Jharna Kala 2015: Painting Life

In 1988 a small child asked this question of Sri Chinmoy

Are you a famous painter?

Sri Chinmoy: Good boy, I am not famous, but I paint. I have painted my inner life and now I will paint my outer life.

It took me hundreds and thousands of years, thousands and thousands of years to paint the inner life. And now I have started painting the outer life. God alone knows when I will complete painting my outer life.

With my inner painting I cried and cried for God the Creator. With my outer painting I am smiling and smiling at God the creation. We are all God’s creation, you and I and all of us.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 34, Agni Press, 2004

Click to Play Jharna Kala Parade New York city 1976:

The date, November 19th, for those who love and admire the accomplishments of Sri Chinmoy has been associated with his Jharna Kala art now for more than 40 years.  Beginning in 1974 it would be something that he never stopped expanding upon.  Yet on that date, while visiting in Canada, it all began with the drawing of a rose.  From this would come a flood of divine creativity.  In later years he almost exclusively drew soul-birds which would eventually number nearly 16 million.

 Looking back over the entire year 1974 it should be noted that  besides representing the beginning of Sri Chinmoy’s manifestation of art, the year also represented a full landscape inundated with many other noteworthy accomplishments.
(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre Photo by Sarama

Question: How do you find the time to draw, to write, to do everything you do?

Sri Chinmoy: As you know, where there is a will, there is a way. I pray to God and meditate on God. Out of His infinite Compassion, He has given me the capacity to accomplish quite a few things. These creations of mine are not my personal belongings or my personal possessions. These are my dedicated offerings to my Inner Pilot. Out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity, and it is He who receives the fruits.

Starting on January 9th of that year Sri Chinmoy began his 50 state university lecture tour which would culminate in the final talk given in Alaska on October 9th.

On February 9th Sri Chinmoy wrote 208 poems in 22 hours.  Part of series of poems called The Golden Boat.

In March Sri Chinmoy gave 16 lectures in Canada, from March 16th to 29th.

In April he celebrated his 10th anniversary of coming to America.

On April 29th Sri Chinmoy wrote 360 poems in 24 hours.  They were published in a book called, The Goal is Won

From June 24th to July 21st he gave 21 lectures at universities in Europe.

On November 10th Sri Chinmoy completed his 200th book.

By December 10th he had completed 1,000 paintings.

By December 28th the first exhibit of painting was held in Hollis, Queens NY

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre Photo by Sarama

Sri Chinmoy was in Canada for 6 days that November to give a series of 4 Public Meditations that took place in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. On the 18th Sri Chinmoy planted an oak tree on federal parkland in Ottawa.

In dedicating the tree, he said: “O Aspiration-dawn of Canada, you will succeed. The universal earth-cry you will embody. You will proceed. The transcendental Heaven-Smile you will reveal. You will become. Infinity’s all-illumining vision you will become. You are. Immortality’s oneness-reality you eternally are.”

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre Photo by Sarama

The public meditations for the most part were given at Universities. In Ottawa on the 19th Sri Chinmoy gave a meditation at the University of Ottawa.  The next night a mediation was held at Carleton University.

At one of the meditation held in a classroom, Sri Chinmoy went to the chalk board and gave us a hint of just how spontaneous and prolific he would become.

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre Photo by Sarama

Fortunately Sarama recorded a divine gift that would so soon be brushed away.

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre

(c) Copyrights Sri Chinmoy Centre Photo by Sarama

Eventually great galleries would be full to bursting with Sri Chinmoy’s Jharna Kala art.


Question: What is the role of art in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: The role of art in the spiritual life is first to awaken oneself and then to awaken the sincere seekers around one. Through self-discipline and self-sacrifice the seeker will first develop his oneness-heart, and then he will offer his oneness-heart to others. In the spiritual life, one has to be a seeker first. Then his aspiration he will offer to the world at large: That is his art. That is his progress for earth and his service to God.

Songs of the Soul: Canadian Tour 2015

Interviewer: What part does music play in the spiritual life of an individual?

Sri Chinmoy: The role of music in the spiritual life is extremely important and significant. God is the Supreme Musician, and His entire creation is His divine Music. At every moment we can be his conscious instruments. And spiritual music itself is an instrument to show us our universal Reality.

