Question: What would you like our readers to get from the example of your weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very simple. It is said that Indian teachers do not accept society as such. It is said that they do not care for the world but they care only for their spiritual life, that they like to be in the Himalayan caves and practise austerity and so forth. As long as they can get their own realisation, it is more than enough for them. But the philosophy that I have been taught from deep within is different. My philosophy says that we have to be in the world and we have to be for the world. We have to be like a boat. The boat is in the water, but the water does not enter into the boat. This is the boat that is taking us from ignorance to knowledge-shore.

Also I would like to tell the world not to neglect the body-consciousness. God has given us the body. The body is the temple, and the heart is the shrine where the deity within resides. If we do not pay the necessary attention to the body, then the temple will be weak or defective. Without a fit temple, how can you help the presiding deity inside? So I feel that the body must be kept fit. But I will never say that one must have larger-than-the-largest muscles. No, only I say that physical fitness is of paramount importance, and by taking exercise, one can keep the body fit. Again, through my weightlifting I wish to tell the outer world that the world of spirit does exist. People see that my physique is nothing in comparison to the physiques of the professional bodybuilders. Their biceps will be 22 inches whereas mine are not even 14, and their calves will be 18 to 20 inches while mine are 13 ½. Yet I can lift weights that many of them cannot lift So what does it prove? It proves that the inner spirit, or the mental and psychic power, can be of great assistance to the body when it is brought to the fore. Otherwise my physical body would never be able to lift this kind of weight. It is my prayer-life and meditation-life that, through God’s Grace, are enabling me to do this. I am also trying to show that the inner world has to be a source of inspiration to the outer world. They should not be like opposite poles — North Pole and South Pole. No, they have to be united. The body and the soul must go together.

From: Sri Chinmoy, Aspiration-body, illumination-soul, part 1 - , Agni Press, 1993
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