Biography of Sri Chinmoy – Part 2

Sri Chinmoy arrived in New York on April 13, 1964. The 1960’s were a time of awakened interest in Eastern spirituality and Sri Chinmoy soon found there were quite a few receptive students hungry for the peace and light that meditation could offer. Word soon spread outside New York, and in 1966 a meditation centre was also set up in Puerto Rico, the first outside America. More meditation centres followed; these centres soon came to be known as Sri Chinmoy Centres.

On August 27, 1967, he composed his Invocation to the Supreme, a song which Sri Chinmoy says is the seed of his vast musical output:

Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
My life, Thy golden plough,
My journey’s goal, Thy soulful Dream.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.

Supreme, I am Thy glowing Grace,
My world, Thy Feet of Light,
My breath, Thy vision’s Kite.
Thou art one Truth, One Life, One Face.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.

For his students, the song embodies their approach to the Supreme, or the Highest within themselves, and singing it forms part of their daily spiritual practice.

At this time, Sri Chinmoy was beginning to expound his philosophy through university lectures all over the world. He travelled throughout the length and breadth of the Unites States, giving lectures in all 50 states. His commentaries on such sacred texts as the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita were developed through university talks in such places as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. His talks stressed the universal nature of spirituality and were thus acessible to people from all faiths and backgrounds. His first European lecture tour in 1970, which included lectures in the historic universities of Oxford and Cambridge, was very well received.  This visit also marked the beginning of the first Europe-based Sri Chinmoy Centres.

Sri Chinmoy’s first book, Meditations: Food for the Soul, was published in 1970. Over the next seven years he would publish almost 400 books of poetry, short plays, aphorisms, illumining stories, and answers to the countless questions asked of him over the years. In his philosophy, he has always stressed the importance of reading spiritual material in order to inspire the mind to follow the heart; his output certainly ensured there was no shortage of material available to his students or those he gave inspiration to.

In 1973, Sri Chinmoy wrote several plays which gave profound insights into the lives of great spiritual figures, such as the Buddha (Siddhartha becomes the Buddha), the Christ (The Son) , Sri Chaitanya (Lord Gauranga: Love Incarnate) and Sri Ramakrishna (Drink, Drink my Mother’s Nectar). Over the years, performances of these plays have been very well received on the theatre circuit in New York, London and Paris.

Sri Chinmoy’s output of devotional songs continued to grow, and in addition to being a composer, he was soon to expand into the role of noted musician. In 1974, he began playing the esraj, the resonating bowed instrument that is a staple of east Indian music. The esraj remains Sri Chinmoy’s favourite instrument today, and he is now considered amongst the leading exponents in the world. The same year, he also began playing the Indian side flute; within ten years he had expanded his repertoire to include western flute, violin, cello and a host of other instruments.

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