Interview: Then you agree with the traditional idea of man being a hollow bamboo flute that God plays?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that is what we are all striving for- to be the instruments of the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy, What I need from God, Agni Press, 1982

ckg esraj-19

I am sitting with Projjwal on a wide green sofa in a little room tucked away backstage of the DB Clarke theatre in downtown Montreal. He is the producer of an extraordinary musical tour. Just outside the crew for Songs of the Soul are busy readying for the nights concert. Even though this is but the first of 4 concerts, in 4 different cities, everything seems to be progressing incredibly well.

Each crew member, as well as each musician, has been working and performing in concerts, just like this one for several years.   Most of the sound equipment travels with the tour. Tonight the stage has all the necessary lights, good news for Harkara the lighting specialist.   There is the usual systematic clatter and banging sounds that goes with setting up for a well-organized concert. Everyone seems relaxed and happy, including Projjwal.

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I ask Projjwal what exactly is ‘Songs of the Soul’?

“It is a concert series that has traveled the world for the last 7 years.” In fact this year there have already been 19 concerts in 8 other countries. Though not present for all those concerts he has been the overall producer of the project since its inception.

With the passing of Sri Chinmoy, his spiritual teacher in 2007, there was an enormous void that immediately opened up within his life. It was an emptiness that of course all of Sri Chinmoy’s students and friends universally experienced. An incalculably great loss, that seemed in the beginning, one that would be impossible to fill.

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For how do you replace someone who was truly irreplaceable? Sri Chinmoy, who was active and prolific in so many areas was perhaps best known and well respected for his Peace concerts. A series of musical performances that he had singularly performed and done for many years all around the world. Projjwal says that for him, “it was always the biggest thing that Guru did.”

“So the idea came up that we could follow up on Guru’s concerts. So we started with the idea that we would have disciples perform and play Guru’s music. In that way we could present Guru’s consciousness, Guru’s love, his writings, his Jharna Kala art in a very professional setting.”

When asked where the name ‘Songs of the Soul’ originated he points clearly to Homagni, who is also a regular member of the tour. “He is the first to have the idea, for the celebrations in New York in 2008. It was a very appropriate name.”

Projjwal’s tells me that his history of first producing a concert dates back to a a much earlier conversation he had at an airport in China in 2005. Sri Chinmoy asked him to organize a large concert tour for him in Germany. One in which the goal was to have at least 30,000 people attend.  Projjwal tells me that concert ended up with even more than that number.

“He put a lot of faith in me and a lot of confidence in me. “ Out of this experience he says he developed the qualities he needed to be able to continue on as he has done now for the past 7 years organizing and producing the tour.


Projjwal says the inspiration to get involved did not come immediately. He says that it was only after seeing the first New York Songs of the Soul concert in April of 2008 that he realized it could also be done as well in Europe.

When he presented the idea at a joy day there, he says, “people totally embraced it. Immediately I had 3 or 4 music groups who said I definitely want to do it.”

In the fall of 2008 the Songs of the Soul concert tour began in Europe with 8 concerts in 8 days. Without having any real experience producing concerts he got a tremendous help from Ketan, who had much more production experience. “He taught me, what you can do on a stage.”

Now he says, “we have a format that works quite well. You learn by doing. In the beginning there were disastrous things happening.” (None of which were mentioned) Projjwal says that the most important aspect of what the concerts are striving to achieve, “is to present Guru. To present his music and to attempt as best they can offer up his consciousness.   That is the most important thing to me.”

“When people go home after 2 hours they feel they have had an experience with Guru. That is my goal.” Projjwal says that generally most people who come to the concerts have no real idea what to expect. Afterwards he says, that through their reactions and their generous comments it is clear to him that the concerts are succeeding.

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He feels that for those who come they are taken on a spiritual journey. “Constantly things are happening. I always feel that Guru is very present.” It is an experience that occurs he feels, not just with the audience but also as well with all those who take part in any capacity with making the free tour happen.

There is no magical formula of how the cities are picked or the countries chosen. The tour now in Canada was a logical selection Projjwal says as it is so close to New York and the gathering of disciples that took place a few days earlier there for October 11th. Which is the anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s passing.  As a rule he says, “I am never imposing or trying to talk people into it. It has to be embraced by the organizer.”

