Welcome to Inspiration Sun, a monthly magazine with contributions from students of Sri Chinmoy all over the world. Within its pages you can find the latest news and events from the Sri Chinmoy Centre, as well as interviews with Sri Chinmoy's students and personal recollections of some of the major events in Sri Chinmoy's life.

You can browse through the articles by clicking on the left/right buttons. You can view 10 articles at a time in this way; to view more, click on the pager at the bottom. Happy reading!

 

  • by Shatapatri

    Restaurant Cards Bikshuni has produced with Shantishri, 4 'Restaurant
    Cards' with beautiful nature scenes, Guru's Poetry and the web address
    on it, for April National Poetry Month. She has started visiting
    restaurants - the big, fancy 'Manhattan' kind, and the response has
    been really great. The cards are a 4" x 5" lamination that sit on the
    table as an upside down V. She also produced two 30 minute radio
    programmes where she introduces Guru's poetry and then Guru is reading
    his immortal poetry. The first are poems from `My Flute' and this
    aired last Tuesday, March 25th at prime evening time on Public Radio
    WNYE which is widely listened to in the Tri- State area.

    see:

    http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/

    Award for Vijaya
    -------------

    Vijaya has just returned from Dover, England with two awards! She is
    officially the oldest American woman to swim the channel.

    See:
    http://www.srichinmoyraces.org/channel/vijaya/swims-english-channel/

    Poem in the Pocket
    ---------------

    National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets
    in 1996 as an annual celebration of poetry in America. It is the
    largest, most democratic celebration of poetry in the,world, reach-
    ing tens of millions of people. On April 18th thy have a
    "Poem-in-the-Pocket Day", encouraging everyone to keep a favorite
    poem in their pocket and to share it with someone. Chameli has made
    specially printed aprons with pockets and any inspired visitors are
    welcome to don the 'poetry' apron and offer a card with Guru's poem to
    the public. Bhikshuni is piloting a "Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival" for
    next year and contacting poets now for their participation. She
    is inviting other centers around the world to also have one also.

    From: Inspiration News Edition 2

  • 'My heart's victory over my mind's doubts' by Suchatula

    On March 15, 2008 Paree's group, also known as `My Rainbow-Heart,'
    celebrated its 21st anniversary. This turned out to be a very special
    day and weekend for me – and I nearly missed it. Had I listened to my
    mind instead of my heart, I would have not gone. It has always been
    that, when I made a wrong choice, Guru let me know it loud and clear.
    Although He has left the body He is without a doubt very much here,
    guiding me!

    I have heard quite a few people say, "Since Guru is not here we have
    to make our own decisions." Well, Guru is either getting a very good
    laugh or a very sad cry. All I can say is that, in my own experience,
    He is making it very clear what I should and should not do. It is up
    to us to listen. If we do our part then we will hear Him. I am not
    saying that I always do my part or that I always listen but, by His
    grace, this time I did. I had decided long before our singing group's
    anniversary that I would not go to New York, mainly because of money.
    But I was also thinking, "Guru is no longer there in the physical."
    About two weeks before the anniversary I told Govinda on the phone
    that I was not coming. But as I was telling her this, inwardly I knew
    it was wrong. If you have ever had the experience of your heart
    kicking you, then you know what I am talking about.

    So right after I hung up with Govinda I called the airline and booked
    my flight. I had not been in New York since October and when I got to
    San Francisco airport I was just as excited to be leaving for New York
    as I have always been. I had the same feeling that I was going to see
    Guru and I was really happy. Bihagee and I flew together and we got in
    just before midnight. When we arrived at the baggage claim we had a
    great surprise! Govinda was there waiting for us and Saroja was out in
    the car. It was very kind of both of them to go out so late and pick
    us up, especially since we had a long wait for our luggage. We were
    very happy to see the girls again. I told them that I could feel Guru
    so powerfully in New York.

    Saturday started with a short visit to Aspiration Ground and Guru's
    Samadhi. It is so beautiful there! Projjwal and Shashanka gave a
    fantastic description of what it looks like in the last issue. All I
    can add is that in the stillness I could feel Guru so powerfully. As I
    write this, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes just as when I
    stood there in front of the shrine. Not tears of sorrow because Guru
    is no longer there, but tears straight from the heart and the soul
    because Guru is very much there. There is nothing greater than when
    you feel Guru so power- fully inside your heart. You do not need
    anything else. It was a perfect way to start the day.

