An historic landmarkOn 25 and 26 June 1986, several of the world’s Himalayan champion bodybuilders, weightlifters and Olympians gathered in New York to celebrate a most significant event: the first anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting adventure.
Sri Chinmoy’s remarkable feats of strength during this past twelve-month period have been utterly without precedent. To commence serious weight training at the age of 54 is in itself a rare act of courage, but Sri Chinmoy’s phenomenal rate of progress quickly surpassed all expectations. Specialising in the one-arm lift, he raised his own body weight of 155 pounds within only five months. Four months later, this total had leapt to 200 pounds, and five days short of his first anniversary, he accomplished a 240-pound lift — exactly 200 pounds more than the weight with which he started. Nobody in the history of the sport, regardless of age, has ever approached Sri Chinmoy’s speed of improvement or dared to lift weights so far beyond their own body weight.
Early in June, as the date of his anniversary drew near, Sri Chinmoy also began working out on a standard calf-raise machine. Initially, the machine was loaded with 400 pounds. After only four workouts, however, Sri Chinmoy was comfortably doing repetitions with 700 pounds. On 14 June, during only his fifth workout on the machine, Sri Chinmoy broke into four figures with five repetitions of 1000 pounds. Finally, on 23 June, just prior to his anniversary, Sri Chinmoy succeeded in raising 1300 pounds three times. In the course of nine workouts, extending over three weeks, Sri Chinmoy had not only mastered the challenge of the calf-raise but moved into realms where no other bodybuilders have ever been.
To watch Sri Chinmoy moving mountains of metal is to appreciate the spiritual essence of all his actions. It is as if his physical body is a chandelier illumined from within by a profound peace and power. He himself says that he is neither a bodybuilder nor a weightlifter. He is at once a lover of God and a server of man. In practice, this philosophy has led him into many diverse fields — such as art, music, poetry and sports — where he has been able to inspire thousands of people.
The gathering of champions in New York for Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting anniversary was in itself a testimonial to the depth of inspiration the world has already received from his weightlifting accomplishments. He has dreamt of the highest goals — and achieved them. He has faced the heaviest weights, without fear, and lifted them. He has confronted his age, his injuries and the slightness of his build — and yet refused to be limited by them. He has revealed that weightlifting can be a form of prayer and meditation to fulfil and please God in God’s own Way.
This booklet is the chronicle of that unique celebration, the tributes that were exchanged and the quality of joy that was manifest in each aspect of the programme. It was an experience that will live forever in the memories of those who were present.