Overall there is no far-reaching goal for the number of concerts and the number of countries. “It is a beautiful thing we do.” It seems to all come about due to grace he feels. “It just goes along the path.”

Projjwal at the end of our talk describes a feeling that all of those who take part in the tour feel, and want to express. “I am still trying to serve Guru, and really follow what he would like to see us do on stage. That is what I am sincerely and humbly trying to do.”

Click to Play Interview:

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Songs of the Soul Link:


*(With the Winnipeg Concert there is now an official total of 149 concerts in 36 countries. The total audience has been84,900.  Projjwal was involved with 121)*

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The Self-Transcendence Ultra Classic….Ottawa 35 Years On

There is not very much about the very first Self-Transcendence 24 hour race held in Ottawa that anyone now associated with organizing the race can still remember.  The kind of exact records and details associated with nearly every current day race have somehow slipped away. It was after all 35 years ago.  A time when hard drives were what you did when you got in your car and went from Halifax to Vancouver.

No one today even knows which track it was held on, or the exact date in May when a brave band of runners appeared on starting line of a 400 meter track to do something that the world had rarely seen before. The little that we do know however is still pretty impressive.  Starting in May of 1981 the Ottawa race has an unbroken streak, except for one year, that now stretches back 35 years. It just may be the longest continually held 24 hour race in the world.

For the past few years the race, which now also accommodates a 6 and 12 hour event, has been held in the Louis Riel dome.  49 participants came to take part this year on September 26.  The winner of the race will be the Canadian 24 hour champion.

One thing that makes the research a little easier on the history of this race is that the indisputable fact that the great Canadian/Scottish Al Howie was one of the runners that first year.  He not only won but he also set Canadian and North American records at the same time. His distance for the 2nd race in 1982 was even greater.  He ran an astonishing 150 miles and 233 yards (241.726 KM) which pushed the record out even further.  He was so intent on improving himself when he came again, that in the 3rd race in 1983, he ran all the way from Winnipeg to Ottawa as part of his training.

Al Howie, an icon of endurance events would run a lot of miles and engrave some serious running history at the event for its first 5 years, and for a lot of other years afterwards in ultra races all around the world.

What becomes clear when you attempt to gaze backwards across the many years, is that something so unique and challenging 35 years ago is now dwarfed in comparison to some of the huge distance races that are being held elsewhere. Multi day running, though still not commonplace, is no longer shocking when brought up around most runners today.

Picture taken In New York

Picture of Sri Chinmoy and Al Howie taken after a race in New York

Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the marathon team saw early on that distance running would become much more common all around the world.  That people would use the challenge of long races to test a runners capacity in every way.  He first asked the members of the group in Ottawa to put on their first 24 hour race in May of 1981.

Long-distance running gives us a real feeling of accomplishment. We can run 100 metres forty times during the year and not feel the same sense of accomplishment as when we run one marathon. But speed and endurance are both important, especially in the spiritual life. If one has only speed, then one cannot ultimately succeed; we need endurance because the goal is quite far. Again, if one has only stamina and no speed, then it will take forever to reach the goal. Only if someone has both qualities will he be able to make very good progress in his spiritual life and achieve something really great in life.

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The Dinesh Band… A Good Milestone

“Something is wrong here…… I have to check this out.”

In 1987 when a 18 year old Dinesh walked into a well known Concert hall in Munich(Circus Krone) to listen to a Sri Chinmoy Peace concert for the first time he was mystified.  It was a place he had already seen many rock and jazz concerts.  There was nothing about what he was about to see though that would in any way compare with anything else he had ever experienced before.


“It was very unforgettable.  Usually you have a huge stack of amplifiers onstage.  But there on the left and the right you had just a small stick and on the top you had a ridiculous small p.a..  I came in and said, what is this?  (laughs) It was just too small for this hall.”

“I was not interested…. or I did not know about meditation and yoga, but from the musical point I was interested.”


When Sri Chinmoy walked on stage and meditated before a hushed audience of nearly 2000, any doubts Dinesh may have had vanished.  He immediately recognized what he calls Sri Chinmoy’s authenticity.  Dinesh says that the more authentic a musician is than the more he is liked.  “That is what people are searching for.  Something that is authentic, something real.  In Guru’s case he was completely real.  There was not a single percentage of ‘show’.”

