Latest news and features
3100 Mile Race starts again in New York
Sri Chinmoy founded the 3100 Mile Race in 1997, and this year for the first time, it will be starting in Queens in September instead of its usual summer timeslot. The race started on September 5; runners have 52 days to complete the distance before the race ends on October 26.
Seven runners are participating, including two new runners: Lo Wei Ming from Taiwan, and Takasumi Senoo from Japan.
Last year, the race could not be held at all in New York, and was instead held in Salzburg, Austria. The race also features the winner of that race, Andrea Marcato from Italy. There is one female runner; Harita Davies, a New Zealander living in the USA, who won the race in 2019.
You can keep up with the latest race updates on the 3100 Mile Race site
Celebrating Sri Chinmoy's 90th birth anniversary
Sri Chinmoy would have been 90 years old on 27 August this year. When he was with us, he would often use occasions like these as a launching point for inspiring and joyful projects for himself and his students. (To give one example: he played on 74 pianos in one sitting to celebrate his 74th birthday.)
Similarly his students around the world are using the occasion to come up with inspiring ideas both for their own personal spiritual practise, and for the world.
In 1999, Sri Chinmoy formed the Enthusiasm-Awakeners singing group with Parvati from New York as its leader. The group mainly sings Sri Chinmoy's cheerful, dynamic English songs. In total, the group learned and performed 1529 English songs for Sri Chinmoy in his lifetime, including many songs that Sri Chinmoy specifically wrote for the group.
At the end of May of this year, Parvati had the idea to sing and average of 17 songs per day for 90 days beginning on 30 May, so all the songs could be completed on 27 August. As well as the original members of the group, Parvati then felt the inspiration to invite others who had over the years expressed their love of these songs, and she selflessly made all the necessary resources available on her website devotionsongs.com:
View the 90 songs project on devotionsongs.com
(The Enthusiasm-Awakeners group actually performed a similar project for Sri Chinmoy's 75th birthday in 2006 - you can read that story on her website)
Many of our worldwide Centres were also inspired by the occasion to let the public know!
Sri Chinmoy's books in multiple languages
For some of Sri Chinmoy's students who live in non-English-language countries, translating his books (and immersing themselves in the deep meditative writings of a spiritual Master) is a very satisfying part of their spiritual life. Sri Chinmoy's books have been released in over 20 languages.
Czech Republic and Slovakia
Many of Sri Chinmoy's books in Czech are beautifully designed by the Madal Bal studio in Prague. Some of these designs eventually find their way to the English version.
In the Czech republic and Slovakia, you can see billboards promoting the books and also sharing Sri Chinmoy's beautiful writings with the public.
The Italian Centre has recently become a prolific distributor of Sri Chinmoy's works in Italian, this year alone new editions of Sri Chinmoy's meditation book, and his book of commentaries on the Indian scriptures have been released.
In addition, they have also published box-sets of cards containing Sri Chinmoy's aphorisms, which are extremely popular all over the world.
This is a sweet story. Gesiane from our São Paolo Centre was participating in a local 24 hour race, and she had the idea to ask the organisers if she could give each of the runners a copy of Sri Chinmoy's The Adventure of Life to put in their gift bag.
Many of the runners really treasured the gift, and the book ended up being promoted quite widely on social media as a result. Many of our Sri Chinmoy Centre projects start from small simple ideas, just like this one.
Outdoor meditation events in New York
Recently, our New York Centre were able to offer events for the public for the first time in many months. We started with a set of outdoor meditation classes and a concert in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
We are planning to resume our classes again in Manhattan this fall. We are also continuing small ongoing classes at the Oneness-Heart Centre in Jamaica, Queens. Sri Chinmoy established this centre in 2004, and it prides itself in providing a loving, welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds.
Thankfully, one thing we have been able to do is put on sporting races for the public, within the health guidelines. This is an important part of our spiritual life; Sri Chinmoy felt that sport (and the contact with the athletic community that our races foster) keeps our own spiritual lives fresh and dynamic.
We were not able to put on some of our longer ultra races, so we have used the opportunity to put on some new races, including a 12 and 24 hour race for the first time in many years.
Doing things together
Most of our Centres around the world can't offer public events due to the pandemic, but this time has given us the opportunity to focus on deepening our spiritual practice, and spending time together where health guidelines allow.
Sri Chinmoy would often have us come together for Joy Days - gatherings where we would meditate and do lots of spiritual things, but also have fun and delight in each other's company. So we have been finding ways to do that....
Luckily for us, much of our Joy Days are spent in the outdoors anyway - we play sports and games, and go for hikes in the mountains.
The beautiful Lake Atitlan is a regular Joy Day destination for our Guatemalan members. Sri Chinmoy visited this beautiful lake in 1997
Past-incarnation fancy dress
Sri Chinmoy always encouraged his Australian and New Zealand students to do things together, so once the 'travel bubble' between Australia and New Zealand was established, a Joy Day quickly followed. This particular joy day, everyone was asked to appear in fancy dress, representing their past incarnation (or what they thought/wished they were in their past incarnation)
A complete collection of over 1600 of Sri Chinmoy's published books
In 2015, the Perfection-Glory-Press printing company in Augsburg, Germany embarked upon the project of reprinting all of Sri Chinmoy's published books up until that time - 1623 volumes in total.
