An all-night celebration of the life of Sri Chinmoy at the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow.
On the longest day of the year, the Sri Chinmoy Centres in Great Britain celebrated the life of Sri Chinmoy in a festival of readings, musical performances and also a puppet show!
The event started in the evening at the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow, which luckily were still easy enough to find for everyone to arrive on time. Janaka started the program with a beautiful introduction and recitation of Sri Chinmoy's poems. It was the perfect start.
Next-up were Hitaloka - who had just started rehearsing that afternoon - although it sounded like they had been singing for a long time together.
Adarsha then gave us a solo performance of Sri Chinmoy songs. Adarsha has a way of expressing the beauty and purity of Sri Chinmoy's songs that is unique. Sri Chinmoy would often ask Adarsha to sing for him - and this performance reminded us of these sweet moments.
Ananda were next on stage - minus their guitarist Dave - which was probably just as well as they only just fit on the stage as it was. Their performance seemed to inspire the rain and wind to pick-up and was occasionally interspersed with pools of water that splashed down from the tents. Unfortunately Roger was a little too close to the edge and was definitely wetter than the rest of us after the performance.
Now the wind and the rain was getting much harder and it seemed to peak during Ashcharjya's performance. We are very grateful that Ashcharjya and Adelino both came from Paris especially for this celebration. Considering there was a heat wave in Paris, the group did very well to continue, seemingly unaware of the weather.
The next part of the program was a session of Kirtan - singing all night until the dawn appeared. This session was interspersed with bhajans, more solo singing from Adarsha and singing a selection of songs Sri Chinmoy had written about the great rivers of India. Considering the weather this seemed quite appropriate!
At this point the numbers began to dwindle a bit and it was only a few dauntless heroes who made it to the end (plus one member of the public - well done Frankie!)
After a short sleep the program continued at midday with a puppet show, shadow puppet show and acting performance all rolled into one! Children and parents had arrived to watch the show and were led by Premamrita who was dressed as Birbal. The puppet show charmed everyone - there were so many different characters and animals in the show - all carefully and beautifully created by Hita. The show enacted the tales of Akbar and Birbal - which were amusingly adapted by Adarsha. The show was so good it was repeated again - to a full audience!
Finally the program was brought to an end by a peaceful performance by Shindhu who somehow managed to bring out the sun.
It was the end of one event - but the start of another! We all rushed into cars and drove to the Glasgow Mela - a large outdoor Indian Festival with over 15,000 people attending. Our group was Mahananda - i.e. Ananda and anyone else who wanted to join in! As we were setting up for our performance we were again blessed with rain - which scattered the crowd. Undeterred, we had great fun with a short, up-beat performance - and the audience must have liked it too because by the time we had finished we had a big crowd in front of us.
All in all, it was a very eventful twenty-four hours that seemed to sum up much of what our path is about - soulfullness, beauty, creativity, self-transcendence and joy!
For more photos see celebration of light gallery.