“I had no idea what to expect.” As the concert proceeded and Sri Chinmoy moved from instrument to instrument Dinesh realized that Sri Chinmoy was not performing for applause and appreciation but for a completely different reason.  “He had a program that he wanted to do and he did it.  That is what impressed me most.  There was no in between.  Either you liked it or you didn’t like it. I was like wowwww!!!”


Click to Play part of rehearsal:

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Self-Transcendence Swim-Run ……..Harriman State Park 2015

September 13, 2015


Eventual winner






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No End To Our Inner Progress….47 Mile Race

Question: Did you ever run ultra distance?

Sri Chinmoy: My longest distance was 47 miles. I did it twice. Now I no longer do it, but every year about three hundred disciples of mine from all over the world come here on my birthday and run 47 miles. Being the spiritual father of the family, it gives me tremendous joy when I see my spiritual children run 47 miles. The number 47 is very important to me because in 1947 India got its independence. With this run we are celebrating our inner freedom.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 29, Agni Press, 2001

On Sri Chinmoy’s 47th birthday on August 27th in 1978, the 47 mile race first began.  At the time the distance seemed impossibly long, monumentally challenging, and at the same time just the kind of thing that Guru would do to inspire and motivate we his students.

37 years have now passed and the race continues to be one of the jewels of each August celebration in New York.  An event, that by starting at midnight, at the very tender beginning of what is a most sacred day, becomes a unique gift for each who takes part.

One that is received and offered up simultaneously.  The runner receives something by taking part while at the same time bringing forward from within themselves the very best of who and what they are.

A fortunate few have run each and every year since then.  Garima on the right won the inaugural race in 1978 in 8:00:44.  She also won the race in 1981 when it was 50 Miles.


Dipali ran her first race that same year.  She was second back in 1981 and this is now the 30th time she has run the race.


The start August 27th 1980


Photo by Shraddha 1980

The start August 27th 2015


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World’s Largest Tennis Ball Mosaic….Love And Serve

It was big, it was colorful, and it was a fitting tribute to Sri Chinmoy, who so loved playing tennis.   The gigantic tennis ball mosaic, made from 10,084 balls, was of course much much more than record breaking.  It was a true piece of art, it was a collaboration, it was a soulful offering, and if nothing else it was good old fashioned fun.  All those who witnessed its brief display, or took part in the many hours of its construction will have their own list of enthusiastic adjectives.


The creation of the tennis ball mosaic started off weeks earlier as an inspiration managed by Ashrita, who happens to have something like a devoted affection for setting new Guinness book records. Doing a spectacular new record on Sri Chinmoy’s birthday is a tradition that he has been orchestrating now for more than 10 years.

Many, almost impossibly huge things have been hammered, glued, set afire, poured, and blended together each August 27th.  Each one is a fantastic project requiring lots of effort  but at the same time each new Guinness record is uniquely conceived out of an artful blend of vision, whimsy, love, and devotion.


This August 27th would have been Sri Chinmoy’s 84th birthday and for ideas and inspiration Ashrita consulted with Papaha.  That both loved tennis and each had had the opportunity to actually play tennis with Sri Chinmoy may have played a not small part in coming up with the idea. That the completed piece would than be displayed on the very ground that Sri Chinmoy had played so many games was also no coincidence.

Playing Databir

Playing Databir

The spiritual message of tennis:
Love, serve
And finally surrender
To the Supreme in the winner.
The loser who cheerfully
To the Supreme in the winner
Becomes himself a real winner
In the inner world.

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Jai Hind Part 2…..An Adaption of Descent of the Blue

We don’t know exactly when this picture was taken but of course we know where.  Most likely it was taken shortly before Sri Chinmoy left Pondicherry to come to America in 1964.  In it we see a young man paying homage to his late spiritual teacher Sri Aurobindo.   With his head bowed and his hands folded he stands in front of the Maha Samadhi in the very heart of the Sri Aurobindo ashram in south India.


Question: You had a teacher?

Sri Chinmoy: I had a teacher in those days. Sri Aurobindo was my teacher. I was at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for twenty years. But then, when I became fully aware of my inner realities and existence, the Supreme became my Guru. At first, Sri Aurobindo was in the physical body, then he left the body in 1950. But once I got my inner illumination, then I found that the Absolute Supreme is the only Guru — your Guru, my Guru, everybody’s Guru. Only the Lord Supreme is the Guru of the entire world.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 34, Agni Press, 2004


It is now late August of 2015.  Hundreds of students of Sri Chinmoy have come to New York from around the world to honor their late Spiritual master Sri Chinmoy.  It is a gathering that has been going on now for decades and continues to inspire all those who come, even those who never had the opportunity to meet their teacher in person.


