Guinness World Record for Peace Poem

On April 10th, 2014, representatives from around the world joined together to set a new Guinness World Record for reciting a poem into the most number of languages – 203. The poem by Sri Chinmoy on peace was recited by more than fifty UN ambassadors, diplomats and Olympians; these distinguished guests joined with Guinness top record holder Ashrita Furman, and participants of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run.

Representatives from around the world who recited the poem

The Guinness Record Poem written by Sri Chinmoy

“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.”

Ashrita Furman announces record
Ashrita Furman announces record

The 206 languages ranged from Bengali and Maori to Newari and Zulu, it meant that the poem “O Dreamers of Peace” was expressed with some of the most unusual and charming communication sounds on the globe. The record was set during the launch of the global biennial Peace Run held at the Dag Hammarsköld Plaza across from UN Headquarters in New York City. It was here that Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy led the Peace Meditation at the United Nations twice a week for 37 years. Ashrita said he wanted to break a Guinness Record this week in honour of the Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary of the arrival in America of Sri Chinmoy 50 years ago.

Amb. Anwarul Chowdhury from Bangladesh

The Peace Run and Guinness Record were highlighted by long-time UN Under-Secretary-General Amb. Anwarul Chowdhury, a long-time friend and countryman of Sri Chinmoy, who said: “This Peace Run symbolises the aspirations of all of us for world friendship and global peace and was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987—a visionary of peace and a person who believed in the oneness of humanity.”

Continue reading “Guinness World Record for Peace Poem”

World’s largest incense stick

On 27 August, Ashrita Furman and a team of friends constructed the world’s largest incense stick and incense holder in honour of their teacher – Sri Chinmoy’s birthday. The incense stick reached a height of 31 feet (9.45 meter), a circumference of 76 centimeter (beating the previous incense stick of 28.87 feet).


Ashrita, who is the holder of 163 current Guinness World Records, explained the choice of this record:

“We choose an incense stick to express our gratitude to our meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, who would have been 82 on August 27th. He showed us a way to find inner peace and tranquility in a world of turmoil and stress.”

It took thirteen days to build the stick and incense holder; the team included 20 people, among them an engineer and incense expert Nikhil Divekar from Panaji (Goa) in India. The incense was Nag Champa fragrance and had to be put on in several layers to give it enough time to dry.


As a teenager Furman got inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of self-transcendence. Indian born Sri Chinmoy also set many records, such as writing 1,301 poems in 24 hours and composing 21,000 songs during his lifetime. Furman attributes his success at breaking records to meditation, which he has practiced daily for over 30 years. Meditation helps him keep his childlike spirit as well as his mental and physical power which is needed to continuously set world records. Ashrita started setting Guinness World Records 34 years ago and hasn’t stopped yet. “Going beyond your every day capacity is such a fulfilling feeling. The day I break a record I’m just happy the whole day,” he says. “I’m trying to show others that our human capacity is unlimited, if we can truly believe in ourselves,”


The Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and in 37 languages and is one of the highest-selling books. More than 120 million copies were sold worldwide since its’ first publication in 1955.

photos: Apaguha


Ashrita breaks new record at Run & Become anniversary

Last June “Run & Become” the UK based chain of running stores founded by students of Sri Chinmoy celebrated its 30th anniversary. As part of  the celebrations Ashrita Furman broke a new Guinness Book record by popping 170 balloons in one minute. Ashrita, himself a student of Sri Chinmoy, is known for holding the most Guinness Book records in the world.

Ashrita busy at breaking one of his 100+ Guinness Book records

Legendary marathon runner Ron Hill paid a special visit to the London shop to congratulate the staff with their anniversary. “Run & Become” also received special accolades from Barefoot Ted, the barefoot runner made famous by his appearance in Christopher McDougall’s bestseller ‘Born to Run’.

Ron Hill poses with Run & Become owners Shankara and Dipika

“I can tell you with great confidence that the exuberance and aura of good energy that I feel around the people of Run and Become is something I haven’t forgotten and am thankful to have had the opportunity to be exposed to.” -Barefoot Ted

Ashrita and Barefoot Ted met and inspired each other by swapping record ideas. Ashrita says he is able to break world records by using prayer, meditation and visualization.

Ashrita (left) and Barefoot Ted



Sri Chinmoy’s 80th Birthday

August 27th, 2011 was the 80th anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.

New York Councilman and Park Director complete the world's longest garland in honour of Sri Chinmoy's 80th birthday. (photo Prashphutita)

To mark the occasion, Ashrita Furman and 170 members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team created a new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest garland of flowers.

