Kathmandu – Four years after he died, controversial Indian-origin godman Chinmoy Kumar Ghose – called Sri Chinmoy by disciples – will have his memory resurrected with followers unveiling his statue at a prime holiday destination in Nepal, a move that coincides with the celebration of Tourism Year 2011 in the Himalayan republic.
After Norway, Indonesia, the Czech Republic and Mexico, where followers have erected the philosopher’s statues overlooking oceans and mountains, a bronze statute of the athlete, author and musician will now have pride of place at the posh Club Himalaya in Nagarkot town, against a breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayan ranges.
The New York-based Sri Chinmoy Centres International said the event will be attended by 450 delegates from over 50 nations, who are visiting Kathmandu for two weeks as the first large delegation of the Nepal Tourism Year.
It will be followed by a concert in Kathmandu Jan 15 and a ‘World Harmony Run’ Jan 17.
Born in a small village in what today is Bangladesh’s Chittagong district, Ghose, the youngest of seven siblings, lost his parents when he was 12.
The children then went to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, from where, in 1964, Ghosh migrated to New York.
His meditation centres attracted hundreds of followers, who included such celebrities as musician Carlos Santana and star athlete Carl Lewis.
The Kathmandu concert will be a link in the series of free concerts he started in 1984 for world harmony, performing in such venues as London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The marathon is a continuation of the 1977 founding of the Sri Chinmoy marathon team that holds running, swimming, and cycling events worldwide.
Ghose, who once aspired to become an Olympic athlete, continued to wow disciples with amazing physical feats, like lifting extraordinary weights.
The feats however ran into controversy after allegations that he had asked an official photographer to airbrush his photos to make them look even more incredible.
Before he died in 2007, the philosopher also faced allegations from former women disciples that he had sexual encounters with them and had even paid one to have an abortion. The allegations were denied with Ghose saying he was celibate.
Ghose first travelled to Nepal in 1994 with a large delegation of his students, when he met the leaders of the pro-democracy movement of 1990.
In 1999, he was invited by the then prime minister of Nepal, Girija Prasad Koirala, for a ceremony with much fanfare but little substance, declaring Nepal as a ‘Sri Chinmoy Peace Nation’.
Ghose’s disciples have not been able to keep up with the dizzying changes in Nepal since the 1990s and the guests of honour at Monday’s event include former premiers Lokendra Bahadur Chand and Kirti Nidhi Bista.
Chand was appointed prime minister by then King Gyanendra in 2002 when he took over from behind the scenes in 2002, dismissing the elected government of Sher Bahadur Deuba and setting in motion protests that would ultimately lead to the abolition of the monarchy.
Bista was the deputy prime minister in 2005 after Gyanendra seized power with the help of an army-backed coup, declared a state of emergency and began a reign of terror that included clamping press censorship and allowing security forces to arrest and extra-judicially execute people suspected of being Maoist rebels or their supporters.