1300-pound Lift


Sri Chinmoy succeeds, for the first time, in raising 1300 pounds with a standing calf raise, at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, NY, USA. He repeats the lift two more times.

Hostile Forces

Sri Chinmoy's remarks
after the lift at Aspiration-Ground


So many times the hostile forces come to attack me at the very moment I am about to lift. A dog will start barking for no reason or a plane will be the culprit. This morning, just as I was about to lift 1300 pounds, two planes went over, one after the other. So much noise they made and how prolonged the sound was! But I always try to overcome these hostile forces and I never, never give in to them.

Published in My Weightlifting Tears and Smiles, part 1


Photo by Pulak Viscardi


Sri Chinmoy exercising on a leg machine at Aspiration-Ground in New York.


The Physical and the Spiritual, the Temple and the Shrine

Sri Chinmoy is interviewed
before his Peace Concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City 


Sri Chinmoy: You can easily do what I am doing! I am much older than you are. Now, how do I it? I am a man of prayer. I believe in prayer, and I pray and meditate. I pray and meditate not to become a weightlifter or a bodybuilder, or a musician, a singer or an artist — far from it! I pray to God to manifest His Will in His own Way. When I pray for His Victory on earth, He inspires me to do certain things. I lift weights in order to please Him in His own Way.

I am now nearing sixty-nine. When I pray, I get the inner message that I should be of service to my colleagues who are over fifty or sixty. Some of these people have given up hope. They feel that their lives have ended. But God wants me to be of service to them. He wants me to say, “You can have new hope, new inspiration, new aspiration and new promises to do something great and good for the benefit of mankind.”

Interviewer: When you do things, like tonight having a concert or with your artwork or even with the weightlifting, is there an overriding purpose, an overriding message behind everything that you do?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one message: God wants me to inspire people in each and every walk of life. According to my capacity, He is trying to inspire humanity. When I play music, when I sing, when I do artwork or weightlifting, I have the same message: I wish only to be of service to God the Creation. He is God the Creator, and He is God the Creation. You are God the Creation, and I am also God the Creation. God the Creator wants me to be of service to Him, to God the Creation in each and every human being.

Interviewer: I saw in a book pictures of you with Nelson Mandela and with Mikhail Gorbachev. What is the connection between your ability to lift tremendous poundages of weight and world peace?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a very close link. Let me answer this question in two parts. First of all, I meet with world luminaries. They are known as great politicians, supreme politicians. I am not a politician. Politics is not my forte. I go to them as a student of peace, and I feel that, deep within, they are also longing for world peace. I go as a student of peace, and they are so kind to receive me as a student of peace. We are aiming at peace. They have a genuine hunger for world peace, as I have, so we talk about world peace. There is no world politics involved.

I lift heavy weights, and I pray and meditate. What is the link between the two? Again, there is a very close link. The physical and the spiritual must go together. We believe in the soul. Inside the body is the soul. Inside our inner existence, we feel the Presence of God. Inside the church is the altar. In India we have temples. Inside the temple there is a shrine. If there is no temple, there can be no shrine. If there is no church, there can be no altar. If there is a church with no altar inside, it will be of no value. The altar has to be inside the church. Both are interdependent. They need each other. The church needs the altar; the altar needs the church.

Similarly, the physical and the spiritual must go together. The spiritual is inside us, so the spiritual has to come to the fore to be of inspiration and guidance to the outer life. I try to keep them together. They depend on each other. Like the church and the altar, like the temple and the shrine, the physical and the spiritual must go together. I give due importance to the physical and the spiritual at the same time.

There was a time when I was a good athlete, according to our Indian standard. In my youth, in my adolescent years, I disliked weightlifting vehemently. I was of the opinion that, because weightlifters are muscle-bound, weightlifting would decrease my speed. But now my opinion has completely changed. Here in America and elsewhere I have been seeing that sprinters are very, very strong and muscle-bound. Their muscles are extremely powerful, and they are running faster than the fastest. In the olden days there was a theory that if your muscles were developed, it would slow down your speed. At that time I was an excellent athlete, but I did not do weightlifting at all. Now I do not run, because my right knee is badly injured, but I lift heavy weights. As I said before, I depend on inspiration. I do things in accordance with the Will of my inner Guide.

Interviewer: I have to ask you: what is the hardest thing about lifting an airplane?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are one with God’s Will, with God’s Grace, nothing is impossible. The other day I offered the following prayer:

       My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!  
       Mountains appear only to disappear  
       The moment God’s Grace descends.  
       My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme! *

Mountains are obstructions. When God’s Grace appears, these obstructions disappear. If I am serving God’s Will consciously, prayerfully and soulfully, and I am aware of it, then I feel there is no such thing as impossibility. Impossibility is in the mind. The moment we go beyond the mind, there is no such thing as impossibility.

The mind is constantly contradicting its capacities. This moment the mind may tell me that you are a very good man; the next moment it may tell me that you are a very bad man. The third moment the mind may identify with the heart, which says, “Who am I to judge someone? This gentleman is also God’s Creation. If I am good, he is bound to be good.” The heart tells me that you are bound to be good, because you are also God’s Creation. If you are God’s Creation, how can you be bad?

This moment the mind will judge someone as a good person, and the next moment it will say that he is a bad person. In this way the mind weakens us. But the heart says, “That person is God’s Creation.” My heart tells me, “The gentleman who is interviewing me is also God’s Creation, so he is as good as I am.” Then there is no contradiction in my being, and I have inner strength.

The mind contradicts itself, but the heart does not contradict. The heart wants only love. In the heart there is only a positive feeling. When there is a positive feeling, there is no difficulty. But the mind says, “You are good, you are bad, you are this, you are that.” The mind has no right to judge. We have not come into the world to judge other human beings. We have come into the world to love and be loved. And if we love, how can we judge someone?

* Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting prayer for 20 June 2000, at 11:33 a.m., before doing a 400 lbs. dumbbell bench press. Published in My Morning Soul-Body Prayers, Part 14.

Interviewer: Do you have any future goals, things you are planning to lift in the future?

Sri Chinmoy: I have no goal of my own! I have many, many students, as you know. Sometimes, by way of a joke, I tell them that my goal will be to lift five hundred pounds, let us say. But my goal entirely depends on God — I use the term “Supreme.” The Supreme sets my goal. Today if He asks me to stop lifting weights, I will be quite happy. But if He wants me to continue, I will continue. I do not know how far I am supposed to go, and I am not concerned about it. I feel that, since He is inspiring me, it is His problem, not mine. I will continue as long as I feel from within that it is His Will. If my Inner Pilot commands me to continue, I will continue.

Failure and success I place at the Feet of God. I have only two experiences in life: success and failure. There is no other experience; either I succeed or I fail. If I can place at God’s Feet both my success and my failure, then I become very happy. Otherwise, when I fail, I shall blame God; and when I succeed, I shall say God is very good. Again, it may happen that we extol ourselves to the skies when we are successful, and we blame ourselves when we fail. Then we give up everything. But that I do not do. Because I am a man of prayer, I place both my success and my failure at His Feet with the same peace and love and joy, for that is the only way we can make progress.

Published in The Temple and the Shrine