NY-Councilman and Park Director complete the world's longest garland (photo-Jowan-Gauthier)

Using 80,000 carnations, the team created a 2.15 mile garland of flowers around a lake in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Ashrita Furman spoke of the event:

“My friends and I have a tradition to express our gratitude to Sri Chinmoy as he inspires us to discover inner peace, joy and strength through meditation. On the occasion of Sri Chinmoy’s 80th birthday anniversary we wanted to do something special. The huge garland expresses the deep gratitude we feel. There was an great feeling of oneness and harmony because people from 35 countries were connected by the garland in a circle symbolising planet earth.”

Continue reading “Sri Chinmoy’s 80th Birthday”

Ashrita Furman—Top Record Breaker of the Decade

Officially the most prolific Guinness World Record breaker of all time—a total of 265 records set over the last three decades, and currently holding 108—Ashrita Furman of Queens, New York is now one of the most popular, voted as the leading claimant of the decade by members of public at the Guinness World Records website.

“With so many remarkable achievements over the past decade we decided to let the fans dictate the best of the best,” explained Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief. “After thousands of votes the Top Records of the Decade does not disappoint.”

Ashrita, an anything but disappointing 54 year old health-food store manager, and possibly a better advertisement for good health than the products he sells, set his first record in 1979 by performing the most star jumps—an astounding 27,000—and has since gained the monikers Mr Versatility and Mr Guinness Records by hopping, skipping and juggling his way to records on all seven continents, and in disciplines as diverse as the most pogostick jumps in one minute (238), the fastest mile somersaulting (19 min 11 sec), and standing on a swiss ball for the longest time (3 hrs 38 min).

As one of the top record breakers of the 2000s, Ashrita joins an illustrious field including Usain Bolt, whose 2008 9.69 second 100m was voted the top sports record, and Barack Obama, who made history and the record books as the first African-American U.S. President.

World’s Largest Lollipop

August 27, 2009. On the occasion of Sri Chinmoy’s birth anniversary, New Yorker Ashrita Furman unveiled the world’s largest lollipop with a weight of 6,706 pounds (3041 kg). It surpasses the previous Guinness World Record for a giant lollipop by almost 2,000 pounds (907 kg). Ashrita Furman, holder of the most Guinness records, was the architect behind the feat accompanied by an international team of over 25 assistants.

World's Largest Lollipopr
World's Largest Lollipop - Photo by Jowan Gauthier

The 6,706 pound (3041 kg) lollipop is 10 feet (3 m) in diameter and 10 inches (25 cm) thick. The huge red candy is made of sugar and corn syrup, which was melted in hundred 100-gallon (380 litre) pots. Including the stick it has the height of 25 feet (7.50 m). This size ensures Ashrita Furman a new entry into the Guinness Book, because the previous largest lollipop was 4,759 pounds (2158 kg).

Continue reading “World’s Largest Lollipop”

New World Record for Candles on Cake

47000 candles

Guinness world record champion Ashrita Furman set a new world record with an international team in Queens, New York, by lighting 48,523 candles to burn simultaneously on a huge cake. Furman is the holder of 85 currently standing Guinness world records—more than any other Guinness figure. His 48,000-candle event will become his 86th record. Furman staged the event on a cake spanning 52 by 17 feet (15.8 by 5.2 meters.) Furman, manager of a New York health food store, dedicated the new Guinness Record as an expression of gratitude to his Indian born spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), who would have reached the age of 77 on 27 August 2008. Furman stated: “Sri Chinmoy has such a giant heart, so we want to celebrate his birthday with a giant cake.”

A team of 200 helpers spent several hours counting and inserting the 48,000 small, colourful birthday candles in a cake spanning 52 by 17 feet. The candles were lit in a space of just two minutes by a second team of 80 assistants with blow torches. The audience of 1100 friends and supporters of Sri Chinmoy’s lifetime of work for world harmony sang the traditional “Happy Birthday” song. Sri Chinmoy is the initiator of the World Harmony Run which brought together millions of people in 140 countries in the spirit of friendship since 1987. After the candles were extinguished, many members of the audience enjoyed a piece of cake.

Furman had been waiting to attempt the new record after his previous record of 27,000 candles was upset by a Canadian team who lit 30,000 candles in September, 2006. Other Guinness world records by Furman include the largest flower bouquet (101,791 roses), underwater juggling, bobbing 33 apples in one minute and covering a mile the fastest while twirling a hula hoop and balancing a milk bottle on his head.

