The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run was inspired to give people a dynamic way to express their own hopes and dreams for a more harmonious world.
“How can we have peace?” said founder Sri Chinmoy. “Not by talking about peace, but by walking along the road of peace.”
The US-based Indian spiritual leader often encouraged his meditation students to keep physically fit. “For us, the physical is the temple and the spiritual is the shrine,” he once said. “If there is no shrine inside a temple people will laugh. What kind of temple is it? Again, if there is no temple, the shrine will not exist for long. So the temple and the shrine, the body and the soul, go together.”
The Peace Run covers 100 nations on six continents, with over 500,000 participants. Carrying the torch to communities, runners convey the message of friendship, cultural understanding and our shared hopes for a peaceful world. It is history’s largest and longest running relay, having visited 150 nations since its inception in 1987.
This year a team of runners from Australia and overseas carried the Peace Torch on a 500-km journey from Wentworth into Adelaide, running largely along the Murray River and reaching the capital city on 15 September culminating in a closing ceremony at Mount Lofty.
Children and mayors featured predominantly along the event. Cobdogla Primary students all dressed in white as a symbol of peace, sang moving odes to peace and made some stunning artwork for example during the Peace Run’s visit. City of Playford Mayor Glenn Doherty had held the torch when he was a youngster and really appreciated the message of the Peace Run as it passed through his constituency. “The message is a simple but a humble one,” he said about the Peace Run. “One all of humanity can understand.”
Children at Bridgewater Primary were already in tune with the ideals of world peace. Before the runs visit, a couple of children were inspired to make Sadako Peace Cranes and the message spread. Soon more joined. A thousand were made. Other teachers were inspired with peace. The choir learnt songs of peace. More were inspired. They made lamps for peace for their art projects, glowing with their peace messages. It was a beautiful, soulful, peaceful and powerful ceremony showing that peace can spread from one to many!
At Adelaide’s Parliament House the Peace Run met with the Hon. Jing Lee MLA, Deputy Whip of Parliament and a member of the Social Development parliamentary community. She took the torch inside the parliament and said some heartfelt words. “Australia has many people like you in so many ways who are messengers of peace, who everyday believe in what you do,” she stated. “Let peace begin with me.”
Uniquely, after a hectic and somewhat stressful question time at the Legislative Assembly she continued with her enthusiasm and dedication to peace, announcing in Matters of Interest, “The Peace Run is an expression of Sri Chinmoy’s enduring message: that we can all be torchbearers for a better world… it is truly wonderful that the team visited schools in the Riverlands and the Barossa Valley, providing the opportunity for so many to hold the peace torch and make a wish for peace.”