The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run will have circled the entire globe by the end of 2019, with the optimistic goal of “bringing peace” to every country of the Southern Hemisphere.
The Cook Islands event will include a relay running circuit of the island and a week of peace promotion at local schools by local Sri Chinmoy followers, Uddipan Brown and his Rarotongan wife Nipura Ingram.
Brown says the Sri Chinmoy movement he and his wife have followed for 25 years has nothing to do with religion or asking for money.
He explains that Sri Chinmoy– an Indian spiritual leader who taught meditation in the West after moving to New York City in 1964 – devoted his life to the pursuit of harmony and oneness between people and between different cultures.
Until his death in late 2007, Chinmoy was the spiritual leader to thousands of devoted followers worldwide who still follow his philosophies.
As well as his spiritual charisma he was also a strong advocate for the role of sports as a powerful instrument for promoting global harmony.
Olympic gold-medallist runner Carl Lewis was reportedly advised by Chinmoy. He learned to meditate from Chinmoy, and practices the techniques regularly.
During his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy was internationally recognised for his numerous initiatives that sought to unite people from many cultures and walks of life to work for a more fulfilling world.
In 1987 he founded the Oneness-Home Peace Run as a way to bring people together in a global yet grassroots event.
Since its inception the Peace Run has traversed over 140 nations and touched the lives of millions of people.
The Peace Run does not seek to raise money or highlight any political cause, rather, providing an opportunity for people to give expression to their own hopes and dreams for a more peaceful and harmonious world, the Sri Chinmoy website states.
Uddipan says the 31km run around Rarotonga will start and finish in Avarua on Monday, and will be in the form of a relay so anyone can carry the torch for a far as they can manage.
A support vehicle will follow the runners and anyone can join in along the way.
Brown says the symbolism of the torch is that “peace begins with me”.
“To just feel peace, and pass that feeling on to your family, village, school, the island and the world.”
The Peace Run doesn’t finish at the end of the relay. Brown and Ingram have been given permission to visit every school on Rarotonga next week talk about the concept behind the Peace Run.
The Rarotonga leg of the Peace Run is actually what the organisers call an “off route” event.
The actual peace torch is currently making its way across Africa, right now somewhere between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
Earlier this year the direct route took the torch to Tuvalu, Samoa Tong and Fiji.
It is a Rarotonga couples’ connection to the Sri Chinmoy philosophy that has brought the flame off the beaten track to shine a little bit of light around the island next week.