SRI CHINMOY — A Man of Peace


Sri Chinmoy’s life stands as a living embodiment of the peerless ideal set forth in the Gita of combining action without attachment to the fruits thereof with surrender to God’s Will. He is revered in the West as a great spiritual teacher; the prestigious reference work Current Biography calls him “probably the most respected exponent in the West of Bhakti Yoga.”

He is also a highly respected humanitarian and spokesman for world peace at the United Nations, where he has been holding peace meditations for the past 17 years. In addition, Sri Chinmoy is much admired as the author of more than 700 books, the composer of some 6,000 devotional songs and a prolific artist whose mystical paintings have been exhibited around the world. 

He seeks neither wealth nor fame, avoiding commercialism of any kind and the temptations of worldly luxury; his sole aspiration is to awaken in humanity a deeper love for the highest truths.

Sri Chinmoy’s illumining commentaries on the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads and the Vedas, and his sketches of the luminaries who awakened the national spirit in the century before Independence, have offered Westerners a deep insight into the Indian soul. Moreover, in hundreds of stories and plays about the spiritual Masters, Avatars and heroes of the past, he has vividly demonstrated the unique significance of Indian tradition to the modern world.

Many of his essays and collected talks, describing the loving intimacy between the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, go beyond the perspective of our culture, however, and are truly universal. They have been translated into many languages and are appreciated by God-lovers and Truth-seekers throughout the world. His ideas are not intellectual, for Sri Chinmoy is not a scholar but a Seer. His works rise up from the wellspring of intuition itself and are aglow with the profound simplicity of their source. Especially noteworthy is his Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, a 100-volume opus completed in 1983. These 10,000 poems, like candelabras of light, possess rare mantric qualities that illumine the mind and elevate the soul. They shine before the world as a luminous vision of a 20th Century knower of Brahman.

Sri Chinmoy seeks to convey his spiritual vision not only through literature but also through music. He has set tune to thousands of his own poems, especially his more lyrical Bengali ones. The poems themselves evoke subtle spiritual moods, which the music carries to their most sublime expression. His songs do not dazzle the mind, but uplift the soul. Whereas so much of today’s music is a means of forgetting God instead of realizing Him, Sri Chinmoy’s songs bring music back to its original high purpose.

In recent years his works have become an important vehicle for transmitting India’s music-light into the mainstream of contemporary Western music. Hundreds of his songs have been performed by Western choirs and instrumental groups at major concert halls throughout North America and Europe. and recorded in record albums. Well-known American and French musicians have improvised his melodies into the more Western folk and classical modes, thereby claiming India’s musical heights as their very own. In addition, a number of U.S. high schools have adopted his music into their educational repertoires, sponsoring Sri Chinmoy Sangits which have given thousands of youngsters their first appreciation of India’s musical heritage. indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the haunting spirituality of Indian music and the genius of Bengali verse are finding their rightful place in world culture. to a large extent, through the vehicle of Sri Chinmoy’s songs.

This message of the spirit Sri Chinmoy also expresses through art. He has completed more than 150,000 paintings and drawings, a vast body of work that he aptly calls Jharna-Kala (Fountain-Art). In the highest tradition of Indian aesthetics, Jharna-Kala portrays God the Creation, visible and invisible, aspiring and illumining, the known and the unknown. The artist is in a high meditative state when he paints and his paintings portray spiritual realities that he is experiencing.

Sri Chinmoy’s paintings have received numerous awards and honours. His “Journey’s Battle-Victory,” a mural depicting the spiritual pilgrim’s triumphant battle against the undivine forces during his journey to God, was selected by The Eyes and Ears Foundation of San Francisco to be featured in a unique billboard display. The work created a great stir, and the Mayor of San Francisco proclaimed a city-wide Jharna-Kala Day in 1978. The following year India’s Ambassador to the United Nations presented one of the artist’s paintings to United Nations officials for inclusion in a travelling exhibit promoting the International Year of the Child. 
In the spirit of Karma Yoga, Sri Chinmoy will not allow his art to be sold; he regards it as a divine gift that is meant to be transmitted freely. Through the auspices of the non-profit Jharna-Kala Foundation, his works have been exhibited in various museums, galleries and private showings throughout North America, Europe and Australia. At one New York showing, more than 7,000 of his works were put on display in what was believed to be the largest exhibit in history. 


with Sri Chinmoy

Saturday, November 7, 8:00 p.m.




Following are reflections on the worldwide service of Sri Chinmoy by some of the many distinguished leaders with whom he has met or exchanged correspondence. The titles are those in effect at the time of the exchange.

Zubin Mehta, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic (following a meeting with Sri Chinmoy and his students): “I hope you can all come tomorrow (to one of my concerts). Maybe that would be something I could give you.... Just to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m touched’ is not really enough. Maybe I can meditate to say thank you. I was very moved.”

Leonard Bernstein, Conductor and Composer: “You are a miraculous model of the abundance in the creative life that we lesser mortals seek, and I can only hope that I may someday ... participate in that cosmic fountain of stillness and profound energy which you inhabit.”

P.A. Nazareth. Consul General of India, New York: “The world should be made aware that here, right within the United Nations building, there is a group that is trying to find peace in a truly more meaningful way .... This is what Sri Chinmoy is doing ... and I honestly believe that this is as important as anything that is being done in the conference halls of this great and august building.”

Muhammad Ali, Three-Time World Heavy-weight Boxing Champion (on a weightlifting feat) “This man has done the impossible because of faith, wisdom and love of God. Through God we can do anything, and He allows us to reach beyond human endeavours. We may feel we can’t go on, but because we find inner faith, we do. The body says ‘stop,’ but the spirit cries ‘never.’ In the warrior’s code there is no stopping.”

Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations: “You concentrate on the truths and ideals which unite all mankind: the longing for peace, the need for compassion, the search for tolerance and understanding among men and women of all nations.” 

Pope John Paul II: “Special blessings to you. Special greetings to your members. We shall continue together.”

Giani Zail Singh, President of India: “Your words will help me live up to your expectations of me... I thank you and your people for coming and praying for me. I see such purity inside all of you. Your prayers have definitely reached God.”

Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada (on a weightlifting feat): “Your accomplishments show us that the only limitations to the body and the spirit are the limitations which we place upon ourselves. May the love that you hold for mankind extend from the soul through the body into a real and lasting peace.”

Hussain Muhammad Ershad, President of Bangladesh (on a weightlifting feat): “Peace is indivisible and any pursuit towards its promotion deserves commendation. Viewed in this backdrop Mr. Chinmoy’s feat is indeed a noble venture. It will no doubt inspire others to transcend their limitations and cultivate the power of meditation, prayer and faith in global peace. I extend my heartiest felicitations to Mr. Chinmoy and wish him all success in his mission.”

Bernard Weatherill, Speaker of the House of Commons, Great Britain: “How genuinely grateful I am for your guidance for your advice and for the most helpful meditation which we shared.”

Published in Canadian Times of India, Page 3, Oct. 15-Oct. 31, 1987