Sri Chinmoy once told a student of his “All I want from you is to be happy and to realise God”. Perhaps many of his students are a good distance away from the second goal, but they can certainly try to achieve the first! In Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy, staying cheerful and happy of paramount importance; when we are depressed or frustrated, it is very hard to make spiritual progress. That is why over the years Sri Chinmoy has come up with one imaginative idea after another to keep his students happy and in the heart.
One thing Sri Chinmoy encourages in this regard is for his students from different meditation centres in different countries to meet up together to meditate, but also to have fun and be happy. These so-called ‘Joy Days’ offer a chance for his students to escape the pressures and responsibilities of the heart and partake of the kind of innocent joy we used to have as children. As well as meditation there could be team games, plays, novelty competitions, treasure hunts, singing and a whole lot besides. Often Sri Chinmoy’s students have to travel great distances to be a part of these Joy Days, but the whole experience serves to burn away the heaviness of the mind’s broodings and leave one refreshed and reenergised.
Over the past weekend there were two such Joy Days: students from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and other countries – over 700 students in total – met up for two days in Heidelberg, Germany, whilst a smaller Joy Day involving almost 70 students from England, France, Scotland, Wales and Ireland took place over two days in the Burren region of the West of Ireland. Joy Days in the former Soviet Union countries, where over one-third of Sri Chinmoy’s students come from, can involve over 1,000 students.