Aspiration-body, illumination-soul, part 3

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Marty Gallagher: What essentially is your philosophy with regard to making progress?1

Sri Chinmoy: Ours is a positive way of thinking. We feel that every day we have to go into our heart-garden and get inspiration. There we try to see a beautiful rose — not yesterday’s rose, but today’s rose. The petals on yesterday’s rose are dry and withered. But today’s blossoming rose will be fresh. Then tomorrow we will go again and try to see a new rose.

The past is gone. Yesterday it was fresh; today it is not fresh. Today we have to see something new and fresh. This is how we can get inspiration. We cannot go on with yesterday’s inspiration. Yesterday’s inspiration was needed for yesterday, but today’s inspiration we need for today. We have to always look forward and enjoy the beauty, fragrance and purity of today’s flower.

Often, when people first hear about my weightlifting achievements, they try to exercise their power of imagination. They say, “Perhaps he can do it.” But then, when they allow the doubting mind to come forward, their imagination-bird’s wings are clipped and its flight is over. Then they start doubting me and criticising me.

As an individual, I am nothing and I can do nothing. For everything that I have achieved, I give one hundred per cent credit to God’s Grace. I do not have the physique of a bodybuilder. In my youth I was a sprinter and a jumper, but I never cared for weightlifting. Only three or four times a year I used to practise lifting twenty pounds. And here in America, when I started lifting dumbbells off the ground, I found it extremely difficult to lift over forty pounds because it was not at all in my line.

But I entered into this new field with tremendous determination and every week I was progressing — going up from 40 to 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 pounds. After 100 pounds, I was unable to progress any further because it is difficult for me to bend. Then a student of mine from Australia made a support rack for me so that I could start with the weight at shoulder height. He said, “Since you cannot bend, perhaps you will be able to continue if you do it this way.” So I tried and he was right. From 100 I went to 200,300,400, 700 — up to 7,000 pounds. We have photos; we have videos. And many people do believe it.

Hugh Cassidy: And yet none of them have tried it.

Marty Gallagher: That’s incredible!

Sri Chinmoy: No, they do not try. With regard to my calf raise, one very prominent powerlifter had absolutely no doubts about my 2,000-pound calf raise. He said he believed it because so much of weightlifting depends not on physical power but on mental power. I call it Grace. I am saying again and again that it is not my physical power; it is my prayer-power that enables me to lift up such heavy weights. But you can call it mental power or anything you want to call it.

I have lifted an elephant, a truck, a helicopter, a plane, a sailboat and all kinds of things. People have seen with their own eyes that the weight has gone up. Some people are saying that because of the laws of physics, it is not the full weight that I am lifting. I am not claiming to lift the full weight. Let us say it is 75% or even 50% of the weight. A 3,000-pound elephant is standing in front of you. You try to lift it up. Even if the actual weight on my shoulders is 50%, that is 1,500 pounds. Let others try to lift up 1,500 pounds.

Many weightlifters and bodybuilders have seen my standing calf raise machine with 1,400 pounds on it. They could easily have asked to try it. I would have had no objection. If it is such an easy thing, then let them try. But nobody has asked me.

About a month ago I was in Germany. There I met Jusup Wilkosz who was recently Mr. Universe. He invited me to come to his gym. I have never seen such a beautiful and well-equipped gym. And it was so clean! He had a calf raise machine there. I asked him how many pounds he could lift on it. He said, “I can only do 500 or 600 maximum. My students cannot do even 400.” Then he asked me to try it. I had just finished a full breakfast and I did not have any warm-up. But I had been practising with much heavier weights on my own machine, and I knew I would not injure myself. So I just stood in front of him and lifted 860 pounds, which was all the weight he had available for that machine. Then he said to me, “This is not physical power. This is your spirit. Your spirit is doing this.” It is absolutely true. I call it God’s Grace, but he calls it spirit.

He was very nice. He examined my spine and massaged my knee and gave me lots of advice on what to do for my knee pain. And he has no doubts about my weightlifting. He accepts my 7,000-pound one-arm lift and my 2,000-pound calf raise.

ABIS 119-127. This is an interview with Marty Gallagher, Editor and Publisher of Strength Review Magazine. He was accompanied by Hugh Cassidy, former world powerlifting champion. The interview took place on 18 July 1987 at the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., before Sri Chinmoy's concert.

Marty Gallagher: Some weightlifters are critical because they are too ego-filled.

Sri Chinmoy: My whole purpose is to be of service to mankind and this I can do only through inspiration. I get inspiration from my prayer, and this inspiration I try to offer to my friends and dear ones. This is my whole purpose in life. I have written thousands of poems. In hundreds of places I have given musical performances. I have also composed thousands of songs. It is all for inspiration.

