Most mornings after I finish meditating, I turn to a list of achievements detailing activities and accomplishments by my meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy. The set of cards produced in 2008 (one year after Sri Chinmoy’s passing) provides a day-by-day view of notable moments in Sri Chinmoy’s remarkable and extraordinarily productive lifetime. Who else could find achievements noteworthy enough to populate all 365 days of the year?
This morning when I read the activities for January 29th – along with art exhibit openings (1975), new weightlifting records (2002), peace concerts in South Africa (1996) and Brazil (2000) – Sri Chinmoy began a poetry series entitled The Golden Boat on January 29th, 1974. He began writing these poems in Puerto Rico and the series eventually encompassed 1,000 poems in total with the publication of the 20th volume in October of that same year. Each of the 20 volumes contains 50 poems and they are available to read online.
The symbol of a golden boat traveling to a golden shore is found in Sri Chinmoy’s poetry, songs and artwork. I have a framed print on the wall in my living room which is called The Golden Boat. Sri Chinmoy painted this abstract image of a boat on the water in 1976.
Here is one poem from the Golden Boat poem series I especially like:
MY LOVE OF GOD
My morning love of God
Liberates me from the frets
And fevers of life.
My afternoon love of God
Protects me from world-dangers
My evening love of God
Inspires me to stand
On the battlefield of life
To distribute the Breath of God.
Sri Chinmoy, The Golden Boat, Part 11, Agni Press, 1974.
Four days after he began the Golden Boat poems, he completed 208 poems in 22 hours. A book called The Inner Journey published in 1977 includes the transcript of a talk he gave to the disciples who helped publish and print those 208 poems the same day they were written.
Dear children, the Golden Boat is not mine. This Boat belongs to the Supreme. We are all passengers on this Boat. You may say that I am an experienced passenger because I have been on this Boat for a longer time than you have been. But I wish to say that this Boat belongs to the Supreme. Right now He has only a few hundred passengers on this Boat, but a day will dawn when he will have seven thousand passengers or even more.
And in the near or distant future the Boat of the Supreme, where we are all now seated, will carry not only seven hundred or seven thousand individuals, but the whole of humanity to the Golden Shores of the Beyond. The Transcendental Supreme in His Golden Boat will carry all of us to the Golden Shores of the ever-transcending Beyond.
Sri Chinmoy, The Inner Journey, Agni Press, 1977.
Somehow when I think of the image of a golden boat ferrying human beings towards God, I imagine Noah’s Ark. As a child, I had a particular fondness for the concept of Noah’s Ark and used to imagine when I went to bed at night that my bed was the ark and that my stuffed animal collection represented all the animals brought onto the ark. This thought made me feel safe and protected by God.
Today I revisit the poems of The Golden Boat and dwell in a grateful space as I ponder the magical wisdom, life lessons, aphorisms and food for the soul overflowing in Sri Chinmoy’s poetry.