She had always been moved and deeply touched by Sri Chinmoy’s comments about the spiritual value of giving, and at some heartfelt and intuitive level felt that she really understood what this meant and how it worked in that preternatural inner world where everything connected, the giving that enabled receiving, of love deepened by desirelessness, the happiness she had known in penury, and how gratitude attracted grace and humility won power, the polarities and opposites all interwoven, the paradoxes untangled and resolved. So for many years she practiced non-attachment, made a point of giving away as much of what little was hers, especially the things she most cherished. Like the splendidly serene stone image from that roadside stall in Asia, which more than anything she had ever seen embodied the feeling and flavor of enlightenment, its utter detachment and unshakeable calm.
When she held it in her palms, the partly open eyes watching her but withdrawn within, it comforted her, it was her own future Self. It lay at the heart of her life and summoned some intimation of her own final purpose, that freedom which was the only thing that had ever really interested her in the endless verisimilitude of life. The cold yellow stone warmed her heart, its meditative half smile soothing, hushing the mind – its composure was eloquent and breathtaking and beautiful. Only her own guru had surpassed this image – she recognized in her smiling teacher that even greater attainment that cannot be described or grasped …its orbit from the familiar earth too far away to understand.
Till one day even this she gave away, a gift to someone she really cared for. When it had gone – there was only the pale mark on her shrine where it had sat – she knew that she had gathered it even more closely into her heart and that the act of giving it away had brought it closer, its consciousness now a part of her. The carved yellow river stone smiled through her eyes, meditated in the dawn stillness, watched peacefully her own unfolding life, and her life ending. The enlightenment stone was the last thing my wife Subarata ever gave away before her passing.
In early 1998 Sri Chinmoy completed what was then his most prodigious poetic work – the 270 volumes of his monumental 27,000 Aspiration-Plants – and so concluded an epic venture spanning almost fourteen years. It was another of those relentlessly sustained and patient undertakings which together coursed like a braided river through his life, those multiple strands of inspiration, of paintings and Soul-Birds and music and wonderfully original things.
One evening we were with Sri Chinmoy shortly after the last poem in this series had been written. He asked my wife Subarata and I how New Zealand intended to commemorate the culmination of this vast poetic work, and watched us while we discussed various ideas, mostly predictable and rather unimaginative ones.
Unhappy with our own thoughts, we asked him if he instead would think of things that would really make him happy. Sri Chinmoy rose and went through a doorway into an adjoining room for two or three minutes – then came back with a series of ideas that quite astonished us. It was as though he had also stepped through an unseen portal into another world where the future, the unimagined, the possible, lay awaiting its manifestation – and gathered from there a few trinkets to bring back. The first of these? – that we shake 27,000 people’s hands, giving each of these people a card of poems and a sweet!
This unique challenge quite consumed us for some time. We visited school assemblies, announcing a handshaking record attempt to honour this achievement; stood at escalators in shopping malls with a microphone to announce ourselves, armed with a hand held manual counter to accurately record numbers; visited universities and busy streets; toured towns, distributed 27,000 sweets, gave away 27,000 large cards – each carrying an explanation of Sri Chinmoy’s achievement and a sample sprinkling of 27 poems:
“If you want to remain always happy
Always perfect and always fulfilled,
Then always keep inside your heart
A pocketful of sweet dreams.”
Everything about this unusual commemoration charmed people a lot, and left 27,000 spirit-awakening, heart-warming mementos with their 27 inspirational poems scattered throughout this peace hungry world .
The old Slovenian farmer grinned through a few remaining teeth and waved to us.
“Mir” I called out. ‘Peace!’
“Svetonia Mir!” World Peace.
He waved enthusiastically again in response.
I am told that the World Harmony Run was greeted by ecstatic villagers only days after the Balkan war ended in the early 90’s. Perhaps the old man remembers us from those days or quite possibly the symbol of peace – an Olympic style torch clasped by a runner – resonated deeply with him.
There were many hugely memorable moments in the two weeks that I, a New Zealand citizen, experienced when I recently joined the relay for peace that travels through 49 European countries every two years.
Local running groups, mayors and school children all had a chance to run with the team to hold the iconic torch.
We could proudly tell people that such luminaries as Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela had participated in our programme and that now “each one of you can also hold our torch and make a wish for a better world”.
The World Harmony Run visits over 80 nations each year and inspires countless lives with its simple message – that we each can help to bring about a brighter future for all of mankind by building an individually more peaceful world. Like the ripples from a stone tossed into a pool, our thoughts and everyday actions impact on the world around us and shape it in every moment.
And like those champions of humanity, each individual is encouraged to help build a happier world with their thoughts and actions. If any proof was needed then it was us – school teachers, engineers, waiters and painters – who could spread goodwill through an event like this in our spare time.
