July 4th Celebration in N.Y.
- The Fourth of July is a very special holiday in the United States which is celebrated just about everywhere in this country. It was a very significant day in 1776 when the original colonies under the rule of the King of England declared their Independence from British rule. The Declaration of Independence was the document, written by Thomas Jefferson, which stated the reasons and objectives for this bold move.
The following is an excerpt of a comment Thomas Jefferson himself gave about the Declaration of Independence: "Our fellow citizens have a sacred attachment to the event of which the paper of July 4th, 1776, was but the Declaration, the genuine effusion of the soul of our country at that time. .. In short, the flames kindled on the 4th of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them."
The following are words from a song written by Sri Chinmoy in 1996 called, `The Fourth of July':
"The Fourth of July, the Fourth of July,
My heart, my life, together fly.
No more stark bondage-night, no more!
Arrived at freedom's ecstasy-shore."
With these inspirational words in mind, some of the local area disciples and some visitors who were present in New York City on the Fourth of July had a wonderful day full of soulfulness and fun to celebrate this most auspicious day.
We started with a meditation and short function at Noon at Aspiration-Ground. On the stage was one of Sri Chinmoy's favorite paintings of Jefferson, flanked by a U.S. flag.
After our meditation and Invocation, we sang a few songs written by Guru about America and the Fourth of July. We also sang along with a recording of Guru singing `America the Beautiful,' in which he captures the soul of America in a most soulful and powerful way.
Nripal, who arranged the writings of Jefferson into a wonderful book called, `Light and Liberty', started by reading some of the writings of Jefferson from this book. Then Agraha read some of the writings by Guru about America.
Dressed as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams, Palash, Pragati and Uppasana enacted some of the scenes from Guru's play, `The Sacred Fire'. Tanima played the Supreme who was conversing with these three great souls who changed the fate of America and the New World.
Udar then entertained us with some Woody Guthrie songs which paint a picture of America in the 1930's and 40's. I think Sri Chinmoy liked Guthrie's songs for their simplicity and patriotic nature. Many of the songs captured the heart of America, especially the most famous one called, `This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.' We sang this song along with Udar, followed by Guru's own version of it called, `This Heart is Your Heart, This Heart is My Heart.'
After a very nice Prasad we began our Fourth of July `barbecue', which is a very prevalent tradition here in America. Due to the efforts of Pragati, Rhambha, Palash and others, we had a feast of vegetarian burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, salads and desserts. This was followed by a cake for Palash, as it is also her birthday on this most auspicious day.
After the food was consumed and many of us were still lingering in the driveway, we had time for a few popular `team' games. The highly animated game called Pictionary, pitted the boys against the girls in guessing a word from the images drawn by an appointed `artist' in each group. Although the boys always seemed to be in the lead, the girls won in the end, 7 games to 6.
This was followed by the `Who Am I' guessing game in which three people had names on their hats and had to guess who they were from answers to questions they posed to the audience.
With only a little time left, many of us prepared for a trip to Long Island where we would board a big boat and take a trip to Jones Beach to see the `fireworks'. This is another very popular tradition in the celebration of July 4 which most Americans, young and old, look forward to after the sun sets on a long day of celebrations.
Being out on a boat along the coastal regions of Long Island during the sunset was a spectacular experience. The colors of the sky and clouds morphed into shapes and patterns of color and form that only Jharna-Kala itself could rival. Even before dark when the man-made fireworks would start, the God-made display of nature's beauty captured our hearts and souls. We also had a wonderful meditation with Prasad, as a huge photo of Guru on a boat with a captain's hat presided over the function.
The fireworks themselves were incredibly colorful and powerful. Some of us took many photos of the whole event, but photos could not really capture the splendor of the evening. Upon reviewing my photos even before returning back to the port, I saw a photo one of the displays that looked exactly like a Jharna-Kala Soul Bird.
Among all of the amazing colors and shapes of the highly technical fireworks display, some by intricate design, this one truly sent a message that made me and others feel that our own Guru was right there with us, his spiritual children, taking part in this most auspicious and joyous celebration of Light and Liberty, which was very dear to his Heart.
- Hi Arpan,
This day of festivities was truly magical. I don't think it could have been any more perfect. The whole day seemed to shimmer with Heavenly blessings raining down on each and every activity. The sky as the sun set was truly extraordinary and the group meditation on the boat was absolutely sublime. It was after midnight by the time we returned home from the boat ride out of Freeport to see the fireworks. For the first time ever, I saw fireworks that made shapes in the sky such as a smile face or the outline of a heart. I took photos but only time will tell if I upload them anywhere - that seems to escape me lately. The next American Joy Day will happen later this month in Rhode Island - just contact any of us in the Rhode Island centre to find out details.
- Hi Arpan,
What a wonderfully well-written account of an inspiring event; such optimism and hope in your writing! The Limey thanks the Yank!
- Thank you kindly Pavitrata! (Sorry about the British rule thing.)
It is so helpful to hear such kind words and to know that taking the time to write about the events such as this really inspires brothers and sisters all over the world. I also took some photos which I think you would appreciate. I will put them in the Centre Gallery soon. But I have been spending lots of time daily with photos from the 3100.ws website gallery. You should visit that site to see our photos.
I am not using my Canon SLR camera as I like to run to the race with a smaller camera. Although the quality of the photos may not be as good I try to capture various backgrounds and angles to give some interest to the viewer and show the runners in different locations, light, moods, etc. I just have lots of fun with it and have no idea how the photos are actually coming out or look to others.
If you have any good comments or criticisms of the photos please let me know. Creative ideas, suggestions, etc. are welcome as it is always good to see things from another perspective and more experienced photographer.