Sri Chinmoy: Wikis

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Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy, c. 1997.
Born August 27, 1931(1931-08-27)
Shakpura village, Chittagong District, East Bengal, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died October 11, 2007 (aged 76)
New York City
Resting place Queens, New York
Nationality Indian
Religion Hindu

Chinmoy Kumar Ghose[1] (August 27, 1931 – October 11, 2007) was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher who emigrated to the U.S. in 1964.[2] His teachings emphasize love for God, daily meditation on the heart, service to the world, and religious tolerance (a view that "all faiths" are essentially divine).

True religion has a universal quality. It does not find fault with other religions. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.[3] - Sri Chinmoy

Contents

Nobel Peace Prize nomination

In 2007, Sri Chinmoy was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.[4]

Early years in India (1931-1964)

Ghose was the youngest of seven children, born in Shakpura village in the Chittagong District of East Bengal (now Bangladesh) He lost his father to illness in 1943, and his mother a few months later. In 1944, the 12-year-old Ghose joined his brothers and sisters at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, French India, where elder brothers Hriday and Chitta had already established a presence.[5] There he spent the next twenty years in spiritual practice, including meditation, study in Bengali and English literature,[6] and work in the ashram’s cottage industries.[7] Ghose claimed that within only a few months of arriving at the ashram he had achieved the spiritual state of God-realisation.

In his teens and twenties he was a sprinter and decathlete.[8] According to Ghose, in 1955 he became secretary to Sri Aurobindo's most senior disciple Nolini Kanta Gupta.[9] However, the accuracy of this particular claim is not supported by the ashram's Archives and Research Library.[10] Ghose translated many of Gupta's articles from Bengali to English.[11] He also published articles of his own about India’s spiritual leaders,[12] and continued filling notebooks with poems, songs, and reflections on ashram life.[13]

In the West (1964-2007)

In 1964, with the help of American sponsors,[14] he emigrated to New York City with the intention of teaching.

It took Chinmoy three years to obtain a Green Card. One requirement was that he provide a reference from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram concerning his suitability as a teacher. Chinmoy states that it was not possible for him to obtain a reference. In 1967 the problem was overcome when one of Chinmoy's disciples introduced him to her brother who was an assistant in the New York Immigration Office. Chinmoy's new contact not only waived the reference requirement but also gave Chinmoy's application special help and attention. In the summer of 1967 Chinmoy finally received his Green Card.[15]

Between 1968 and 1970, he gave talks at Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Brandeis, Dartmouth, and The New School for Social Research.[16]

While in America in the 1970s, Sri Chinmoy attracted followers such as musicians Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, though both eventually turned away from him.[17] In 2000, Santana discussed Sri Chinmoy as being "vindictive" towards the end of their relationship.[18] Other musicians who were spiritually inspired by Chinmoy are Narada Michael Walden, Roberta Flack and Boris Grebenshikov. Sri Chinmoy also had the Olympic athlete Carl Lewis as a student.[19] Frederick Lenz (Atmananda) became a follower around 1972, but he left and became a guru on his own around 1981.[20] In 1976, Chinmoy released a meditative album on Folkways Records entitled Music for Meditation.

Chinmoy continued to travel, lecture, give concerts and arrange lifting events,[citation needed] until his death from a heart attack while at his home in Jamaica, Queens, New York on October 11, 2007.[21]

Artistic pursuits

According to his followers Sri Chinmoy wrote 1,500 books, 115,000 poems and 20,000 songs, created 200,000 paintings and gave almost 800 peace concerts.[21] His short songs were written in Bengali and English,[22] During a concert he would usually play 10-15 different instruments, such as a variety of flutes, esraj, cello, dilruba and synthesizer, as well as improvising on piano and pipe organ. He had learned Indian Classical music from Vasant Rai.[citation needed]. He has also released four albums in Jamaica on the Studio One-affiliated label Port-O-Jam.[23]

During the concert he performed compositions on over a dozen instruments from around the world.

In 1984, he began a series of free concerts for world harmony, performing in such venues as London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan, and the Sydney Opera House.[24] Sri Chinmoy tried to communicate a soulful message in all his art. Many were inspired by the soulfulness while others found his lack of technical skills on the various instruments got in the way of the message.

Athletic programs

In 1977, he founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which holds running, swimming, and cycling events worldwide, from fun runs to ultramarathons.[25] Its precursor was the 1976 Liberty Torch Run, a relay in which 33 runners marked America’s bicentennial by covering 8,800 miles in 7 weeks, mapped out over 50 states.[26] This concept was expanded in 1987 to become the international Peace Run (later renamed World Harmony Run),[27] generally held every two years.

