This play was performed during a year-end retreat where Sri Chinmoy’s students from all around the world come together for meditation and other spiritual activities. These ‘Christmas Trips’, as we call them, take place in different countries every year, and are treasured by Sri Chinmoy’s students as an opportunity to intensify their spiritual life and make inner progress.

During these trips, there are usually two main meditation functions during the day, one in the morning and in the evening. The morning function is usually very soulful, with lots of silent meditation, singing and instrumental performances. In the evening, the first half of the function is often soulful too, but then later on there is a great emphasis on innocent joy and laughter.

In particular, Sri Chinmoy’s students organise impromptu plays, based on the many stories that their teacher wrote over the years. These plays usually take place with only one or two rehearsals organised that day or the day before, and often are very funny indeed. Sri Chinmoy appreciated these plays immensely because they gave his students so much joy both in performing and watching them – at one point, he asked for at least seven plays a night.

This particular play is based on a story called The inveterate smokers, which appeared in a 12-volume collection of charming stories related by Sri Chinmoy called Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles. The two smokers in question were played by Ekalabhya Bozanov from Macedonia and Purnendu Knezevic from Serbia; these two friends have been making us laugh with these kinds of plays for many years. Near the end they are assisted by their friend Mukul from Israel, also a skilled performer, playing the village priest.

Photo Credit: Artwork by Vilas Silverton