Start of the North American Peace Run….2016

Sri Chinmoy once said of the Peace Run, “It is the beginning of something unprecedented and it is the beginning of something ever transcending.”

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The Peace Run is now in its 29th year, it was first inaugurated in New York in 1987.   Beginning on a day that looked and felt much like it did today.  Then on a cool bright April morning as an enthusiastic band of runners set off across America carrying a torch and attempting something new and unique..

Its’ goal being, only to inspire and include all those, young and old alike, who wanted more peace.  Not just in themselves but also in the world around them.

salil3-1200637Salil has been organizing the Peace Run for many years now.  At this mornings ceremony, he introduced a number of people who gave highlights of the Peace over the past 29 years.  Arpan read a quote from Sri Chinmoy that he said at that first ceremony.   The ceremony at time was  carried live on the Today show.

“Let us pray to God to grant us the capacity, out of his infinite bounty to sleeplessly serve the Peace aspiring world.”

“Let us pray to God to give us the most beautiful face of a oneness world family.”

“Let us pray to God to give us the most powerful heart of a Oneness World Home.”

“Let us pray to God to make us clearly see and soulfully feel that this world Peace Run is his own hearts inner choice and his own eye’s outer voice.”

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Today the run will only go about 15 miles. As far as the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

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But in just a few days the real journey out and across America and Canada begins. It will only arrive back in New York in August.

north_american_peace_run_2016_-_hr_-_square2 Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Run Fishguard….March 16

The journey in Wales will become complete today.  Ireland now so close at hand patiently beckons.

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One last school, Goodwick community in Fishguard.

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A picture outside the school with Head Teacher Mr. J Jones

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Coming inside

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The story of the Peace Run explained to a new and eager audience

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It is short sweet and powerful

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It is something new but very familiar to all

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Light fills the room

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Soon it will be my turn

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It begins with me

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We can do it too.

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Mayor Councillor Richard Grosvenor

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It is not hard

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We all need peace

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We can learn so much from each other

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So simple, so easy, so important

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The light of the Peace Run has gone on now to another shore and another group of enthusiastic Peace Dreamers

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But tonight the light still burns fresh and promising in all the hearts of those who eagerly turn their gaze toward all the endless tomorrows with more hope.

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If you leave behind
Peace-fragrance on earth,
Rest assured the future world
Will be immensely benefited.

 

Peace Run St David’s….March 15

It is cool bright March morning.  All is still in the heart of the town of St. Davids.  The Norman cross has seen centuries of activity happening around and about.  Soon it will see witness something very different.

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The Peace Run approaches with all its energy, joy, and of course peace.

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A ceremony takes place beneath the ancient cross

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Approaching the most hallowed St David’s Cathedral.

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Group photo

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The sun splashes across the cool still interior

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Canon Dorrien Davies

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“So coming here today is a very important part of your journey as you go around Wales.  It is a great pleasure to see you.”

“What you see here is Norman.  It was built in the Norman period, and the floor in which you stand is a difference between the great west door and the high alter of the cathedral of 3 meters, 14 1/2 feet.  So when the Dean and I have to walk up here, it is quite a strain.”

“The pillars have been here over 800 years, and this houses the remains of our patron saint.  Saint Patrick of Ireland came from this area.  So the Irish were blessed by the Christian traditions that Wales had to offer.  We have the patron saint of harpists buried here St. Caradoc.”

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“But of course what this place has to offer is not what remains here, but what people take from here.  And that is the Christian message of love and hope and new beginnings.  Which is what you do also.  We live in a world that needs hope.  Which needs love and which most definitely needs new beginnings.  You are testifying to something which is not only universal in its spirit, but also God given.”

“So it is lovely to have you here.  It is a great privilege to each and every one of us to be able to welcome you.  I hope that when you go from here that one day you will return here as pilgrims.  And we will be able to welcome you again.”

Talk by the Reverend Canon Dorrien Davies:

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“I thought it would be very appropriate to come into this space, for we are at the very heart of the Cathedral now.  We restored the medieval shrine in 2012.  This has become really the focus for prayer.  As you probably appreciate, part of what we do here is to pray.  Each morning and each evening prayers are said in the cathedral.  In many ways it is very appropriate that we are gathered here today. We have had news that the Russians are pulling out of Syria.  Peace talks are in process all very exciting and very encouraging.”

