Tribute to Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy, who was known as 'Guru' by his students, passed away on October 11, 2007.

Only a few weeks ago we were celebrating his 76th birthday in New York. Sri Chinmoy’s passing has come as a great shock to all of his students, admirers, and well-wishers around the world.

Sri Chinmoy has left us, though, with a great storehouse of poetry, songs, art, and inspirational writings, to provide us with guidance and comfort through our own life-journeys. I will continue to read my way through his last, and unfinished, major literary project: the poetry series titled 77,000 Service-Trees.

One volume of prayers, which has special significance for me, is titled My Blessingful and Pride-Flooded Dedication to the Indomitable Runners of the 3,100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race. It features daily prayers, in Sri Chinmoy’s own handwriting, which he wrote for the runners in the 2006 edition of the race. I was one of those runners. On the back cover is a photo of Sri Chinmoy handing out sweets to all the participants at the starting line. On the first page of my copy is a personal dedication, written to me, in ballpoint pen. I shall always feel that these particular prayers are intrinsically linked with my own life.

Another thing that Sri Chinmoy has left us with is his personal example of how to lead a full, complete, and integral life, one that encompasses the fathomless inner depths of the soul, as well as the outer, physical existence. Sri Chinmoy believed that human potential was limitless, and the concept of self-transcendence and personal transformation was central to his philosophy.

Running, meditation, weightlifting, painting, composing music- these are some of the images that cascade past the mind’s eye when remembering this great, good, and thoroughly unique individual.

It has been said that a true, original genius shall create the taste by which he is to be appreciated. This is certainly true in Sri Chinmoy’s case. Not content to copy others, he invented his own conventions and standards in the art-world, the poetry-world, the music-world, and the weightlifting-world. His paintings are filled with swirling colours and joyful birds, instantly recognisable and thoroughly original. His poems are punctuated with daring and original compound-word-pictures. His songs sparkle with plunging and soaring scales, abundantly spiced with accidental notes to keep the listener, and the singer, on their toes. And in weightlifting, Sri Chinmoy invented his own signature lifts, then proceeded to lift more weight than anyone had ever heard of.

Yet none of what Sri Chinmoy did was for his own glory. It was all done in the service of the Supreme. Sri Chinmoy said that the Supreme was (to paraphrase) “My Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru.”

None of us are in a position to fully gauge what impact Sri Chinmoy’s life will have on the future of humanity. One may suppose, however, that it will not be insignificant.

We are the Pilgrims of the Lord Supreme On the Path of Infinity. At this time we have broken asunder Obstruction's door. We have broken asunder the night Of tenebrous darkness, inconscience And the eternal, indomitable fear of death. The Boat of the supernal Light's Dawn Is beckoning us, And the World-Pilot Of the hallowed bond of Love Divine Is beckoning us. The Liberator's Hands are drawing us To the Ocean of the great Unknown. Having conquered the life-breath Of the Land of Immortality, And carrying aloft the Banner Of the Lord Supreme, We shall return: We, the drops and flames Of Transformation-Light.

-Sri Chinmoy