Latest news and features

from Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world.
17 February

Sri Chinmoy's esraj anniversary

Sri Chinmoy began playing the esraj on this date 17 February in 1976. Despite being fluent in many instruments - the esraj soon became Sri Chinmoy's favourite musical instrument and he would frequently play specially constructed esraj at his Peace Concerts - offered around the world. Quite often Sri Chinmoy would give an esraj concert on 17 February to mark the date when he began to play.

Listen to Sri Chinmoy playing the esraj

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Audio: My Esraj: My Inspiration-Aspiration-Source by Sri Chinmoy. From Esraj - Radio Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy playing the esraj

The esraj is an Indian stringed instrument played with a bow. It emerged in India over 500 years ago, during the time of the Mogul Emperors. The instrument is relatively unknown but can create a haunting, reverberating tone - evocative of deeper realities. Sri Chinmoy was rare in playing the esraj solo (unaccompanied by any other instrument.) He would play his own songs or improvised extemporaneously.

A few of his esraj instruments were hand-constructed by his students, who sought to create an ever deeper and richer sound. When he performed one particular esraj for Maestro Ravi Shankar during a private performance in New York October 10th, 2002, the great musician was deeply moved by the music and he gave the instrument the name "Chinmoy Beena".

sri chinmoy
Sri Chinmoy playing the esraj at Kamakura.

I pray, I meditate, I contemplate while I am playing. I try to be in close communion with my Inner Pilot, who is the Supreme Musician. And according to my capacity of receptivity, I try to offer His Light and Peace to the world through my music. So when I play, the esraj is not the real instrument; it is I who am the instrument.

Sri Chinmoy


Video of esraj performance

Video

Sri Chinmoy esraj performance at Christchurch Cathedral, New Zealand 2002/03. Sri Chinmoy is playing is called “Chinmoy Vina”

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Source of quote

11 February

Peace Run begins its journey around the world

Recently, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run started a new journey, in which it will visit all 44 countries in the southern hemisphere. It will be the first time the international team of runners will encircle the globe in a single Peace Run.

During its journey, the Peace Run gives countless people the opportunity to join in with the spirit of the run by holding the Peace Torch and spread a message of peace, friendship and harmony.

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Young students enthusiastically hold the Peace Torch in Denpasar, Bali

This momentous Peace Run began in Bali on the 1st of February and is now in Australia, having visited Vanuatu, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea. The entire journey will take the best part of a year and is scheduled to finish in Bali in November 2019.

vanuatu
Peace Run welcomed by Port-Vila International School in Vanuatu

The route will take in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands, South America, Southern Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean.

route
The route of the Peace Run.
timor leste
A traditional welcome for the Peace Run in Timor Leste

The Peace Run was founded by the late peace visionary Sri Chinmoy in a spirit of love, harmony and oneness. This spirit permeates the relay and touches the hearts of all those who participate. An athlete, philosopher, artist, musician and poet, Sri Chinmoy dedicated his life to advancing the ideals of world friendship and oneness.

“We do not need
Heaven-born saints
But just earth-born seekers
Who believe in peace
And want to live in peace.”

Sri Chinmoy 1

Timor Leste
The Peace Run welcomed at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, the first public library to be opened in Timor, following the 1999 referendum.

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28 December

Spiritual Significance of the New Year

Happy New Year! Sri Chinmoy loved newness, encouraging us to keep our spiritual life fresh and spontaneous. “Every day, when morning dawns, we should feel that we have something new to accomplish,” he said. Thus, Sri Chinmoy saw the New Year as a golden opportunity to renew our inspiration for the spiritual life, and to make new promises to our souls – similar to making New Year’s resolutions.

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For over 40 years, Sri Chinmoy gave annual messages for New Year’s encouraging seekers to strive for world harmony, and becoming the best a person can ever be. In the early days, Sri Chinmoy offered these messages during his public New Year’s Meditations, taking place early December at sacred venues such as Riverside Church by Columbia University. Later on, Sri Chinmoy’s travels during Christmas and over New Year’s took him to numerous countries where he befriended heads of states and locals alike, incorporating New Year’s Messages into his free Peace Concerts.

