Sri Chinmoy Encyclopedia Article

Making sense of a teacher whose contributions were both diverse and prolific

Sri Chinmoy reading from his aphorisms for The New Millennium

Sri Chinmoy reading from his aphorisms for The New Millennium

There are many articles about Sri Chinmoy in bona fide print encyclopedias, and most are good (like this one). Recently I revisited an archived “community” article written in encyclopedic style and last updated in 2008. It comes from an emic or inside perspective, and reflects a nice balance between biographical facts, significant quotes, and understanding Sri Chinmoy’s “path of the heart” in historical context. Proof that emic accounts can sometimes be more accurate than etic ones. It includes good footnotes and many details not found elsewhere.

From reading other encyclopedia articles about Sri Chinmoy, I gather that one challenge is to understand what’s unique about his teachings, and how they relate to the Hindu tradition from which he emerged. At the same time, a purely historical or philosophical approach might fail to catch the spirit of a movement which is lively, colourful, musical, and vibrant. Sri Chinmoy is an eminently quotable writer, so an article jam-packed with quotes is a definite plus.

He was active in a number of fields: meditation, music, poetry, art, athletics, humanitarianism, and peace studies. Another challenge is to explain how these diverse activities fit together within the larger context of his teachings. This is an area where an emic account can hopefully shine.

Beginning from any facet of Sri Chinmoy’s artistic output, one may gradually experience a “worlds-within-worlds” quality similar to late period Beethoven. A friend once told me a story about a man who was visiting the U.S. from a foreign country. He stopped by Sri Chinmoy Centre to learn more. He was very inspired, but as the day wore on he became a bit bewildered because there was always more about Sri Chinmoy to take in. “You mean he paints too?” is the quote that stuck in my mind. 🙂

Sri Chinmoy painting

Sri Chinmoy painting one of his Jharna-Kala (“Fountain-Art”) abstracts

If you’re interested in an encyclopedia style article which tries to pack Sri Chinmoy’s worlds-within-worlds quality into something you can read in a few minutes, then check out this PDF:

Sri Chinmoy Community Article
https://ethicsandspirituality.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/sri-chinmoy-community-article-53.pdf

Disclaimer: I was one of the contributors to the article. Continue reading

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LENIE and PENIE Awards for 2015

Brother and sister clinch coveted LENIE and PENIE awards!

Each year at this time,* the Ethics & Spirituality Blog presents one award for Legal Ethics Not In Evidence (the “LENIE“), and a second award for Publishing Ethics Not In Evidence (the “PENIE“) to two qualified candidates.

Candidates must demonstrate exceptional ability in at least one of the following areas: social climbing, backstabbing, insensitivity, demagoguery, hypocrisy, abuse of power, or avarice.

In a rare occurrence, this year a brother and sister have scampered away with both awards!

For exploits recounted in “The ACLU and Religious Freedom, Part 3,” Joe Kracht — sometimes known as the Lawton law firm’s “Burning Man” — wins this year’s LENIE. Joe will receive an autographed picture of Roy Cohn and a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

For exploits likewise recounted in “How far would you go to get a book deal?” Elizabeth Kracht — sometimes known as Kimberley Cameron & Associates’ “Godmother of Corruption” — wins this year’s PENIE. Liz will receive an all-expense-paid cruise to Yorkeys Knob with Rupert Murdoch, and a year’s supply of kitty-litter. As an additional bonus, her red hair helmet will be steam-cleaned and revivified.

Note: The phrase “all-expense-paid cruise” should not be inappropriately applied to Ms. Kracht’s teenage years.

Remember, there are 365 days in a year. If you act badly enough on any one of them (particularly on the Internet), you just might snag yourself a LENIE or PENIE.

DISCLAIMER: Taxes and gratuities not included. Not available in Nebraska, Idaho, or Yucatan. Some parts may be made of oleomargarine. Valid ID must be presented at time of award. Candidates may be required to sing the Tippy Tippy Tiptoe song while balancing on one leg and gargling Drano. Some ingredients may cause drowsiness or increased risk of moist armpits. Do not use if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or have ever used the word “pregnant” in a sentence, even humorously. Less than 2% of candidates saw little green men. Do not speak to these men or give them matches. If you see something, say something.

*Of course, there’s no tradition like a new tradition. 😉