On August 27, 2010 (what would have been the 79th birthday of the late spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy) Ashrita Furman set a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Seesaw in the Jamaica Queens, New York neighborhood where his students from around the world were gathered for shared meditation, musical performances and sports activities.
Guinness World Records are nothing new to Ashrita – he currently holds 122 records including a record for the most records – and many of the records are creative and unexpected. Speaking of his idea to make a 79 foot long seesaw, Furman explains,
“As an expression of gratitude we celebrate Sri Chinmoyâ€™s 79th birthday with a 79 feet long see-saw, which gives happiness to children small and big. Sri Chinmoy himself was such a childlike, happy person and he inspired me to set records with his weightlifting world records. His philosophy is that through happiness we can have peace.â€
I was there for the final set up of the seesaw in the driveway across the street from Annam Brahma restaurant and was inspired to take lots of photos.
Because it weighs almost 13,000 pounds it took an army of volunteers to carry it to the driveway and lift it up onto the fulcrum.
After the dedication ceremony, people present got to ride on the giant teeter-totter which lifted the rider over 11 feet into the air. I was quite surprised that I was one among the many who got to test it out.
I whooped with delight, smiling broadly and feeling like I was a little kid rather than a 50 year old. I waved madly at Stota from Seattle on the other end of the seesaw and can recommend it as a bonafide way to revisit your childhood.
Learn more about the seesaw at the PerfectionJourney.org blog post about the seesaw in which Utpal interviews the volunteers involved in its design and creation.
Something this unique and joy creating deserves to last for more than a day so luckily a museum in St. Louis will become the permanent home of the seesaw, joining the world’s largest pencil which is also housed there.
Watch some video footage of the occasion on Vimeo: