MJW 8. On 24 November 1999 Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by CNN Radio.
Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, can you tell us what it is that you are trying to express through your life?
Sri Chinmoy: I am a seeker. I pray to God and meditate on God daily. From my prayer-life and from my meditation-life I get inspiration. This inspiration I try to offer to humanity in my very humble way.
Interviewer: How does that philosophy relate to weightlifting?
Sri Chinmoy: I feel that the physical and the spiritual must go together; they cannot be separated. When we pray and meditate, we get an extra supply of energy, which you can call strength. This strength can be utilised for a good purpose. If I can inspire anybody in this world, then I feel that my life is meaningful. With my weightlifting, I am offering my physical strength to inspire people.
There are people who feel that physical is physical and spiritual is spiritual; they are like the North Pole and the South Pole. My feeling is that they are not like that at all. To me, they are the shrine and the temple. When we pray to God, we need both a temple and a shrine. The temple is our body and the shrine is our soul. So the physical capacity and the spiritual capacity must go together.
When I lift heavy, heavy weights — elephants and so forth — I try to inspire my fellow citizens. They can also try to inspire others in a similar way, but it does not have to be with weightlifting. They can write extraordinary poems, compose songs or do something else in any walk of life. So this inspiration is not confined to weightlifting.
Interviewer: It seems to me that you are doing things which defy the normal limitations of age.
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, you are absolutely right! Age surrenders. There is no age limit here. When we pray and meditate, we go far beyond the domain of the mind, the physical mind that doubts our capacities. When we pray and meditate, we identify ourselves with something vast and infinite. So there is no age limit, but we have to go far beyond the domain of the physical mind which binds us and at every moment discourages us. It says, “You cannot do this, you cannot do that, it is not possible for you.” But when we pray and meditate, when we live in the heart, there is no such thing as impossibility.
Interviewer: How did you happen to take up the sport of weightlifting?
Sri Chinmoy: As I said, I am a man of prayer. I got an inner message to enter into the weightlifting world. Weightlifting was not my forte. I was born as a poet and singer. Then here in the West, in America, I embarked on playing musical instruments, composing songs and so forth.
Again, when I pray and meditate, I get messages from within. I use the term ‘Inner Pilot’. My Inner Pilot has commanded me to enter into weightlifting. In my youth, I was a good athlete, according to our poor Indian standard. I never used weights. I thought that if you are musclebound, you cannot be a good athlete. But now the theory has changed. I see that world champions have excellent muscles. Now my Inner Pilot has commanded me to serve Him through weightlifting, where the barriers of the mind can be lifted.
Interviewer: Is that also why you compose music and so forth, because you get an inner command?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, for the same reason. Whenever I am asked to, I write poems or compose songs, paint and so forth. Everything I do, I do at the behest of my Inner Pilot.
Interviewer: Do you have a preference for any particular activity?
Sri Chinmoy: No, it depends only on whichever way my inner being compels me to be of service to mankind. I will not say that because of my weightlifting I am able to do more paintings, no. Only I am doing it because I am asked to do it. Somebody is commanding me and I am faithfully obeying Him. I have no idea if this is the way in which I will be able to reach more people.
Interviewer: Do you get personal satisfaction when somebody is inspired by your example?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, definitely. When I am of service, even to an individual, if somebody can accept my inspiration, I feel extremely satisfied. If I can be of service to even one individual, I feel that it is a tremendous help in improving the standard of humanity. Whatever I am doing in the field of sports or athletics — we have many, many places where we hold our long-distance running races — it is all for inspiration. Anything that our organisation does, it is with the one-pointed view that everybody should be inspired. Similarly, as we are trying to inspire others, even so, they have every right to inspire us.