Some people may want to enter into competition and defeat others. But right from my childhood, I have been only competing with myself. If I can compete with myself and improve myself, I will become a better person. And if I become a good person, Mother Earth will be so happy, since she will be blessed with one less undivine person. I want to increase my capacities, I want to go beyond and beyond, so that others will be inspired to do the same. This is the message and the inspiration that I am trying to offer.

As soon as we compete with others, we forget our oneness. When we compete, we try to win by hook or by crook and our undivine qualities come forward — jealousy, pride and all kinds of negative things. Then we get unhappy experiences.

Hugh Cassidy: I think it would be great if some champions would lay their egos aside and take on this attitude — the feeling that they don’t have to compete with others or challenge others, but just find out what they themselves can do.

Marty Gallagher: In the weight world, the problem today is the way young lifters make progress. When they can no longer go beyond the capacities of the body, they take drugs. And that is a dead end; it’s an evil. We know that the way to overcome this drug problem is through the mind, through spirituality. But to get that message out to the young lifters is so difficult. That is why we were so pleased when word of your lifts first came out.

Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to you. This very thing I call inspiration. There is one gym in San Francisco where they keep two or three of my weightlifting pictures on the wall. Young weightlifters concentrate on my picture and make progress. For days or weeks perhaps they cannot lift something; but after looking at my picture they are able to lift it. Because they believe that I can do it, they feel that they also have the capacity to do it.

This is the kind of inspiration that I wanted to offer through my weightlifting. Competing with others does not serve any purpose. People who want to increase their capacity can seek inspiration from others.

Hugh Cassidy: When you do that, you have to believe in the other person.

Sri Chinmoy: Believers will always believe and disbelievers will never believe, no matter what you do. They will say it is magic or deception. How can you ever prove anything to them? There are many, many things you cannot prove. Right now I cannot prove God to you, but I do know that God exists. My faith in God is infinitely stronger and more fruitful than any proof I can offer you. For me, God is a living Reality. Although I cannot show God to you, that does not mean that the Reality of His Existence is less. I know He exists because I feel Him, I see Him, I talk to Him.

If I have eaten a most delicious mango this morning and I am unable to prove it to you, who cares? You may think I am fooling you, but I will simply say, “You remain satisfied by calling me a liar, and I will remain satisfied that I was lucky enough to eat the mango.”

In this world we are all running after satisfaction. Some people get satisfaction by doubting me and speaking ill of me, and I get satisfaction because God’s Grace was able to accomplish something in and through me. So each of us is satisfied. Why do we all have to have the same kind of satisfaction? I like water; you like milk. As long as you get milk and I get water, it is fine. But you cannot say that water is very bad and I have no right to tell you that milk is very bad. When I say that my drink is nectar and your drink is all poison, then the problem starts.

My whole approach is through love. Just before I lifted the elephant, I went to the elephant and said, “You are my friend, you are my heart’s friend, you are my soul’s friend, you are my life’s friend.” Somebody else might come and try to frighten the elephant, but that is not my way.

Before I lift very heavy weights in my house, I go and touch each plate before I lift it. I can show you on the video. I touch each plate and try to establish my friendship with it, for even an inanimate object has pride. If you are my friend, then you will have no objection if I lift you up. As your friend, I can beg you to do something and you will feel obliged to do it. But if I am your rival, you are under no obligation. If I act like a commander and say “Stand up!”, why do you have to listen to me? You will say, “Who are you to tell me to do something?” Then it will be like fighting with an enemy — challenging the weight or being challenged by the weight. The weight will say, “You cannot lift me,” and I will say, “I can lift you.” At that time, the weight will be like a rival and, as soon as I hold it, there will be a competition between me and the weight. I will say, “I am going to lift you up,” and the weight will say, “Who are you to lift me up?”

That is not my approach at all. Instead I become one with the weight itself. My whole approach is one of friendship and oneness. I am trying to be of service on the strength of oneness. So whether it is an inanimate object or an animal or a human being, my whole purpose is to establish oneness, oneness, oneness.

Oneness starts with the members of your family. Then gradually, gradually, you establish your oneness with your neighbours, associates, countrymen and, finally, with the whole world.

Marty Gallagher: You have offered us such good advice. We are going to apply it!

Sri Chinmoy: We take the body as a temple, and the soul inside the body as a shrine. Without the shrine, the temple has no value, Again, without the temple, where can we keep the shrine? If we leave it in the street, people will destroy it. So this body, which is supposed to be the temple, has to be kept clean and pure. But how can the body have purity when the mind is so impure? If my mind enters into rivalry, jealousy and competition, then it is only separating me from you. But if my mind tells me that you are my friend, then we will establish our oneness.

If the mind is a problem, some people say that we have to discard the mind completely. If the vital is a problem, if the vital is aggressive and destructive, they say we should cast aside the vital. If the body is a problem, if the body is lethargic, they say we should renounce the body. This is the way of separation.

