Teachings of Sri Chinmoy
Born in the village of Shakpura, Chittagong in 1931, Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose acquired international fame as an ambassador of peace. Every man has unlimited potential, he taught, if only one dared to believe and strove to recognise their true nature. Many of his followers, inspired by him, found themselves running marathons, swimming the English Channel, scaling high mountains, and performing impossible feats against all odds.
He himself led by example, offering inspiration to athletes, artists, musicians, leaders and common people from every walks of life. During his long stay in New York, since 1964 until his death in 2007, Sri Chinmoy offered Peace Meditations, twice a week at the United Nations. In his lifetime, he left behind a legacy that still remains to be fully discovered.
Mani Shankar Mukherjee, renowned Bengali writer, on his visit to America in 1988 looked for the Bangali with the greatest impact on a global scale. He discovered a simple man, clad in dhoti-panjabi, with a tremendous influence on hundreds and thousands from different countries, religions and races. So impressed was he in learning about Sri Chinmoy that Mukherjee dedicated a chapter of his book, 'Charan Chunye Jai', to this great source of inspiration.
Sri Chinmoy was a versatile personality: A slightly built figure lifting cars, elephants and thousands of pounds overhead. An untrained musician who could perform on over two hundred musical instruments. An artist who drew hundreds and thousands of paintings. A poet and writer whose 1500 books remain to inspire humanity for ages.
Meditation was what he considered the key, the foundation necessary for us to discover this unlimited power within us. To a mere spectator, meditation may appear to be static and unconscious, while it is the exact opposite.
As one learns to meditate, which requires tremendous discipline and focus, he/she learns to keep the mind calm and silent. It is the inner discipline and focus developed through meditation that allows one to unravel the potential within. Discovering this strength and beauty within us, Sri Chinmoy said, is a birthright. He therefore offered this every man's claim, this knowledge, amongst his disciples free of charge.
The Supreme is like the sun and we like its rays. As each human being in his innermost core has this flame kindled by the same light, we are thus all, in essence, connected. Meditation, as he taught, brings to us this knowledge of oneness that we share with every living creature.
His message, therefore, spoke about compassion and oneness, a life dedicated to serve humanity. He refused to turn away where there was a real cry for help. "Oneness-heart-tears-and-smiles", an organisation inspired by his philosophy, offers humanitarian aid to many countries, organisations and people.
To answer the question: Who is Sri Chinmoy? Yes, he is a great philosopher, writer, poet, artist, athlete and humanitarian. But in essence he is a source of inspiration. An inspiration that he hoped will transform this world full of despair and strife into building humanity with hope and beauty.
By Mahatapa Palit
Palit is a Professor at New York City University and a long time disciple of Sri Chinmoy.
Sri Chinmoy's Alokita Jibon, a biography, and Paramanander Pathe, a short compilation of his inspirational message, are available in Bangladesh. Information regarding his life, work and teachings are available at www.srichinmoy.org/bengali