About the Sri Chinmoy Centre
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, and also art, poetry, creatitivity, music, athletics, peace and humanitarian work. All these activities can be found in our Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world.
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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.
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
Introductory classes that aim to give you the experience of meditation and help set you up with your own practise. Find a class near you »
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.
Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre also help to organise the logistics behind several worldwide grassroots initiatives founded by Sri Chinmoy to bring people together in pursuit of a more harmonious world:
- Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run: An international team of runners carry a burning torch through over 70 countries, inviting everyone along the route to hold the torch and pass it on in a gesture of friendship and global solidarity. More »
- The Oneness-Heart Tears and Smiles humanitarian initiative: Offering humanitarian aid services in 24 countries, with programmes that emphasise the oneness between us and the people we serve. More »
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.
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 writings, music and talks. However, Sri Chinmoy often said that the only real Guru is God, and a human teacher merely acts as a messenger or intermediary between God's Compassion and the student's aspiration.
For Sri Chinmoy, real spiritual teaching is something that happens on the plane of the soul, the core of our being which is birthless and deathless. Sri Chinmoy departed this earthly arena in 2007, however his students continue to draw inspiration and guidance from his teachings and example, just as for countless years generations of people have learnt from great spiritual figures like the Christ or the Buddha long after their passing. Indeed, since his passing a new generation of spiritual seekers are also relating to Sri Chinmoy as an inner spiritual guide.
According to Sri Chinmoy, spirituality and meditation is not a life of escape from the world. One can make the fastest spiritual progress, and still be part of society just like everyone else. In over 350 towns and cities across the world we have Centres where we come together to meditate at least twice a week.
For more on learning to meditate, visit our Meditation page »
The cornerstone of the Sri Chinmoy Centre's activities is meditation, both as an individual discipline and a shared group experience. With meditation, spirituality is no longer a dry theoretical knowledge but a living immersion. Meditation brings to the fore the peace, joy, light and love that is locked away deep inside all of us. 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.
Sri Chinmoy 2
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 acquaint themselves with the activities of this modern-day spiritual teacher.
Sri Chinmoy also encouraged other daily routines to foster the growth and development of all parts of the being in unison, such as daily 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 »
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 22,000 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. Since Sri Chinmoy's passing, these groups have travelled together to give concerts in over 25 countries as part of the Songs of the Soul concert series. • More on Sri Chinmoy Centre music »
Audio: A sampling of Sri Chinmoy Centre music groups (l-r): 1. Mandu and Visuddhi Trummer from Austria play Sri Chinmoy's melodies on Chinese erhu and Celtic harp; 2. Shindhu is an international female music group led by Udasina Hansford from Bristol, UK; 3. Arthada and Friends, a male musical group from Austria and Germany; 4. Gandharva Loka Orchestra, a 75-member orchestra that has played in concerts all over the world.
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.
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.
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.
Having a Spiritual TeacherPreetidutta Thorpe Auckland, New Zealand
My first experience with Sri ChinmoyNayak Polissar Seattle, United States
When I met Sri Chinmoy for the first timeBaridhi Yonchev Sofia, Bulgaria
I want what he hasKamalakanta Nieves New York, United States
Starting a spiritual caféToshala Elliott Auckland, New Zealand
- 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
Is the Sri Chinmoy Centre a religion?
No. Sri Chinmoy did not want to create a religion. He stressed that spirituality is a universal goal, and he created a path that people from all religions and none may follow. His students come from all backgrounds, cultures and walks of life, but they share a common love of inner peace, harmony and self-discovery.
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.
Sri Chinmoy 3
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. 4
How do you join the Sri Chinmoy Centre?
The easiest way is to find a free meditation course offered by the Sri Chinmoy Centre near to where you live. The courses are offered to the public free of charge as a service, without any expectation or obligation. However, if you feel an affinity with our spiritual path, then after the courses 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 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. There is 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.
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 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 and see if it is something that they can connect with. 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 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.
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 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