The occasion of Mother Teresa’s canonisation brought to mind many memories of the kindness and affection that she showed Sri Chinmoy and his students over the years.
Sri Chinmoy and Mother Teresa had a very significant friendship; Sri Chinmoy often described her as his mother of Compassion, and at the same time his Sister of Affection. Over the years, they met quite a few times, and exchanged many letters and phone conversations. Sri Chinmoy and his students worked with Mother Teresa on a number of medical projects that were dear to her heart and she fully supported his peace-oriented activities.
Sri Chinmoy often recalled Mother Teresa’s qualities of affection and compassion; for example, during their meeting in 1994 when he presented her with the prestigious U Thant Peace Award on behalf of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations.
“We were sitting at a very small table. My hands were folded over my heart,” recounts Sri Chinmoy. “After a few seconds, Mother reached out and pulled my left hand towards her. Then she started pressing my fingers, one by one, from the tip of the finger to the wrist. When she finished with my left hand, she took my right hand from my heart and did the same thing. One moment Mother was acting like a mother, the next moment like an elder sister and the third like a younger sister. It was like a brother and sister having a family gathering. No other world figure has shown me this kind of affection!”
The past few months have seen publications of Sri Chinmoy’s writings in many places around the world to an appreciative audience.
To celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, the Czech Sri Chinmoy Centre published a new box of gift cards entitled “Be Happy,” decorated with beautiful photographs and aphorisms on happiness by Sri Chinmoy. The advertising featured beautiful posters which could be seen all over the Czech Republic.
Today is President Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and the Sri Chinmoy Centre would like to add its best wishes to the millions of birthday greetings from all around the world. Sri Chinmoy was a great admirer-friend of President Mandela, and the two had several warm and significant meetings.
Sri Chinmoy wrote a book called Nelson Mandela: The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth in his honour – below are some of the poems from the book:
“He tells poorer than the poorest human beings
In every possible way:
‘Let us dream together.
The Golden Dawn
Will soon burst forth!’”
“President Mandela’s very name
Builds a hope-cathedral
In the heart of despair-flooded humanity.”
Sri Chinmoy –
“I cannot express in words my joy! What you are doing is in the interest of the entire humanity and the world.” – Nelson Mandela to Sri Chinmoy, meeting in South Africa, 1996
The above photo shows Sri Chinmoy and Nelson Mandela and his wife, Mama Graca holding the torch of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, which Sri Chinmoy founded in 1987. While holding the torch President Mandela said: “We are with you in upholding peace, which brings solace to many people throughout the world. It doesn’t matter what language they speak. I think peace is one of the things that is going to save the world.”
In a statement released on his birthday, President Mandela’s health is reported to be steadily improving.
Samunnati Natalia Lehonkova, a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Ukraine, won the Belfast Marathon in a time of 2:36:50, a personal best and a new course record.
It is the latest in a string of marathon victories, having won in Edinburgh and Toulouse within the past year. Over 17,000 people took part in the Belfast marathon this year.
Samunnati is a frequent participant in the World Harmony Run, a torch relay event that travels the globe carrying a message of international friendship and understanding. She has been part of the international team for many European runs and in 2008 she joined the team in Australia as it circumnavigated the entire continent. The below photograph shows her carrying the Torch during a 2012 run in the Czech Republic.
An audio book containing selected writings by Sri Chinmoy read out by 17 diplomatic, musical and athletic luminaries – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 9-time Olympian Carl Lewis – was launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The launch took place on the eve of the first UN International Day of Happiness, to celebrate that landmark event. The chapters of the celebrity audio book contains inspiring passages and poems deal that are divided into themes such as patience, gratitude and enthusiasm – qualities that can be cultivated to gain lasting happiness.
Over 500 United Nations ambassadors, delegates, staff and members of NGOs were present at the launch. “These sweet gems of wisdom by my dear friend Sri Chinmoy are timeless truths full of encouragement, love and goodness,” Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said in a video message. “Sri Chinmoy was a pioneer in forging a grand alliance of hearts and minds for the culture of peace,“ said Anwarul Chowdhury, Special Advisor and former Under-Secretry-General to the United Nations, in his introduction.
Renowned composer Philip Glass performed on the piano while Cathy Oerter, co-founder of Art of the Olympians and wife of legendary Olympian Al Oerter, and Ashrita Furman, holder of the most Guinness World Records, read from the book live.
A special message from peace activist Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, and former Member of Parliament in South Africa, was also read out.
Among the 17 outstanding individuals who read a chapter of the new audio book:
Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
5-time Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Roberta Flack
Olympic legend Carl Lewis
Emmy and Tony award winning actress Judith Light
legendary Russian singer Boris Grebenshikov.
The Jewels of Happiness presents selected writings of Indian born Sri Chinmoy, who offered twice-weekly peace meditations for delegates and staff at the United Nations for 37 years. He also initiated global programmes to foster peace and happiness including the world’s largest relay run for international friendship and peace.
The audio book is available on itunes and audible.com and its proceeds will go to charities for children worldwide: Nelson Mandela Childrens Fund, Philani Nutrition and Development Project in South Africa and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
A statue of Sri Chinmoy offering a peace torch has been inaugurated in front of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste (East Timor), in a ceremony attended by dignitaries from all sections of Timorese society, including the President and the current and former Prime Ministers.
There were many speakers at the ceremony. A representative of Bishop of Dili opened the proceedings. The World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award was presented to the current Prime Minister, H.E. Xanana Gusmão, and Timor-Leste’s first Prime Minister, H.E. Mari Alkatiri.
There was a very nice moment where Mr Gusmão, ran from the entrance the entrance with the Torch, and passed it to Dr Alkatiri, who in turn ran up the steps of the parliament and gave it to the President, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak.
A choir of Sri Chinmoy’s students sang a song Sri Chinmoy had written in honour of East Timor, and also his song and ‘A New World of Peace’. The President then cut the ribbon to inaugurate the statue.
A light moment between the current and former Prime Ministers.
A choir of singers from Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations gave the opening performance at a special event called ‘United for a Culture of Peace through Interfaith Harmony’ which took place at the UN in New York. Guest speakers included the President of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Deputy Secretary-General H.E. Amb. Jan Eliasson, and a host of UN diplomats, ambassadors, and interfaith leaders.
In 1970, then Secretary-General U Thant invited Sri Chinmoy to conduct twice-weekly non-denominational peace meditations for delegates and staff at the United Nations. The singers included current and past UN workers, and have been performing Sri Chinmoy’s songs for many years at the United Nations and around the world.
The event also included videos of World Interfaith Harmony week celebrations around the world, a symphony of peace prayers, and a World Peace Flag ceremony.
Every Christmas, Sri Chinmoy used to travel with his students to different countries on a Christmas retreat, a tradition his students still honour today. Noivedya Juddery gives an account of his retreat experience in Indonesia. Continue reading “A Christmas meditative retreat”