Celebrating Sri Chinmoy's 27,000 Aspiration-Plants poem series
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the completion of Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration Plants, the second of Sri Chinmoy’s three epic poetry series. Sri Chinmoy wrote the first poem on July 10, 1983 - just one week after completing the first series, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames - and completed the last poem in the series 15 years later. The series was published in 270 volumes containing 100 poems each.
Sri Chinmoy announced his vision of 27,000 poems even before he had completed his Flower-Flames series, during a trip with his students to Japan in December 1982. The first volume was published in time for Sri Chinmoy’s birthday in August 1983, and he gave the book out as a gift to all of his students attending his birthday celebrations, asking them to try to to feel the poems inside their hearts. Sri Chinmoy finished the final poem on 24 January 1998 while on his annual Christmas vacation with his students - at the time they were in Cancun, Mexico. To mark this achievement, he invited his students who were present to form groups to chant the mantra Supreme 27,000 times.
Sri Chinmoy would always find ways to make his students part and parcel of whatever he was doing. and to claim his achievements as their own. At the time, many of his students around the world came up with fun and spontaneous celebrations to mark their teacher’s achievement. For example, in Canada, his students created a huge red and white Canadian flag made from 27,000 snowballs on a prominent hill near the Parliament Buildings. A Reuters cameraman happened to walk by and took a photo of the flag which ended up appearing in newspapers across Canada the next day. In New Zealand, Sri Chinmoy suggested to his students there that they shake 27,000 people’s hands, giving each of these people a card of poems and a sweet. In the words of Jogyata Dallas, one of the organisers: “This unique challenge quite consumed us for some time. We visited school assemblies, announcing a handshaking-record attempt to honour our Guru’s achievement; stood at escalators in shopping malls with a microphone to introduce ourselves, and armed with a hand-held manual counter to accurately record numbers; visited universities and busy streets; toured towns, distributed 27,000 sweets and gave away 27,000 large cards – each carrying an explanation and a sample sprinkling of 27 poems, like this one:”
If you want to remain always happy,
Always perfect and always fulfilled,
Then always keep inside your heart
A pocketful of sweet dreams.
“Everything about this unusual commemoration charmed people a lot, and left 27,000 spirit-awakening, heart-warming mementos with their 27 inspirational poems scattered throughout this peace-hungry world.”
This year, Sri Chinmoy ’s students held various commemorations to mark the 20th anniversary of the poems’ completion in 1998. At the time, many of his students were very involved in proofreading and printing the books, and they vividly recalled what powerful meditative and transformative experiences they had working with such vast numbers of poems.