But we can also take a positive approach. Instead of rejecting the mind, if we can make the mind clear and pure, and teach it to think positively, then our mind will be a great help to us. If we can ask our vital to become constructive and dynamic, then it can do many good things for us. And if we can ask our body to work for God, sleeplessly and breathlessly, then it will be a tremendous help to us.

This is our way of approaching the inner and the outer life. Others may offer a completely different approach. There are many different roads that lead to the Goal. We cannot say that others are wrong and they cannot say that we are wrong.

Marty Gallagher: Earlier you were saying how you went and touched the plates and became friendly, as it were, with the plates. What other things do you do before you lift? What do you think or not think?

Sri Chinmoy: Before I lift, I do not think at all because, in general, thinking weakens us. When we are lifting heavy weights, we need the power of concentration. It is like this: let us say I am inside my room and I hear people knocking at the door. I have no idea whether they are my friends or my enemies. So what do I do? I say to myself, “Whatever I have to do inside my room, let me do first. If these people are my real friends, they will wait for me. If they are my enemies, their pride will come forward and they will say, ‘It is beneath our dignity to waste our precious time here’. Then they will go away. But my good friends will be sympathetic and say, ‘Perhaps he is doing something very important and that is why he is not opening the door’. So they will wait for me indefinitely.”

When I am lifting heavy weights, at that time I do not allow any thoughts, whether good or bad, to enter into me. I only pray for God’s Grace and then surrender to His Will. I fold my hands and say, “I would like to become a faithful and devoted instrument of Yours.” Human power is so limited; it cannot lift more than a few pounds by itself. It is the divine Power in me, which I have brought to the fore through my prayer-life, that has enabled me to go from 40 pounds to 7,000 pounds.

We have to believe in a higher Power. If we do not believe in a higher Power, then we cannot go beyond our capacity. It is like being in a tug-of-war. When one individual is fighting against another individual, it can be very difficult since each may have the same strength. But if more people come to their rescue and begin pulling with the other contestants, then each team will have greater capacity.

Similarly, when I pray and meditate, I feel that somebody else is helping me, whereas an ordinary man feels he can only rely on himself. When he is under the weight, he thinks that he is lifting it all by himself. He has practised for so many years and developed his strength and he feels that everything depends on this physical strength. But in my case, I feel that I am only an instrument. There is some other power that is coming to help me. That power I call God’s Grace.

Marty Gallagher: We work a lot with young lifters. What advice would you give to them?

Sri Chinmoy: The young lifters and bodybuilders must find an invisible friend who will help them. They must feel that there is Somebody who is eager to help them. They cannot see Him with their eyes, but they can feel Him inside their heart. Many things we cannot see but we can feel.

Let us say that yesterday some young students lifted 200 pounds. They must feel that they have got this capacity from God. If they cannot give credit to God, they should at least give credit to an invisible friend. Or let them say there is a higher force.

They know their own body because they have worked with it for a long time to develop their muscles. But do they also know what their mind can do? When they have a negative thought, they become so weak! Again, when they have a positive thought, how strong they become! While they are lifting, if they think of their rivals, they are bound to fail. At that very moment, they should not think at all. But if they have to think, they should think of their coach who is helping and encouraging and inspiring them.

The best thing, however, is not to think of anybody, but to become one with the weight itself. If the weight and I have become friends, then we do not need anybody else. But if I cannot take the weight as my friend, at least let me think of my coach — that he is so kind to me and is always trying to help me. And if I cannot think of my coach, then at least let me think of the joy I get from lifting and not of somebody else who perhaps is stronger than I am.

There are so many ways we can improve if our mind is trained to think in a positive or divine way. We have so many friends within us and around us. We have to accept the world as our friend, and not as our enemy.

Marty Gallagher: How do you know the moment to actually grab the bar and lift?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various ways I can know. I do not lift the bar until I feel that my thought process has completely stopped and I have become another plate. When I am touching the plates one by one before I lift, I am establishing my friendship and oneness with them. I identify myself so completely with them that I feel I have become the weight itself. If I have become the weight — if I am the body and the weight is my hand — then I can easily raise it.

Marty Gallagher: So many of our lifters lift with aggression and that is why they need huge bodies to lift the weights; whereas, if they were harnessing their real capacities, think of the weights they could lift with these huge bodies!

Hugh Cassidy: Yes, isn’t it ironic that most of the lifters in the world are the ones who challenge the weight? They’re not the ones who become friends with the weight.

Sri Chinmoy: That is their mistake. A challenge is like a special kind of anger. If I am angry with you, my nerves are weakened. Each time we challenge someone, we inwardly weaken ourselves. But if we establish our oneness with someone, then we get that person’s strength.

