[Congressional Record Volume 152, Number 101 (Thursday, July 27, 2006)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1568-E1569]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                        A TRIBUTE TO SRI CHINMOY


                         HON. GARY L. ACKERMAN

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 27, 2006

  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I consider it an honor and a distinct 
privilege today to rise and offer birthday congratulations to a man 
many in this country and the world have come to respect and admire, Sri 
Chinmoy, who on August 27, will be celebrating his 75th birthday in New 
York City. He is a selfless individual who has dedicated himself to 
nurturing world harmony and to the creative expression of the limitless 
potential of the human spirit.
  Sri Chinmoy's many contributions to American life and culture have 
been expressed through teaching, athletics, art, music, poetry and 
literature. He combines the contemplative traditions of his native 
India with the dynamism of his adopted America to serve humanity 
through programs such as the World Harmony Run torch relay, The 
Oneness-Heart Tears and Smiles worldwide humanitarian service, and the 
Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart awards program. Through these 
initiatives for world harmony, he has touched countless lives and 
offered hope to thousands of individuals worldwide.
  Mr. Speaker, Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose was born on August 27,1931, in 
India in East Bengal, the present day Bangladesh. On April 13, 1964, he 
arrived in this country from Southern India, where he had received his 
education and training in the ancient methods of yoga at the Sri 
Aurobindo Ashram.
  When he came to this country, he founded the Sri Chinmoy Centre, 
headquartered in Jamaica, Queens. The first Centres were established in 
1966 in Puerto Rico and New York, and have since grown to include 
branches all over the United States and 73 other countries worldwide. 
The Centres are dedicated to the twin goals of public service and 
personal spiritual growth through the use of meditation. The students 
of Sri Chinmoy include individuals from all faiths and walks of life 
who seek to cultivate harmony and goodwill both in themselves and in 
their communities. They also compose the community of volunteers who 
carry out, at the grass-roots level, Sri Chinmoy's vision of loving 
service through such varied projects as humanitarian aid and the 
sponsorship of musical concerts and athletic events.
  Considered one of the world's foremost authorities on Eastern 
philosophy, which is a systematic method of expanding consciousness 
through meditation, prayer and selfless service, Sri Chinmoy has 
lectured on this topic at many of the major universities in the United 
States. His first lecture tour began at Yale on December 4, 1968 and 
included talks at all 8 Ivy League Universities. In the early 1970s he 
lectured at 20 universities on topics of Indian wisdom and philosophy. 
In 1974, he spoke at universities in all 50 states.

  He continues to lecture here and around the world. In his writings 
and speeches, he endeavors to share eastern light for the western mind. 
A prolific writer and poet, Sri Chinmoy has written over 1,550 books of 
essays, poems and short stories. The largest university library 
collection of his works is at Harvard Divinity School.
  Meditation classes under Sri Chinmoy's guidance are always provided 
free of charge. He offered his first public meditation at Columbia 
University on April 23, 1971, and his first meditation in Congress at 
the Rayburn House Office Building on May 23, 1979, under the 
sponsorship of my former colleague, the distinguished late New York 
Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo.
  Mr. Speaker, Sri Chinmoy believes that sport is a powerful instrument 
for promoting global harmony. He has long found that athletics can be 
an invaluable source of motivation and enrichment for thousands of 
people, young and old alike. In 1976 he was recognized with a 
commendation from the President's Council on Physical Fitness for his 
role in inspiring young Americans to run the 50-State, 9,000-mile 
``Liberty Torch'' relay held in honor of the U.S. Bicentennial. He 
founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1977. In 1982, several of his 
students organized ``America's Freedom-Ride,'' a 50-State public 
participation bicycle relay that celebrated the 200th anniversary of 
the U.S. Constitution.
  The lessons of these early 50-State American relays became the 
foundation for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team to organize a global torch 
relay. Now known as the World Harmony

[[Page E1569]]