Yet the spiritual life is filled with many wonders and mysteries that cannot be entirely observed, only felt within and experienced in a way unique to each and every seeker. Kaivalya Torpy once received a phone call in February of 1999 from Sri Chinmoy, asking him to produce a full length version of the play he had written about the life of Sri Aurobindo.

‘Descent of the Blue’ was a play that Sri Chinmoy had painstakingly worked on for nearly 2 years while living in the ashram in Pondicherry.  Eventually it was published serially over a period of 4 years between 1958 and 1962.


When Kaivalya was asked to produce the play in 1999 it had never been performed in its entirety.  At the time of his phone conversation with Sri Chinmoy he was asked to take as many hours as necessary to perform the play and also to include as many of his students as was necessary.  He was very enthusiastic about seeing the play at last reaching the stage. “I want a nice big play”, he told Kaivalya.

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August 4: You Are Guided By Your Heart

“All I can say is that this race you don’t do alone.  You are never alone out there on the course.  You have so many hopes and dreams and inspirations of everybody, who is following the race.  It is just amazing how even though you are not really in contact with humanity.  You are not in contact with newspapers and whatever.  You really feel how the race is somehow percolating out there, and inspiring people.”

The sound of Nirbhasa’s Finish:

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“Life is hard for everybody.  Everybody is running their own version of the 3100 mile race.  Everybody has their own difficulties.  Definitely I felt that if I could inspire even one person to stick it out one more day.  To never give up.  To just push your way through the tunnel.  Than that is somehow really worth it.


“Nirbhasa you did something remarkable, you finished the race on your first attempt.  You have become the first Irishman to ever finish the race.”


“I think the race is really Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy in action.  The mind can’t really comprehend the distance. It can’t comprehend the enormity.  It can’t even comprehend doing a full day, never mind, it is just trying to get to the next break.  That is about as far as the mind can handle.  It is only when you live in the heart, and only when you have tremendous eagerness.  A tremendous feeling of being in the moment, and just being happy, and letting it happen.”


Click to Play Nirbhasa’s Speech:

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Sahishnu announces Nirbhasa’s time and data.


“Finishing in 8th place in a time of 51 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes which is an average of 60.1 miles a day or 96.8 km.  He is now ranked 32nd on the list of 38 finishers.”

“We are so proud of you.  It is so hard to do this race.”

Click to Play Speech:

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*It is with the deepest respect and gratitude that I thank all those who have followed the race here along with me these past 52 days. 

No matter whether your visits were long and rambling or that you came for just a quick click now and then.  I hope you have felt even an iota of the enormous blessing that this race is to me.    That you are drawn even one step closer to your own perfect perfection……..Utpal

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August 3: There Is Only One Power

“I would like to thank the race directors.  The undying enthusiasm from morning until eve, for so many days.  Unbelievable.  The cooks, unimaginable.  Better and better from year to year.  I don’t know how they do better but they do better every year.”

“I wish to thank the Enthusiasm Awakeners.  I would like to thank my family, Alakananda and Atandra.  My fellow runners they are the best people in the world, and of course my deepest gratitude goes to my Guru, Sri Chinmoy.  The one power behind every body and every thing.”


Stutisheel speech:

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“Ladies and gentlemen, Stutisheel Lebedev finishes in 7th place today.  His 9th finish in 11 attempts.”

“Stutisheel finishes in 50 days 12 hours and 52 minutes.  Which is an average of 61.34 miles per day or 98.72km.  He is ranked 16th all time.”


“Stutisheel is the consummate athlete because he is involved in every aspect of the sport.  He has written books about his experiences.  He has helped other runners.  He helps to get them organized so that they can do well. He keeps a blog to show the reality of this race.  But only he can experience the reality.”

“He has done this race and covered almost 28,000 miles.  It is a staggering amount.  I think he could go another 1000 miles right now.  Thankyou for your inspiration it is wonderful.  It is glorious, please come back again.”


Click to Play Speech:

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