That is what we are doing with our prayer-life and meditation-life. When we pray and meditate, we are getting God’s Strength. It is not that we are stealing it; only we are establishing a free access to it. If you and I have become friends, then immediately you will give me what you have and what you are and I will also give you what I have and what I am. So both our capacities are increased. If I challenge you, I will come with nine dollars and you will show that you have eleven dollars. But if we show our oneness rather than our rivalry, then my nine dollars and your eleven dollars become twenty dollars.

Marty Gallagher: How often do you recommend that a person meditate? Should he meditate before he lifts and for how long?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolute beginners should not meditate at all; they should concentrate. For an absolute beginner, meditation is a difficult process. There are three rungs in the spiritual ladder. The first rung is concentration, the second rung is meditation and the third rung is contemplation.

In my case, I can do all three because I have been practising for many years. But a beginner has to first learn concentration. When he concentrates, his concentration must be on the tiniest part of the weight that he is trying to lift. Suppose I am trying to lift 200 pounds. On one side of the bar is 100 pounds and on the other side is 100 pounds. When I am concentrating, I will focus my attention on my wrist or on my hand, and try to feel the whole weight there. I will not think of the plates on either side. Everything has to be felt at the spot where I am concentrating. While I am concentrating, I have to feel that the weight is smaller than the smallest — no matter how big it is.

But when I am meditating, at that time I will have to see the whole picture — the plates, the bar, everything. Then, when I am contemplating, I have to establish my total oneness with everything — with the plates, with the bar, with the entire apparatus.

Hugh Cassidy: What about breathing?

Sri Chinmoy: As you know, when you want to lift up a heavy weight, it is easier to do so when you are breathing in. It is always good to take deep breaths, not shallow breaths. When I lift very heavy weights, I take three very deep breaths before lifting. The best thing is to feel the breath or the life-energy in your spiritual heart and in your forehead. While you are concentrating, you can feel the same life-energy inside your wrist or inside your palm. It is life-energy that enables us to lift. So when I breathe in, I always feel that my life-energy is inside my forehead and, when I concentrate, I feel it is inside my wrist.

Marty Gallagher: Are you talking about the spiritual third eye?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the third eye. Always feel that your power is coming from there. Our will-power is not in our arms or in our shoulders. The will-power that is governing the whole body originates in the third eye — between the eyebrows and a little above.

Weightlifting students who have not been practising meditation should learn how to concentrate. For them that will be easiest. Then they should learn to meditate. In the beginning, if they do not concentrate, they will not be able to bring to the fore their own inner strength. Strength is always there inside us, but the way to bring it to the fore is through concentration and meditation.

Marty Gallagher: How does meditation differ from concentration?

Sri Chinmoy: When we concentrate, we focus on something smaller than the smallest. When we meditate, we meditate on something larger than the largest.

We concentrate on a tiny drop, but we meditate on the vast ocean or the sky. Meditation is vastness, absolute vastness. And contemplation is something far beyond both of these. Contemplation is oneness.

I am extremely, extremely grateful to both of you. I feel that if we can work together positively, there will be countless people who will believe us and who will be able to derive inspiration and benefit. I know that there are some people in the weightlifting world who feel threatened by my approach to weightlifting.

Marty Gallagher: There are people who build careers on the negative and there are always other people who will get malicious pleasure from reading their comments.

Sri Chinmoy: Some people will say that the moon is so beautiful, it gives us light, inspiration and joy. Again, there will be others who will say that there are so many spots on the moon, or that it is not as bright as the sun. Still others will say that even the sun is losing its energy and after a few centuries there will be no sun. Some people will always look at the dark side, but we want to look at the bright side. If we take the positive side, then we make progress. We feel that people who constantly criticise the world and see the negative side of things are unconsciously destroying themselves.

We are trying to become better citizens of the world, and for that we have to go beyond our present capacities. Whatever capacities we have are not enough. We have to become better in every way. By criticising someone, in which way are we becoming better? My right hand can lift up a heavier weight than my left hand. But will I criticise my left hand? Will I say, “Look, why do I have to keep you? You cannot lift as much as my right hand, so the best thing is to chop you off!” Am I such a fool? Because I have established my oneness with both my right hand and my left hand, in no way will I feel that my left hand is inferior. The left hand and the right hand have to go together, like the older brother and the younger brother in a family. If the older brother can lift 200 pounds and the younger brother can lift 20 pounds, the older brother will not feel that the younger one is inferior. If he has sincere love for the younger one and sympathy with him, he is so happy at the younger brother’s achievement. Also, he knows that his little brother will be able to make progress and one day he, too, will lift up 200 pounds. And the little brother on his part will feel so happy that his own brother is able to lift 200 pounds.