The books were pre-ordered, and shipped to their owners in instalments over 6 years.
This year, they finally finished their goal, and now many of our Centres, students and admirers of Sri Chinmoy now have a complete collection of Sri Chinmoy's books.
I always was eager and ready to print more of Guru’s books. On the Christmas Trip in Sicily in 2015 the door finally opened wide, all of a sudden all pieces fell into place. During the evening function I saw myself making an announcement that Perfection-Glory-Press would reprint all of Guru’s over 1,600 published books in a period of 5 years. And everyone could subscribe to a set. I remember sitting down with a pounding heart and realising what “just had been said through my mouth.” I did not think or calculate. I felt that someone else had just spoken through me!
Unfortunately this set is not available to the general public, however there is another project to make all of Sri Chinmoy's books available to the public by his birth centenary in 2031. To find out more and order books, you can visit ganapatipress.org
Our 6 day race in Sofia
For over 40 years, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon team has been putting on ultradistance races in the USA. Sri Chinmoy saw these races as a way to go beyond your boundaries, and also we get a lot of joy by serving the ultrarunning community in this way.
Since the 1990's we have been holding a 10 and 6 day race in Flushing Meadow Corona park in Queens, but we were not able to hold it in 2020 or 2021. This year, a smaller 6 day race took place in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The race was won by Andrea Marcato from Italy. Andrea also won the 3100 Mile Race last year.
Another runner, Ananda-Lahari from Czech Republic, stayed behind for a little while and gave a very well-recieved class on meditation and spirituality titled The Jewels of Happiness.
Later in the year, we also had another very special running-related event - Klaus Tiefenbrunner from Salzburg, Austria came to Bulgaria and gave a TEDx talk about his experiences in the previous years' 3100 Mile Race.
Other news from Bulgaria:
Television programmes about Sri Chinmoy's life Bulgarian National Television broadcasted two episodes of the program called “Paths” that featured Sri Chinmoy’s life. The program focuses on the spiritual, psychic and physical health. The production team aims to give to the viewers more information about the healthy lifestyle, about spiritual and physical well-being practices that will help them overcome stress on daily basis. The team puts focus on man’s virtues and values, good deeds, good people and man’s significant missions, nature and the environment, each person’s engagements with life-important causes. The first episode talked about Sri Chinmoy’s childhood life, his arrival in America, his lifelong mission and the activities of the Sri Chinmoy Centres in Bulgaria and around the world. The second episode presented the musical heritage that Guru left to the world and the connection between meditation and music.
Running for Peace We celebrated the 34th anniversary of the Peace Run by running a distance of 8,5 km by writing “PEACE 34”, following the streets in the city centre of Sofia. During this one hour run, we met so many happy citizens; it was inspiring to see how encouraging they were and how many people with smiley faces were happy to see the burning flame. People were stopping us to find out what was happening and wholeheartedly were supporting the ideal of peace.
Sudarshana On 29th May we had a musical concert of the new Bulgarian boys group Sudarshana.
During their first public concert they performed meditative compositions woven from the melodious sounds of harmonium, Indian flute bansuri, Persian santur and guitar.
Spring book fair 31st of May – 6st of June We took part in the Spring book fair organized by the “Bulgarian Book” Association. The event is part of the Cultural events Calendar of the capital’s municipality for 2021. We had the opportunity to talk to more people about Sri Chinmoy, to sell quite a few of his translated works and to talk about the benefits of meditation and the Path of the heart.
Musical tour Wife-and-husband duo Shamita and Dohai are musical geniuses from Vienna; they came to Bulgaria to give a tour as part of our programme of the International day of Yoga.
The enchanting music of the unparalleled old cello and the virtuoso tunes of the violin took us on a unique melodious journey in the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. A special guest to the concert in Sofia was the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Bulgaria, the Indian professor in Sofia University and the general coordinator of the International day of Yoga. The Ambassador Mr. Shri Sanjay Rana was deeply impressed by the activities of Sri Chinmoy Centre. In his speech he said: “This is a beautiful mixture of good music, yoga and the teachings of ancient India and world harmony. Yoga is not only a physical exercise, it is also something which builds community and builds unity. In a simple terms it means that it joins us to ourselves and it joins us to our society, it joins us in a world harmony, which Sri Chinmoy propagated.”
(Un)limited opportunities in uncertain times
The following article was written by Vyavasaya from our Belgrade Centre, Serbia - it captures what many of our Centres around the world are experiencing during this time...
At the moment, we, disciples of Sri Chinmoy here in Belgrade, and Serbia, like our spiritual brothers and sisters around the world, are trying our best to keep our individual and Centre spiritual lives and manifestation going in the midst of prolonged uncertainty. The situation is still that no matter what gathering or event one may be planning in the outside world, in a week or two it may prove too complicated/impossible to carry out.
Outwardly, we live in uncertain times. Inwardly, many of us felt this as an extraordinary opportunity to renew our inner life, aspiration and dedication.