“We have on average 300,000 visitors pass through here every year.  We hope that many of the people who come here will find peace in this place and take it away with them.  It is part of what we are about.  So it is quite an amazing place.”

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“Pembrokeshire is an amazing place.  You have enjoyed the coastline it is fabulous.  Many people come to actually walk the coastline.  I think they find great solace in the scenery.  Pembrokeshire has a very strange pull on people.  Once you come here you always want to come back.  So I hope you all come back.  It has been a fantastic experience to have you here with us this morning.  We wish you every blessing as you along your way.  We will follow you with interest.”

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“As you leave this place we pray for God’s blessing on you, as you take this message of peace around the world.  We pray for peace in our world.  For our world leaders, for this nation, for governments, for all who work for justice and peace.  So God’s blessing on you.”

Talk by the Dean of St David’s Cathedral the Very Reverend Jonathan Lean:

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At the tomb of St David a candle is lit.

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Placing it on the altar.

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Students of Ysgol Bro Dewi:

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Two Sisters:

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sisters singing-1200427Leaving the church

devashishu coming out of church-1200434A school group approaches

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More get to hold the torch

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The Dean sprints up the steps carrying the torch

dean running stairs2-1200438Final good byes

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You cannot have a peace-future
If you are afraid of loving
Your present life
The way God Himself loves you.

Peace Run Camarthen….March 14

The Peace Run approaches Camarthen city hall

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On the steps.

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Daffodils are growing everywhere

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At Ysgol Y Dderwen School

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Having a funny moment

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Touching the torch

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Enjoying the Peace Run

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Holding the torch

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Never to forget

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Each will take their turn

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New horizons

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Learning about the world

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Its your turn

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Always something new to learn and enjoy

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Through joy it is so much easier to learn

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Making new friends

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High 5

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Time to go inside

kids 8-1200349Mayor Councillor Barry Williams

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Time to feel peace

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Headteacher Mr. Dylan Evans speaks to his students.

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On behalf of the school he receives the Peace Run certificate

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Devashishu teaches the Peace Run song

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“So remember.  We are running around the world altogether.

Peace Run Song:

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The choir sings

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What does peace look like

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“I am Steven Thomas and I am a long time supporter of the Peace Run.”

“It is an outreach of what I have been involved with for many years.  I was based at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff for about 15 years.  We also welcomed the Peace Run on a number of occasions.”

“Our work was partly educational, be that with young people in Wales or with adults on some of the big issues of the day.  Partly campaigning on Peace related issues and human rights issues.  But often it was political almost diplomatic.  It was therefore a pleasure to have a slightly different approach.  One which, for many of the people involved in the Peace Run comes from a spiritual source.  To referring to some of the same issues from a different angle.”

“That is why it was useful to be involved and support it in different ways.

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Steven Thomas on right. Inauguration of Peace Statue 2012

About the Peace Run….”It will be memorable for certain individuals.  I would compare it with things we used to do at the Temple of Peace with schools.  Which were more perhaps cerebral.  We would get older children to take part in model United Nations meetings where they would represent countries.  That I could see could appeal to slightly more academic children.”

“This approach will have sparked something and will be a clear memory for a certain cross section of the children.  Some of them will remember this clearly.  It will be an inspiration if even a thought provoking moment.  Which they will be able to build upon in the future.”

Hope For the Future…. “I do, partly because we are still here in 2016, despite the excesses and the terrible things that have happened in the past. Also because the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run and other institutions that I have been involved with.   International aid organizations, the Temple of Peace in Wales, are still there as a bedrock.  Sometimes an alternative to what some of the bigger world powers are doing.”

“In many ways we represent the majority, in our beliefs, and our hopes for the future.  So you are right.  I am not overly pessimistic about things.  They will continue.”

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Peace is the heart of my future
And not the mind of my past.

Peace Run Laugharne….March 13

The Peace Run arrived in Laugharne.  Once the home of well loved Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas

In-front-of-officeJanaka Spence, a Scottish Writer spoke about Dylan Thomas

“I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be taking part.”

“Yesterday I bought the Guardian Newspaper, which I only buy on a Saturday to read the book pages.  They had a feature on how different people dealt with death.”

“The headline on the front page was, do not go gentle.  Anyone who has read Dylan Thomas would be able to finish the line.   Do not go gentle into that good night.”