    >From there we went to the race. I can sum that up in one word- Ouch!
    After the race we had time to play. Breakfast at the Smile of the
    Beyond with Aruna, Vasudha, Kalyanika, Palash, Adarini and Bihagee.
    What wild group! We were all a bit toasted, but we still managed to
    have fun! The day flew by with a singing practice, the afternoon
    meditation (which again Paree in action was very nice) and more
    eating. It was Annam Brahma's anniversary and I was happily surprised
    to see the owners working the floor. They are very good workers.

    Soon it was Saturday night and time for our performance. Paree chose
    21 beautiful songs for us to sing. As we were singing I was imagining
    Guru sitting in His chair meditating on all of us. Then I thought of
    Him driving His chariot around the court. It was a very sweet feeling.
    There were plays and singing and a video of Guru giving a talk and
    answering questions at a bookstore. It is very inspiring. It would be
    a great video to show in classes.

    Sunday! Aruna's 32nd birthday!!!! And Tyagani's too! So, we had twice
    as much fun celebrating both their birthdays together. Yippy! What a
    fun day it was. The party was at Panorama and Ketan did a superb job
    organizing the food and drinks. Oh yes and the cakes! There were some
    30 girls there and we had the back half of the café reserved. We had a
    blast! Vasudha put together a game of Centre Jeopardy! I do believe
    that everyone there had a jolly good time. I gave it a fantabulous
    three snaps up! (That translates into "really good.") Monday morning
    we were back on a plane heading to San Francisco. Our visit to New
    York was short, but it was inspiring in the fullest sense. With our
    batteries completely charged we were ready to return home and do the
    needful. Of course it helped to know that we would be back in just a
    few short weeks! Gratitude to Guru for being here for us.

    by Suchatula :

    Published: Inspiration Sun edition 2

  • This month, we feature an interview with Sundari, who for the last 34
    years, has transcribed Guru's songs in both English and Bengali.
    Sundari is also known for her famous birthday cakes that she made for
    many years for Guru's birthday and April 13th.

    - You transcribed Guru's music for more than three decades. How did his music manifestation change over time?

    When I first started transcribing, Guru would sing with the harmonium
    and he would have the songs all written down before he sang them. In
    those days, it was not spontaneous. Also, he translated the songs into
    English. Garden of Love Light I, II, and III and Teach Me How to Cry
    and other older songbooks have beautiful, soulful translations. The
    poems are incredible in and of themselves. Guru used to write out the
    songs for us in his own hand-writing. Another difference was that he
    didn't write as many songs as he did later. In the mid-1970's he
    reached 2000 songs. In the early years of the Path, everything was
    slower; later on Guru started doing things faster and faster. It was
    in the late 70's, I think, that I first transcribed spontaneous songs.

    - How did your transcribing "career" begin?

    I was a music major in college and a professional musician when I
    first came to path. Back then, when Guru gave a concert, he would have
    the musician disciples perform as well. So, he knew I was a musician,
    and one time when I was in New York he asked me to help Tanima
    transcribe some songs. Guru had composed many songs that had not yet
    been published, and he wanted us to catch up. We spent a month or so
    in her apartment doing it all by hand - the musical notes, dots, clefts everything. We just used rulers and pens, Later, Shambhu got us a music typewriter, which made the transcribing process more like
    typing. This made the written music look more professional. It wasn't
    until much later that we could do it on the computer!

    - You learned Bengali in order to better comprehend Guru's songs and
    notation. What can you tell us about this?

