Britain’s Devashishu Torpy visited Perth for a number of free lectures and meditation workshops in early March. Meditating since of the age of nine he has found that it benefits him in all aspects of life. An accomplished actor, playwright and speaker, his Perth metropolitan tour was an exclusive, being the only place he spoke in Australia after a nearby visit to Bali then a Peace Run on the east coast of Australia. Devashishu learnt meditation under at age of nine from meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy who was one of the first Indian spiritual leaders to give a lecture at the University of WA (one of the venues Devashishu spoke at) way back in 1976 in Winthrop Hall.
“I find meditation gives me inner peace as well as happiness and energy,” commented Devashishu on his love for meditation. He uses the skill in many situations. He has acted in front of royalty, performed in front of rock stars and has also visited and lectured in over fifty countries around the world, sharing his insights into the meditation lifestyle. Participants learnt practical techniques such as breathing and concentration, how to live more in the heart and heard stories and anecdotes from his multifaceted life including the political division in his own country, a meeting with Mother Teresa and his Indian born father sculpting a statue where the public can meditate outdoors at the scented gardens in Perth. “I really enjoyed Perth. It is beautiful here and getting to talk about meditation is something very close to my heart,” he said.
The plaque inauguration
He gave lectures in Bennett and Co Law Firm, Curtin University, the University of Western Australia and his weekend workshop in Subiaco was attended by a crowd of 247 people. Overall over 300 came to his talks. A great crowd to hear an accomplished speaker. Afterwards he relaxed and visited the beautiful Caversham Wildlife Park where he spent time handling and petting koalas, wombats and kangaroos but understandably he wholeheartedly rejected the opportunity to hold a native python! Caversham dedicated itself to peace in 2013 as a Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom Wildlife Park joining with many other significant locations around the world. The plaque still looks great and the park is stunning, filled with the fauna and flora of Australia.
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre conducts free meditation classes in many locations around Perth both North and South of the River. Some locations we commonly use for free meditation classes include Melville, Inglewood, South Perth and Subiaco. Usually the free meditation classes are held one night a week for four weeks. We also run free weekend workshops, almost like a meditation retreat whilst sleeping in your own bed. Visit our calendar or phone 61614156 for more information on our free meditation seminars. After the classes interested people are invited to attend our regular free meditation group.
Australian and international students of Indian meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy gathered in Melbourne for the 40th Chico marathon anniversary on the weekend of March 2nd and 3rd, 2019. Chico was Sri Chinmoy’s first marathon that he completed on 3rd March 1979 in Chico, USA. He ran in a time of 4.31.34. Overall Sri Chinmoy completed 22 marathons in his marathon career but encouraged his students to continue marathon or daily running as a means to maintaining and increasing both physical and spiritual fitness. “We have to keep the body fit, and for this, running is of considerable help. If we are physically fit, then we will be more inspired to get up early in the morning to meditate. True, the inspiration to meditate comes from within, but if we are healthy, then it will be much easier for us to get up at five or six o’clock to pray and meditate. In this way the inner life is being helped by the outer life. Again, if we are inspired to get up early to meditate, then we will also be able to go out and run. Here we see that the outer life is being helped by the inner life,” said Sri Chinmoy in reference to fitness and meditation.
Similar celebrations honouring Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon run were held throughout the world. In Australia we aimed to honour this achievement with a marathon and celebrate the whole weekend. The joy weekend or meditation retreat coincided with the Peace Run finishing their Australian leg of the first All-Nation-Covering Southern Hemisphere Peace Run so there were plenty of fit runners around used the 37 degree heat forecast for the 3rd of March. Around 55 Australian and international members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team attended the joy weekend, it was fantastic. Four members of the Perth meditation group attended.
A meditation retreat with the Sri Chinmoy Centre isn’t really a meditation retreat. It is very active. Plenty of performances, spiritual plays and meals. On the Saturday we certainly carbo loaded the day before the marathon, eating heaps of food, an Indian meal and a massive Prasad (blessed food). We watched videos of Sri Chinmoy running his early marathons including Chico and Toledo which inspired us to think about the next morning. Some were running as teams, some as individuals and some like Goncalo from Portugal were running their first marathon. I was a bit apprehensive, I started training the week before in Perth and ran a 9k on the Saturday morning and raced a half marathon in the evening. I didn’t bode well. I could hardly walk afterwards but…grace descended, Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon was great. I felt awesome the whole marathon. I think everyone else had the same experience. “I can’t believe I did it,” said Rakhi Mahbuba, a former Miss Bangladesh now residing in Perth who ran 10 kilometres in a team, further than she ever had before. “Halfway through I felt so emotional. The pride. I was inwardly moved, being here was really special.”
