Whatever He gives me, immediately I offer back to Him1We surrender to God's Will. I never dreamt of becoming an artist. That was not in my line. In my family, everybody was a truth-seeker and God-lover. Poetry was in our family. Everybody in my family wrote poetry. Singing also was in our family, although not to a great extent. Nobody was an artist, nobody was in the sports line, but God wanted me to be an artist and an athlete.
Weightlifting was dead against my nature, absolutely! I was the best athlete in the Ashram, the decathlon champion and so forth. In those days there was a theory that if you were muscle-bound, you would not be able to run fast. Now that theory is completely changed. Now sprinters have very bulky muscles, and they run so fast! They have shattered all the world records.
In the Ashram there was a well-equipped gymnasium, but in twenty years I went there only two times. I lifted only 20 pounds a few times. I was shot-put and discus champion, but only because of natural strength. I did not lift weights. I am just saying how God changes us. Now I am lifting hundreds and thousands of pounds.
Fourteen years ago, I went to buy a 70-pound dumbbell, and I could not lift it even two inches onto the scale to see whether the weight was correct or not. The owner of the shop patted me on my back and said, "Stop, stop! I can see you are going to become a weightlifter!"
I told him, "One day I shall lift a hundred pounds overhead and give you a cake." He laughed at me. Then in four or five months' time I did lift a hundred pounds, and I did give him a cake.
After that, we became such good friends. In his shop he used to keep so many photographs of me lifting weights. Sometimes he would not sell things to me from his shop. He would say, "This is junk." I would go there to buy things, and because he was such a close friend of mine, he would tell me, "This thing will not help you in your weightlifting." This is Mark Lurie, Dan Lurie's son. His father came the other day to my weightlifting anniversary.
How life changes! In India, while I was writing poems and translating, I had a strong desire: "How I wish I could write two hundred books in English!" What a desire! Once we accept the spiritual life, God sometimes laughs at our prayers. I thought that if I could write two hundred books, I would be something. Now I have 1,300 books to my credit. Believe me — in all sincerity I am telling you — although I have written 1,300 books, I got such joy when I had the desire to write two hundred books. If I am inspired from deep within, that is the greatest joy. Previously my goal was to lift 100 pounds to show off. Now that desire is gone. Now my goal is 1,000 pounds.
We bind ourselves with our mind when we say, "I cannot do this, I cannot do that." God laughs at us. He says, "You cannot do it? Who is doing it in and through you?" If I feel that I as an individual human being am the doer, then I can do nothing, nothing, nothing. But if God allows me to be His instrument, then every day, at every moment, God can perform a miracle through me because He is the Doer. When I feel that I am the doer, I cannot lift even 70 pounds. I pray to God, "You perform in and through me according to Your own Will. I shall just take my exercises. Then it is all up to You. I have surrendered the results."
The results can come in only two forms — success or failure. If my success I can offer to God happily, what is wrong with offering my failure too? I can have a ripe mango or an unripe mango. Today if God gives me a ripe mango, then I shall give it to Him. Tomorrow if He gives me an unripe mango, I shall also give that to Him. If I give both to Him with equal happiness, then God will be pleased with what I have and what I am giving. He can give me the experience of failure or the experience of success. If I can place them at His Feet with equal happiness, then I will not feel miserable. Then I will be the happiest person. Whatever He gives me, immediately I offer back to Him.
Mrs. Tripathi: You are so right! To share a personal experience with you, when we went back to India after ten years, I went to Delhi. There I went to an organisation called the ICCR. At that time it was in very bad shape. There was a lot of corruption there. The unions were up in arms, and they used to have strikes every day. So they posted me there! They said, "You are the only one who can set it right." I was very upset. I said, "Look at this! Couldn't they think of something else for me? Why do I have to do all this?"
By the Grace of God, whatever we planned turned out right — everything, every action — with the result that I myself was shocked. I did not know how it was happening. Then the realisation came to me that Somebody else was doing it. I was not doing it. It was happening through me, but Somebody else was doing it!
SCA 794. These remarks were offered while discussing Sri Chinmoy's artwork.↩