NEW YORK CITY (TIP): Breadth and depth, newness and eternity will color this year’s Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival, to be held Saturday, August 20, at 8 p.m. at the Sri Chinmoy Aspiration-Ground Meditation Garden in New York. A highlight will be the international launch of Sri Chinmoy’s fully bilingual publication The Garden of Love-Light Poems (Premaloker Kanan), which will include 140 of Sri Chinmoy’s original Bengali poems captured in both Bengali and Western script, coupled with his own English translations.
Festival Director Ranjana K. Ghose notes in her foreword to the volume: “The Garden of Love-Light Poems of Sri Chinmoy is a work of immortal vintage poems. We find herein some of Sri Chinmoy’s earliest poetry and yet the epiphanies within are dawning ever anew, within the self and within mankind.”
A keynote speaker at the Festival will be Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General, who will read poetry from the book. Acclaimed singer Debashree Bhattacharya, joined by flutist Premik Russell Tubbs and keyboardist Parichayaka Hammerl, will perform selections of the haunting music which Sri Chinmoy composed to all poems in the book. The evening will be filled with both music and poetry, including performances by the London-based music group “Temple-Song-Hearts”.
Rounding out the major presentations for the evening, Professor Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, Director of the South Asian Studies Program at Wellesley College, will relate Sri Chinmoy’s poetry to that of the 15th century poet Narasinha Mehta of Gujarat, particularly the lyric which became Gandhi’s favorite hymn. Professor Bhatt’s research includes expressions of devotion through poetry and song, and on cultural forms and resources that tie people together across boundaries.
The international launch of The Garden of Love-Light Poems follows the launch held at the World Literature Centre (Bishwo Shahitto Kendra) in Dhaka earlier this year. That launch was presided over by Professor Anisuzzaman, who has received the Bangla Academy Award and the Ananada Purashkar for his work in the field of Bengali literature. He recited the following poem from the volume at that event:
Not word, but work:
This sweet message awakens strength
In our heart.
Inside work remains hidden
The fragrance of flowers.
Let work be the language of our heart
And our proclamation.
Our only aim is progress,
Not victory and failure.
— Sri Chinmoy
The Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival is an annual event, held in New York since 2009. For more information: Nayana Hein: 347-773-8369; Nishtha Baum: 347-968-9417