“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!!!”
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.
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.
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.
The spiritual message of tennis:
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.