An international figure little known in Bangladesh

sri_chinmoyThe Daily Star published this article on a recent seminar at Chittagong University:

Through his works, spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy showed the way to find inner strength and contribute to peace building, an international seminar at Chittagong University was told yesterday. The Department of Philosophy organised the seminar titled “Sri Chinmoy and Bangladeshi Philosophy”, in the arts and humanities faculty auditorium. Vice Chancellor Iftekar Uddin Chowdhury inaugurated the seminar as chief guest, where scholars from home and abroad presented six papers on the Chittagong-born philosopher-poet-composer.

Chairman of the department, Prof NHM Abu Bakar, who took the initiative for the daylong seminar, hoped that Chinmoy’s philosophy would be introduced in the courses of study at the department. “The first course on Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy was given at the University of Connecticut (USA) in 1973. His book ‘Beyond Within’ has frequently been reprinted since then and was published as a textbook,” he said. In the first session, Prof Lunthita M Duthely of the University of Miami presented a paper titled “Sri Chinmoy’s The Path of the Heart Meditations in Education”. Two other papers — “Spiritual Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy” and “God Realization in Sri Chinmoy’s Spiritualism” — were presented by PhD researcher Kamrun Nahar of Dhaka University and Prof Bakar respectively.

In the second session, Shantisri McGrath presented a paper on “The Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy”, Prof Kamrul Ahsan of Jahangirnagar University on “Sri Chinmoy: A Spiritual Philosopher of Bangladesh”, and Prof Shafiqul Alam of CU on “Sri Chinmoy and His Philosophy”. Highlighting the global impact of Chinmoy’s philosophy of peace, the speakers told the seminar that professors of Bangladesh taught European, British, and Indian philosophy, but there was an international figure born in Chittagong, who was little known in Bangladesh. The session was followed by a discussion where Prof Rashida Khanam and Masum Ahmed of CU spoke, among others. In his inaugural speech, the VC said Chinmoy’s philosophy inherited the oriental philosophy of Indian sub-continent. “His philosophy speaks of humanity and human equality.”

The internationally famed philosopher was born in 1931. He wrote 1,600 books, more than 10,000 songs, and thousands of verses, the seminar was told. His devotional songs are performed in Russia, Latvia, Indonesia, Guatemala, Zimbabwe and many other countries by his followers. The Sri Chinmoy Centre, which promotes the vision of a world where happiness is available to each and every individual, has now 250 branches across the world. The chapters promote meditation and innovative programmes like cycling, running for peace, swimming, and creative works. Chinmoy introduced a meeting on meditation for peace at the UN headquarters in 1970. He died in New York in 2007.


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