In 1985 Sri Chinmoy, with the then Mayor of Oxford, inaugurated the first "Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile", which is a measured mile in Cutteslowe Park, Oxford giving joggers something against which to measure their progress.[citation needed] There are now several "Peace Miles" around the world.[28]

Many of Sri Chinmoy’s followers run daily for health and physical fitness. In the 1990s Chinmoy made it a requirement for his male disciples to have finished at the very least a half-marathon (13.1 miles). Sri Chinmoy himself continued to enter races until his sixties when a knee injury hampered his ability to run; afterwards he turned his attention to lifting people and things off the ground.[29]

Teachings

Sri Chinmoy's teachings call his path the "path of the heart"[30] or the path of "love, devotion, and surrender"[31] to God, whom he calls "the Supreme".[32] His conception of the Supreme includes both form and the formless,[33] and both Father and Mother aspects.[34] His work does not view the Supreme as a fixed or static entity, but, rather, uses the term "ever-transcending Beyond". His teachings also describe God as inner Truth, and as one’s most illumined part. This is consistent with the Hindu doctrine of Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: "That Thou Art") found in the Chandogya Upanishad.[35] His teachings are essentially monotheistic.

He asked his disciples to adopt a vegetarian diet, abstain from recreational drugs including alcohol,[36] and lead a pure, celibate life[2][37] though followers who were married at the time they joined are allowed an exemption from celibacy. At bi-weekly meetings the men wear white clothing, while the women wear colourful Indian saris.[38] The focus of meditation at these meetings is a black-and-white copy of a photograph of Ghose's face taken in 1967 while he was in what he described as a transcendental state of consciousness. It was sometimes referred to by Ghose and his disciples as "The Transcendental Picture" or "The Transcendental Photograph" but more often simply as "The Transcendental". It is considered by his disciples to carry an immense spiritual charge and is by far the most important image in Ghose's organization, the Sri Chinmoy Centre Church. In 1992 Ghose made it a strict requirement for his disciples to meditate on this photograph every morning at 6 a.m. for at least thirty minutes, thereby tightening the somewhat more relaxed arrangement that had previously been in place. He also requested that each disciple perform daily at least four hours of approved activities, for example prayer and meditation, running, singing of Ghose's songs, reading of Ghose's writings, or promotion of Ghose and his organization. Although strongly influenced by Hinduism, his path catered to an international community of seekers from diverse backgrounds.[39] He also encouraged his followers to offer free meditation classes.

Poetry

Sri Chinmoy began writing poetry at an early age, his early efforts being in his native Bengali tongue. However, Sri Chinmoy learnt English metre and rhyme and most of his poems have since been written in English. His first English poem was written in 1945 and was entitled “The Golden Flute”.

In his poetry, Sri Chinmoy is attempting to express the inexpressible, to articulate what is beyond the scope of words. Sri Chinmoy is above all a poet of the inner landscape.

“The Absolute” is a good example of this. This poem encapsulates a profound spiritual experience. This inner confidence is reminiscent of the great mystic poets such as Kabir, Mirabai and Rumi.

Recently, Sri Chinmoy’s poetry has focused on short mantric sutras or aphorisms.

Controversy

Sri Chinmoy claims to have once lifted over 7,000 pounds with one arm.[40] In 1989, an official photographer indicated that he had been asked to airbrush photographs to exaggerate the weightlifting ability of Sri Chinmoy, such as manipulating a photo of an object being lifted to make it appear that it was lifted higher than originally shown.[41] In 1991, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas concluded that Chinmoy misrepresented the type of lift he claimed after watching a video of Chinmoy lifting.[42]

Chinmoy has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by Anne Carlton and two other former disciples.[43] This kind of accusation against Chinmoy has been discussed in print from as early as 1994.[44] However, according to Chinmoy, he was a life-long celibate and sexual misconduct allegations against him were false and defamatory.[45]

In 2009 three female disciples from the San Francisco branch of the Sri Chinmoy Centre Church also reported that they either had sexual relations with Chinmoy at his request or that Chinmoy asked them to have sexual relations with other women while he watched. This was reported to be going on while Chinmoy continued to advocate celibacy for his disciples. Reportedly Chinmoy told these women to keep the sex a secret and the Sri Chinmoy Centre Church leadership today still tries to cover up and deny these allegations, expelling any disciples who make them or who give them credence.[46]

