For a whole week in New York City the Sri Chinmoy Centre is sponsoring a
series of events called the `Festival of Meditation and
Spirituality'. It started last Sunday, March 14, with public
concert of Sri Chinmoy's music performed by groups of his students.
The hall was full and the audience of almost 300 people were quite happy
with the experience of such beautiful and creatively unique music. The
lighting and sound were quite professional in their presentation and the
various musicians and singing groups all were able to bring out the
beautiful and spiritual qualities of Sri Chinmoy's devotional songs.
On Monday evening was an `Art and Creativity Workshop' and a
lecture called `Adventures in Consciousness'. These two events
were offered by Khipra and Ganapati from Providence, Rhode Island.
Although I was not able to attend this workshop I heard that the hall
was again full and it was a huge success. We would love to hear from
anyone who was there and would like to offer more detail about the
Tuesday evening was the production of Sri Chinmoy's Buddha play
called `Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha'. It was produced by Ketan
and wonderfully acted by many local disciples. The professional quality
of the production along with the intimate ambience of the Bleecker
Street Theatre in Manhattan, this play brought to life the powerful
drama of one of the greatest spiritual figures of all time, the
Enlightened One, or the Buddha.
Tracing his life in India around 500 B.C., this young royal Prince
turned renunciate spent many years of dedicated discipline to gain
spiritual illumination in a very short time. He then went on to offer
his experiences to seekers for 50 years before leaving the body at age
The theatre was almost full with over 200 people in the first showing.
With very little time to rest, the performers offered another full
showing for about 100 more people the same evening. From the actors to
the musicians, technical crew and director, the experience offered was
not only entertaining from a theatrical point of view but also
enlightening from a spiritual perspective as it presented the
Buddha's philosophy in clear and simple terms.
The following is a link to some of my photos from the play mostly from
the Aspiration-Ground performance a few days earlier and including some
from the Bleecker Theatre performance as well.
This one is a link to Jowan's beautiful photos from the Bleecker
Street production of the play.
On Thursday evening there was a presentation called `The Power
Within'. This time it was held in a smaller hall and the room was
easily filled. Over 100 people came to this event which was a
presentation by Suprabha followed by a presentation by Ashrita.
Suprabha was introduced by Sakshat, or Dr. Flowers from New Jersey. He
explained the concept of athletics and running as a form of meditation
and spiritual discipline as he introduced Suprabha. First we saw the
documentary made by some university students from Boston a few years ago
about Suprabha and the 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race. Then Suprabha
came up on the stage to answer many questions about the race and her
involvement in meditation and running. It was quite impressive for the
audience to witness the movie and then talk to the `star' of the
show directly. Everyone there seemed quite surprised at the humility and
softness of such a strong and determined runner.
Next was Ashrita and his Guinness Records achievements. He came hopping
in on a pogo stick as he juggled three balls at the same time, getting
the audience's attention from the outset and never losing it. He
talked about how he came to meditate with Sri Chinmoy and how that
inspired him to attempt world records starting in the late 70's and
continuing until this very day. He has broken 290 world records to date
and 115 of them still stand to this day. He also has the world record
for the most world records.
During his talk he demonstrated some of his attempts in balancing milk
crates on his chin, running in flippers, cutting apples with a Samurai
sword. We also watched a video of a sports documentary produced by a
major television station last year about Ashrita and his spiritual
approach to these outstanding achievements. In the end he had the
captivated audience standing up and doing jumping jacks.
Tonight, Friday, March 19, was the beginning of a three day workshop
presented by Aditya from Austria and Germany. I just returned from the
two hour workshop this evening and was inspired to write this report. He
inspired the audience so much that some people wanted to just hang
around and talk and ask more questions. His ability to help beginners in
meditation and the spiritual life to feel the heart centre and expand on
the love and peace within was quite powerful. In simple terms he offered
a heartfelt approach to start on the path of meditation and
spirituality. Most of the people there were looking forward to coming
back for at least the rest of the weekend workshops.
After the workshop is done this weekend we will have follow-up classes
through most of April. Some of the people already expressed interest in
coming to the classes even before going through the whole workshop. They
have recognized the genuine sincerity and depth of spirituality
expressed through Sri Chinmoy's philosophy and practice of
meditation and creative spiritual expression.
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