    Knowing the language has helped me a lot, considering how much time
    we've spent in the past 35 years learning Bengali songs. It's such a
    beautiful and poetic language. Guru was once talking to Dr. Guruge and
    he said that if you don't know the language, you miss certain things.
    Guru mentioned a particular word that means "cow dust time." That word
    creates a very vivid picture for someone who knows Bengali You can see
    that whole vision of the evening setting in and the cows coming home,
    the dust rising from their footsteps. When Guru writes the music, the
    poem is in Bengali characters and then over the word is another
    Bengali letter which represents a note. He taught this system to Radha
    and me in the 1970's; he wrote out the characters and I did a whole
    book of songs for Guru, writing out those Bengali notes above the
    words. Guru had his own unique way of notating; it's nothing like
    Western notation and it's not even traditional Bengali.

    - When meeting with dignitaries or well- known people, Guru would often compose a song in their honor. This usually surprised and deligh ted them - it was something so different than the countless other meetings these world figures had. What do you think Guru was doing with this tradition?

    He would go right into the heart of the person. We were singing and
    they were sitting and receiving. They could feel the love that Guru
    was offering them through the song. It was such a special gift to give
    someone. Also, people would get so much joy when Guru would set their
    own words to music-they were always thrilled. In every way, Guru
    showed such oneness, love and humility.

    - It seems that Guru used song to celebrate life and humanity-songs on
    running, songs for people, songs to say hello, goodbye, thank you,
    etc.

    All of human life has been set to music! There will never be another
    human being who will write as many songs for other people as Guru did.
    He has written at least 1500 songs to honor people and to put music to
    their words That itself is phenomenal. Guru's music has tremendous
    variety; long, slow, powerful, patriotic, everything! He has written
    more than 23,000 songs. He holds so many records in the song-world; no
    one can come close.

    - The sheer volume of Guru's songs is enormous. What will humanity do
    with these songs?

    That's a really amazing thing to think about. Time will tell. It would
    really be nice if on our website, we could have songs for this and
    songs for that - all kinds of different topics and qualities. People
    in India and the rest of the world could turn to the body of Guru's
    music when they want a particular feeling in a song. Radha, myself,
    and some others have a goal of making sure every song gets finalized
    and printed. It's our mission for the next few years.

    - There was a lot of back and forth between you and Guru when you were
    transcribing his songs. He would give you the songs, you'd give them
    back, he'd return them to you, you'd again give to him for final
    checking. What can you tell us about Guru's process?

    In 1995, Guru decided to finish 13,000 songs, so he was writing them
    everywhere - all the time. We never caught up! There are still quite a
    few songs that haven't been checked and printed although they have
    been transcribed. So, in later years I always wrote out the words for
    him to check right away so that the songs could be printed as soon as
    possible. I would give Guru the song notebooks and he would mark
    changes in spelling, notation, and other things. Then later, when Guru
    heard them being sung, he would sometimes change something else.

    - What did it mean when Guru would designate certain songs as
    "selected"?

    I wonder that myself. Sometimes they were particularly catchy or
    haunting. It's hard to know why some would be more special to Guru
    than others. A lot of times, he would have the groups sing the new
    songs and then he would raise his hand to indicate that one or more
    should be "selected." These were ones that he would want to have
    written out for him personally so that he could perform them in
    concerts.

    - You studied music at university. In what way is Guru's music different from all the composers you knew then?

    I'm not so familiar with other Indian musicians, but I know that
    Guru's music is completely unique. It's pretty much a Bhajan style in
    that it's very devotional. He admired Tagore a lot, but his songs are
    not like Tagore's; he has own style entirely. Guru doesn't use a tempo
    marking; this is something that Western music always has. In Guru's
    music, we don't have any bar lines; instead, we go by the poem. We put
    one line of the poem on a line of music and then break it to the next
    line. Also, Guru's music is very free; it's not mental. It has such a
    lofty, spiritual feeling. It's completely different from anything I
    studied previously.

    - What is your favorite song?

    My favorite song is Ki Sundaro. I especially like the melody; it's
    just amazing.

    - In your opinion, what role does singing play on our Path?

    Singing is definitely very important. And it seems as though even
    people who don't have any singing talent when they're new will start
    to develop it after awhile. I think that's a very striking feature of
    our path.

    - In working with Guru and his music all these years, what has been most challenging for you?