So this is how we establish our oneness. The older brother could have said, “It is beneath my dignity to identify myself with my younger brother and count his 20 pounds with my 200 pounds.” But if he is a good person, he will not do that. He will say, “My little brother has done 20, so now we have 220 pounds in our joint account.”

Marty Gallagher: Even a child can see farther if he is sitting on his father’s shoulders.

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. In the long run, it is the haters of mankind who will be the losers, not the lovers of mankind. It is the lovers of humanity who will do something worthwhile for the world and for themselves. Only by positive thinking, by bringing the positive qualities of human beings to the fore, will this world be able to make progress.

Marty Gallagher: You have given us much to think on. Would you be so kind as to give me an autograph for my young children? They asked me for it. As I was walking out the door, my young son came up and said, “Could you please get Sri Chinmoy’s autograph for me?”

Sri Chinmoy: I shall gladly do it. I am so grateful to you for coming to see me. You have been extremely, extremely kind to me, and my gratitude is the only thing I can offer to both of you.


Interviewer: Today we are very happy to have with us in the studio the internationally famous musician, artist, meditation Master, poet, peace advocate and, recently, world famous weightlifter, Sri Chinmoy. I can tell you that I have had the great pleasure of knowing Sri Chinmoy for the past fourteen years. Besides being a very authentic and inspiring individual, he is also one of the most charming and interesting men I have ever met.

Sri Chinmoy, we are very happy to have you and we are very interested in learning about your weightlifting and your activities. You started weightlifting at the age of 54, and you have been weightlifting for about two years. Age 54 is about the time most people are thinking about retiring. Why did you decide to take up weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, it is not a matter of decision. It is a matter of obedience. I listen to the dictates of my Inner Pilot. He wanted me to lift weights, so I am listening to His Command. It is not a matter of me deciding that I will take up weightlifting.

ABIS 128-148. This interview with Sri Chinmoy was conducted on 1 March 1988 in the television studio at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Interviewer: Guru, is weightlifting a part of your general philosophy of transcending oneself, transcending one's limits, one's own preconceptions?

Sri Chinmoy: Weightlifting, in my case, is a matter of self-transcendence. When I do anything, I have one set goal and that is my self-transcendence. So weightlifting is also a part of my self-transcendence.

Interviewer: What is it like when you lift up those heavy weights?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel I am lifting up my ignorance and world ignorance together. As soon as we take human incarnation, ignorance envelops us. We see ignorance all around. So these metal plates I take as ignorance. I try to lift up my ignorance and the ignorance of the world in which I live.

Interviewer: Well, you have lifted some incredible weights! Today, on our show, Sri Chinmoy will lift his own bodyweight with one hand — an amazing, amazing feat! What goes through your mind when you lift a weight? Do you chant a mantra? Do you pray?

Sri Chinmoy: While lifting up my bodyweight, I do not think of anything. I just completely shut my mind. In my mind there will be no thought whatsoever. I focus my concentration only on the weight. There is no thought in utmost concentration. Then, with the power of concentration, I try to lift up the weight.

Interviewer: You say that you do these lifts with the physical body, but there must be some tremendous inner strength, an inner reality, that enables you to perform such weightlifting feats.

Sri Chinmoy: The physical body receives the capacity from within. Actual capacity is inside us, within us. This capacity comes to the fore when we practise and live a life of discipline.

Interviewer: Is weightlifting a challenge or an adventure?

Sri Chinmoy: It is neither an adventure nor a challenge. It is an opportunity to transcend my capacities and, while transcending my capacities, I get boundless satisfaction.

Interviewer: I know you said before that it is the power of meditation that enables you to lift such incredible weights. I might mention that Sri Chinmoy's recent lift of 7,000 pounds was over 44 times his bodyweight! Meditation must hold tremendous potential for all of us.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! Meditation is not the sole monopoly of any individual. Everybody has the birthright to meditate; and, if we can meditate well, then we establish our oneness with the entire world. Once we have established our oneness with the world, we feel peace. Our whole being, our entire life, is inundated with peace. And once we have peace, we feel that we have everything and we have become everything.

Interviewer: That's really wonderful. What is the actual nature or technique of meditation? What does one do when one meditates?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the level of the individual seeker. When a seeker starts meditating, he has to feel that his mind is pure, his heart is receptive and his life is all ready to surrender to God’s Will. He will not have a will of his own. He will surrender his will to God’s Will. So with these things a beginner starts his meditation.

Interviewer: Can everyone develop their receptivity?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, this receptivity everybody can develop. It is just a matter of time. We cannot achieve anything significant overnight. It takes time. So, if one practises meditation soulfully, diligently and devotedly, then one can easily develop all these divine qualities. It is just a matter of time.