Further reading:

A celebration of all the talents

A diverse festival of of cultural, athletic, musical and spiritual events concluded in Queens, New York just last week. The two-week celebration took place to commemorate 76 years in the life of Sri Chinmoy, who over the past forty years has gained international acclaim for his contributions to philosophy, world harmony and interfaith relations. The wide array of events was intended to serve as a living demonstration that every kind of human talent – including art, music, theatre, athletics, and poetry – has a role to play in bring about a better world.

The two-week festival was graced by the presence of the musician Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov, a household name in his native Russia, and whose band, Aquarium, were involved in many of the landmark steps towards full artistic freedom as Russia emerged from Communist rule. On August 29th, Boris played a solo concert in the United Nations to enthusiastic acclaim (see separate blog entry for more details); a few days earlier, the same building had also played host to an all-female ensemble from the Sri Chinmoy Centre who have performed concerts of meditative music to audiences all around the world for the past 25 years. Many other musical performances took place over the two weeks; one particularly notable performance on August 18th featured an 80-strong orchestra led by Swiss musician Panchajanya Burri, performing a multi-part arrangement of the legendary Bangladeshi composer Kazi Nazrul Islam’s immortal song He Partha Sarathi. A classical music evening took place on August 28th, where performers from all over the world performed classical and folk arrangements from their own countries.

An unmistakeable highlight of the event was the unveiling of the largest pencil ever created, a 76 foot long monster weighing in at an enormous 18,000 pounds, built by an international volunteer team led by Ashrita Furman (see separate blog entry for more details). During the two-week period, Ashrita also set four other Guinness records, including an amazing three in the space of just one day – performing 36 deep knee bends on a Swiss balancing ball without falling off, catching a water balloon thrown from a distance of 64 feet without bursting it, and running a mile in just over nine minutes whilst simultaneously bouncing three balls on the ground! A few days later he also achieved a long-cherished goal of breaking the record for balancing the most glasses on his chin. This record was a particularly gratifying one for Ashrita, as he had been trying unsuccesfully to break it for years.

A selection of Sri Chinmoy’s paintings created between 2004 and 2007 were also displayed as part of an ongoing ‘Art in the Garden’ exhibition series. Sri Chinmoy calls his paintings ‘Jharna-Kala‘, which means ‘fountain art’ in his native Bengali: the name describes the manner in which he composes the paintings in a spontaneous flow coming from the heart. For these particular paintings, Sri Chinmoy first wrote down a quality or ideal such as ‘Compassion’ or ‘Tolerance’, and then spontaneously created acrylic drawings based on his heart’s feeling about that quality. No less than ten of the paintings in the exhibition featured the name ‘World Harmony’ – Sri Chinmoy has been at the forefront of many initiatives to further the cause of world harmony, the most well-known being the World Harmony Run, a global Olympic-style torch relay run which passes through over 70 countries around the world bringing people together in a spirit of friendship and understanding.

Other events that took place included a stirring talk on the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, and a virtuoso theatrical production by American director Natabara Rollinson. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, the sporting organisation founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1977, also held a marathon on August 25th which attracted almost 1,000 people; Sri Chinmoy has long been a believer in sport as a powerful instrument for bringing people together and creating a better world.

The organisers hope that the range of events have inspired the people who saw them to pursue their own dreams in life. “I feel inspiration is of paramount importance.“, Sri Chinmoy explains. “If I can inspire someone, and if that person also can inspire me, then we can do many good things for the betterment of this world. If I am inspired, you are inspired and he is inspired, then we shall be able to work together. When we are not inspired, we find fault with other human beings; we quarrel, fight and do many deplorable things. But if we are inspired, then we do many good things for the improvement of this world.”

World’s largest pencil unveiled in New York

World's largest pencil

An international group of volunteers led by multiple Guinness world record holder, Ashrita Furman, have just constructed a 76 foot long pencil in Queens, New York, the longest pencil in the world. The pencil was unveiled to coincide with a commemorative function celebrating 76 years in the life of Sri Chinmoy, the internationally respected artist and humanitarian.

The pencil weighs in at over 18,000 pounds, with a 2 1/2 foot long eraser at its end. The ‘lead’ alone weighs over 4,500 pounds, and is made using a graphite core 10 inches thick, which had to be sharpened at the end using a powerful Sawzall reciprocating electric saw instead of your average pencil sharpener. A whopping fifty gallons of paint were needed to finish off the outside of the pencil. In all, an estimated two million regular pencils could be made out of the materials used in the construction.