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“How many poets, living or dead are that you could give half a line and reading public would be able to complete that line.  His poetry had that wonderful incantatoray quality to it.  I discovered his work when I was 17 or 18.  We are talking 50 years ago.  I was a young man in Glasgow reading a lot.  I discovered this incredible work.  It was like nothing that I had ever read before.”

“I didn’t understand half of it.  But that didn’t matter.  He called his poetry ferocious and un-understandable.”

“Sri Chinmoy the inspiration behind the Peace Run he once wrote.”

You do not have to understand; just believe. You do not have to believe; just keep your eyes wide open.

Sri Chinmoy, To-morrow’s dawn, Agni Press, 1982

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“Dylan Thomas opened my eyes with the glory of language.  He inspired me to become a writer.  Sri Chinmoy was a great admirer of his work.  There are a few poets that he said a a psychic quality.  A kind of mystical quality to their work.”

“He talked about Keats in that respect, Emily Dickinson, and Dylan Thomas.  He also said that Dylan was much misunderstood.  But he recognized the psychic quality in his works.  The word that springs to mind that Sri Chinmoy would use about that quality is mantric.  It invokes the qualities that it is describing.”

“He invested language with that incredible spiritual power.  That is why people are still reading him all these years after his passing.”

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“The town sang and danced, as though it were right and proper as the rainbow or the rare sun to celebrate the old bright turning earth and its bullied people. Are you surprised that people still can dance and sing in a world on its head? The only surprising thing about miracles, however small, is that they sometimes happen.”
– Dylan Thomas, from On the Air with Dylan Thomas: The Broadcasts

“I think today has been something of a miracle.  From start to finish.”

“Thank you all for welcoming the Peace Run.  It is a great and very special honor to be here.”….Janaka Spence

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women-singing

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“I’d love to welcome you to Laugharne.  We know it is the first time that you have been here, and you are more than welcome.  We are incredibly proud of the beauty of the countryside and our streetscapes.   The fabulous buildings and everything else.  This building I have a particular pride in as this corporation has been here uninterrupted for over 700 years.  It predates parliament.”

“I am not sure that is a good thing at all.  It is a quirky little town.  It has always been full of characters.  We are the only corporation to survive in the UK.  I think it was the quirkiness and the beauty that inspired Dylan.  He was certainly happier here than he was anyplace else.”

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“He is one of our most famous modern Welsh writers.  We have of course much more ancient writers.Who were probably writing about the time that the corporation began.  Who are equally famed in their own way.”…The Portreeve

Charana-Prabhavati

“On your journey you pass around this flaming torch.  You offer an opportunity for so many people to make a personal wish for peace.  Today you offer us that same opportunity.  In doing so.  You invite us to be part of your achievement.  to feel your joy and triumph in not only conquering the great distances in life but also the personal and practical difficulties of the journey.”

“You seem to me to be present a fine coming together of discipline and enthusiasm.  So I would like to welcome you all.”….Mayor

“In this tranquil landscape where the peace is only broken when England beat Wales in rugby.  We see the awfulness of conflict and war in a somewhat disconnected way.  In edited television reports and the newspapers.

“We can only imagine the anguish of displaced people who have lost their homes, their countries, and often their families.  While the great world powers stand by seemingly impotent.”

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“The peace torch you bring today, may have been held by great leaders but it also has been held by millions of ordinary people.  People of peace and good will everywhere will appreciate your efforts.  Meeting you is a reminder to all of us who have chosen to serve our community, that we can call on an inner strength to help us put and get things right.  We can remember this flame, and when we do we will be reminding ourselves, that yes.  Peace really does start with me.  So on behalf of the County Council, Laughrne corporation, and Laughrne township community council.  We wish you every success on your onward journey.”

“We hope the beauty of Laughrne and Wales and the warmth of the welcome will stay with you.  Thank you and best wishes and good luck”….Councillor Jane Tremlett

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The view besides Dylan Thomas’s writing shed.

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The door is open

insideThe desk

Desk

The tide is coming in.

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French students suddenly appear

FrenchLaundry on a line.
Estuary3On to the Boathouse, once home to Dylan Thomas

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Time for tea

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Hannah Ellis, The granddaughter of Dylan Tomas is there to greet the runners.  She shows Janaka where her Mothers ashes have been scattered.  They talk about her Grandfather and his work

janaka2 A bench in the back garden welcomes all to come and take a welcome rest to all.

