Question: Do sports help to purify the vital?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! Sports help considerably to purify the vital, provided that is what you hope to achieve from them. Some competitors adopt foul means in sports in order to stand first. They take to drugs and so forth, which is out of the question for spiritual seekers. But if you do sports as such, without adopting undivine methods or bringing drugs into your system, then sports can help you to achieve purity, because as soon as you practise sports, all the limbs of your body become alert.

When we do something active, we feel joy. If we walk, even if we just stand up, we get joy. Then, if we can run, we get more joy. The blood is circulating in the body, the vital feels more dynamic, and even the mind gets a tremendous feeling that it has done something.

Not by thinking of the results — that you have to be first in running or throwing — but by caring for sports as such, definitely it disciplines and also purifies the body, vital and mind. By practising sports, many, many people — whatever their events — have developed purity.

If you are about to throw the shot-put ten metres, for example, and an impure thought comes, all of a sudden you may find that you can only throw seven metres. That impure thought has taken away your capacity. Then you hate yourself. You say, “Why did I allow that impure thought to come?”

Before you throw, if you can pray to God, “O God, save me! I do not want any undivine thought to come and ruin my performance”, God will listen to your prayer. Then God will keep His Protection ready for you when it is needed. It is a matter of necessity. When you need to buy a piece of cloth, for example, you go to the shop and buy it. That necessity you can meet only with the money-power inside your pocket.

So here, prayer is like that. Before you do something, if you can pray to the Supreme for protection and for purity, it will help you considerably. These things you are asking for consciously. You know when the wrong thought comes how much you suffer. You can throw the shot-put much further, but it goes a shorter distance. That is why you are praying to God. Had you not been doing sports at that moment, perhaps you would not have prayed to God for protection and purity.

Again, sports discipline us. If you have to go out running, you will get up at six o’clock. Otherwise, you can get up at ten o’clock. Sports give us discipline in our body, vital and mind. That is the most important thing.

There are hundreds and hundreds of sports. You can choose one that you like. Now you have chosen swimming. Do it! You will find that when you are in the water, if you have a good thought, a pure thought, your strokes, your style — everything — will be much better.

Purity plays a most important role in our spiritual life. One pure thought has the strength of an atom bomb. That pure thought will enable you to identify yourself with thousands of people at a time. And one impure thought will break your connection with twenty people in one second. You will see that one wrong thought has cut off your connection with so many people. You may not know the names of the people, or you may not want to know, but you will see the result.

You are not obliged to take up any particular sport because that one is better than the others, no. I always tell people, do the one you like. If you feel like swimming, do it. If you feel like ping-pong, do it. If you feel like running, do it. It is enough that you like it. That is the sport you should practise. Sport is not only running, jumping and throwing. Lifting weights is also sport. Anything that is physical activity is sport. Sport is necessary, necessary!