November 2nd. The Unveiling of the "Sri Chinmoy – Peace Dreamer" statue at Westlakes, Adelaide, and reception for the Torch of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run.
The set up was undertaken under a cloudy sky, but at the start of the ceremony the sun had peeped through and grew brighter as the ceremony progressed.
The staff of Charles Sturt Council provided wonderful support and logistical assistance, supplying the marquees, chairs, PA and iced water for all the guests.
An air of bubbling anticipation filled the air.
Mayor Kirsten Alexander arrived, resplendent in her mayoral robes and chain of office.
Sipra Lloyd, Leader of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Adelaide, introduces Mayor Alexander to the sculptor, Kaivalya Torpy of London.
Sipra introduced the proceedings.
"Uncle" Lewis O’Brien, Aboriginal elder of the Kaura people, traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains region, offered a Welcome to Country and spoke of some the environmental practices of the Indigenous people of different regions in Australia.
Lewis was wearing a Peace Run Torch-Bearer’s medal which had been awarded to him during a previous Peace Run in Adelaide.
Mayor Kirsten Alexander of Charles Sturt Council, spoke glowingly and from the heart of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy.
Peace runners appeared at the side of the lake running in with the Torch.
Captain of the running team who had brought the Torch in relay from Uluru in Central Australia, Prabuddha Nicol, presented the Peace Torch to Mayor Kirsten ...
... who passed it on to Lewis O'Brien, Counsellors and other invited guests.
While the Peace Run team sang Sri Chinmoy's Peace Run song (which received an enthusiastic ovation) ...
... the Peace Torch was passed around amongst those assembled.
One of the Peace Runners, Nurari Merry from the United Kingdom, spoke of her experience running from Uluru to Adelaide. She was inspired by the quality of the Australian sun and read a poem she wrote on the journey.
Mischievous eyes sparkle over the horizon
Tinting the morning skies with pinks and violets.
Resplendent, the brilliant sun rises,
In its living cloak of shimmering red and yellow flames.
Powerful rays banish the darkness of eternal night.
Like a wave, warmth and light
Flood the infinite landscape
Of mint and soft green shrubs, stubborn in their will to survive,
And scorched, knee-high blackened trees
Which scatter across the sun-soaked orange soil.
In oneness, my inner sun rises to dispel the leaden weight of my mind,
And create the beginnings of a new life.
Dhiraja McBryde, from New Zealand, then took the mike and spoke of his experiences on the Run and outback people they had met who were moved by the Peace Torch passing through their lands.
Next, Prachar Stegemann led the singers with two songs Sri Chinmoy had composed and dedicated to the soul of Australia: "My Australia" and "Australia, Do Have My Indian Heart."
The audience followed the words to these soulful songs from their programs.
Mayor Alexander and Kaivalya Torpy, the sculptor, unveiled the statue.
The statue depicts Sri Chinmoy with one hand on his heart, while the other offers the Peace Torch.
All are able to share the experience by holding the Torch together with Sri Chinmoy.
Kaivalya then related how Sri Chinmoy had encouraged him to make sculptures of various people.
He mentioned that often he looked at the statues and could not believe that he had in fact created such a beautiful likeness of Sri Chinmoy.
Sipra then read Sri Chinmoy’s ‘My Salutation to the Soul of Australia’.
As a memento of the event, copies of the poem with a cover photo of the statue, were offered to the audience who came forward to take a copy.
Mayor Alexander then rose again to pay tribute to the efforts of all her fellow Council workers who had been instrumental in the approval process and installation of this beautiful statue.
Finally a presentation of a bouquet of flowers and one of Sri Chinmoy’s books – ‘My Heart Garden’ were presented to Mayor Kirsten, who remarked what a rejuvenating experience this had been for her in the midst of an intense election campaign.
The Peace Run team group photo.
Stacey Marsh, National Coordinator of the Peace Run 2014 in Australia.
Finger food was served at the conclusion. During this time two different people came up to me and said that they would remember this day for a long time as it was a most significant experience for them.
The Peace Run team "hits the road" again tomorrow, resuming their journey to the mouth of the Murray River – a "Sri Chinmoy Peace River" – which they will follow for its whole 2,500 km course. Meanwhile, we leave you with images of "Sri Chinmoy – Dreamer of Peace", already at home in Westlakes.