A genuine yogi of the modern era, Sri Chinmoy has dedicated his entire life to counseling and leading spiritual seekers on the path of yoga and self-realization. After spending over 20 years in intense practice of yoga and meditation in India, he felt an inner urge to share the fruits of his yogic realization with his sister and brother seekers from the West.
While practicing the spiritual discipline in India, he felt that the vast storehouse of knowledge and universal truths embodied by yoga, and that he himself came to experience first-hand, had to be made more easily accessible to seekers in the West. Spirituality in India is part of the fabric of daily life with its ancient, colorful traditions and rituals being observed since birth and into the old age. Not so in the West where a fast-paced way of living and a more materialistic orientation tend to take precedence over spiritual pursuits.
At the same time, Sri Chinmoy felt that Indian spirituality lacked dynamism and determination needed to unite the rational with the devotional sides of life. He therefore embraced the achievements of the West and blended them harmoniously with the realizations of the East.
His arrival to the United States in 1964 marked the beginning of his effort to create a universal yogic lifestyle or path that could be followed by seekers regardless of their cultural, religious or educational backgrounds. During the over forty years that ensued, Sri Chinmoy initiated and developed an approach to living that draws on the mysticism of the East and puts it on a firm and organized foundation of the West. As a result, thousands of seekers from virtually every walk of life and every corner of the world felt a deep affinity with the teachings of Sri Chinmoy and became his students. Nowadays, a Sri Chinmoy Centre exists in almost every major city worldwide, with numerous events being organized by Sri Chinmoy Centres in many countries of the world.
Firmly grounded in the mystical traditions of the East, the spiritual practices followed at the Sri Chinmoy Centres are simple yet proven and powerful means of perfecting and realizing one’s full potential. Practices take place weekly with regular meditation sessions (traditionally part of the ancient raja yoga system) as the centerpiece of the practice. Along with meditation, other important yoga practices include bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion), karma yoga (yoga of selfless service) and nada yoga (yoga of sound). Additionally, the physical body is kept fit through regular exercise such as running, bicycling, swimming, weight-lifting, etc.
While no single type of yoga may be in itself sufficient for a given person, taken together as well as combined with other lifestyle adjustments and practices, the approach devised by Sri Chinmoy emerges as an effective and a powerfully transformative stimulus to personal development and rising self-awareness for many aspirants.
In fact, because the student membership is so diverse, the many practices in the Centre offer a wide range of choices to students allowing them the opportunity to express their own talents and inclinations depending on their present capacities, interests and aspirations. Just as every individual shares with others many striking commonalities and yet is unique, so various Centre practices allow students to be part of a united effort while focusing more of their attention on aspects they appreciate or benefit from the most.
While Sri Chinmoy is no longer physically with his students, his ever-present and loving guidance is felt and followed with joy and gratitude by his older and newer students alike.