Just ask an old farmer in Slovenia – he might nod in agreement.
~ Daniel Rubin
Daniel, who has been meditating since 1997, has been inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s vision to share peace at a grassroots level and has participated in the Peace Run and the World Harmony Run in many countries around the world.
In August of this year, I bought a CD entitled ‘I Prayerfully Bow’. The album is subtitled ‘Flute with Tibetan Singing Bowls, Tambura & Aum Chant’. The flute music is played by Premik Russell Tubbs, the Tibetan singing bowls played by Utsahi St-Amand and the AUM chant by Sri Chinmoy.
I was intrigued by the titles and explanation, so I purchased the album without an inkling of what it sounds like. It turns out to be one of my favourite recordings to use for meditation and I have been using it almost every day.
The AUM chant alone creates such an immense sense of sacredness deep within and all around. It immediately calms my body and mind – all mental chatter disappears in response to that sublime and ancient sound, and a deep stillness and expansiveness comes to me.
I understand the quotation on the back of the album from Sri Chinmoy: “When we chant Aum, what actually happens is that we bring down Peace and Light from above and create a universal harmony within and without us. When we repeat Aum, both our inner and our outer beings become inspired and surcharged with divine Light and aspiration”
On top of that, the serene flute music and the Tibetan sounds take your consciousness into a colourful inner landscape of beauty.
Interspersed with each segment of flute music are the English transliterations of ancient Sanskirt prayers that begin with ‘I prayerfully bow to….’, with all 61 devotional mantric verses invoking the different Hindu Gods and Goddess.
The multitude of Hindu deities are the personifications of the infinite aspects of the Divine, the 1001 faces of God.
This is shown quite clearly in the translations by Sri Chinmoy. An example:
Aum Uccharaya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the highest Absolute Lord Supreme.
Aum Viraya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the Hero Supreme.
Aum Mukundaya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the One who gives Liberation-Light.
Aum Achyutaya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the Immutable One.
Aum Surjaya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the Sun God.
Aum Pranaya namaha
I prayerfully bow to the Supreme who owns the Universal Life-Breath.
One surprising element found in the transliteration of these sacred prayers is that some of the prayers are invocations of the impersonal God…
Aum Abhabe namaha
I prayerfully bow to the One who is not to be found in the creation and Who is beyond the creation.
Aum Krishnayam namaha
I prayerfully bow to the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.
Whilst these ancient prayers invoke a deep sense of reverence and gratitude during meditation, they are also perfect for contemplation throughout the day.
~ By Durba (Durba is an enthusiastic member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Auckland, New Zealand)
When asking the question about whether you have ever meditated before to a room full of people embarking on an introductory meditation course, I am sure to always get a handful of people, at least, who firmly declare “No, never”.
You also may like to contemplate this question, but ask yourself any of the following instead:
Have you ever been at the seaside, looking out at the vastness of the deep ocean and felt something deeper and vaster within you?
Have you ever been immersed in a forest of trees and suddenly experienced having no thoughts, only a feeling of being at one with nature?
Have you ever stood on a clifftop and gazed out at the horizon to see a most glorious sunrise or sunset and felt an expansion within your own heart?
Have you ever had a child smile at you or offer you a hug for no reason, and felt this unconditional love deep within your own being?
Have you ever played a musical instrument and suddenly not required to look at the notes on the page but instead instrument and musician become as one and you feel transported to a higher space within?
Have you ever played a sport or gone running and without trying you are suddenly playing or running effortlessly, free-flowing and totally enjoying the moment?
Any of these moments above could be called spontaneous meditations or “magic moments” – they are sporadic and you often have no control over when they occur, how frequently or for how long. You have probably (in one of these moments or a similar situation) felt a few minutes of meditation; a higher consciousness; a space between the thoughts where your own inner state has expanded into peace or delight.
All of these lovely experiences have probably touched you and left you with a sweet memory of this fleeting instant, however when it is 4.30pm and the workload on your desk is sky high, your boss is pressing demands upon you and your stress-limit has hit the ceiling, you can’t just fling back the curtains to gaze meditatively at that gorgeous coloured sunset; or have a beautiful, pure child skip into the room and offer you a radiant smile and loving hug…life just doesn’t work that way. You need to put in the work too.
So instead of getting stressed out all year and waiting for your 4 weeks annual leave to feel a little bit of peace on your holiday, only to come back to work and on Day Two you feel just as stressed out again………..
