Janaka receives “Order of the Rising Sun”

janaka-order-of-rising-sunThis year, Janaka Alan Spence from the Edinburgh Sri Chinmoy Centre received the Order of the Rising Sun, an honour bestowed by the Japanese government in the name of the Emperor. Janaka, who is one of Scotland’s best-loved poets and authors, received the award for his books of haiku poetry and his novels set in Japan, and for promoting Scottish-Japanese friendship and cultural exchange over many years. Created in 1875, the Order of the Rising Sun is Japan’s third highest honour, and is (with rare exceptions) the highest that can be given to non-royalty or non-politicians. The award was presented by the Japanese Consul-General, Daisuke Matsunaga, in a special ceremony at his residence in Edinburgh. The presentation ceremony was attended by a few dignitaries and friends from the arts, along with friends from the Sri Chinmoy Centre. Janaka sang one of the many songs that Sri Chinmoy wrote in honour of Japan, in both English and in Japanese:

Janaka published his first book – a collection of short stories called Its colours they are fine – over 40 years ago. His first book of poetry, Glasgow Zen, was published in 1990, and was followed by The Clear Light and Seasons of the Heart.Janaka has also written two novels set in Japan and inspired by Japanese historical events. The first novel, The Pure Land, was published in 2006. Night Boat was published in 2014 and retells the life of the Japanese Zen monk Hakuin.

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Yogamaya Celebration April 1994

In April 1994 Sri Chinmoy celebrated the 100th birthday of his mother Yogamaya with a week-long celebration including many meditations and talks. This meditation took place on April 9 while the Bhajan Singers were performing.

Sri Chinmoy also spoke to his disciples and emphasized on divine manifestation as major role of a seeker. Both videos were filmed in the New York meditation Center in Jamaica, Queens.

Concerts for 100th Anniversary of Czechoslovakia

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre offered three special concerts dedicated to the friendship between the Czech and Slovak Republics. The tour began with a concert in Zlin on 15th November. The second concert was held at Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav Theatre in Bratislava on 16th November. The following day on the 17th November, the final concert was offered at Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum in Prague. The 17th of November is also a significant date in Czech/Slovak history as it marks the ‘Velvet Revolution’ and the end of Communist rule. The concerts contained performances from four different musical groups, along with a video projection of one of Sri Chinmoy’s own Peace Concerts. The performers included Alap and Lucas on flute and duduk; the sitar-tabla-tanpura trio of Kanala, Sadananda and Ushika; and Shamita and Bhoiravi from Austria on strings. The finale was the international Sahadeva Ensemble, with over 60 members.

SAVITA in Switzerland

This is the first time that the spiritual music group SAVITA from Kazaksthan was on tour in Zurich, Switzerland. They are all disciples of Sri Chinmoy and played and sang their master’s melodies and also used two native instruments of their country: the Kobyz (a kind of violin) and the Dombra (a kind of mandolin). The members of the group are Akbota (leader), Anara, Nazerke, Akkerbez, Assemgul, Varvara and Anna. Enjoy the music!

Sri Chinmoy’s Art

To commemorate the 44th anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s first rose drawing that he made in Canada on November 19, 1974, I am presenting a new journey through 81 paintings of the artist from the 1970s. He called his artwork “Jharna-Kala” which is the Bengali word for “Fountain-Art” – art that is created from within.

Addwitya Roberta Flack sings on Sanjay’s “3100: Run and Become” movie

“Running” underscores the indomitable spirit of Flack, who is the distinctive voice behind the Grammy Award-winning classics “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and ″Killing Me Softly with His Song,” among other hits. Although the 81-year-old suffered a stroke in early 2016, the singer/songwriter/musician tells Billboard via email, “The music remains my lifeline. And the lyrics for ‘Running’ speak to where I am now, working to keep going through music.”

The lyrics comprising the song’s chorus succinctly relay that feeling: “And I’ll just keep running/Until my race is done/‘Cause if I just keep running/Then I’ve already won.” The moving song, written by Levine, is the closing credits song for the documentary 3100: Run and Become. The film, directed by Sanjay Rawal and scored by composer/songwriter Michael A. Levine, focuses on aspirants participating in the annual Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the longest footrace in the world. Launching a weeklong stand in New York City today at the Village East Cinema, the film will then open in Los Angeles (Nov. 9) at the Laemmle Santa Monica theater before going wide and digital.

It was a string of coincidences that inspired Flack — recently honored by the Jazz Foundation of America for her career achievements — to record “Running.” She was a longtime devotee of the late Guru Sri Chinmoy, an Indian spiritual leader whose followers included Carlos Santana, Clarence Clemons, Narada Michael Walden and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis. A proponent of meditation and physical exercise, the New York City-based Chinmoy was an avid runner and sponsor of the 3100 Mile Race in addition to being an author, poet and musician.

“I used to meditate with Guru Chinmoy in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, read his writings and run with him,” Flack recalls. During this period, Flack met director Rawal, with whom she later worked on various charity projects over the years. It was Rawal who suggested Flack to Levine when the latter said he was looking for a “well-known but older singer” to perform “Running” on the soundtrack. The song is based on the theme music of the film. “I thought it would be great,” says Levine, whose prior scoring credits include the Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS dramas Cold Case and Close to Home as well as the award-winning documentary Landfill Harmonic.  “But I thought how could we possibly? I didn’t know that Sanjay and Roberta were still in touch via her manager Suzanne Koga. Astonishingly, Roberta agreed to do it.”

At the end of the two-day session, Flack left Levine with a special memory he will never forget. “Roberta turned to me,” he explains, “and said, ‘If you need anything else, honey, you call me and I’ll come right back.’ I’ll admit it brought tears to my eyes.”

Listen to “Running” above.

SOURCE: https://www.billboard.com

Amazing interview with Sanjay Rawal

Sanjay Rawal is human rights activist & award-winning documentary filmmaker – and disciple of Sri Chinmoy. His newest film – “3100: Run and Become” – captures the esoteric, spiritual side of running with the Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei in Japan, the Kalahari bushmen in Africa, the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the forests of Finland and the streets of NYC, tracking the famed Sri Chinmoy Self -Transcendence 3100 Mile Run. This is a conversation about running as a path for enlightenment. Enjoy!