Chinmoy's writings are revered by his disciples and meditative reading of them is an essential part of "Chinmoyist" spiritual practice. The vast majority of Chinmoy's readership believe that what they are reading is the pure and unadulterated work of Chinmoy alone. However, although Chinmoy's writings are published under his own name and no other party is ever credited with any editing, revision or collaboration, many of them have indeed been revised by someone else before publication. Lavanya Muller, a disciple of Chinmoy, was the Senior Publications Editor for the Sri Chinmoy Centre Church from 1973 to 1999. On her page at the professional networking website Linkedin she describes her role thus: "Working directly with Sri Chinmoy, a non-native English speaker, I was responsible for revising the language in his lectures, essays, and stories into idiomatic English, while preserving the flavor and inspiration of his unusual expressions."[47]

In 1996, a plaque associated with Sri Chinmoy at the Statue of Liberty was removed by the National Park Service after several weeks of protests due to a call by American Atheists, who viewed this as a violation of the separation of Church and State.

Jayanti Tamm's account of her life as a Chinmoy disciple Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult was published in 2009. Professor Tamm was born into Chinmoy's organisation which she now considers to be a cult. Chinmoy predicted that she would become his perfect disciple. The book describes her life in the guru's inner circle and her efforts to break free from Chinmoy's influence.[48]

Bibliography

Sri Chinmoy wrote numerous works, Here are some of Sri Chinmoy's most popular book titles encompassing a wide variety of spiritual topics.. He also wrote short stories, essays, plays, poems questions and answers. His first book was published in 1970.

  • (1974) Yoga and the Spiritual Life - Aum Publications
  • (1974) Death and Reincarnation - Aum Publications
  • (1974) The Inner Promise: Paths to Self Perfection - Wildwood House
  • (1975) Astrology, the Supernatural and the Beyond - Aum Publications
  • (1977) Everest Aspiration - Agni Press
  • (1984) The Summits of God-Life: Samadhi and Siddhi - Aum Publications
  • (1986) A Child's Heart and a Child's Dreams - Aum Publications
  • (1989) Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction - Aum Publications
  • (1990) On Wings of Silver Dreams - Aum Publications
  • (1992) Kundalini: The Mother-Power - Aum Publications
  • (1994) Garden of the Soul - Health Communications Inc.
  • (1994) My Life's Soul-Journey - Aum Publications
  • (1997) God Is... - Aum Publications
  • (1997) Wings of Joy - Simon and Schuster
  • (1997) Commentaries on the Vedas the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita - Aum Publications
  • (2000) The Source of Music - Aum Publications
  • (2002) The Divine Hero - Watkins Publishing Ltd
  • (2003) The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind, part 1 to 3 - Agni Press (collection of university lectures)
  • (2003) The Wisdom of Sri Chinmoy - Blue Dove Press
  • (2007) Power Within: Secrets of Spirituality and Ocultism - Guru Noka Publications
  • (2007) Heart-Garden - New Holland Publishing
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Poetry

