Part IVSCA 722-731. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 2 September 1994 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.
Question: When I am involved in giving meditation classes, I find it hard to keep up my running.Sri Chinmoy: If you have to make a choice between practising sports and bringing disciples to the Centre, inspiring people through songs, through talks and in so many ways, then I will definitely, definitely prefer your bringing people to the Centre. In our spiritual life, physical fitness is of paramount importance. People who have good capacities in sports I will definitely tell to practise. Those people who are talented, who are good runners, good throwers and good jumpers, definitely I want to encourage. But if others who are not so talented spend hours each day running ten or fifteen miles and then resting for three or four extra hours because they are exhausted, then they are making a most deplorable mistake. They will have no time to do manifestation work.
Always we have to keep a balance. Sports you can do on a daily basis for physical fitness. Then, if one is good in particular events, one must practise. But in general, if I have to say which one is more important, sports is secondary. Aspiration and manifestation must come first. Sports also includes aspiration, true, but if you want to spread divine light in infinite measure throughout the length and breadth of the world, then individual or collective success in sports may not have as great an effect as other activities.
There will be many people who are infinitely better athletes than my disciples are. But if you can pray, meditate and bring disciples, if you can increase the number of aspiration-plants in my heart-garden, then that is infinitely more significant than spending hours daily practising sports. We came here to be sincere God-seekers, soulful God-lovers and self-giving God-servers. We have to pay utmost attention to the things that are most important. Spirituality in the strict sense of the term must come first and foremost.