New statue of Sri Chinmoy in Ipswich, England

ipwsich-statue-sri-chinmoyRecently a statue of Sri Chinmoy holding a Peace Torch was dedicated at Chantery Park, Ipswich, England. The statue was a gift from the Oneness-Home Peace Run, and marked the culmination of a week long Peace Run from Cardiff to Ipswich. Sri Chinmoy visited Ipswich on two occasions, in the the 1980s and 1990s, and the city is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossoms programme. Several athletic events have also been offered by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in Ipswich over the years.

The organiser of the event, Martin Spettigue commented that: “We want to offer something that will inspire people to think more and more about peace and to understand how important peace is to an individual.” The Mayor of Ipswich offered his gratitude to the Peace Run team for kindly offering this symbol of peace and said it would be a great asset to Chantery Park. During the ceremony, the Peace Run offered a ‘Harmony Torch Bearer Award’  to the Reverend Clifford Reed (a poet, artist, and Unitarian Minister for 36 years.) The ‘Harmony Torch Bearer Award’ is a recognition for individuals who have selfless offered a positive contribution to their local communities . The Reverend Clifford Reed was honoured, amongst other achievements, for his sterling work in bringing different religions together. He was a founder member and chairman of the Ipswich interfaith movement.  He is also a leading poet, and writer.

The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run is an international event which seeks to promote peace and harmony across the world. Since its inception in 1987, it has travelled through many countries and given thousands of people the opportunity to participate in offering a wish for world peace. This year, the British Peace Run, began in Cardiff and travelled across the country through Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge before arriving in Ipswich. The Peace Run started with the Mayor of Cardiff offering a message of goodwill to the other mayors along the way.

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“Happiness” in the Amazing Stength Restaurant in Zurich

happiness
“These sweet gems of wisdom by my dear friend Sri Chinmoy
are timeless truths full of encouragement, love and goodness.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Since the opening of the new vegan Restaurant AMAZING STRENGTH at the Müllerstrasse in Zurich (not far from the main station) I was fascinated and attracted by the enterprise owned by the Soyana company, a very dynamic production place for organic tofu and related products. It all started with a Vegelateria, the first Swiss ice cream shop serving ice cream with natural and organic ingredients, not using milk products and white sugar, end of of January of this year. In the meantime the next step could be reached in offering 25 seats in the restaurant adjunct to the Vegelateria. And yesterday the third in a series of exhibitions and events opened: color panels with quotes by Sri Chinmoy on happiness.

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A.W. Dänzer at the opening of the “Happiness” Exhibition in Zurich

The book in connection with the exhibition is called “The Jewels of Happiness”. Author, creative artist and renowned peace visionary Sri Chinmoy offers timeless wisdom and simple exercises for readers of all backgrounds. The complete audio book was released on March 12th with a launch on March 19th in New York City. Luminaries from all walks of life reach read a chapter from The Jewels of Happiness – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Addwitiya Roberta Flack, Narada Michael Walden and Sudhahota Carl Lewis! Perfectly suited to our fast-paced lifestyles, The Jewels of Happiness includes short, insightful sections full of uplifting wisdom, charming aphorisms and easy to learn exercises. Each section stands on its own-with the entire book forming a tapestry of inspiration. “You can have the most joy just by imagining a child infinitely more beautiful than any child that you have seen in this world,” writes Sri Chinmoy. “You have inside you a child who is infinitely more beautiful. Just imagine it. While imagining it, you will get utmost joy.” Each of the 13 chapters in The Jewels of Happiness is on a different theme, such as peace, joy, patience, enthusiasm, sincerity, love, self-giving, humility, compassion, self-trascendence, simplicity and forgiveness.

At the opening of the exhibition there was also a screening of the film “happy” by Roko Belic. The movie takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, the film explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.

Viewers’ Comments: “Happy is one of those movies that will make you a better person for having seen it! An excellent, thought provoking movie that will grab your attention and your heart. This should be required viewing for everyone… There is a well done piece also about what doesn’t make kid’s happy. A great movie that will warm your heart, stir your soul and hopefully make you think about a practical application in your own life.”

