I bow to the soul of the Parliament of Religions

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I bow to the soul of the Parliament of Religions

Barcelona, Spain, 2004

Photograph — opening meditation

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"We Indians are all still basking and shall forever bask in the unbounded glories of Swami Vivekananda."

Sri Chinmoy

7 July 2004

History of the Parliament

1893 Chicago

The Parliament of the World's Religions was held for the first time as part of the Columbian Exhibition. This historic gathering is regarded as the beginning of the interfaith movement worldwide. One of the most inspiring and magnetic speakers was Swami Vivekananda, a young Hindu monk from India.

1993 Chicago

To celebrate the centenary of the first Parliament, eight thousand people from various faiths came together in Chicago for a second Parliament. Sri Chinmoy was chosen by the organisers to open the convocation with a few moments of silent meditation.

1999 Cape Town

The Parliament convened for the third time in South Africa with the aim of fostering harmony among the world's religions.

2004 Barcelona

The fourth Parliament of the World's Religions in modern times was held as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures. Sri Chinmoy was once more invited to offer the opening silent prayer for the oneness of all religions, before an audience of seven thousand guests.

Invitation to Sri Chinmoy (extract)

December 24, 2003

Dear Respected Sri Chinmoy:

On behalf of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, I am honored to extend an invitation to you to participate in the opening plenary for the upcoming Parliament of the World's Religions, to be held in Barcelona on July 7, 2004.

Specifically, we are asking that you provide a five to seven minute opening meditation of silence and music. We think such a starkly singular and wordless presence will be the perfect entry for participants into the Parliament experience. And we can think of no one better to do it than you.

Peace,

Rev. Dirk Ficca

Executive Director

Opening meditation of silence and music

During my opening meditation I am praying for the oneness of all religions.

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After praying in silence for two minutes, I played several of my compositions on the Indian esraj.

Thirty-five prayers

While I was in Barcelona, I wrote thirty-five prayers, composed twenty-eight songs in English and Bengali, and drew a number of birds to symbolise the aspiration of the human soul. Together with my silent meditation and esraj performance during the opening session, these are my soulful and prayerful offerings to the illumining soul of the Parliament of Religions.

Thirty-five soulful prayers and forty-five Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds

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1.

What is my body?
My body is
A fragile cage.

2.

What is my soul?
My soul is
An earth-illumining light.

3.

The human in me
Is made of
My heart-tears.

4.

The divine in me
Is made of
My soul-smiles.

5.

I need
A God-searching
Mind.

6.

I need
A God-loving
Heart.

7.

I need
A God-serving
Life.

8.

I need
A God-surrendering
Breath.

9.

What is ahead of me?
A speedy heart-road.

10.

What is behind me?
The slowest Indian bullock cart.

11.

What is within me?
A sleepless and breathless
Heaven-climbing cry.

12.

Love begins the Cosmic Game.
Oneness completes the Cosmic Game.

13.

The morning beauty
Awakens me
And brings me abundant joy.

14.

The evening beauty
Widens my heart
And gives me boundless peace.

15.

My prayers
Take me
To God's Eye.

16.

My meditations
Bring God's Heart
To me.

17.

My prayers
Soulfully touch
God's Feet.

18.

My meditations
Self-givingly clasp
God's Feet.

19.

I quickly and greedily
Devour
The golden dust of God's Feet.

20.

The way to become happy
Is to think and feel
That the very best is yet to come.

21.

My Lord's Eye ploughs
And my Lord's Heart harvest
My heart-garden.

22.

Be not afraid
Of
The Invisible.

23.

We all came
From
The Eye of the Invisible.

24.

At the end of our journey's close
We shall enter
Into the Heart of the Invisible.

25.

I wish to become
A climbing flame
And not a devouring fire.

26.

Wild fantasies
Feed
The mind.

27.

Pure ecstasies
Feed
The heart.

28.

A human being means
An unlimited
God-potential.

29.

Both God and I
Are two
True beggars.

30.

God dies to have
A single, cute smile
From me.

31.

I die to have
A single, sweet Smile
From God.

32.

Tomorrow's sun
Is beckoning me;
I have no time to waste
With my mind's thick clouds.

33.

I most devotedly
Listen
To my heartbeat.

34.

I must
Most vehemently
Discard my mind-heat.

35.

We all must know
That God's only real Name is
Forgiveness, Forgiveness, Forgiveness.