Interviewer: There is very much talk today about world peace and I know that you have a very interesting philosophy of world peace as being a collective product of individual meditation. Very often we think of world peace as something that comes about through political leaders. Your philosophy is unique. Could you tell us about it?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody has a way of offering peace to the world at large. The politicians try to offer peace through their politics, and we, as seekers and conscious God-lovers, try to offer peace to the world at large in a different way. Our way is through prayer and meditation. So each one is right in his own way, in his own approach to the peace-reality.

Interviewer: At the United Nations, Sri Chinmoy has been leading meditations for delegates and staff for the past twenty years. He has also held meditations at the United States Congress and at the British Parliament. Sri Chinmoy, what do you think the role of the U.N. is in today's turbulent world?

Sri Chinmoy: The role of the United Nations is to be more conscious and more dedicated to its supreme cause. The United Nations has a most significant role to play on earth and it has to bring to the fore its inner courage, inner strength, inner will and inner determination and make the world feel that this can be a world of peace, a world of oneness and a world of satisfaction. We pray and meditate at the United Nations. Again, the politicians, delegates and diplomats try to bring about peace in their own way. We are striving to achieve the same goal. In a tug-of-war, if you have four or five friends on your side and only one individual on the opposite side, naturally you are going to win. So if four or five friends try in various ways to create harmony, their harmony will enter into the vast world.

Interviewer. Do you think there will ever be a time when significant portions of the population meditate on a regular basis?

Sri Chinmoy: I definitely feel that there shall come a time when each and every individual will pray and meditate consciously. Now almost everyone is praying and meditating, but it is not done consciously. But there shall come a time when each individual will pray and meditate soulfully and consciously, for that is the Will of the Absolute Supreme. He wants us all to be perfect. He does not want only one individual to be perfect. He will not be satisfied with individual success or progress or perfection. He wants His entire Creation to be absolutely perfect. For that, meditation is of supreme importance. So there shall come a time when each individual will meditate soulfully and unconditionally to become His choice instrument. It is just a matter of time.

Interviewer: When you speak of the Supreme, when you speak of God, what do you mean? We have been given a traditional view of God as a sort of judgement figure up in the sky. Your view of God is very, very positive and very, very fulfilling.

Sri Chinmoy: God is everything. God is Justice; God is Compassion. But I feel that His Justice itself is also an act of Compassion. When God uses His Justice-Light to perfect our human nature, in no way is He becoming ruthless to us. Only He feels that His Justice is the only way He will be able to expedite our spiritual growth, our spiritual evolution. So Justice itself is a type of Compassion on God’s part. But we human beings separate God’s Justice from His Compassion. When God shows us Compassion, which He always does, we feel it strongly in the depths of our heart and we feel that is all we need. But again, there are times when God feels that His Justice-Light is also of paramount importance in order to expedite our spiritual journey.

Interviewer: That is something we all need. Last year Sri Chinmoy sponsored a relay for world peace, the Oneness-Home Peace Run. Over 20,000 runners participated, carrying a flaming torch around the world. I believe they covered 27,000 miles. I understand that you sponsor a number of athletic events for peace that integrate your spiritual philosophy with the act of physical self-transcendence.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we feel that the body and the spirit must go together. They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. We need both. Our body is the temple and our inner existence, inner divinity, is the shrine. They must go together. The outer running reminds us of the inner running. Along Eternity’s Road we are all running and here, on the outer plane if we run, we feel that our body is ready to receive the light, the blessings and the divinity that the inner existence has to offer. If the body is physically fit, then early in the morning we will be inspired to get up and pray and meditate. But if we only pray and meditate, while neglecting the body, then we feel miserable. So spiritual awareness, spiritual consciousness and spiritual practice must go together with physical fitness if we want to become perfect citizens of the world.

Interviewer: We often have preconceived limits of what our physical and mental capacities are. You know, just looking at the weight that you are going to be lifting makes me exhausted! Do you think that we limit ourselves too much as individuals?

Sri Chinmoy: We always limit ourselves just because we do not feel that there is Somebody deep within us to inspire us, to guide us, to mould us, to shape us and to take us to an ever-transcending Reality. When we think of ourselves, we think of ourselves with very limited capacities. But when our Inner Pilot, our inner Divinity, our God, thinks of us, He thinks of us as another God. We think of ourselves as ignorance incarnate, incapacity incarnate, but God thinks of us as another God — a God who is blossoming, a God who is fulfilling His Cosmic Vision. This is the difference. God thinks of us in a very different way. In His vast, infinite Consciousness, He thinks and He knows that we are also limitless, birthless and deathless. But because of our limited mind, because of our doubting mind, because of our suspicious mind, we have limited ourselves and we always think that we cannot go further, deeper or higher. We are stationed at one place. We feel there is no hope for us to come out of this mental prison. But no, we can come out on the strength of our prayer and meditation and we can fly in the sky of Infinity.

