Feb. 7, 2024 Live from the road

Ko Samui

Reported by Salil Wilson 1.0 km

Here's a video of our visit to the Samui Elephant Kingdom.

Today we were delighted and honoured to welcome the Samui Elephant Kingdom into the international family of Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms. Since 1986, many significant landmarks around the globe – from natural wonders to entire nations – have been dedicated to peace as part of the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms programme.

We felt deeply the values upon which the Samui Elephant Kingdom is founded aligns perfectly with the values of our Peace-Blossoms program. The Peace-Blossoms family offers an opportunity for different communities to share in mankind's common quest for peace.

As Mr. Chokchai Rueangsri, the founder of the Elephant kingdom states, "We've crafted a sanctuary that's a true paradise for elephants. Here, they're free to be their magnificent selves, far from the burdens they once shouldered in the tourism industry."

"Prepare to be moved as you witness the extraordinary bond between our elephants and their mahouts. It's a friendship that's all about mutual respect and overflowing with love. It's a testament to the incredible connection that can exist between humans and animals."

First visitors are shown a short orientation video theninvited to prepare "Elephant power balls" to hand feed the elephants.

The ingredients are rice powder, feed pellets, bananas, tamarind paste, a little salt and a splash of water to hold it all together. Visitors are invited the mash it all together and form balls about the size of a tennis ball.

Everybody is delighted to hand feed the elephants.

Smiles abound.

So much fun!

Next we took a trip up onto the skywalk where you can see the whole compound and get a birds eye view of the kingdom.

Learning more about the lives of these amazing creatures.

There's another chance for feeding. This time we have grass, sugar cane and more bananas. Elephants eat between 149 and 169 kg (330-375 lb.) of vegetation daily. Sixteen to eighteen hours, or nearly 80% of an elephant's day is spent feeding. They drink around 150-200 litres of water each day.

It's really amazing how much dexterity these elephants have in their trunks.

Next we were invited into the actual elephant enclosure to meet them up close.

These are really beautiful animals. So huge and majestic but also so incredibly gentle. We only met the females elephants as the males can be more rambunctious.

We all took great delight in getting to know them.

Afterwards it was time for a swim. Something elephants love to do.

Then it was time for our feeding and we had a sumptuous fruit salad.

Mr. Chokchai Rueangsri officially welcomed our group and gave us a brief introduction to the principals of the Elephant kingdom saying, "At Samui Elephant Kingdom, we're all about love, compassion, and positive vibes. We care for our elephants with heaps of kindness and positive reinforcement."

We were delighted to have the presence of Chockchai's parents, Mr. Atthaporn Rueangsri and Mrs. Praphakwan Rueangsri (seated on the left).

Also with us was Ping Ping, Mr. Chockchai's partner.

Devashishu, Director of the European Peace Run, served as MC for our program.

Salil, Executive Director of the Peace Run, highlighted how the work they are doing here is providing so many uplifting experiences for visitors.

These visitors are leaving carrying so much satisfaction and happiness in their hearts we feel the Elephant Kingdom is definitely making the world a better place.

Agraha introduced the Sri Chinmoy and also the Peace Blossom Program.

Our choir performed a beautifully haunting song Sri Chinmoy had composed for Thailand. The words are:

"Thailand, Thailand, Thailand Thailand! Great Lord Buddha’s compassion-hand. In a small body the pinnacle-voice. The world’s quick softness-fulness-choice. Thailand, Thailand, Thailand, Thailand! Peace-hunger-lives play your oneness-band."

Followed by a second song Sri Chinmoy composed about Elephants, "Elephant elephant elephant You are my heart’s strength vibrant Elephant Elephant Elephant High heaven's power vigilant."

We then had a parade of nations. Here's Abhimanyu from India. Thirty-three nations were with us.

We were honored to be able to present Mr. Chokchai Rueangsri with our Peace Run Torch-Bearer medal. The medal was presented by Mr. Atthaporn Rueangsri, Chokchai's father.

Chockchai's parents and just a few of the team whose dedicated efforts make this remarkable place what it is.

We finished singing another song by Sri Chinmoy, this one composed for the Peace Run.

Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run! Oneness-world-heart-joy has begun. Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run! Sisters and brothers, our peace torch flame. Shall feed the globe-harmony-game. Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run!

We each took a moment to hold the torch and offer a prayer for peace.

Agraha offered a book written by Sri Chinmoy entitled "Listen to Nature."

One very touching comment Mr. Chokchai Rueangsri made was, "Thank you for believing in us!"

We truly do and we pray for your continued success and progress.

Gratitude for having us and providing a truly unforgettable experience.

Torch carried by
Agraha Levine (United States), Aleš Plíva (Czech Republic), Ambarish Keenan (Ireland), Andrea Marcato (Italy), Apaga Renner (Austria), Apaguha Veselý (Czech Republic), Atulya Berube (United States), Bhadrika Beumer (Netherlands), Devaki Groulx (Canada), Devashishu Torpy (Great Britain), Ekagra Prankl (Austria), Erik Duisheyev (Kyrgyzstan), Hristo Vasilev (Bulgaria), Jagadhata Amrhien (United States), Jana Dušková (Czech Republic), Jayasalini Abramovskikh (Russia), Kanala Auer (Austria), Kanala Bolvanska (Slovakia), Kazem Abhary (Iran), Mahiya Lindner (Germany), Mahiyan Savage (United States), Muslim Badami (India), Nivedak Corradini (Italy), Padyatra Komak (Slovakia), Petr Hlava (Czech Republic), Pulak Viscardi (United States), Pushkar Müllauer (Switzerland), Pushpendra Uppal (Australia), Sadanand Colm Magee (Ireland), Samalya Schaefer (Germany), Samviraja Gori (Italy), Smarana Puntigam (Austria), Subarnamala Riedel (Germany), Teekhnata Metzler (United States), Todor Angelov (Bulgaria), Unmukta Gerretsen (Netherlands), Usika Muckenhumer (Austria), Victoria Aguila (Colombia), Vidura Groulx (Canada), Violeta Angelova (Bulgaria), Virochana Lacanna (Italy).  
Kalpa Lazarev, Salil Wilson, Turvan Bykovskiy
The torch has travelled 1.0 km in Ko Samui.

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