“Important movie for the young. This is a movie where the subject matter is far more important than the quality of the movie itself (which is good). Had I received messages like this when I was young, I am sure I would have made fewer mistakes. Young persons understand that happiness is a life goal but they are often confused among conflicting messages on how to get there. By illustrating those who have achieved happiness as well as those who have not, the movie could potentially be very useful in helping young people make responsible and fulfilling life choices. So hopefully this little movie will be recognized as a motivational tool for the young and used in our classrooms and in other venues where teens might be receptive to its message.”

“Amazing. This film will make you happy! What an amazing feeling I had after watching this film. Film may not be the correct term in describing this passion project of genius, Roko Belic… I think the word experience is apt. Funded and executive produced by comedy directing legend Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Evan Almighty), Mr. Belic takes us around the globe in a search for what it means to be happy…and we find it! It is hard to put into words what he has accomplished in this riveting and eye-opening documentary, but we see and feel that true happiness is pretty easy to attain. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor.” 

The exhibition will be on display at Müllerstrasse 64 in Zurich until October 17th 2013 and is available daily during the opening hour of the restaurant from 11 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday. Check it out and don’t forget to taste the “best ice cream of Switzerland” as many say…

Happy New Year with Anoushka Shankar

2012 was not an easy year and many are looking forward to the next year and hope that 2013 will bring a breakthrough in various fields – economically and spiritually. 2012 was also the year we lost a great figure in Indian sitar music, Ravi Shankar. Her daughter Anoushka takes over and at the same time is for many the synonym of this hope for a new world which will emphasize on true values, love and oneness.

Sahana shares her love for Bengal Music on TV

Sahana from London did a live TV chat show for Bangladesh TV UK talking about how she came in contact with Bangla music through Sri Chinmoy and shared her experiences in Bangladesh where she participated in two huge and successful concerts under the motto “Songs of the Soul”. The interviewing lady talks in Bengali  sometimes, but later on the interview is in English. It was also broadcast all over Europe various Bangaldesh channels. This is the first of 3 parts of this very inspiring show. Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

A Moment’s Peace in London

Yesterday, renowned Olympians, peace leaders, artists and musicians came together at University College London’s Olympic Centre to celebrate the Olympic spirit of peace and universal friendship at a special event entitled “A Moment’s Peace.” (Photo: Ashish Zubaty)

 Nine-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis highlighted the event by unveiling the “World Peace Dreamer” statue, a bronze sculpture depicting renowned peace leader Sri Chinmoy holding an Olympic-style peace torch, which will be offered as a gift to the City of London. “This statue will remind us of the highest ideals of the Olympic Games – peace and friendship between all nations,” Lewis said. “Sri Chinmoy was my mentor for more than thirty years, and the most peaceful person I have ever known.” Joining Lewis on stage were fellow Olympians Tegla Loroupe — former marathon world record holder — and Bob Beamon, CEO of Art of the Olympians, whose Olympic long jump record 44 years ago remains unbroken. “This statue embodies the same spirit of oneness, brotherhood and friendship which has infused the origins and traditions of the Olympics, both ancient and modern, and which to this day gives the Games their unique appeal,” Loroupe said.

 The event was hosted by Cathy Oerter’s Art of the Olympians (AOTO), an organization founded by Cathy’s husband, four-time Olympic discus champion Al Oerter, to help Olympians promote the highest ideals of humanity through their creative talents. Among the illustrious visionaries who spoke about their dreams for a more peaceful world were the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice A. King;the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and founder/executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage, Reverend Mpho Tutu; the daughter of Muhammad Ali and respected philanthropist, Khaliah Ali; the daughter of legendary Olympian Jesse Owens and managing director of the Jesse Owens Foundation, Marlene Owens-Rankin; CEO of Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund Sibongile Mkhabela; Portuguese Paralympian Jorge Pina; and former President of the General Conference of UNESCO, Dr. Davidson Hepburn. “A Moment’s Peace” was organized by the World Harmony Run, a 140-nation torch relay founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987 to foster peace, harmony and friendship among the peoples of the world. In keeping with the AOTO spirit of connecting art and the Olympics, legendary Russian singer-songwriter Boris Puroshottama Grebenshikov performed a specially written song with the London Choir. In addition, the “World Harmony Art Exhibition,” featuring paintings by Sri Chinmoy, opened at the University College London.

