Indonesia 9 February: Surakarta (Solo)

Meeting the Mother of the President of Indonesia

We finally had a chance to fulfil a long-held dream - to bring the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run to Surakata (Solo). It was only possible with the kind, gracious and tireless organization of HRH Gusti Dipokusumo and HRH Gusti Febri, Prince and Princess of Surakarta, were we able to realize this dream. Here the general manger of the Lor-In hotel holds the torch.

We stayed at the Lor-In Hotel which hosted Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, when he visited in 2003. Surakarta, often called Solo, is a city in Central Java, Indonesia of more than 520,061 people. The city is the seat of Surakarta Sunanate Keraton of which our hosts HRH Gusti Dipokusumo and HRH Gusti Febri are part of the Royal Family.

Our first appointment was a tremendous honor; we visited Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo (Mother of Indonesian President Jokowi).

We showed her a video of some of our experiences with the Peace Run around the world.

HRH Gusti Dipokusumo introduced Sri Chinmoy's activities dedicated to world peace.

Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo lives with two of her daughters in a simple yet elegant home.

They had very kindly prepared a delicious morning tea with lots of exotic Indonesian sweets.

Boijayanti, Jayashri, Devashishu and Lucas performed a song composed by Sri Chinmoy in honor of Indonesia. The words are:
Indonesia, Indonesia, Indonesia! Softness, sweetness, oneness-ambrosia.
You are the golden link between two continents: Asia, Australia.
Your matchless pride: Java, Bali, Sumatra, Jakarta.
You are your mountain-heights. You are your volcano-power.
Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, all faiths
Have built a oneness-tower.

It was all captured on cell phone video!

HRH Gusti Febri presented Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo with the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. We wanted to recognize her role in instilling in her son the values of service, humility and vision which we are now seeing finding expression in his leadership of this remarkable nation.

Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo, holding the peace torch, offered a soul-stirring prayer for peace.

One of Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo duaghters offers her prayer for peace also.

Mr. Arif Budi Sulistyo holds the Peace Torch.

HRH Gusti Ratu Alit pinned a silver brooch dedicated to peace on Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo.

Dr. Agraha presented a book of Sri Chinmoy's writings entitled "The Jewels of Happiness."

Our women's team, inspired by Kanyaka, our Indonesian team member, all wanted a photo with Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo.

Boijayanti from Puerto Rico.

Jayashri from Canada.

Shatapatri from Canada.

The men's team was also blessed with a photograph.

Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo asked us to pray for her son.

We asked Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo what she felt her son's best quality was. She responded without hesitation, "He always listens to his mother." This soulful painting adorns a wall in the main room.

The whole group with President Jokowi's photograph on the wall.

Outside President Jokowi's family home.

As we were leaving we happened to meet with a cleric who was visiting Ibu Sujiatmi Notomiharjo. He administers a Muslim boarding school. He invited us to bring the Peace Run to his school the next day.

We then drove about 3 hours to Borobodur - a sacred monument to the Buddhist faith. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues each of which is seated inside a perforated stupa.

This temple seems to vibrate with the cumulative total of all the prayers and meditations that have been offered here down through the ages.

Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, was one one of the very few individuals to have been given permission to perform here. He gave a concert of spiritual music dedicated to peace here in 2003.

We sang a number of Sri Chinmoy's songs dedicated to the Lord Buddha.

We also took the opportunity to payerfully walk around the moument.

This sign shows that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has recognized Borobodur as a world heritage site.

HRH Gusti Febri accompanied us for the day, all the while making plans for the following day, as well as ensuring we were well fed. A truly elegant and gracious host.

Just about to leave Borobodur.

After a long drive back to Solo we arrived at HRH Gusti Dipo and Gusti Febri's family home to a sumptuous meal.

Inside their lovely home, we were all made to feel incredibly welcome along, with other relatives of the Royal Family.

HRH Gusti Febri receives a birthday cake from her youngest daughter Saraswati.

An early photo of the royal couple.

After our meal we retired to the "Harmony Room," a special room that has been reserved for prayer and silence.

We watched a video of Sri Chinmoy's visit to Solo in 2004 and his historic meetings with HRH King Pakoeboewono XII father of HRH Gusti Dipokusumo.

Some members of the Royal Family hold the torch.

HRH Gusti Dipokusumo and HRH Gusti Febri with their eldest son, Adwitya. A photo capturing Sri Chinmoy and HRH King Pakoeboewono XII can be seen in the background.

At around 1.00 am this unforgettable and action-packed day came to a close.