The marathon started around 7.15am in Princess Park on a flat, scenic, cinder track that was 1.9km measured by Kishore’s Jones wheel. There was plenty of joy around and helpers to count our laps. Prashphutita Greco a professional photographer took photos of everyone. An amazing aid station loaded with coconut water, electrolyte, donuts, sea weed, crisps and so on kept us going as the day warmed up. When we finished a local volunteer Kuvarani had made a multi-storey lasagne for all the helpers and runners which was scrumptious.
We gathered for an early Sunday evening meditation before everyone departed and many tales of the day unfolded after meditation as we ate our meal: vegetarian pizza and icecream with apple pie, regaining all the weight we had just lost!
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre conducts free meditation classes north of the river (NOR) and free meditation classes south of the river (SOR) in a variety of locations. We also have a free two mile race every weekend in South Perth and often conduct weekend meditation workshops in a metropolitan meditation retreat like setting. Visit our calendar to see our next free evening meditation class or weekend meditation workshop or phone 61614156.
There are many different types of meditation around. Many spiritual paths and many styles of meditation. All sincere meditation groups will have a common factor, silencing the mind and accessing something deeper within. One style is Buddhist meditation.
Lord Buddha was born around 2500 years ago in India. Known as Siddhartha before his illumination, the young prince renounced his wealth and family in pursuit of enlightenment. He was extremely austere initially. Barely eating, meditating for hours, even days on end. One day a musician floated by on a boat. “Don’t tune the string to tightly,” he explained. “It will break. Don’t have it to loose, or it won’t play a note.” The message struck Prince Siddhartha deeply and he realised it was relevant to his own pursuit of happiness and truth. If he was to achieve realisation he would have to take the middle path. A path, not as austere as he first thought but intense in aspiration nevertheless. He achieved nirvana under a Boddhi Tree after resolving not to leave the spot until he did.
Says Sri Chinmoy in prose. “Siddhartha did. He flew from his household life into the state of homelessness. The Supreme did. He placed Lord Buddha in the adoring heart of humanity, in the lap of universal Love. Temptation Siddhartha saw and shunned; austerity He felt and lived; the Middle Path He realised and offered. The Omnipotent did two things through Siddhartha. He revealed the ideal of perfection in a human being. He revealed His Enlightenment and Compassion in a divine being. Lord Buddha cast aside caste. The fallen learned from Him the value of self-respect. The unbending learned from Him the necessity of humility.”
Styles of Buddhist Meditation
There are many styles of Buddhist meditation. Some groups will focus on death and reincarnation. Some on the breath and the existence of truth within ourselves. Others on the many sutras that Buddhists follow. Buddhism is now found mostly outside India, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar and other places. Pictured below, the statue of Buddha at Kamakura in Japan is one of the most sacred Buddhist statues. Sri Chinmoy visited there many times.
“The disciples of the Lord Buddha progress steadily towards the perfect bliss of nirvana without going too far on one side or the other. The Buddha had a heart larger than the universe. He cried for the end of human suffering. His path was also very strict, but he did not want to impose undue sufferings on his followers through austerities.” Says Sri Chinmoy in his writings in Jainism: Give Life Take Not.
Ultimately Buddhists in meditation, try and reach Nirvana, an extremely high state of consciousness in their quest for enlightenment. Sri Chinmoy comments. “Hundreds of thousands of books have been written on Nirvana. We first come to hear about Nirvana from the Lord Buddha. It was he who offered to the world at large the conception of Nirvana. What is Nirvana? It is the extinction of desires, suffering, bondage, limitation and death. It is a very high state where transcendental Bliss reigns supreme. When one is in Nirvana, one’s cosmic play is done, and one no longer barters with time and deeds. On the strength of his aspiration the Golden Day dawns when the aspirant enters into the Nirvanic consciousness. He goes beyond the limits of time and space. You have to say that in Nirvana the Divine is enjoying its own self-amorous state. So Nirvana means the extinction of teeming earthly desires, sufferings and sorrows, and at the same time the Bliss and divine enjoyment of the highest trance.”
So Nirvana is a lofty goal of meditation perhaps a long way off for a lot of us! Firstly you have to learn the basics. Attaining inner peace, quietening the mind, the role of service in life, how to be happy, living more in the heart. The joy and happiness it gives you keeps you inspired for life and over time you make spiritual progress.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre offers free non-denominational meditation classes in Perth (NOR) north of the river and also offers free meditation classes (SOR) south of the river in a variety of locations. Visit our calendar to read about the latest free meditation classes and seminars or phone 61614156.
London’s Devashishu Torpy is visiting Perth for a series of free meditation workshops. The 50 year old has been meditating since of the age of nine and has found that it benefits him in all aspects of life. An accomplished actor, playwright and speaker he is currently the European director of one of the largest volunteer organisations in the world, the Peace Run, a torch relay that happens in over 100 countries each year. He is visiting Perth after supervising the Peace Run teams relay run from Brisbane to Melbourne. Exclusively, his Perth metropolitan lectures will be the only places he will be speaking in Australia.
