna and the spiritual Masters associated with other religions. So why should my path become a religion and stand against other religions? My writings will make it very, very clear that I was not a man who directly or indirectly tried to establish a new religion.
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Sri Chinmoy's appreciation of the great spiritual figures of all religions was unbounded; he wrote extensively on their lives and teachings, and set many of their sacred utterances to music. He also wrote a series of plays about many spiritual figures, the most well-known being The Son (about the life of the Christ) and Siddhartha becomes the Buddha. Many of these plays have been performed to audiences around the world by his students.

Video: Siddhartha becomes the Buddha, a play about the life of the Buddha performed by the London-based female troupe Immortality's Flame-Waves in Zurich, 2005. 5

 



Why do many of your members have unusual sounding names?
Sri Chinmoy gave many of his students spiritual names which embody the prevailing soul's qualities of that student. He felt that each human soul was unique, with a distinct role to play in the world's betterment, and the name reflects that uniqueness. The names are in Sri Chinmoy's native Bengali language or in Sanskrit, languages steeped in thousands of years of ancient spirituality.

Some of Sri Chinmoy's students use their names just within the context of their spiritual activities, while others use their spiritual names in the workplace and in their daily lives. For his students, using and hearing their soul's name is a beautiful reminder of their inner being and purpose in life.  Sri Chinmoy would often wait many years before giving a student a name, although the time varied from person to person.

Did Sri Chinmoy leave a successor when he passed away?
The inner connection that Sri Chinmoy's students have with their teacher is on the soul's level. The soul is birthless and deathless. So it is not really something that can be replaced by another person.

Since Sri Chinmoy's passing, many people have come into contact with his teachings and philosophy and felt the same connection and feeling of inner guidance that his students felt during his lifetime. Therefore, the Sri Chinmoy Centre is very active in making his teachings and his musical, creative and athletic offerings available to everyone, so that people can experience Sri Chinmoy's philosophy for themselves.

Our aim is to keep the Sri Chinmoy Centre the same abode of peace, joy and service as when Sri Chinmoy was with us physically, and to maintain the high spiritual standards that he set for us.

How is the Sri Chinmoy Centre organised?
Like the many initiatives that stem from it, the Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world are largely organised on a grassroots level in each city. In each city where there is a Centre, Sri Chinmoy would ask one or more people to lead the twice-weekly group meditations and co-ordinate activities in that city. Just as Sri Chinmoy never charged for his spiritual guidance during his lifetime, there is no fee for being a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. The running costs of each individual Centre are typically met by voluntary contributions, sales of books and music, and fundraising projects such as selling meditation-related items.

 

Photo credits

Photo of Sri Chinmoy by Pulak Viscardi, photos in opening collage by Alakananda Lebedeva, Menaka Ait-Ouyahia, Ashish Zubaty, Pranlobha Kalagian, sourced from Sri Chinmoy Centre member galleries