Jan 09

Fifty Freedom-Boats to One Golden Shore

Ten years after his arrival in the West, Sri Chinmoy embarked on a 50 state American lecture tour, giving talks on spirituality at colleges and universities across the U.S. The first state visited by him in this cross-country venture was Rhode Island and the first lecture, entitled Thought Waves, was offered at Manning Hall, Brown University in Providence, RI on January 9, 1974.

Since today is the anniversary of that lecture at Brown University, now forty years later, I went to Manning Hall on the Brown campus after I got home from work.  I sat on the steps of this stately and magnificent building and looked out onto the campus green.

I proceeded to read aloud the lecture given by Sri Chinmoy forty years ago today. School is not in session right now so the environs were calm, quiet and cold! Despite the lack of an audience, I felt it was somehow important to observe this anniversary, itself falling in the start of 2014, the 50th anniversary year of Sri Chinmoy’s arrival in America from India.

As I read out loud in the night air, I tried to imagine what the lecture and meditation might have been like in 1974. At distinct moments I felt as if someone was behind me looking over my shoulder as I read. Entering into a meditative state even as I read, I also wondered if the university itself might be embodied with a soul/spirit that resonated with the deep wisdom expressed in the words I uttered.

I particularly liked the closing words of the talk which drew upon the image of a tree and leaves to express humanity and our interconnectedness. Sri Chinmoy writes,

And in the course of time, in either the near or the distant future, in the process of evolution humanity is bound to accept these messages. What is the essence of these messages? Love, love divine, which is the song of universal oneness. If we silence our thought-waves and listen to our heart-waves, we can spread the love-message of the Supreme. We can offer this love-message to the world at large, and we can sing the song universal to kindle the flame of aspiration in all individuals.

We are now conscious of the supreme Tree. We are climbing up the Tree. Eventually we can grow into the cosmic Tree and then we can watch the multifarious leaves, which are our brothers and sisters, grow and unfold. It is we, the seekers of the ultimate Truth, who can feed the inner hunger of these leaves of the supreme Tree.

Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats To One Golden Shore, Part 1, Agni Press, 1974

Thought-Waves is now republished in a three volume compilation of university talks given by Sri Chinmoy entitled, The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind. Originally the lecture was published in Fifty Freedom-Boats to One Golden Shore.

 

Dec 06

Nelson Mandela a “Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth”

As the world becomes one in overflowing love, response and tribute to Nelson Mandela, called a “Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth” by Sri Chinmoy, I am touched by this tribute from children since in his towering greatness he embodied the deepest humility.

As soon as I heard the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I ran to my bookcase and opened a book that my meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy had written in glowing tribute to Nelson Mandela back in the late 1990′s. Entitled Nelson Mandela : the Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth, this book provides a unique and compelling glimpse into Nelson Mandela’s gifts to the world seen through the eyes of a spiritual luminary and student of peace. In prose, poetry and songs composed about Mandela, Sri Chinmoy paints a portrait of the man he deeply admired and cherished. May I close with some words from the book that eloquently express the yearnings and gratitude in my heart for what Mandela offered the world.

“Whoever genuinely desires
To redress humanity’s suffering
Feels behind him one hundred percent
The living presence of Mandela’s heart”
-Sri Chinmoy, “Nelson Mandela :
The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth,” Agni Press, 1998.

“There can never be an easy road for the pioneer-climbers of  freedom-heights, for unless and until they have guided each and every person to the summit, they shall not rest. Beloved Brother, President Mandela, an entire nation follows in your footsteps – and behind it I see the vast caravan of humanity.”
-Sri Chinmoy, “Nelson Mandela : The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth,” Agni Press, 1998.

Mar 20

International Day of Happiness

Today March 20, 2013 is the first ever U.N. International Day of Happiness. I first learned about it when I attended Visual Happiness an art exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art currently running through March 24th in their Partnership Gallery. The exhibit pairs photography from various cultures across the globe with writings on happiness from the pen of artist and author Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy placed much significance on the importance of happiness, enthusiasm and a positive encouraging approach to life. Here is one of his poems on happiness that I particularly like:

Happiness in cheerful self giving
Is beyond compare.
It is the highest delight
That God has created for humanity.
Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 109.

In so many ways I feel that I learned about happiness from the example of both his life and his writings. Whether in the satisfaction that comes from self-transcendence, or the peace that comes from simplicity, or the innocent joy that comes from a child-like outlook and remembrance to laugh, learning meditation as his disciple included myriad approaches to make spirituality and happiness inseparable.
So “Happy Happiness Day!” and if you are feeling inspired to delve further into the subject of happiness, check out this new website jewelsofhappiness.com for articles on happiness, excerpts of a new audiobook edition of Sri Chinmoy’s book Jewels of Happiness and much, much more.

Related:

  1. Here are some more photos I took of the Visual Happiness exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art
  2. Best Kind of Beautiful blog post
  3. My article on humor and spirituality in the Inspiration Letters Literary Ezine