On 24 May 2008, our Enthusiasm-Awakeners song group celebrated a bitter-sweet achievement: we performed the remaining eight songs which completed a selected set of 1,528 songs.
This selected set of 1,528 songs were nearly all the English songs that Sri Chinmoy had composed since forming our group on 19 December 1999 (the selection excluded those composed for individuals, enterprises and other specialized sets). During that same time period, he composed thousands of songs in the Bengali language — but our particular group focused on the English language songs.
1,528 songs in the eight-years-and-five-months which our song group learned from and performed for Sri Chinmoy. That averages to nearly one song every two days. That amounts to a stunning amount of pure spiritual grace and opportunity.
These short songs never cease to amaze me. Sri Chinmoy can say so much in 30 words or less. He can illumine, inspire, educate, sympathize, cause laughter, cause tears — all within a melodic minute.
I can not adequately express how these songs have affected my life, I can only simply and honestly say that they have saved me.
I am not a singer and I cannot read a note of music, so to learn these songs took a tremendous amount of practice on my part. I would listen to a recording of the song and sing along with it over and over until slowly I would be singing roughly the same notes as the recording. I would say that I would have to sing each song 100 times before I could sing it confidently. Funny enough, in this way, I think that my lack of singing capacity actually aided my spiritual progress!
I remember that at the time our song group formed, Sri Chinmoy was often having people come forward and recite poems or aphorisms. Some people would practically whisper their poem. He kept begging people to speak up, reminding them that `quiet’ does not necessarily mean `soulful’. I decided that this could be our niche: we may not be able to do what other groups did (i.e. sing well) — but we could sing loud!
Sri Chinmoy seemed to not only tolerate, but to enjoy our song group’s childlike approach. While he could be very strict with other groups in regards to specific notes and proper pronunciation, with our group he seemed to recognize our capacity and thus, was very accommodating and compassionate.
1,528 songs. At first, I was worried that this might be the end of the book for our song group, but I guess it really is just an end of a chapter. Sri Chinmoy has written well over 7,200 English songs — so even if we continued learning the remaining 5,672+ songs at the same pace of one song every two days, we’ve got 31 more years worth of material! And, who knows, in my next life I might even have the capacity to learn Bengali songs — and with more than 13,600 Bengali songs — that would keep me busy for more than 74 years!