First New Year Message, 1966

Sri Chinmoy offered his first New Year’s Message on January 1, 1966. It was a soulful prayer to become aware of our divine heritage. It reminded us of God’s blessings — sweetness, joy, light and peace — sparkling divinely in us, while honouring our New Year’s spiritual resolutions. 


New Year’s Message for the Year 1966

May humanity climb up one rung in the ladder of divine growth, and realise in its soul the Sweetness, Joy, Light and Peace of the Supreme.

Out of the pure fulness of the heart, may the lips of Truth speak and the hands of Truth act in the year 1966.

The New Year — what can it teach us? It can teach us the secret of spiritual self-reliance. It can teach us how we ourselves can be our Masters and Saviours.

From the New Year we can learn that God is God only when God is OUR God and not MY God. From the New Year we can learn that Truth is Truth only when Truth is OUR Truth and not MY Truth.

At every moment it is we who can make ourselves a blessing to ourselves and to the world at large.

May the universal embrace of the New Year flower into a permanent smile of Victory on the Face of the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy 1


When the New Year Dawns

Sri Chinmoy frequently reminded us that the New Year offers a new opportunity to make spiritual progress, in blessing us with hope, light and firm determination to keep transcending (or improving upon) our present capacities. In his book The Outer Runner and The Inner Runner (1984), Sri Chinmoy’s essay on “When the New Year Dawns” likens a spiritual seeker to a runner:


On the eve of the New Year, a new consciousness dawns on earth. God once again inspires each human being, each creature, with new hope, new light, new peace and new joy. God says, "The New Year dawns and a new consciousness dawns within you. Run toward the destined Goal." We listen to God, to the dictates of our Inner Pilot, and we run toward the ultimate Reality. The New Year energises us, encourages us and inspires us to run toward that ultimate Goal.

When the New Year dawns, we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we have to transcend ourselves this year. We have to go beyond our present capacity, beyond our present achievement. When we have that kind of firm determination, God showers His choicest Blessings upon us.

God always wants us to move ahead; He does not want us to look back. We know that while a runner is running fast, if he looks back, he will stumble. Similarly, if we are constantly looking behind at the year that we are leaving aside, we will think of our sorrow, misery, frustration, failure and so forth. But if we look forward, we will see hope dawning deep within us. Every day in this New Year is equally important.

Sri Chinmoy 2


May your New Year’s resolutions stay fresh and illumining every day, fulfilling your life goals!

Related

  • All of Sri Chinmoy's New Year messages from 1967 to 2007 were published in two volumes here and here.
  • Sources: The photographs are taken from the Sri Chinmoy Centre gallery3, and the aphorisms from Sri Chinmoy's poems and writings 4. The last picture is one of Sri Chinmoy's spontaneous Jharna Kala artworks – one of over 140,000 paintings created by Sri Chinmoy over a span of 33 years. 5 
  • 1. Source: My Consulate years by Sri Chinmoy, 1996
  • 2. Source: The Outer Runner and The Inner Runner by Sri Chinmoy (1984)
  • 3. The first three photographs were taken by Sarama Minoli, Kedar Misani and Bijoy Imhof
  • 4. Poems in image 1 and image 3 taken from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 39 (2004); poems in image 2 and image 4 from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, parts 172 and part 169 (1992)
  • 5. This particular painting was created in 1976, and is part of a collection donated to the Zürich Sri Chinmoy Centre.
5 December

Concert tribute to 100th Anniversary of Czechoslovakia

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre offered three special concerts  dedicated to the friendship between the Czech and Slovak Republics.

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Dvořák
Concert at the Rudolfinum | Dvořák Hall

The tour began with a concert in Zlin on 15th November. The second concert was held at Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav Theatre in Bratislava on 16th November. The following day on the 17th November, the final concert was offered at Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum in Prague. The 17th of November is also a significant date in Czech/Slovak history as it marks the 'Velvet Revolution' and the end of Communist rule.