Devashishu learnt meditation under at age of nine from Indian teacher Sri Chinmoy and has been practicing daily since. “I find it gives me a lot of inner peace as well as happiness and energy,” he commented. Devashishu has acted in front of royalty, performed in front of rock stars and has also visited and lectured in over fifty countries around the world, sharing his insights into the meditation lifestyle. Known for his disarming humour and wisdom, participants can expect to learn practical techniques such as breathing and concentration, visualisation, mantra and music and how to live more in the heart. “I am really looking forward to coming to Perth. It has been so cold in Europe this winter and I can’t wait to visit the West Australian coastline while getting to talk about meditation which is something very close to my heart. From meditation we learn to stop thoughts, gain inner peace and access a deeper part of ourselves. ”
His Subiaco weekend workshop commences on Saturday March 9 at 1pm at the Palms Community Centre and continues on Sunday. His one off University of WA presentation is on Thursday March 7 at 5.30pm in Hackett Hall. All classes are free but registration is required on 61614156 or www.meditationperth.org The classes are presented by the Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Meditation is being in silence. Free from the constant unending stream of uninspiring and irrelevant thoughts that usually enter into our minds. To meditate we need to stop thoughts. It is simple to do, but difficult at the same time because we incorrectly learned from a young age that the mind is what needs to be developed. Meditation takes us away from our intellectual and analytical mind. To something deeper within. In a meditation class I attended once, I heard the instructor mention to the students: “When you are beginning, consider it a success if you can reduce the number or volume of thoughts.” True, to a great extent but as you improve, in deep meditation, you have no thoughts. Says Sri Chinmoy “The surface of the sea is a multitude of waves, but the sea below is not affected. In the deepest depths, at the bottom of the sea, it is all tranquility. So when you start meditating, try to feel your own inner existence is like the bottom of the sea—calm and quiet. Feel that your whole being is surcharged with peace and tranquility. Then let the waves come from the outside world. Fear, doubt, worry—the earthly turmoil—will all be washed away, because inside is solid peace.”
Thinking Too Much
So how do we stop thoughts? There are various practices you can employ. Below are three which we teach in our free meditation classes (as well as many others).
Concentration: this involves focusing awareness and not letting your mind to wander or drift off. “In concentration we focus our attention on a particular subject or object and do not allow our mind to roam,” says Sri Chinmoy. “Thought-waves must stop in concentration. We are like a bullet entering into something divine, or we are like a magnet: we are pulling the object of our concentration towards us. This is concentration.”
Visualisation: one of my friends liked to visualise himself ducking when a thought came in meditation, or he felt a thought to be a bird he just let it fly past overhead. Another took a more aggressive approach and imagined he had a samurai sword and was cutting them to pieces!
Access your silent loving heart: Sometimes beginners are under the impression if you have no thoughts you will be a simpleton. It is not like that. You can access more fulfilling parts of your being. The heart for instance Sri Chinmoy describes as like a Himalayan cave or a beautiful garden, peaceful and tranquil. Conversely the mind is like Times Square on New Years eve or a dense jungle. Where would you rather be?
It takes daily meditation practice and attendance at a regular meditation group to get really good at meditation. You will gradually learn the art of meditation and unlearn thinking too much! Attend some of our free classes or free meditation workshop retreats to learn more about it.
Going to a regular meditation group is really important to your practice of beginning meditation. Individual meditation is also extremely important, but having somewhere regular to attend, with like minded and inspired people keeps you uplifted. It is like anything else. If you exercise with friends it is easier, if you do yoga in a group it is easier, if you meditate in a group it is easier. You get strength from a group meditation and everything is of course better shared! Apps on meditation are good but it is not the same as meeting in a group or learning to do it with the guidance of real person!
In Perth, the Sri Chinmoy Centre has a regular meditation group. Our meditations consist of silence, music for meditation, mantra and many other activities. We use a variety of venues around Perth, where we offer free meditation classes. If seekers who come, like the free meditation classes offered (which can be in meditation groups ranging from 10 to 100), then they keep coming and start attending the Sri Chinmoy Centre on a regular basis. There is no charge for our meditation classes or coming to our regular Sri Chinmoy Perth meditation group. In the classes you learn the ABC’s of meditation how to stop thoughts, how to sit, the best time to meditate and many different meditation techniques.
So what are the benefits of attending regular free meditation group or meditation session?
it is easier to stop thoughts and quieten the mind
you meet like minded people
there is more power in group meditation
many meditation groups are free (or they should be!)
you can ask questions and learn a lot more about spirituality and meditation
So start by coming along to some of our free meditation classes done collectively, in a group. They are usually one night a week for three or four weeks. Alternatively you can begin or continue your meditation journey at one of free weekend meditation workshops. It is like going on a meditation retreat without leaving the metropolitan area! Meditation can help you reduce stress, learn about spirituality and improve your health and well being. You just have to begin!