Run, it was held from April to August on a biennial basis from 1987 to 
2001 and resumed as a yearly event in 2005. The World Harmony Run seeks 
to promote international friendship and understanding. This year, an 
international team of runners will carry a flaming torch, symbolizing 
the human aspiration for oneness, through more than 80 countries around 
the globe together with a 10,500-mile, fifty State U.S.A. route. The 
event serves to connect thousands of grassroots efforts for world 
harmony taking place in communities across the globe. It does not seek 
to raise money or promote any political cause, but rather to create 
good will among peoples and nations.
  The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team has made a city block in my district 
world famous. It's where the longest running race in the world takes 
place around the shortest course--a half-mile certified loop on paved 
sidewalks adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway. To complete the Self-
Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, participants run 5,648.688 laps around 
the block, a distance equivalent to more than 118 marathons. The Tenth 
Annual edition began on June 11 and continues into August with the 
largest field yet of 15 ultra-distance runners. As in all his 
endeavors, Sri Chinmoy sets the highest standards of organization, 
logistics and support to help ultra-marathon runners achieve their 
greatest potential. We can expect of this race to see new world records 
and personal bests.
  A decathlon and 100-meter sprinting champion in his youth, Sri 
Chinmoy believes in the necessity of a sound mind and a sound body. He 
began his own long-distance running career in Golden Gate Park in San 
Francisco on June 1, 1978. In March 1979, he ran his first marathon in 
Chico, California, and, later that month, his fastest marathon in 
3:55:07 at the Heart-Watchers Marathon in Toledo, Ohio. He has 
completed 22 marathons and 5 ultra marathons and now, at age 75, still 
regularly exercises.

  Mr. Speaker, Sri Chinmoy first began weightlifting on June 26, 1986, 
and embarked on a new dimension in his weightlifting career 2 years 
later when he inaugurated ``Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-
Heart.'' This is his way of recognizing individuals from all walks of 
life who inspire humanity and excel in their respective fields. At 
these programs, Sri Chinmoy lifts each honoree overhead on a special 
platform, symbolically reflecting their own uplifting contributions to 
the world.
  Bill Pearl of Oregon, a Five-time Mr. Universe, was the first person 
lifted in this fashion. Sri Chinmoy has lifted Members of the U.S. 
Senate and House of Representatives, heads of state, ambassadors, Nobel 
laureates, university professors, spiritual leaders from all faiths, 
Olympic athletes, citizens serving their communities, and school 
children whose dreams are so important to our future. In Hawaii, on 
December 23, 1990, he lifted Senator Hiram L. Fong, who was Hawaii's 
first Senator at the time of statehood.
  On July 10, 2001, in the Rayburn Gold Room, Sri Chinmoy 
simultaneously lifted my esteemed New York colleague Benjamin Gilman 
and me on a two-platform lifting apparatus, one of us with each arm. If 
I had not experienced it, I could not imagine this to be possible. In a 
day-long lifting program at Boeing Field Auditorium in Washington State 
on July 13, 2003, held to celebrate the centenary of the Wright 
brothers first flight, Sri Chinmoy lifted 123 airplane pilots in 
appreciation of their dedicated services in carrying humanity into the 
skies. From 1988 to 2006, Sri Chinmoy has honored more than 8,000 
individuals from many countries with this award.
  Mr. Speaker, The Oneness-Heart Tears and Smiles is the voluntary 
humanitarian service program of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. Since 1991, 
centre members worldwide have collected and shipped tons of 
humanitarian supplies to countries in need including South Africa, 
Angola, Mozambique, India, and, after the tsunami, Sri Lanka. It 
responds to disaster relief requests, health and education needs, and 
regional development projects. The program obtains and distributes 
medical, domestic and educational supplies and toys, working closely 
with other aid agencies, local NGOs, community groups and corporations.
  One would think that this busy schedule and numerous interests would 
be enough for one man, but not so for Sri Chinmoy. An accomplished 
composer of music for choir and instruments with 13,000 songs composed 
in his native Bengali and 7,000 in English, Sri Chinmoy has performed 
his music free of charge at over 750 concerts worldwide since 1984. 
Last year, to celebrate his 74th birthday, he played his original 
compositions on 74 different pianos at an outdoor concert in Queens.
  Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and Claiborne Pell of 
Rhode Island sponsored an art exhibit of Sri Chinmoy's soul-bird 
drawings in the Russell Rotunda of the U.S. Senate in 1995.
  All told, Sri Chinmoy has written 20,000 songs, taught 300 university 
lectures, authored 1,550 books, including 112,000 poems, penned 15 
million bird drawings, and completed 200,000 ``Jharna-Kala'' paintings 
(``Fountain of Art'' in his native Bengali).
  He has dedicated his life to inspiring and serving all those trying 
to make the world a better place, whether ordinary citizens or those 
entrusted with the stewardship of a nation.
  Mr. Speaker, on this, the celebration of Sri Chinmoy's upcoming 
Diamond Jubilee 75th birthday, I ask all my colleagues in the House of 
Representatives to please join me as I wish Sri Chinmoy success in the 
years ahead and best wishes for a long and continuingly fruitful life.