The concerts contained performances from four different musical groups, along with a video projection of one of Sri Chinmoy's own Peace Concerts. The performers included Alap and Lucas on flute and duduk; the sitar-tabla-tanpura trio of Kanala, Sadananda and Ushika; and Shamita and Bhoiravi from Austria on strings. The finale was the international Sahadeva Ensemble, with over 60 members.

concert
Concert at the Rudolfinum | Dvořák Hall

The music performed was composed by Sri Chinmoy and included a rendition of Sri Chinmoy's tribute to Czechoslovakia - a song which Sri Chinmoy wrote in 1990 during his visit. This particular song was first performed in New York, 1996 in the presence of Karel Kovan and Petr Tomek, the then-ambassadors of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the United Nations.

a
Sahadeva Orchestra

The concert venues were all filled to capacity and the audience expressed their appreciation for a memorable musical experience. The performers came from many different Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world and arrived in the Czech Republic for several days of intense practice before performing in the concerts.

group
Performers at the end of the concert tour.

The concert series was given the title Concert for your Heart, in recogition of Sri Chinmoy's approach to music and spirituality, which is to focus on the spiritual heart.

Only the music
Of the aspiration-heart
Can unlock the door
Of Heaven.

Sri Chinmoy 1

concert
Sri Chinmoy playing the flute in concert

During his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy offered seven major Peace Concerts in Czech and Slovakia. This included a concert for 15,000 people in Prague during 1995. Sri Chinmoy felt that through prayerful music, he could offer seekers the opportunity for a meditative experience.


 

  • Photos by  Apaguha Vesely
26 NovemberToronto, Canada

Parliament of World Religions 2018 in Canada

The Parliament of the World's Religions began in 1893 in Chicago, as an initiative to bring the different religions and spiritual paths together. This gathering became famous for announcing the great Indian spiritual figure Swami Vivekananda to the world, and in doing so became a landmark in introducing Eastern spirituality to the West. A century later in 1993, the Parliament was once again reconvened in Chicago, and Sri Chinmoy was asked to give the opening meditation.

Video
Sri Chinmoy meditates at the Parliament of World Religions in 1993

Since 1993, the Parliament has been held in multiple locations around the world. This year Toronto in Canada was the host, and members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre joined with members of many faiths and spiritual paths around the world in offering concerts, meditation events and talks.

sangit-surabhi
Sangit Surabhi, a female instrumental group based in Ottawa, performed a selection Sri Chinmoy's meditative songs
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Sri Chinmoy often wrote and spoke on the ideal of interfaith harmony, out of his inner experience that there are many different paths all leading to the same goal.

"I fully agree that all religions lead to one truth, the Absolute truth. There is One truth. There is only one Goal, but there are various paths. Each religion is right in its own way."

Sri Chinmoy 1

interfaith
Representatives of different religions come together in harmony

A popular offering was a heart-centred meditation led by university professor Utsahi St-Amand, from the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Ottawa. Meditation is a powerful way to feel the spirit of interfaith harmony because it connects on a deeper level than the intellectual mind. Members of the Sri Chinmoy also offered talks and presentations on different aspects of Sri Chinmoy's teachings.

A presentation of the teachings of Sri Chinmoy led by Shivaram Trichur (centre). A student and friend of Sri Chinmoy since his very first years in the West, Shivaram is the leader of the Toronto Sri Chinmoy Centre as well as the manager of the popular Annapurna vegetarian restaurant.

Throughout the Parliament, our members shared the message of peace with participants in a simple and moving way, by inviting them to hold the Peace Torch and make a silent prayer for peace. The Peace Torch has been carried throughout the world in relay style by members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a global relay run which brings the torch and its message to millions of people and invites them to add their wishes for peace.

peace-torch
Offering a silent wish for peace

 This silent wish for peace is very much in line with the opening meditation that Sri Chinmoy gave in 1993; he would again give the opening meditation at the Parliament in Barcelona in 2004.

barcelona
Sri Chinmoy at the opening meditation, 2004

During my opening meditation I am praying for the oneness of all religions.

Sri Chinmoy 2

 

Photos: Kautuhalam, Toronto, Canada.

