The unexpected peace

From a concert by the music group, Ananda – performing the songs of Sri Chinmoy.  Lord Mayor’s Chapel, Bristol, 13 December, 2015.


The entrance to the concert was through a modest wooden door. In a street filled with the brilliance of commerce, it would have been quite easy to walk straight past. But this reserved entrance, hid an unexpected sanctuary of peace – within the chapel a generosity of light and calm.

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A small crowd gathers, patiently in the ancient wooden pews; a few intrepid souls, perhaps wondering what is to come.

The musicians take to their seats, dressed in white. Just a brief introduction to the music of Sri Chinmoy – listen with your heart, the only guide.

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An hour passes with ease; heavenly voices, dynamism and poise. The heart tingles with recognition of the music of the soul. It reaches the core.

No grand finale, but an invitation to sing with the group:

O make my mind tranquil and calm / Charidike neharite prashanti dham” – an invocation to the peace already present.

The music ends – happy faces mingle with no rush to leave. A short concert, but a highlight to a week. Unknown strangers spontaneously speak with deepest sincerity:

“Such a joy to hear young men sing with devotion to God”

“Thank you for such wonderful music, I now feel completely calm.”

“Magical and soulful. Thank you.”

But, the greatest praise is writ in the faces of those transformed. With this unexpected joy, we joke at the reluctance to return to the  world outside. People linger to buy books and CDs. Ah, but if only we could buy the atmosphere!

The only cloud beginning to trouble the mind – will we remember, in the future, this hour when the soul felt at peace?

The small crowd trickle away, only a few to witness this abundance of peace. And no recording, so this music is lost to the world – evaporating as quickly as it came.

But to see one face transformed is enough.


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