Forty volunteers from twenty different countries spent two weeks constructing the pencil, working from 7am to 8pm every day with the occasional night shift as the project neared completion. For the project leader, Ashrita Furman, this record will be added to the 70 Guinness records he already holds. Ashrita, a health food store manager from Queens, has held the Guinness ‘versatility’ record for holding more Guinness world records than anyone else on the planet for the past twenty years. Ashrita first began breaking records way back in 1979, and since then has performed feats such as somersaulting the entire length of Paul Revere’s ride in Massachusetts, underwater pogo sticking in the Amazon, performing almost 10,000 situps in an hour under the Eiffel Tower, and bouncing the fastest mile on a pogo stick in Antarctica! In fact, he led a team to break this very same record back in 1996, building a 20 1/2 foot pencil which weighed 560 pounds, and which currently resides in the Guinness Record Museum in Niagara Falls, Canada. This record was shattered in 2002 by the famous stationery company Faber-Castell, who built a giant 64-foot pencil to adorn their offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ashrita’s motivation in breaking records is to show people what is possible if they truly believe in their own potential. ”We should always push ourselves to do something greater“, he says. “What I love about the Guinness Book is that I can just go through it and choose something that I’ve never done before, train for it, and become the best in the world at that event. In a way, that’s also a challenge for me: to figure out how to train, the best way to train. The underlying principles are the same in my case, because in the end I’m going back to the inner stream, to the principles of discovering your own inner resources.

Ashrita credits Sri Chinmoy with teaching him this philosophy of always transcending ones outer limits, and the record-breaking pencil is a token of appreciation for the tireless service Sri Chinmoy has performed in the cause of making people aware of what they are truly capable of. “I am not a natural athlete, but Sri Chinmoy has shown me that if one can be in touch with one’s inner spirit, anything is possible.”, reflects Ashrita. For over forty years, Sri Chinmoy has been making prolific contributions in the fields of art, music, poetry and athletics – all to give a glimpse of what we are capable of if we but aside the mind’s hesitations and pursue our dreams. Interestingly enough, a significant portion of Sri Chinmoy’s artistic ouevre is comprised of pencil and marker drawings – many of them form part of his ‘Soul-Birds’ series, in which he depicts the unfettered human soul in the form of a bird. To date, he has drawn over 15 million of these birds ever since he began the series back in 1991. “For me, birds have a very special significance on a spiritual level.”, Sri Chinmoy comments on his drawings. “They fly in the sky, and the sky is all freedom. So when the birds fly in the sky, they remind me of the soul’s infinite freedom. I feel that if people come here to view these birds, their inner hunger to fly in the sky of infinite freedom will be fed.”

Blog entries on the world largest pencil:

3 Guinness world records in one day

A New York health food store manager and student of Sri Chinmoy, Ashrita Furman, holds over 60 Guiness World records, and seems to be increasing his tally more rapidly as he gets older. Last Sunday, he attempted the remarkable feat of breaking three records in one day. First, Ashrita attempted to break his own previous mark of 30 deep knee bends performed on a Swiss balancing ball in one minute. This is a very demanding record, requiring both balance and stamina, but Ashrita managed to get his record-breaking day off to a good start with a total of 36.

Then off to the local baseball park to break the second record – the longest distance a water balloon can be thrown or caught without breaking it. Ashrita stood at one end of the park, trying to catch the balloons thrown by his friend and frequent record collaborator Bipin Larkin. After a couple of attempts which resulted in burst balloons (and a dripping wet Ashrita!), they managed to set a new mark of 65 and a half feet, eleven feet longer than the previous mark.

Now for the final record of the day – the fastest mile whilst simultaneously bouncing three balls on the ground. Unlike the previous two records, there was no existing mark to transcend, as the category had only just been approved by Guinness for inclusion in their book. Nonetheless Ashrita was determined to inaugurate the record with a bang, and he set a new mark of just over nine minutes – a tough act for anyone to follow.

New Guinness record by Ashrita Furman

Ashrita Furman, a long-time student of Sri Chinmoy and the holder of more Guinness world records than any other human being on earth, added another one to his tally yesterday. In an underwater pool in Key West. Florida he set the record for the longest time spent underwater, twirling the hula around his hips for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Ashrita credits Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of self-transcendence with inspiring him to break records. His records vary from the most cigar boxes balanced on one chin to the fastest mile balancing a milk bottle on his head. He is currently 52 years old, but if anything, he is increasing the rate at which he breaks records, breaking over forty in the past two years.

Related links:

An inspiring interview – Ashrita talks with ‘What is Enlightenment’ magazine about Sri Chinmoy, his meditation experiences and how he came to start breaking records.