19 November

Sri Chinmoy's Jharna Kala Art

Today, November 19, marks the 44th anniversary of Sri Chinmoy's bgain painting his Jharna-Kala artworks. Jharna-Kala, in Sri Chinmoy's Bengali mother tongue, means 'fountain-art' - art springing forth from an inner source of creativity and spontaneity. 

jharna-kalaAs many observers have commented, the art of Sri Chinmoy expresses a great freedom and joy of movement, unencumbered by the confines of artistic trends or mental concepts.

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jharna kala

Sri Chinmoy begain his painting odyssey in 1974, with a drawing of a simple rose while staying in Ottawa. Up until that date, Sri Chinmoy said he had never felt any particular inclination to paint, but after receiving an inner inspiration from his Inner Pilot, he sought to give expression to this inner direction. In addition, Sri Chinmoy never received any formal training - his artistic endeavours came naturally from his own inner meditation and prayer. Explaining his approach to painting, Sri Chinmoy said:

“I try to make my heart a receptive instrument so that God, the Supreme Artist, can paint in and through me.”

Sri Chinmoy 1

From these humble beginnings, Sri Chinmoy soon became a prolific artist, painting countless abstract acrylics - in the first year alone, he created over 100,000 paintings. Talking about the prolific output, Sri Chinmoy explained:

“It is a continuous, spontaneous flow. Without any obstruction. It comes from within. Anything that comes from the very depths of our heart will have no obstruction on the way. But if it comes from the mind or the vital, there will always be some obstructions, for the capacity of the mind is very, very limited, whereas the capacity of the heart is unlimited, precisely because it is in tune with the soul... If we go beyond the mind we create infinitely more beautiful things.”

Sri Chinmoy 2


Drawing by Sri Chinmoy to commemorate the completion of 70,000 soul-birds

In 1991, Sri Chinmoy's art took a new direction when he began spontaneously drawing birds. He gave this project the name Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds, and also often referred to these effortless, free-form creations as Soul-Birds. In total, Sri Chinmoy drew 15 million of these unique birds.

“These birds represent unity in multiplicity. Here we have 70,000 birds. Each bird is different, but when you look at them, you feel unity. As soon as we think of the bird-consciousness, it is one. The bird-consciousness represents the consciousness of our soul’s inner freedom.”

Sri Chinmoy 3

Over the years, Sri Chinmoy's paintings and drawings has been exhibited in galleries around the world, such as the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, the United Nations building in New York and the national parliaments of Australia, Ukraine and New Zealand.

Exhibition of Sri Chinmoy's Art in Ottawa, Canada

“These are among the most beautiful and stunning paintings I have ever seen. I see in Sri Chinmoy's art the joy of creating beauty. His art is the classic example that creating not only is joy, it should be joy. Through his art he takes his joy and shares it with others.”

Hans Janitschek
Former president, United Nations Society of Writers

Video: Sri Chinmoy talks about his art

Video

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18 November

Joy Days around the world

Sri Chinmoy encouraged us to come together every so often for Joy Days - spiritual gatherings that contain plenty of meditation, music and spiritual activities, but also games, the company of spiritual friends and a definite emphasis on happiness.

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Singing and theatrical performances, ping-pong and tug-of-war competitions during Sri Chinmoy Centre Joy Days in Mongolia

These Joy Days could be as small as a few friends meeting together for an outing, or much larger meetings lasting a few days with several Centres or several countries meeting together.

Games galore during a Joy Day in our Dublin Centre

The largest Joy Days take place in Europe and Russia, often with over 700 students of Sri Chinmoy from many different countries taking part. In Europe, the Joy Days usually take place over a weekend, and is quite an organisational feat, with students from many countries giving soulful singing and instrumental performances, as well as sweet and funny plays and humourous sketches. On the Sunday morning, there is usually a group meditation at six o'clock in the morning, followed by a fun two-mile race - Sri Chinmoy loved running, and felt that the outer running and the inner running (i.e. meditation) complemented each other very nicely.

The 2-day schedule for for one of our recent large European Joy Days, with students of Sri Chinmoy coming from all over continental Europe.
We often hold Joy Days in picturesque settings, with plenty of time to explore nature
During a recent Joy Day in Curitiba, Brazil, nine of Sri Chinmoy's students ran the city marathon.