  • (1979–1983) Ten Thousand Flower-Flames - Agni Press (100 volumes)
  • (1983–1998) Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants - Agni Press (270 volumes)
  • (1998–2007) Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees - Agni Press (50 volumes... unfinished)
  • (1971) My Lord's Secrets Revealed
  • (1972) My Flute
  • (1973) The Garden of Love-Light
  • (1973) The Dance of Life
  • (1974) The Wings of Light
  • (2000–2007) My Christmas-New Year-Vacation-Aspiration-Prayers (51 volumes)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Sands 2001, According to legal papers signed in November 2006, his name is Chinmoy Kumar Ghose aka Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy is the name under which the guru has taught, published, composed and performed since approximately 1972. (See front and back matter of referenced works.) He was previously known as Chinmoy Kumar Ghose (e.g. “Many at U.N.” New York Times 8 November 1971: 42). He signed most of his paintings and drawings C.K.G. (“C.K.G.” Jharna-Kala Magazine 1.1 (Apr.–June 1977): 1).
  2. ^ a b Hinduism Today December 1997, pp.34-35
  3. ^ Chinmoy, World-Destruction: Never, Impossible!, Part 1 1994, pp. 43–44.
  4. ^ http://community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/51623/13376429/Hindu_Resources
  5. ^ Dua 2005, pp. 18, 22 and Chinmoy, My Brother Chitta 1998, p. 58.
  6. ^ Chinmoy, My Brother 1998, pp. 60, 65.
  7. ^ Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 23 2000, p. 28 and Chinmoy, How Nolini-da 2004, pp. 6–7.
  8. ^ Dua 2005 pp. 33–35 and Sands 2001, p. 32.
  9. ^ Chinmoy, How Nolini-da 2004; Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 23 2000, p. 28; Chinmoy, A Service-Flame 1974.
  10. ^ Heehs, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archive and Research Library 31 October 2007, e-mail sent to Boulay[1]
  11. ^ Chinmoy, How Nolini-da 2004, pp. 3–4; Gupta, Lotus-Petals, Part 1 1971 and Part 2 1973; Gupta, An Exquisite Petal 1984.
  12. ^ Chinmoy, Mother India's Lighthouse 1973.
  13. ^ Chinmoy, My Brother 1998, p. 65 and Sands 2001, pp. 32–34.
  14. ^ Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 23 2000, p. 28.
  15. ^ Chinmoy, My Consulate Years 1996, pp.132-133 "Getting a Green Card"
  16. ^ The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind - Agni Press 2002
  17. ^ Stump, Paul. Go Ahead John: The Music of John McLaughlin (p. 92). ISBN 0946719241, 9780946719242
  18. ^ Heath, Chris. "The Epic Life of Carlos Santana" Rolling Stone, March 2000. Retrieved on 2008-08-10
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Chronology/Biography, Frederick Lenz
  21. ^ a b Kilgannon, Corey (2007-10-13). "Sri Chinmoy, Athletic Spiritual Leader, Dies at 76". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/13/nyregion/13chinmoy.html. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  22. ^ Dua 2005, p. 68 claims that as of 5 May 2005, Chinmoy had composed 18,897 devotional songs, comprising 12,000 in Bengali - his mother tongue - 6,684 in English, 180 in Sanskrit and 33 in French.
  23. ^ http://www.downbeat-special.co.uk/mypilotsupreme.html
  24. ^ Dua 2005, p.66
  25. ^ Bennett, Ultrarunning April 1987: 23–25.
  26. ^ http://www.aspiringindia.org/saints_sages/sri-chinmoy/biography-of-sri-chinmoy-part-3
  27. ^ Greene, "Runners Span Globe" Salisbury Post 2005.
  28. ^ See, for example: "Sri Chinmoy peace mile". Auckland City Council. http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/whatson/places/running/peace.asp. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  29. ^ "Sri Chinmoy (obituary)". TimesOnline. 2007-10-14. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2657757.ece. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  30. ^ Chinmoy, Mind-Confusion, Part 2 1974.
  31. ^ Chinmoy, The Oneness, Part 2 2004, pp. 254–56.
  32. ^ Chinmoy, The Vision 1974, p. 39.
  33. ^ Chinmoy, The Wisdom of Sri Chinmoy 2000, p. 131.
  34. ^ Chinmoy, My Flute 1972, p. 55 and Chinmoy, The Wisdom 2000, pp. 126–27.
  35. ^ Chandogyopanisad VI.8.7–VI. 16 passim. Commentary by Chinmoy in The Oneness, Part 2 2004, pp. 135–36, p. 168.
  36. ^ Kubacki, “An 868-kilometre ‘Spiritual Journey’” Ottawa Citizen 2006.
  37. ^ "Peace Institute Honors Chinmoy". Hinduism Today. February 1994. http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=3223. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  38. ^ “Sri Chinmoy Writes” People Weekly 1976: 50; Knox (ed.), Religion and Public Policy Religion Counts 2002, p. 30.
  39. ^ Hinnells 1991, p. 80.
  40. ^ Johnson, Richard. "Guru's Dark Side Eludes News". New York Post, October 13, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-08-10
  41. ^ Wynar, Roahn. "Chinmoy's heavy claims weightless" Daily Texan, University Wire, July 1, 1998 Retrieved on 2008-08-10
  42. ^ Galloway, Paul. “Gonzo Guru,” in Chicago Tribune, September 20, 1991.
  43. ^ Ginsberg, Alex. "Ex-Followers Rip 'Sleazy' Sri". New York Post, May 23, 2004.
  44. ^ Peter Occhiogrosso, The Joy of Sects 1994, p.67
  45. ^ "WIPO Domain Name Decision". WIPO. May 22, 2003. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2003/d2003-0248.html. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  46. ^ Abode Of Yoga Blog
  47. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/?last=muller&first=lavanya
  48. ^ Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult

References

  • Bennett, Vidagdha. "What is the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team?" Ultrarunning Magazine April 1987: 23–25.
  • Dua, Shyam, ed. The Luminous Life of Sri Chinmoy. Delhi, India: Tiny Tot, 2005.
  • Hinnells, John R., ed. Who's Who of World Religions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1991. ISBN 0139529462
  • Sands, Nancy Elizabeth (Madhuri). The Life of Sri Chinmoy. 5 vols. New York: Agni, 2001.
  • "Sri-Chinmoy-Poet Seers"

External links


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