28. More Handshakes
The 1998 completion of Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants triggered a minor landslide of other tributes as well, all with the theme of “27.” The Auckland boys’ singing group offered 27 concerts within 12 months; we managed to get 27 newspaper articles published; New Zealand disciples collectively ran 27,000 kilometers in the several months prior to Guru’s August 27th birthday; and a group of disciples ran up and down 27 of Auckland’s 60 volcanoes, a nine-hour ultra – to mention a few!
The Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms project was also well established at this time. Subarata visited her home country, meeting Sports Minister Jim McDaid on behalf of the Peace Run, and Ireland shortly after became a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms-Nation. We launched similar efforts nearer home, and both Nauru and the Cook Islands were also inducted to join the growing family of nations dedicated to world peace.
New Zealand’s earlier dedication in September 1998 was a very interesting experience, with Guru stretching like an elastic band our capacity to deal with the multitudinous challenges. He invited us to organise a nationwide Peace Run – beginning in two weeks! – to commemorate the Peace Nation dedication, and with Australian disciples participating. Fifty or so disciples made themselves available and formed four running teams – and each day we simply abandoned ourselves to the unfolding possibilities encountered on the roads, to the welcoming schools and inspired hearts. We loved Guru’s high-velocity approach to life, his “do it now” injunction that took us past hesitation or doubt, the sense of venturing out into an unknown day and trusting that all would be well, and then, too, the warrior spirit we each had to summon from within ourselves.
After our nation’s dedication to peace, another congratulatory marathon began. In New York at the time, Subarata was invited onto the stage with Guru at PS 86. All of the several hundred assembled disciples filed past her in tribute, and each was requested by Guru to shake her hand! Guru was very happy and said lots of kind things about our far-away country.
Perhaps it seems a little odd to add 27,000 handshakes and the ascent of 27 volcanoes and 27,000 kms of running to our nation’s curriculum vitae – but the spiritual life is a huge rainbow of colours and flavours, encompassing a world as limitless as the imagination.