Sri Chinmoy believed that happiness and spiritual progress should go hand in hand:

If you are happy, it will help you to a great extent. If you are unhappy, you won't make any progress at all. On the contrary, you will be marching backwards. Real outer happiness is not self-deception. It does not come from wasting time and indulging in pleasure-life. Real outer happiness is something totally different. It comes from inner joy and inner satisfaction.

Sri Chinmoy 1

Meditations on the beach, delicious food and body-surfing during Joydays in our Centre in Accra, Ghana

As well as Joy Days, Sri Chinmoy's students often meet together outside of our regular meditation for more formal occasions, for example to mark our teacher's birthday, or the anniversary of his passing on October 11, 2007.

Sri Chinmoy's students in Bali gather at his statue in Ubud to mark his Mahasamadhi (passing)

 

25 OctoberLisbon, Portugal

Completion of 2018 Peace Run

Recently, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run completed its journey for 2018. The European Peace Run began back in Sofia Bulgaria in February. Not even heavy snowfalls could dampen the enthusiasm of those who set off on their 24,000km journey. Between March and October, the team of volunteers covered over 24,000km. A distance which included visiting 40 different European countries.

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During the months on the road, the team of runners got to meet a cross-section of society - from schoolchildren to leading government officials. Whoever they met, they shared a simple message of peace and harmony and invited people to participate with their own contribution to creating a better world.

During the closing week in Portugal, the team received a fitting send-off from enthusiastic locals in Lisbon.

In addition to the European section of the Peace Run, there have also been Peace Runs in all the major continents including Asia, Africa, Australasia and America. Each team contributing to a global effort to share the idea of a oneness-world.

"Today’s chaotic world cannot forever remain chaotic. World harmony, world peace: these are not mere dictionary words. These are the realities, divine and supreme realities. For all of us who are aspiring to become good citizens of the world, our Harmony Run is a supremely important inspiration to us all."

- Sri Chinmoy, June 2005


The Experience of being on the Peace Run

Video

Nikolaus Drekonja was on the whole of the North American Peace Run travelling across the US and Canada. The several months of being out on the road was a life-affirming and life-changing experience. In this short video, Nikolaus shares some of the experiences of being on the Run.

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13 October

What Sri Chinmoy's Canadian students have done this year....

Sri Chinmoy sometimes described his spiritual path as having two wings. The first wing is aspiration - drawing closer to God through meditation, prayer and other spiritual disciplines. The other wing Sri Chinmoy called manifestation - connecting with the Universal Consciousness through sharing peace, joy and love with the world.

Purnakama Rajna, a grade school teacher and student of Sri Chinmoy from Winnipeg, reports on some of the many projects Sri Chinmoy's Canadian students worked on this year:

Despite the vastness of our beautiful country, and often long distances between our Sri Chinmoy Centres, Canada’s oneness-heart has come together to engage in many different types of manifestation recently.


Find out more:   Running for Peace   •    Athletic events    •   Celebrating UN Peace Day    •    Concerts of meditation music     •    Meditation classes


 

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Running for Peace

The largest and most recent project was the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a bi-annual torch relay that finds runners from the Sri Chinmoy centers worldwide lacing up and hitting the open road. As they carry a flaming Peace Torch across the miles, they also meet with people in the communities that they run through and deliver a simple message: Peace begins with me.

The Peace Run team with local runners in Vancouver

The people that they meet with also get a chance to hold the Peace Torch and make their own silent wish for peace.

This year the North American leg of the Peace Run visited Canada, the USA and Mexico. The Canadian part of the North American Peace Run did not cover all of Canada, but it did cover a large portion. It started on the west coast in June when the Peace Run team visited and had many wonderful events in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. The largest event that the Peace Run was involved in there was called Hands Across the Border, which took place at Peace Arch Park at the border between British Columbia and Washington. It was an event organized by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and it saw hundreds of children from both Canada and the United States meeting with the Peace Run team, making their own paper torches, and sharing their wishes for peace.  

