Sri Chinmoy followers are mourning the death of their spiritual leader who passed away at the age of 76 in his Briarwood home on Thursday, October 11. The cause of death was a heart attack.
At a private ceremony commemorating his life and passing, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis said, “Sri Chinmoy always inspired me. He used to call me his outer coach in running but say he was my inner coach. I may have lost my student, but, though he has passed on physically, I know I have not lost my coach spiritually.”
Chinmoy, who was born on August 27, 1931 in a small village in east India, became an internationally renowned peace leader who brought his message of the human potential to world and religious leaders such as former South African President Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II.
“With deep regret I learned that my long-time close friend passed away,” said former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. “In our hearts he will forever remain a man who dedicated his whole life to peace.”
Chinmoy’s philosophy for world peace was manifested through a wide array of activities, ranging from literature to art to sports to music. The universal nature of his philosophy embraced and encouraged people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities to work together.
Today, more than 7,000 people continue to follow his philosophy through the nearly 100 Sri Chinmoy Centers worldwide.
He wrote over 1600 books of prose and poetry, composed over 20,000 pieces of music, played over 800 Peace Concerts in venues like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and was an avid runner, tennis player and champion weightlifter.
Since coming to the United States in 1964, Chinmoy opened centers throughout the world for peace and harmony. He also traveled the globe to share his inspiration and goodwill and led twice-weekly meditations at the United Nations headquarters. In 1970, he founded The Peace Meditation at the United Nations under the aegis of then-Secretary-General U Thant.
Combining the spiritual with the physical, Chinmoy founded the World Harmony Run in 1987, the world’s largest relay for peace involving tens of thousands of participants in over 70 nations. He also founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon team, which is a leading promoter of ultra distance races, sponsoring events ranging from marathons to the world’s longest footrace, a 3,100-mile run.
And drawing on his inner strength, he launched a weightlifting career in 1986, at the age of 55. Chinmoy credited his inner peace for the ability to lift thousands, sometimes even tens of thousands of pounds.
“I have learned from Sri Chinmoy that the size of the arm does not make the man; the size of the heart makes the man,” said five-time Mr. Universe and Best Built Man of the 20th Century, Bill Pearl.
His service organization, the Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles collected and distributed millions of dollars of medical supplies throughout Asia and Africa.
Chinmoy’s body will be interred at a private ceremony early next week.