Question: How important is it for a spiritual aspirant to remain physically fit?

Sri Chinmoy: Physical fitness is of great importance in our life. If the body is in good condition, then we can perform all our life-activities well. So it is important to run or do physical exercises every day in order to become strong, healthy and dynamic. If we are physically fit, we will be able to keep ailments and other uninvited guests from entering into us.

In the past, people cared for the fitness of the body because they knew that if they had a healthy body, then they would be able to stay on earth longer. If they were spiritual people, they felt that a healthy body would enable them to continue praying and meditating for many more years. Today also we know that if the body is full of sickness, then we will not be able to pray and meditate well. For weeks and months we may suffer both physically and spiritually.

We have the body and we have the soul. A spiritual person has to give equal importance to both the body and the soul. If he pays attention only to the body, if he becomes physically strong but spiritually very weak, then for him there will be no peace of mind or inner happiness. Again, if he pays attention only to prayer and meditation and neglects the body, then his body will not be a fit instrument to reveal and manifest God. In the morning he will try to pray to God, but he will have to stop because he has a headache, upset stomach and so forth.

If someone does not get any exercise at all, then the physical will remain unlit, lethargic and a real hindrance to the aspirant. If the physical consciousness does not aspire, it will remain separated from the soul. Then rest assured, you will never be able to achieve perfection. The physical has to aspire in its own way to increase its capacity so that it can hold light. Then the physical will contribute to the spiritual and you will be able to aspire and manifest much more. So physical fitness and spirituality must go together. It is like having two legs. With one leg I cannot walk; I need two legs to reach my destination.