After dipping down into the United States following the west coast visit, the team came back into Canada around Niagara Falls Ontario, and then travelled all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia stopping at many towns and cities along the way over a three-week period. The team was very fortunate to be hosted by the Sri Chinmoy centers in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax, on their stay in those cities. 

Running in the parade in Halifax

Just like Canada’s many waterways, the Peace Run was like a river flowing with amazing events in each community, from meeting hundreds of children at day camps, planting a peace tree, meeting with city, community and religious leaders, and the grand finale, marching in a parade in Halifax with 40,000 people lining the streets as we marched by with the Peace Run banner.

Being lucky enough to have been one of the participants on the Peace Run, I can say that it was one of the most light filled, joy filled experiences I have ever had.

The Peace Run team did not make it to Winnipeg this year, but the center there came together and organized an event, which saw many children run with the Peace Torch to City Hall to meet the mayor. Mayor Bowman graciously welcomed the children and the local team and gave a very inspiring talk about peace and oneness.

Running events

Running is a very important part of Sri Chinmoy’s path, and while the Peace Run was happening in July, another running manifestation was happening in Ottawa at the same time.

On July 28th, the 37th annual 24 hour race took place in Ottawa. Also included in this was a 12 hour and a 6 hour race. This is one of many ultra-running races that are organized by Sri Chinmoy centers around the world and open to any runners in the community who have a passion for running. Started in 1981, the race is the longest-running 24 hour race in the world and also the world's oldest timed ultra race.

The start of the 24 hour race

Putting on a race of this caliber is no small feat, but this year it was made even more challenging as many of the helpers from the nearby centers who usually volunteer were busy with the Peace Run, and so they had to make do with far fewer volunteers than they are used to. Despite this disadvantage, the Ottawa center rallied together and put on a fantastic race once again.

Celebrating the UN Day of Peace

September 21st was the United Nations Day of Peace. As Sri Chinmoy used to lead twice weekly meditations at the United Nations, many meditation centers around the world like to mark this day with some type of special event.

In Rome they had an exhibition of children’s artwork at the Colisseum to celebrate and commemorate this day.  The artwork came from children from all over the world who expressed their own wishes for peace through their art pieces.  Hundreds of children from Canada from four different provinces also sent their art to be shown at this exhibition.  Many of the summer day camps that were visited on the Peace Run embraced the project and spoke to the children about the motto of the Peace Run - "Peace begins with me". 

Some of the drawings created by Canadian children

Their artwork was one powerful way to express that motto and to show the world the true meaning of peace through the heart of a child.

Also on September 21st, several disciples from the Ottawa center took the Peace Torch to Parliament Hill. No matter what time of year, the Canadian Parliament is host to many tourists, so on September 21st many of those tourists from across the country and around the world had the wonderful opportunity to hold the Peace torch and make their own silent wish for peace.

Concerts of meditative music

Sri Chinmoy was a prolific songwriter, so it comes as no surprise that music plays a very important role in our meditation centers. In Canada we have many musicians and singers who perform at many different events around the world.

Members of Sangit Surabhi performing at our meditations in New York

Sangit Surabhi, a group of female musicians and singers recently performed in Montenegro on a special Christmas trip attended by disciples, as well as in New York in June and August for a special gathering of disciples there. They also regularly perform for meditation classes in Ottawa and Montreal.

Audio: Sangit Surabhi sing a song composed by Sri Chinmoy about the Christ - taken from a performance on Christmas Day, Montenegro 2017.

Pavaka from Montreal is our wandering troubadour who performs regularly with a concert series called Songs of the Soul, which features musicians and singers from around the world. The concerts are offered free of charge to the public and showcase Sri Chinmoy’s music as interpreted by different disciple musical groups. Most recently Pavaka attended a very successful concert tour in Brazil where he offered his talents on guitar, vocals, and bass.  

Audio: A recording of Sri Chinmoy's music by Pavaka's group

Meditation classes

And of course, as with Sri Chinmoy centers around the world, offering free meditation classes is one of the most important and constantly ongoing manifestations that we do. Every center puts on their own classes, but sometimes we are fortunate enough to have guest speakers come in from centers from around the globe. In September, the Ottawa and Montreal centers welcomed Prachar from Australia who gave a series of dynamic talks to seekers about meditation.

