Student: Some weightlifters want you to play the game by their rules. Only then will they accept you.

Sri Chinmoy: They are saying, "If you eat my food, only then will you become strong." But I do not agree. I feel I am strong by eating other food. And there are others who are on my side. As I was saying, there will always be critics who want us to remain stuck at one place. Look at the Guinness Book of Records. Each year there are so many new items. They could easily have stayed with only ten items, but they try to accept new things.

The most important message I am trying to convey is progress. I am not competing with others or challenging them to come and compete with me. I am doing this for myself. I am getting joy because it is my progress. My goal is progress. I started with 100 pounds, 50 pounds in each arm, and now I have come up to 1,300 pounds. Is it a joke? Others do not have to do the same thing. They do not have to lift in my way. They can try in their own way to go up to their maximum weight. Then they can try to increase the weight by 300 pounds in four days' time. If people do not value my way, let them show their progress in their own way.

For me, it is not the technique but the progress that is the most important thing. Let them try to increase by the same increment. Mahasamrat says that records are usually broken by half-pound or one-pound increments. Here I am going up 100 pounds at a time or even more. So I am going my own way and others should go their own way as fast as possible. Then we will see the ratio by age, bodyweight, increment and so on. I do not think others will dare to do what I am doing at my age.

I cannot wait because of the critics. I have to go on, faithfully practising every day, doing stretching exercises and so on. In a natural and normal way I am going on. But even in this natural way, how much is God's Compassion! To get up so early, after only two hours of rest, and to have the inspiration to do it — even this natural thing that I am doing is so difficult for ordinary people.

Then God's Grace descends. The very first day I lifted 1,300 pounds, I said it was all Grace. On that day, I did not do even one warm-up exercise. I simply took a shower and then I started. I was depending 100 per cent on Grace. In the prayer that I offered before lifting, I said that it was a mystic journey. I said it was a very, very long way and with God's Grace one day I would reach my destination. But God was laughing at me. The very first day He did it in and through me.

My connection with God is like that. I will proceed as far as possible in a normal way. Again, I know I am able to practise in a normal way because of His Grace. Year after year I have been getting up early in the morning, doing all kinds of exercises. Then once in a while if I do not want to take warm-up exercises, He says, "All right, let Grace operate."

In the Ashram I stood first in the 100-metre race for 16 years. One year I said, "I want to identify with the sufferings of the ones who come second or third or even last." So I decided to give myself a fever. It was so easy for me. I developed such a high fever that I could not even see properly. Then I said, "Today I will definitely lose. I may even become last. Let people laugh, but I want to feel the pangs of those who do not win."

Usually, I used to warm up for 40 minutes, but on that day I did not warm up at all. I was 100 per cent sure that I would be last. I thought I would fall down, and I was only praying that I would not disturb anybody because the lanes were so narrow. That was my only fear. I could not withdraw from the race because people would have said, "Oh, this time he has not practised. He does not want to lose." Instead of that, I decided to start in the normal way and then people would see that I did not have the capacity to stand first.

When the starter said, "Get on your mark," my whole body was shaking, not out of fear but because I was not feeling well at all. Then, when he said, "Go!" out of the blue my Beloved Supreme came and carried me all the way to the finish. I had not done any preliminary jogging, nothing, but I stood first.

My will was to become second or third or even last, but God did not listen to my sincere prayer. His Way is the only way. Here I was trying to become such a saint: I wanted to feel the sufferings of others. But God did not want to have their suffering in and through me.

Coming back to my 1,300-pound lift, if you are planning to lift such a huge weight for the first time, do you not think of your shoulders? Do you not think of your chest or knees? Usually I take stretching exercises for 45 minutes. Then I work out on seven or eight machines. Only then am I fully prepared for my lifting. But yesterday I did zero, zero. You can call it peculiar or you can call it miraculous.

So I am showing my progress report. Others can show progress in their own way, in their own field. If my way is meaningless, let others shine in their field, in their own way. I do not think that other weightlifters who lift heavy, heavy weights will weigh under 300 pounds. I am 170 or 171 pounds. Again, is there anybody who will be lifting heavy weights at the age of 68 or 69? People have to think of what they did at the age of 20, then at the age of 50 and now at this age. Did they reach their peak at the age of 68 or at the age of 32, like the immortal Carl Lewis?

Jim Smith, who is the registrar of the British Amateur Weightlifters Association, has made this point. He said that people generally give up weightlifting after school or college. If they continue, eventually they are "horribly beaten."

In my case, I have not yet reached my peak and I am nearing 69 years of age. Thirteen is my lucky number, so I am planning to practise my 1,300-pound two-arm lift until April 13th.

It is so difficult to lift simultaneously with two hands. When you lift with one hand, all your concentration is on that hand, on that wrist. How much strength and energy you get when you use only one hand! When you use two hands, your concentration is divided. How can you give full concentration when you use the right and the left together? I have to concentrate on the right and left sides at the same time so that both sides go up. The push has to go from right and left simultaneously. Bill Pearl has said this lift is so difficult because it has to be balanced.

I am not competing with anyone else in the weightlifting world. I am doing this for my inner progress, my oneness with God. I am saying, "I am doing so well in this field. What is wrong with you in your own field?" Specially for my disciples, I am saying, "You do as well in conquering your insecurity, your jealousy. See how fast you can decrease your jealousy or increase your purity. I am studying one subject to show you. Then you have so many subjects to study. You try to do as well in those subjects."

To some, I am a source of inspiration. When they see how hard it is for me to lift, then they also try to do something in their own life, in their own field. When they see the determination on my face, they try to have the same determination. They can also compete with themselves and show their progress report.