Interviewer: Your philosophy presents a very, very positive view of the world and of our capacities. What is your vision of the future? What could ultimately happen in the future in a positive way?

Sri Chinmoy: In a positive way, this world of ours will be liberated from misunderstanding, quarrels, fights, wars and all kinds of limitation and weakness. It will be a happy and illumining oneness-family. It is only a matter of time before each individual will start praying and meditating consciously and become a choice instrument of God. Then the oneness-home that this world truly is will not remain and cannot remain a far cry.

Interviewer: I understand that you have approximately one hundred meditation centres throughout the world and you teach a practical way of attaining inner peace. What is the philosophy behind your particular spiritual teaching?

Sri Chinmoy: My philosophy is very simple — love, devotion and surrender. Our philosophy is based on divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. We love God without expecting anything from God. We devote ourselves to God’s Will and we surrender our earth-bound life at every moment to His Heaven-free Consciousness. While offering God what we have and what we are, we receive from Him infinite Joy, infinite Love, infinite Compassion and also infinite Fulfilment. We give God what we have and what we are, which is absolutely insignificant. But just because we offer to God what we have soulfully and unconditionally, He receives it with tremendous satisfaction. In return, He gives us His infinite Blessings and infinite Love and Light. So our philosophy is based entirely on love, devotion and surrender.

Interviewer: Guru, how is your philosophy seen in your music, in your paintings, in your tennis, in everything that you do?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’! But I am an instrument of God and I am trying to be a better instrument. I have dedicated my life to God’s Will. So I am not the player, I am not the doer, but I am an instrument and I try every day, every hour, every minute to become a better instrument of God’s Will.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, in your work for world peace, you have met with numerous world leaders. You recently met with the Pope, I understand, in Rome. What was it like meeting the Pope?

Sri Chinmoy: It was a most significant experience in my life. This is the second time that I have had the golden opportunity to meet with this present Pope. His heart is all affection and compassion and he has given me a blessingful message: “God bless you and all your divine activities.” I cherish in the inmost recesses of my heart his affection, compassion and feeling of oneness.

Interviewer: You have recently begun playing the organ and concentrating on keyboard music. Why did you take up the keyboard and the organ?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of inspiration. I received the inspiration from within, or I can say I was commanded from within to play the organ. For years and years I have played other instruments. Then last year my Beloved Supreme, the Supreme Musician, wanted me to take up the organ. So again, I am faithfully abiding by His Decree.

Interviewer: This is really wonderful. We have been so happy to have you on the show today. I might mention that Sri Chinmoy is headquartered in New York. He has received Honorary Citizenship from over 26 different States and has meditation centres throughout the United States. It has been a great honour having you, Guru, and I look forward to seeing you again.

Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to you. My heart of gratitude I am offering, for God has given us the golden opportunity to be of service to many, many Truth-seekers and God-lovers.

Interview with Frank Zane3

Sri Chinmoy: Yesterday I lifted Clarence Clemons, the “Big Man.” He was 270 pounds. Then with the lifting apparatus, it became 283 pounds.

Frank Zane: You’ll have an easy time with me! I won’t be a problem.

Sri Chinmoy: Yesterday it was my personal record. Before that, my record was 263 pounds. That was in Germany. I lifted the great German champion Peter Hensel. I believe that he was also Mr. Universe a few years ago.

Frank Zane: Peter Hensel? He was just in the Mr. Olympia.

Sri Chinmoy: When he saw my students praying while I was lifting, he got the inspiration to pray to God to make him light so that I could lift him. His heart came to the fore.

Frank Zane: That’s smart! Sri Chinmoy, it is so good to have you in Palm Springs. Would you like to do the lift now?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it will only take a few minutes. So far I have lifted 482 people.

Frank Zane: 482 people? That’s very uplifting!

[Sri Chinmoy does some warm-up exercises.]

Frank Zane: If we had time, I could show you some good exercises for biceps. You have a nice form.

[Frank Zane goes up to the lifting platform and the singers sing a special song which Sri Chinmoy has composed in his honour.]

Sri Chinmoy: You have been three times Mr. Olympia. So it is my wish and desire and privilege to try to lift you three times — left, right, left.

[Sri Chinmoy lifts Frank Zane three times using alternate hands. The total weight, with the lifting apparatus, is 199 pounds.]

Sri Chinmoy: Now I shall do one more because you are a genuine follower of Zen Buddhism. You have great fondness, heart’s fondness, for the Zen type of meditation. So I am bowing to the Zen Masters of the hoary past and present. You have the blessings of the Zen Masters and also the blessings of our Indian Lord Shiva. According to Indian philosophy, each individual is connected with a particular Cosmic God. I see and feel that you are connected with Lord Shiva. So I am bowing down to the Lord Shiva in you and to the Zen Masters of the hoary past and present. This lift is in honour of them.