Soul-birds

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Twenty Bengali songs and eight English songs

1. Harin sama druta bege

Harin sama druta bege samoi chale jai hai hai hai hai
Samoi sathe karte larai khamata je nai hai hai hai hai

2. Samoi eso samoi eso

Samoi eso samoi eso ogo samoi eso
Hasi mukhe hiya khule samukhe mor baso

3. Na janale keman kare

Na janale keman kare tomai janibo
Na shikhale keman kare tomai danibo

4. Kandiya kandiya

Kandiya kandiya hasiya hasiya tomar charan cheyechi
Nachiya nachiya uriya uriya sunil akashe utechi

5. Bhango bhango

Bhango bhango bhango bhango maya moher supti
Jadi chaho ei jibaner asimatar mukti

6. Bhalo lage

Bhalo lage bhalo lage ghana megher khela
Nirabatar amaratar dipti tripti mela

7. Maner tripti nahi chahi

Maner tripti nahi chahi maner tripti
Ami shudhu chahi amar hiyai dipti

8. Jara dane tader jiban

Jara dane tader jiban amar lagi
Kritagyata janai tader nidra jagi

9. Bhayer bojha rakhte habe

Bhayer bojha rakhte habe dure dure bahu dure
Pabe tabe shanti sudha tomar gabhir hiya pure

10. Asha bina banchte keha

Asha bina banchte keha parena
Ashar har je asha kabhu manena

11. Benche aehi thakbo

Benche achi thakbo benche tomar kripa khama bale
Rahi ami dibanishi tomar kamal charan tale

12. Ke amar mita

Ke amar mita ke amar ari ami kabhu nahi jani
Ami jeno shudhu apanar bhebe sabare hridaye tani

13. Nimeshe nimeshe

Nimeshe nimeshe nabin jiban amar hridaye phute
Taito amar hasi o ashru bidhatar pane chute

14. Mukti chaha jukti tabe

Mukti chaha jukti tabe rakho dure bahu dure
Jukti kuphal jukti garal mukti phute hiya pure

15. Jegechi jegechi

Jegechi jegechi tomare pujite hriday gabhire jegechi
Petechi petechi hasi o ashru prabhur charane petechi

16. Khudha nahi hai

Khudha nahi hai tabu sudha chai jatil manas jukti bin
Khudha pele kabhu hriday gabhire shunibe mayer bijoy bin

17. Man chilo mor

Man chilo mor param bandhu man haye gelo ari
Hridaye chilam hridaye rahibo taba sudha pada dhari

18. Chalo chalo

Chalo chalo sabai chalo jyotirmoyir sandhane
Purna habe jiban moder bishwa mayer joy gane

19. Shanti gabhir habo ami

Shanti gabhir habo ami shanti gabhir
Ami habo bishwa mayer joddha prabir

20. Eso eso prabhu

Eso eso prabhu nashite amar maner praner timir
Dhalo dhalo dhalo hridaye amar amiya shanti gabhir

21. My prayer-life

My prayer-life is beautiful.
My meditation-heart is Godful.

22. Be a faith-rock

Be a faith-rock.
Your life will know no shock.

23. Like a bird I sing

Like a bird I sing and sing,
Sing and sing and sing.
No listener do I need,
No listener do I need.

24. Time flies

Time flies, time flies, alas, time flies.
My feeble heart cries, cries, and cries.

25. My human eyes

My human eyes look, look, look, look, look.
My divine eye sees.

26. O world-waker

O world-waker, where are you?
O world-shaker, why, why, why are you?

27. I like to see the face

I like to see the Face unseen
Of my Lord Supreme.
I love to become the Heart unknowable
Of my Lord Supreme.

28. My life and I explore

My life and I explore far and wide.
My heart and I enjoy the God-given ride.

In the news

Newspapers

Newspapers around the world hailed the Parliament of the World's Religions in Barcelona as one of the most significant global events of 2004. Twenty-one of these articles from different countries are reproduced in the following pages.

LA VANGUARDIA Barcelona, Spain, 8 July 2004

INDIAN EXPRESS India, 9 July 2004

EL PERIODICO Barcelona, Spain, 8 July 2004

THE HINDU India, 11 July 2004

THE VANCOUVER SUN Vancouver, Canada, 17 July 2004

NEW YORK NEWSDAY New York, USA, 24 July 2004

THE ZUVNY MEDEE Mongolia, 21 July 2004

THE UNEN Mongolia, July 2004

UTRINSKI VESNIK Macedonia, 17 July 2004

INDIA POST USA, 23 July 2004

INDIAN REPORTER USA, 6 August 2004

THE LINK Vancouver, Canada, 24 July 2004

DARPON New York, USA, 19 July 2004

THE AKHON SAMOY New York, USA, 20 July 2004

THIKANA, New York, USA, 16 July 2004

THE WEEKLY BANGLADESH New York, USA, 17 July 2004

NEW PROBASHI New York, USA, 18 July 2004

BANGLA PAT RIKA New York, USA, 23 July 2004

BANGLA WEEKLY New York, USA, 18 July 2004

NEWS INDIA TIMES New York, USA, 30 July 2004

INDIA OBSERVER Toronto, Canada, 25 July 2004

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (Release)

News

(Sri Chinmoy is praying for the oneness of all religions during his Opening Meditation of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Barcelona on July 7th, 2004.)

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News — Vancouver Sun

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Glimpses of the Parliament

Gong

Panchajanya Burri, owner of Gandharva Loka Music Store in Zurich, played upon two large gongs during the Opening Session. He presented these gongs to the Parliament.

Art

An exhibition of Sri Chinmoy's artworks was on view outside the main auditorium.

Expression of gratitude

I wish to offer my soulful gratitude to Kusumita Pedersen. My participation in the Parliament was all possible due to her tireless service to me.

Sri Chinmoy

27 August 2004