    Keeping up! During the Christmas Trips, Guru would sing and sing and
    sing. I would be in my room transcribing songs while he was in the
    function room composing even more of them. He never stopped. But I am
    so grateful for the opportunity; it's so special to work on this music
    which is such a gift to humanity. I really feel that Guru's body of
    songs is an immortal offering. There were other challenges too. Many
    times I was in the back of car and Guru was singing away in the
    passenger's seat. I would be trying to transcribe, but it was so hard
    because the car was moving and it was very noisy. Guru seemed to get
    inspiration to compose songs when- ever he was travelling on buses,
    trains, boats-anything moving. Also, Guru once did a series of 400
    songs and then sang them, along with the harmonium, during a concert
    at Buchman Hall. I had transcribed them originally and given them to
    Guru to use during the concert. But when he performed them, he sang
    many of the songs differently. So, I had to transcribe them all over
    again!

    - Do you feel Guru is still composing songs? (Laughing)

    I wonder! We need a spy up there to give us a report.

    Vasudha interviewed Sundari on March 26, 2008

    Published Inspiration Sun Edition 2

    http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/

  • by Sanjay

    Goa, March 2008. No offense to the mighty German Centres, whose Joy Days have set the bar for decades, nor to Australia, where people drive for 3 days through God-forsaken desert wasteland to reach Joy Days, nor to the Centres of the UK and France, which manage to meet in such simple, humble places of sensory deprivation like the South of France, but I am terribly afraid the gauntlet has been thrown down by, of all groups, an unassuming coterie of Nepalese and Indians who met in Goa from March 28th to April 1st.

    Apart from the fact that few places on earth hold the allure of Goa, with sun-soaked beaches rivaling Bali's Nusa Dua, or the fact that these Joy Days are the only ones held on the fertile soil of Mother India, few could have expected the reverie of shared spiritual discipline or the emerging oneness, beauty and power of the Centres on the subcontinent experienced during this Joy Days celebration. Nearly two dozen Nepalese disciples traveled by plane, train and automobile, some journeying over 40 hours, to meet another two dozen Indians and international visitors at the Goa Centre, lovingly and painstakingly
    maintained by Centre Leader Uday and his wife Arpana, with additional service from Ashok, who spends the year shuttling between New York and India. Now joined by Hiyaphul and featuring Indian boy-wonder,Prakash, whom many may remember as Bijon's dancing side-kick in Kaivalya's Langkawi play extravaganza, the Goa Centre is bursting at its seams with enthusiasm, dynamism and promise. They were joined by disciples from Mumbai and Chennai as well as European guests, Kritartha and Adesh, who were wrapping up visits for Madal Bal. Aparajita and Sanjay traveled from New York for the occasion, Sanjay having been a part of the first Goa Joy Days in March 2006.

    Each day unfolded in a similar fashion, with a 6 am meditation held either in the Centre or 200 metres away on the city beach, followed by a breakfast of coconut-based Goan curries and soups. Late morning sessions consisted either of manifestation meetings or games of Frisbee and soccer on far-away beaches, shaded by palm and mango trees.

    Afternoons were held at the Centre, where disciples struggled to finish meals of 3 or 4 curries with chapatti and some sort of Goan specialty or another that seemed to transcend everyone's experiences of earthly eating. Late afternoons were spent resting or eating ice cream at local cafes. In the evening, the group meditated and then enjoyed master-class-caliber performances of Guru's music by Vijay Mishra from Kathmandu (sarod), Adesh (sitar), and Pavel, visiting from Moscow, who had trained for three years in Delhi with a bansuri flute Master.

    The locals and guests killed another hour or so enjoying the same comedy that Guru used to watch to end many an earthly evening, The Honeymooners. Watching a new generation of disciples become introduced to this serial, which was a mainstay of Guru's outer life, thrilled the older visitors to no end as did, of course, their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to manifesting their Guru's Light in Southeast Asia. Highlights of the celebrations included the second-ever Goa Sports Day, held on a grass-surfaced 400 metre track (think Wimbledon meets Bislet). As in 2006, the games were dominated by the Nepalese, who, having come from altitude, seemed to savor the sea-level environment. Inspired performances by 12 year- old Shivani (third place in the girls' long jump, second place in the girls' 800 metre walk) and 3 year-old Prerana (who ran 200 meters of the girls 400 metre race, got lonely and ran back to the start) rounded out the
    morning meet, with Medha and Krishna taking the overall girls' and boys' titles, respectively.