As well as hosting guest class-givers, we also sometimes send class-givers abroad to give a fresh perspective on meditation classes. Shishir from Winnipeg will be heading to the Ukraine and parts of Europe in early 2019 for a four-week class giving tour. His lively and friendly approach is always well received, and he has become quite a popular guest speaker.

Utsahi from Ottawa, Canada also travelled to give classes in 3 cities in France this year. Ascharjya from France had this to say:


Utsahi, a student of Sri Chinmoy's since 1987, has been publishing articles and books since he accepted a professor’s position in the mid-1980's. He also created and is still directing a scientific journal. He has lectured on social sciences around the world, and participated frequently in the Parliament of the World's Religions, notably in Barcelona, Salt Lake City, Melbourne and this year in Canada. 

Utsahi is also the owner of a small gift shop, The Garden of Light, whose name was given by Sri Chinmoy when it first opened in 1999. He is a lover of Nepal, where he regularly goes shopping and offers meditation workshops, and from where he brings back his famous singing bowls, sometimes very old and expensive! It is a pleasure for him to make them vibrate and sing during his lectures and meditation workshops.

Utsahi and his Nepalese bowls

During his meditation workshops, he also draws from his experience as a father and from his profession, which puts him in contact with people who, by their culture, their education and/or their life experience, are victims of marginalization and social exclusion. His classes are full of anecdotes, tinged with humor and enhanced by his charming Canadian accent. The classes in France were very successful, with 67 people attending in Nancy, a record for this city. Utsahi also offered three classes in Paris and then moved on to Montpellier for a final series of three lecture in France.

Find out more:

30 SeptemberEdinburgh, United Kingdom

Janaka receives the Order of the Rising Sun

This year, Janaka Alan Spence from the Edinburgh Sri Chinmoy Centre received the Order of the Rising Sun, an honour bestowed by the Japanese government in the name of the Emperor. Janaka, who is one of Scotland’s best-loved poets and authors, received the award for his books of haiku poetry and his novels set in Japan, and for promoting Scottish-Japanese friendship and cultural exchange over many years. 

Janaka recieves the award from the Consul General, Daisuke Matsunaga

Created in 1875, the Order of the Rising Sun is Japan’s third highest honour, and is (with rare exceptions) the highest that can be given to non-royalty or non-politicians. The award was presented by the Japanese Consul-General, Daisuke Matsunaga, in a special ceremony at his residence in Edinburgh.

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Janaka published his first book - a collection of short stories called Its colours they are fine - over 40 years ago. His first book of poetry, Glasgow Zen, was published in 1990, and was followed by The Clear Light and Seasons of the Heart.

I sit inside
the compassionate Buddha
who sits inside
this world of things
which sits inside 
the universe
which sits inside
the great void
which sits inside
my heart.

from 'Glasgow Zen'

crocuses 
where last week
the snow lay thick

 

into the sea I launch
a piece of driftwood – 
with great ceremony!

 

that old/new
smell of fresh
cut grass

 

the flowering plant nods
acknowledging
my gaze
 

Haiku poems from 'Seasons of the Heart' 

Janaka has also written two novels set in Japan and inspired by Japanese historical events. The first novel, The Pure Land, was published in 2006. Night Boat was published in 2014 and retells the life of the Japanese Zen monk Hakuin.

The presentation ceremony was attended by a few dignitaries and friends from the arts, along with friends from the Sri Chinmoy Centre. Janaka sang one of the many songs that Sri Chinmoy wrote in honour of Japan, in both English and in Japanese:

By way of thanks, Janaka later sent this poem by Sri Chinmoy to the Consul-General:

A RISING INNER SUN

If you love knowledge-light
And if you love and need
Wisdom-delight,
Then every day,
Just for a few fleeting seconds,
Dive deep within.
You are bound to see
A rising inner sun
With ever-increasing golden rays.

Sri Chinmoy

Related articles and videos by Janaka:

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