Question: I am a little curious why you do not choose some more standardised feats to demonstrate your philosophy. Would it not be easier then for a larger body of athletes to judge your performances?

Sri Chinmoy: I have not come into the world to compete with anybody else, only to compete with myself. I am trying to transcend myself and I ask my students to do the same. I am not going to compete with a third person. But I know my capacity or incapacity. If I know what my capacity is, tomorrow I will try to transcend it. In our philosophy, transcendence is perfection. Transcendence is not something stagnant, like a pool. No, transcendence is like a river; it is always flowing. So I always compete with myself. If I can lift 40 pounds, then I will try to lift 50 pounds, then 60 pounds. If I can write one soulful poem, then I will try to write two poems.

I get joy from competing with myself. And I think that by competing with myself, I am making myself a better person. Others do the same perhaps. Again, who am I to talk about others? If they want to compete with the rest of the world, that is fine. In my case, I derive satisfaction from my self-transcendence. I know what I have and what I am. I feel that what I have and what I am is nothing, nothing, in comparison to the goal that I have set for myself. So if I want to reach my goal, then I have to transcend and transcend.

And then the goal itself is also transcending. There was a time when my goal was to learn the alphabet. Then it became something higher. In life also, no matter which subject we study, either an inner subject or an outer subject, there is no end to our wisdom.