Question: What is the spiritual purpose of competitive sports?

Sri Chinmoy: Our aim is not to become the world’s best athlete. Our aim is to keep the body fit, to develop dynamism and to give the vital innocent joy. In competitive sports, our primary aim should be not to surpass others but constantly to surpass ourselves. In the outer life, when we run with our friends, we are seeing who is actually the best. And we cannot properly evaluate our own capacity unless we have some standard of comparison. But we compete not for the sake of defeating others, but in order to bring forward our own capacity. Our best capacity comes forward only when there are other people around us. They inspire us to bring forward our utmost capacity, and we inspire them to bring forward their utmost capacity. This is why we have competitive sports.

If we can learn to participate in competitive sports devotedly, then we will get real joy and make real spiritual progress. But if we compete egotistically, then we are bound to suffer both inwardly and outwardly. In that case, even if we stand first, we will not obtain blessings from the Supreme, and if we do not stand first we will curse ourselves.

Sri Chinmoy, The body: humanity's fortress.First published by Agni Press in 1974.

This is the 131st book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book The body: humanity's fortress, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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