Nipun Mehta: Creating Generosity

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to an global ecosystem of over 350,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Wavy Gravy’s Humanitarian award. He is routinely invited to share his message of “giftivism” to wide ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center. Watch this inspiring talk as part of the TED series.

International Day of Non-Violence

The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. According to the General Assembly resolution establishing the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”. The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”. On Friday, 30 September 2011, the Permanent Mission of India organized a special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence. The 2011 commemoration will be focused on the theme, “Non-Violence as an instrument of social change – Why Gandhi Matters”. Gandhi, who helped lead India to independence, has been the inspiration for non-violent movements for civil rights and social change across the world. Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to his belief in non-violence even under oppressive conditions and in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Living on Pranic Food for 70 years?

Prahlad Jani is being held in isolation in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, where he is being closely monitored by India’s defence research organization, who believe he may have a genuine quality which could help save lives. He has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration. Mr Jani, who claims to have left home aged seven and lived as a wandering sadhu or holy man in Rajasthan, is regarded as a ‘breatharian’ who can live on a ‘spiritual life-force’ alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an ‘elixir’ through a hole in his palate. His claims have been supported by an Indian doctor who specializes in studies of people who claim supernatural abilities, but he has also been dismissed by others as a “village fraud.”

India’s Defence Research Development Organisation, whose scientists develop drone aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles and new types of bombs. They believe Mr Prahlad could teach them to help soldiers survive longer without food, or disaster victims to hang on until help arrives. “If his claims are verified, it will be a breakthrough in medical science,” said Dr G Ilavazhagan, director of the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences. “We will be able to help save human lives during natural disasters, high altitude, sea journeys and other natural and human extremities. We can educate people about the survival techniques in adverse conditions with little food and water or nothing at all.” So far, Mr Prahlad appears to be standing up to scrutiny. He has not eaten or drunk any fluids in six days, and similarly has not passed urine or a stool in that time. He remains fit and healthy and shows no sign of lethargy. Doctors will continue observing him for 15 days in which time they would expect to see some muscle wastage, serious dehydration, weight loss,and fatigue followed by organ failure. (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)

Major Concert honoring Sri Chinmoy and Rabindranath Tagore in Bangladesh

On 13 December 2009 in the China Friendship Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a historic concert was performed celebrating the music of  Sri Chinmoy and Rabindranath Tagore, two of the greatest Bangla composers. In preparation for this historic concert, the Gandharva Loka Orchestra has taught the music of Sri Chinmoy to the students of Shurer Dhara; and the students of Shurer Dhara have taught the music of Rabindranath Tagore to the Gandharva Loka Orchestra. Together the Artistic Directors of both have worked side by side to arrange an extraordinary rendition of the works of the two great Bengali composers. The music team, comprising both musical groups, listened to, discussed, learned and sang a roster of songs, and then agreed with tremendous excitement to perform seventeen songs together as one ensemble – thirteen of Sri Chinmoy’s compositions arranged by Panchajanya Burri and four Tagore songs arranged by a musical team comprising the Artistic Directors of Shurer Dhara and Gandharva Loka. Interwoven into these grand choral arrangements were three of Sri Chinmoy’s compositions dedicated to Bangladesh sung in unison by all without arrangement and, in addition, to highlight the purity of the composers’ music, four Tagore songs and four of Sri Chinmoy’s songs were sung in solo by Rezwana Choudhury Bannya.

Sri Chinmoy and Rabindranath Tagore both sought to combine the very best elements of the East with the West. Similarly, the concert transformed the creations of Sri Chinmoy and Rabindranath Tagore’s into a journey through a vast landscape of musical expression – classical and modern, Eastern and Western, tranquil and fast-paced, contemplative and joyful.  Some of the Bangla compositions were well known to the Bangladesh pubic; others were discovered for the very first time.

Sri Chinmoy said: “Music has to play a most important role in bringing about world oneness for music is the connecting link between the One and the many and between the many and the One.”

Rabindranath Tagore said: “We still believe that the world has a deeper meaning than what is apparent, and that therein the human soul finds its ultimate harmony and peace. We still know that only in spiritual wealth does civilization attain its end, not in a prolific production of materials, and not in the competition of intemperate power with power.”