By establishing a daily meditation practice, you can take control over those once-sporadic “magic moments”, and go on your own stress-releasing, bliss-inducing, peace-fulfilling mini-holiday EVERY DAY when you first awake! You don’t need to wait for opportunities to enter into the beauty of nature to try to feel that little glimpse of peace, you can consciously and solidly bring peace into your very own daily life by meditating first thing – early each day. Then when you enter the busy, stressful chaos that used to be your daily routine, you will have a storehouse of peace from which to draw upon – within your own heart!
Hridayinee, who is originally from Australia, has been practicing meditation for 18 years and offering free meditation classes for 13 years.
In my early years of exploring meditation and the little known subject of reincarnation, I came across a rather discouraging description of the long passage of time the soul supposedly takes from its very earliest entry into the earth arena until its full blossoming in God-realization. Imagine, said the words of an old Indian text, a beautiful white bird flying to a large lake once every several thousand years and taking away a single drop of water in its beak – the length of time it takes for the bird to empty the lake is a description – metaphorical of course – of how long it takes for this journey to be concluded, for realization or self blossoming to be won.A rather bleak thought! But encouragingly, it did add the further comment that for those who have a curiosity or an awakening interest in spirituality, the lake is almost empty and the long journey of the soul is not in front of us but already behind us. My own teacher Sri Chinmoy had a rather more encouraging view of all this, and saw will power and intense aspiration as the key forces that govern the time we will take to achieve that final yoga or union with God. It is in fact we who decide how long our journey will take, not a pre-determined destiny. In the words of Sri Aurobindo: “Fate can be changed by an unchanging will.” Sri Chinmoy saw every kind of spiritual quest as something precious, every faltering effort at meditation a step towards illumination, each truth seeker an awakening soul setting forth….and laid out very clear guidelines that would add velocity and direction to our journey. Like the map of a beckoning new world, he plotted out the requisite steps for us to take, offered us guidance in our great search for happiness, and helped us navigate the uncharted perils and shoals of our lives. He filled us with courage and purpose. Among Sri Chinmoy’s vast collection of musical compositions is the popular song ‘Dak eseche’ – translated it tells us, the path travellers, ‘Call has come, call has come, God is calling you’. Its message is simple – we are meditating because our souls are responding to a call from God, from the universe. Always feel gratitude when you meditate, he often reminded us, for gratitude will always help you feel the sacredness of your spiritual life. It is always a pleasure to share the key secrets of meditation with seekers and students in our free workshops around New Zealand – and to pass on to them the view held by all the great teachers, that they have each reached a very special point in their life journey. God has tapped them on the shoulder….’wake up!’ In the image of the bird and the receding waters of the lake, the long journey is now largely over, the goal almost won. “In our birth” Sri Chinmoy reminds us,” life lives in the body. In our death, life lives in the spirit……We are our own fate-makers.” Author : Jogyata Dallas (Auckland, New Zealand)
Two times Kepler Challenge winner Vajin Armstrong , a member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and the person whose running shoes you’ll probably only glimpse receding way off into the distance, was guest enchanter at a recent evening about running, meditation and nutrition in Auckland’s CBD this month. Eighty people filled the marathon team’s HQ and listened to an inspirational talk on fitness breakthroughs, the role of meditation in tapping into the positive energies of the mind, and the importance of nutrition in optimizing our athletic potential.
A long time vegetarian, Vajin’s last topic inspired a flurry of questions and unearthed a rich lode of remarkable facts about the body’s mechanisms when under the stress of a 100 mile mountain race or a six hour dash through Fiordland National Park. Remarkably, many top trail runners globally are on the same dietary regime and have shared their information on the superfoods, dietary secrets and hi-octane sports nutrition in a number of recent publications about ultra races.
Vajin also spoke of the longest certified race in the world, the Sri Chinmoy inspired 3100 mile epic that is held in New York’s high-humidity sweltering summer every year – athletes cover over 90kms a day for some fifty four days consecutively! Gasps of incredulity – but Vajin very nicely elaborated on the infinite potential of the human body when harnessed to the power of the mind and the spiritual forces accessed through meditation, quoting Sri Chinmoy’s remark that “we are all truly unlimited if we only dare to try and have faith.”
A remarkable highlight of the evening was a short film entitled “Challenging Impossibility”. An award winning documentary from the Cannes Film Festival, the 30 minute film charted the astonishing weight lifting career of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. Olympic great Carl Lewis and legendary body-builders including 5 x Mr Universe Bill Pearl, Frank Zane and Hugo Girard all spoke of their friendship with Sri Chinmoy and the mind-body connection in reaching our highest potential.
Next up for Vajin – defending his Keplar Challenge title from the 400 mountain runners who will contest the 25th running of the 60km race on December 1st, 2012.
If you haven’t visited this beautiful part of New Zealand, toss your gear into a pack and head south – you can walk it in two glorious days!