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The funny this is, I find myself Going back again and again.

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One more song from the Corran Singers:

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When my heart,
My heart’s eagerness
And I
Run fast along
The road of life,
Peace proudly runs with us.

Peace Run Welsh Botanical Gardens…. March 13

“We started 2 weeks ago in Porto Portugal and we will run through every European country over an 8 month period.  We will finish in Rome on October 8th.  The run was started by an Indian gentleman, Sri Chinmoy in 1987.  He loved sports and he loved running.  But most of all he loved peace.”

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“He dedicated his life to helping people to find real happiness, real strength, and real peace.  In their own lives and in their own communities.  So that in the world we could establish a real peace, something lasting something real, something significant.”

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“As a runner he enjoyed the endeavor of pushing beyond your limits.  He started in 1987 this world wide peace run.  So a runner runs with this torch and as they run around Europe and the rest of the world people are welcome to join in.  Run a few meters, run a few miles, to hold the torch and offer a few prayers, a message of peace to the world. Now hundreds of thousands of people around the world have held the torch.”

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“As we run around the world we do stop every now and then to establish monuments or sites, special places that dedicate themselves to Peace.  We are really grateful to be here in this wonderful botanical garden.  Where today there will be a monument unveiled.  That will stand here as a testimony to the people of Carmarthen and Wales, and their commitment to peace in our world.”

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“As we run around the world.  We realize that 99.9% of the people we meet want peace, and want a world of harmony, friendship and kindness.  It is initiatives like this that really give that aspiration some voice and strength.  We hear all about the negative things on the news.  But there are a lot of people doing good work.  Positive work in the world.  We are trying to connect all those people, and really underline that positive message.”….Devashishu Torpy

Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths

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“It is 4 years almost to the day since we dedicated a similar statue in Cardiff.  On that occasion also the sun peaked out at the right moment.  Congratulations to the organizers for orchestrating that.  On that occasion I read a passage from Dylan Thomas.  I make no apologies for repeating it.  It is glorious.  It talks about peace as something wonderful and celebratory.  Even in a world turned on its head, people can still sing and dance and celebrate peace.”

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“The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they sometimes actually happen.  Today has felt like something like a miracle.  The combined energies of this beautiful place and the Peace Run coming in.  Sri Chinmoy himself talked about peace as something inner and outer.”

“He said that at the heart of peace there had to be dynamic action and at the heart of action there had to be the stillness of peace.  I think that is what we feel here in this astonishing location.”

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“Sri Chinmoy often talked about the heart garden, that we all feel deep inside ourselves.  That in itself relates to the wider world.  And feels as though this place is the breathing heart of Wales itself.  It feels like the living heart of the country.  It is such a powerful peaceful energy.  And to feel that extends itself to the rest of Wales, to the rest of the world.  I think that is what a dedication like this is all about.:

“The statue when you see it embodies those qualities of inner and outer.  The figure itself is very still.  There is an intensity and there is a peacefulness from it.  And yet it is holding this very powerful symbol the peace torch.”….Janaka Spence

O dreamers of peace, come.
Let us walk together.
O lovers of peace, come,
Let us run together.
O servers of peace, come.
Let us grow together.

Sri Chinmoy, No unreachable goal, Agni Press, 1994

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Lord-Ellis

“Thank you all very much for coming here today.  It struck me that the service that a place like this does is really remarkable.  People can come here and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.  The beauty that we have inside ourselves we find reflected in nature.  The beautiful qualities that each of us has.  Love, peace, joy, and happiness.  These are qualities that unite us all.  The underlining qualities that unite all of humanity.”

“They find life they find nurturing in a place like this, an oasis of nature.”

salil-speech

“It is only fitting that a statue such as this can find a home here.  Were people can come and enjoy a moment of peace.  Peace is something that we all have within ourselves.  In our daily lives sometimes it gets lost, in the hustle and bustle of life.  Find the silence that resides inside ourselves and then take that from a place like this and take it into the world.  We will be better people for it.”