    "I was deeply moved, inspired and energized by the pure aspiration, devotion and dedication of everyone, especially of the Nepalese disciples," commented Aparjita who had decided several weeks earlier to spend his birthday (March 30th) in Goa. Although Aparajita had taken a 6-week tour of India in 2006 to give lectures, he had never visited Goa.

    "Goa is heaven � sweetness, charm, tranquility and beauty," he mused in between bites of his birthday cake. Besides strategizing and coordinating efforts to conquer the mind, vital and body of India, the Indian and Nepalese disciples devoted considerable energy to planning their next gathering, tentatively scheduled for the fall, to be held on top of the earth, under the behemoth peaks of Nepal's Himalayan mountains.

    Now firmly poised on the pinnacle of the Joy Days circuit, the Indian and Nepalese disciples realized that only they could outdo this incredible festival of delight and mirth and are striving to reach heretofore unheard-of heights at Joy Days: Himalayan Edition this coming October.

    Stay tuned.

    by Sanjay

    From: Inspiration Sun Edition 2

  • Inspiration Sun, is a newsletter produced by Projjwal and other members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. We will be publishing some of these articles here on the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group.

    Guru's Western Flute Gift
    -------------------

    by: Kishore

    In 1975, the first year of my discipleship, we visited Sydney to speak with Guru on the phone. In those days New York still seemed a far-off place and Australia was truly a land `down under' - very far away. Even the thought of travelling the almost 1000 kilometre journey from Melbourne to Sydney was daunting enough. It was a thrilling experience and one that we would grow accustomed to, sitting around the phone listening to Guru's golden voice. On this occasion Guru cajoled and begged us to come to New York . . . "come by boat if you can", was His sweet plea.

    So then it was astonishing news when we heard early in 1976 that Guru was actually coming to Australia to visit each of the Centres. Australia is a vast land and the main cities where the Centres are located are spread across a distance of over 5000 kilometres. Guru
    was coming to Australia for two whole weeks. During this first visit we shared many unique and amazing experiences. And of all the gifts Guru blessed us with during this time, perhaps one of the most special is that He took up the western flute and so began a remarkable relationship with this haunting instrument.

    It was March 10 and we had organised a bus trip to a nature park on the outskirts of Melbourne. Now, `nature park' in Australia means kangaroos, koala bears, wombats and all kinds of exotic fauna and Guru was keen to get amongst them. During the bus ride to the park, called Healesville Sanctuary, Guru was chatting with one of the disciples about her flute. Guru asked to see it and was shown how to get a sound from it and occupied Himself for the rest of the journey in this manner.

    When we arrived at the sanctuary, well forget the animals, Guru was completely absorbed in His new instrument. He sat on a bench and started playing rudimentary notes, which very quickly turned into little extemporaneous melodies. Funnily enough, the kangaroos began to
    approach Guru out of sheer curiosity and soon He was trying to charm them with His new found skills. One kangaroo in particular just sat quietly, mesmerised by Guru's melodies. It was as though Guru was playing to the very heart and soul of Australia through this admiring representative of this vast and ancient land. The bus-ride home was, for the most part, uneventful. I remember Guru sitting in the front seat, amusing Himself with new sounds. I remember feeling somehow that this was a special moment, like seeing Lord Krishna playing on His celestial flute.

    It is now 32 years on, it is a warm summer's evening in Melbourne and we are all singing flute songs sent around the world by Tanima to celebrate Guru's western flute anniversary. We meditate for a moment on Guru's famous flute statue. Guru has asked that this statue reside in the Melbourne Centre. Suddenly the statue comes to life. Quite literally this form created by Kaivalya radiates with Guru's Divine Consciousness as we meditate upon its form. It is palpable and everyone feels it.

    I am suddenly remembering a bus ride now far off in time, remembering where the journey began and where it is now taking us, so many years later. I am feeling, "Guru, what a sublime gift You have given to Australia, to have started Your divine flute-journey here, in this southernmost `land down under,' a gift to be cherished for all time."

    by Kishore