Question: I have seen the picture of you in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram when you were doing the pole-vault. You were very, very high —- possibly four metres off the ground. How did you land? I saw that there was only sand on the ground.1Sri Chinmoy: In our day, we did not have mats. So, for us, how hard it was to land! It was like the long jump pit, practically flat. So we went up, and those who had a good style coming down got hurt very little when they landed. But my style was worse than the worst! I used to go up and then, while falling down, dropping, I used to have two or three different poses. Unfortunately, I was not good in acrobatics and so I used to fall down so hard! My style for landing was very bad. Going up I had good style. But, after crossing the bar, my style became horrible, horrible, horrible!
The only thing is that I was saved all the time. There was a particular tree, thirty or forty metres away from the pit. There were quite a few trees in that vicinity, but one particular tree I shall never forget. When I used to pitch myself and be in the air, quite high —- either while I was crossing the bar or after I had crossed the bar —- I used to see my Guru, Sri Aurobindo, looking at me. Every time, even during practice sessions, I used to have the same experience. I would not see Sri Aurobindo while I was moving around, preparing to jump, but when I was actually doing the pole-vault, at the top, I used to see him protecting me. While moving around near the pole-vault pitch, if I looked, I did not see him. Nobody was there. But when I was there at the top, I used to see him in that particular tree. I will never forget that experience.
My eldest sister, Arpita, and my aunt, when I was approaching the bar, used to keep their eyes closed. They were so afraid that I would hurt myself.
So that is the explanation. In those days, the Ashram was not able to afford to buy all kinds of athletic equipment. Nowadays they are fortunate to have a very good selection.
One of my teachers was good in sports. He taught me a certain way to do the pole-vault. That way is quite old-fashioned. You cannot go high. After one or two years, I gave up and learnt the proper way, the modern way. Then there was no problem.
Do you know the famous story about my pole-vault? On one particular day, Mother Kali examined my faith. She wanted to know if I had faith in Her. It happened in 1944, around four o'clock in the afternoon. On that day, I failed not once but twice to clear the starting height. Only one chance remained. If I failed again, I would be disqualified. And I happened to be the best pole-vaulter in the Ashram at that time. What is more, the Divine Mother was watching our performance.
Anyway, Mother Kali wanted to examine my faith in Her. So She said to me, "Go home, go home if you want to pass. Just make a round circle with black ink on your left heel and then come back."
I said, "What has my pole-vault to do with ink on the heel of my left foot?"
Inside me, doubt and faith were fighting against each other. Finally, I said to myself, "Let me do it."
My house was only 150 metres away from the sports field. So I ran and ran and did the needful and came back. Then I crossed the bar easily. I went up, up, up. Eventually, I stood first in the competition. For five or six years, I stood first and then I descended to second or third. One year, rain came when I was doing the pole-vault and ruined everything.
So this is how Mother Kali examined my faith. My life is full of examination. In your case also, you need more faith, faith in the Supreme. He will do everything for you. The more you can increase your faith in the Supreme, the happier I will be. Have more faith only in the Supreme.
SCA 1242. Question asked in Sanya, China, on 6 December 2004.↩