I am convinced that many of my spiritual brothers and sisters share in my personal experience that in those moments when our usual activities, Centre meetings, Joy Days, Celebrations and Christmas Trips were all but out of our reach, we experienced an extraordinary strong inner presence of our Guru, Sri Chinmoy – as if he was inwardly compensating us for what we cannot get in the outer world. To accept these unfavorable external events as they come and inwardly do our best to make progress – that is an extraordinary gift and an extraordinary opportunity which these uncertain times place before us, if we can only use them properly.
In any case, here in Belgrade we focused our outer efforts on projects which seemed possible to continue regardless of the outer circumstances. In 2020, our official publisher Hema-Kheya-Neye published a bilingual edition (English/Serbian) of Guru’s book The Caged Bird and the Uncaged Bird. We planned to have a fitting promotion, yet restrictions made it infeasible back then. Maybe we’ll make it happen by the end of this year, if circumstances allow.
This year Hema-Kheya-Neye also published the bilingual edition (English/Serbian) of the very first book Sri Chinmoy published after he came to the West - Meditations: Food for the Soul. The books are available in bookstores.
Beside this, we finished the Serbian translation of Guru’s book - Samadhi and Siddhi: The Summits of God-Life, and intend to publish it by the end of the year.
During the entire last year and until this July, public gatherings were restricted to up to 5 people and we did not gave talks and meditation classes. As a kind of compensation, we renewed and improved our meditation website Meditacija.org. Apart from adding relevant texts and meditation instructions, we posted several guided meditation exercises the way we do them in our classes, recorded by our Centre members in Serbian. We encouraged our website visitors to use these for meditation practice at home.
Individual projects by our members
After his excellent first book titled On Traveling and Searching, published in 2018, Pedja Predrag Knezevic finished and published his second book, On Peace and Friendship, during the restrictions. This book, written in the third person, speaks of his experiences while preparing for a 10-day ultradistance race.
During the restrictions, Tyagananda, Sri Chinmoy’s first disciple in former Yugoslavia, and certainly one of the first ones in Eastern Europe, finished his book My Life on Sri Chinmoy’s Path.
Highly motivating and inspiring, it preserves historical memory for coming generations of seekers. The book is in print now and we expect it published quite soon. This first edition was written with fellow disciples in mind, with the view of also making future editions available for the public.
In March this year we were delighted to see an article dedicated to Ashrita in Politikin Zabavnik, a leading magazine popular with Serbian schoolchildren and youth. None of us had anything to do with it, so it was a complete surprise. The article praises Ashrita’s relentless effort in accomplishing Guinness World Records, and speaks about Guru as a spiritual teacher, philosopher, artist and athlete.
(Ashrita Furman is a student of Sri Chinmoy in New York who uses meditation to break Guinness World Records; he currently holds over 200, more than anyone else on earth. You can find out more on his website)
Sport, our savior
While we were unable to have regular Centre gatherings due to restrictions (we did at some points organize meetings in shifts, with groups of 5 maximum), the regular two mile Self-Transcendence Races gave as a precious opportunity to meet and share inspiration and experiences.
Also, to mark Guru’s 90th birthday, we are now holding 10km races biweekly - there will be nine in total. And they really give us enormous joy!
In place of a conclusion, kindly allow me to express a personal impression about the period we are experiencing. I feel that in spite of these new limitations in the outer world, unlimited possibilities are opening to us in the inner world. This might mean that the emphasis in our spiritual life is shifting from outer manifestation to inner improvement, and we could indeed feel grateful to our Guru for giving this to us, versus complaining on outer circumstances for not allowing us to do things the way we used to.
Belgrade Centre, Serbia
Denali: a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom
Sri Chinmoy strongly believed that the world was one big family, and he came up with countless initiatives to bring to the fore this message of inner and outer peace. One of these initiatives was the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms Programme - in which thousands of cities, countries, natural and architectural wonders were dedicated to Peace, including famous landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the Sydney Opera House.
Denali, in Alaska, is the highest peak in the USA, and in North America. It was dedicated a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom in July 1993. This year, we redesigned the commemorative plaque and it now has a new location - the Talkeetna Roadhouse - where travellers can reflect on the ideals of peace as they view this sparkling natural jewel.
Founded in 1917 as a respite for frontiersmen, the Talkeetna Roadhouse is listed on the US National Historic Register, and today is still popular as a stopping point and base camp for travelers and climbers on their Denali expeditions.
10 years of Madal Bal in Guatemala
Quite a few of Sri Chinmoy's students in Guatemala work in a divine enterprise called Madal Bal. Madal was Sri Chinmoy's nickname as a child - it means 'kettledrum', and he was affectionately called this name by his family due to his boisterous (and sometimes mischievous) nature.
Sri Chinmoy originally asked the owner, Purnahuti, to open an icecream store, but now Madal Bal has grown to be a wide-ranging enterprise that, among other things, distributes Sri Chinmoy's books in Spanish all over Central and South America.
Madal Bal is now 10 years old, and naturally had a big anniversary party!