Question: In your heavy lifts, do you lift the weight from the ground?

Sri Chinmoy: The weight is on a power rack, and from there I try to lift it. This is perhaps a new kind of lift. Previously, people did not try this kind of lift.

Question: Why did you take up weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: I had a severe injury in my right knee that prevented me from running, which I like very much. So I entered this altogether new field. That is the outer reason why I took up weightlifting. The inner reason is that my Inner Pilot asked me to enter into weightlifting and bodybuilding.

Question: What is the 'Inner Pilot'?

Sri Chinmoy: On the strength of my prayer-life and meditation-life, I feel the Presence of God, my Inner Pilot. He commanded me to come to America in 1964, and I came. Now He has asked me to enter into bodybuilding, and that also I am doing. I listen to the Dictates of God, whom I call my Inner Pilot.

Question: What do you pray for?

Sri Chinmoy: Each person has his own prayer, his own meditation. In my case, I pray to God for the fulfilment of His Will. This is my only prayer. I pray to be a conscious, devoted, cheerful and unconditional instrument of God.

Question: What is your goal in weightlifting? Do you want to become the world's strongest man?

Sri Chinmoy: I am not competing with the rest of the world. I am only competing with myself and trying to make progress. I started with 40 pounds last year, on the 26th of June. That was my capacity. Gradually I went up to 200 pounds. Then last week, on the 31st of July, I lifted 250 pounds with one arm. A few days later, I lifted 260 pounds and yesterday I lifted 300 pounds. So my progress is my victory.

Question: Do you like weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: If I did not have a knee injury, I do not think God would have asked me to enter into weightlifting, because personally I never liked it. Even now, I do not like it! But I am devoted to the inner life, and because my Inner Pilot has asked me to do it, I do it cheerfully. But if I have to make a choice between my running and my weightlifting, I will definitely choose running.

Question: What religion do you teach?

Sri Chinmoy: Mine is not a religion at all, nor is it a sect. Mine is a way of life. We try to become better citizens of the world by virtue of our prayer-life. For me, there is only one religion and that religion is love of God. I happened to take birth in a Hindu family and perhaps you were born in a Christian family. Let us say, I was born in one house and you were born in another house. But we go to school, the inner school, together. In this school, we pray and meditate, each in his own way, and then we dive deep within and find our path. So it is no religion; it is only a way of life that I follow. I try to be of inspiration and service to mankind. This is my philosophy and this philosophy I try to offer through my students all over the world.

Question: Are you sometimes surprised at the amount of weight you can lift?

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you for asking me this question! The human in me is genuinely surprised. It is amazed because my physique in no way can be compared with the physique of weightlifters and bodybuilders. But the divine in me is not surprised because I entirely depend on God's Grace. Since I practise the prayer-life and meditation-life, I feel God's Grace at every moment of my life. He is Infinite; I am finite. I am just an insignificant creature in His Creation. But the Infinite can do anything it wants to in and through the finite.

Bill Pearl came to my first weightlifting anniversary on June 26th. He has been Mr. Universe five times. A few other eminent bodybuilders also came. They were all real giants! Compared to them, I am a dwarf in terms of muscular development. But I have lifted 300 pounds with one arm and 1,500 pounds on the standing calf raise machine and they were kind enough to tell me that they could never do that.

My own mind cannot believe what the divine Grace is doing in and through me. When I go to lift 300 pounds and I see the heavy mass, the metal plates, they create fear and confusion in me. I wonder how I am going to lift the dumbbell. But in silence I pray and meditate before each lift. Then fear, doubt and anxiety do not come because I have implicit faith in God. If it is His Will, I shall succeed, and if it is not His Will, then I will not succeed. This is my life of surrender which I offer to Him at every moment.