“The statue has a torch which people can hold and make a prayer for peace.  So on behalf of the Oneness-Home-World Peace Run I am honored and delighted to present this statue.”…Salil Wilson

Lord-Ellis-Thomas

“Lord Elis-Thomas is a great supporter of the Peace Run is here to unveil the statue.  He has been associated with the run on a number of occasions when it has come through Wales.  Would you like to say a few words before the unveiling.”…Steven Thomas

“I was delighted when I was invited to do this.  Partly because I was born up the road.  In what is now a supermarket.  It wasn’t then.”

Lord-Ellis-Thomas-plaque

“My grandfather, it comes to my mind today.  Carmthenshire was full of militant pacifists. Of which my grandfather was the most militant.  I can describe the sort of things that he did to empathize his pacifism.  Including marching up to the nearest top of  a hill.  He would march up on every armistice day not to be near anything that symbolized war.  Now I am not a militant pacifist, but I am very much someone who believes that it is important to remember the mistakes that we have made so that we don’t make them again.  It doesn’t seem to work very well.”

“To be here in this spot.  Is to be at peace.”…Lord Elis-Thomas

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A special moment

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Some regular visitors to the park

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Heading to the start of the race

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Runners in the morning race

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Different kinds of flowers bloom today.

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Harp music fills the air courtesy of Udasina

Harp

Reflections

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Another flower

Sudhira

Alone against the hill

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Very fast

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Encouraging everybody

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Maybe next year

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Not too slow

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A flower family

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The park early morning

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Worlds coming together

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“Even though the statue has come from the same mold and the same place.  The cast can be slightly different because things happen.  In the construction little changes are made.  I do modify the wax before it is cast.  Without reference to anything else.”

“But I think most of all is the context.  The place, the people, those who arrange for the statue and the other people involved make a complete difference.  I realize that by talking to people and asking what they think that people all have such a different appreciation.  The appreciation is not about the physical object, but the whole experience.  The emotional experience, the spiritual experience, and the mental experience.  Everybody is different.”

kaivalya-statue

“It all comes over differently and I am totally and utterly amazed how the statue appears in different context.  I put it down to the fact that people affect how the statue appears to others.  But mostly on the spiritual level who appreciate it spiritually.  Sri Chinmoy embodies the statue and gives out a flavor that is appropriate to that time and place.  In this case here.  This statue has such sweetness and such a fineness.  Quite different to the statue in Cardiff, which is much more determined and powerful.”

“This one exudes sweetness just like the flowers in the garden.  It is so compelling I can believe how compelling.  I got the feeling even before I came here.  I saw it right from the beginning. In the foundry in Prague.  I am so delighted with the feeling.  Here it is intensified a 100 fold.”…..Kaivalya Torpy.

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“I think the location is brilliant. I was holding onto it and I couldn’t let it go.  I wanted to feel as though I held it as long as possible.”

“I love coming here as there is a great feeling about the place.  This statue adds a spiritual significance to the garden.”

“You have thousands of school kids coming.  Out of that something is created that is beyond the material.”…Lord Elis Thomas

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Burry Port Male Choir:

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My heart knows
That it costs nothing
To be a dreamer and lover
Of peace.

Peace Run Cardiff….March 12

Just a day earlier the Peace Run arrived in Wales.  This morning the runners cross into Roth Park to partake of a great Welsh breakfast

Roth Park-1190899The Peace Run has had a long and significant relationship to Wales.  The torch has covered many miles over the length and breadth of the country.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.22.36 AMThe Terra Nova Cafe is happy to greet and feed the runners this morning.  Nick was the groups generous host.

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On the wall of his cafe is the original plaque that designated Cardiff as a Sri Chinmoy Peace Capital on October the 4th 1997.

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Sri Chinmoy the founder of the Peace Run was in Cardiff when the plaque was first erected at a different location.

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Soon the runners head off to the next ceremony.

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4 years earlier a Peace statue was put up along Cardiff Bay.  Kaivalya the sculptor cleans and prepares the statue before the ceremony.

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The runners arrive.

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They are greeted by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor David Walker.

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A short ceremony takes place.

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Team Captain Devashishu tells the mayor about some of their recent adventures.

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A proclamation is read

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Pictures are taken.

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It has been a good morning.  Steven Thomas has provided introductions.

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Time for tea and Welsh cakes.

walking to Norwegian church -1190967O Dreamers of peace, come

Let us walk together.
O lovers of peace, come,
Let us run together.
O servers of peace, come.
Let us grow together.