[Sri Chinmoy lifts Frank Zane one more time and then presents him with a trophy.]

Frank Zane: I’ll put this up in my gym right now. I think we had some help from Lord Buddha and Shiva on the last lift!

[Frank Zane takes Sri Chinmoy on a tour of his personal gym and shows him some bicep exercises.]

Sri Chinmoy: (Joking) I am too old!

Frank Zane: How old is too old?

Sri Chinmoy: I am 57. Although I spend three hours per day lifting weights, my muscles are not getting any bigger!

Frank Zane: (Joking) I think I’m too old, too, Sri Chinmoy!

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you for inviting me here, so grateful.

Frank Zane: It is so good to see you. I'm glad we could do this. Do you take all this equipment when you travel?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Earlier this month I was in Germany. There I lifted many people, including Peter Hensel and another Mr. Universe, Tony Pearson. Soon I shall go to Seattle to lift University professors. I lift people who have inspired others on the physical plane the vital plane, the mental plane and the psychic plane — all walks of life.

Frank Zane: It is so good — it’s uniting everybody, it’s spreading the message. I like it that now you are lifting with both hands. You are doing the lift with your left and your right.

Sri Chinmoy: I have also lifted 150 pounds with both hands simultaneously.

Frank Zane: Well, stay healthy. As long as you warm up and don’t get hurt, it’s all right.

Sri Chinmoy: In the morning I take exercise for over three hours. I do lots of stretching exercises, all kinds of exercises. When I lift individuals, for ten minutes I do warm-up exercises. That is enough for me. And every morning I practise lifting 300 pounds. I do it three times with my left hand and three times with my right hand. That way I build up confidence. The day I lifted up Clarence Clemons I had inner confidence because every day I do 300 pounds.

Frank Zane: So any time you do less than 300 pounds, it is easy because you already know you can do it!

Sri Chinmoy: It is my daily practice. When I do full extension, where I extend my elbow to the fullest extent, I do 300 pounds. Otherwise, if I just have to lift the weight a few inches, I can do more.

Frank Zane: The hardest part is the initial lift. Sri Chinmoy, I am very happy that you came. I wrote to you one time that it was my dream that you would come here.

Sri Chinmoy: You have inspired thousands of people in your own country and abroad, so I am trying to be of service to you. You inspire others and I am trying to give you joy. In that way I get joy. So this is our mutual happiness. While I am offering you joy because you have done something great, I am also getting joy. This is our oneness-heart — we give and receive at the same time.

Frank Zane: You are doing a great job. Everybody knows you now, the strength community and the bodybuilding community. The word is out. It’s great!

Sri Chinmoy: Previously there were many people who doubted that I could lift such heavy weights. But when they see the human figures that I lift, they are more inclined to believe it.

Frank Zane: People can relate to the body. People know how much the human body weighs. Thank you, Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. Please call on me when you come to New York.

Frank Zane: I will!

ABIS 149. On 19 October 1988, Sri Chinmoy visited three-time Mr. Olympia and three-time Mr. Universe Frank Zane at his home in Palm Springs and lifted him overhead as part of his "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" programme. Some extracts from their conversation follow.


Bill McCreary: How are you, sir?

Sri Chinmoy: I am fine, thank you.

Bill McCreary: It has been a long time since I saw you last.

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of the right hour, the right moment. We try and try, but when the right hour will come we do not know. We call it God’s Hour.

ABIS 150-151.This interview was conducted by Bill McCreary, Host and Executive Producer of "The McCreary Report", Channel 5, WNYW T.V., New York, at Aspiration-Ground on 24 October 1988.

Bill McCreary: What is the procedure for your lifting?

Sri Chinmoy: If you could kindly be on the stand, we shall sing a song called “Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart.” Then I shall lift you with one hand. You have inspired millions and millions of people over the years, so I would like to honour you. I feel we all belong to a oneness-family. Since you are my brother, I feel that it is an obligation on my part to express my loving joy and gratitude to you for inspiring the world.

Bill McCreary: The first thing is, I have to be weighed in. Oh, oh, I have shoes and a heavy wallet!

Sri Chinmoy: Also, the apparatus weighs 13 pounds.

Bill McCreary: So now it is 223 pounds? 223 — that’s my old address on the Lower East Side! Are you ready? What is this for again? Oneness of heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, oneness of heart. You have inspired countless, countless people over the years and today I am trying to honour you with my heart’s loving joy and gratitude. I feel that this is one way I can express my inner love and gratitude to you for what you have done for countless people. I am lifting you with my oneness-heart. In the oneness-heart there is peace, abiding peace. If we can bring to the fore our oneness-heart, we shall not quarrel, we shall not fight, there will be no third world war. You and I and all of us are trying to create this peaceful family with our oneness-heart.

[Sri Chinmoy lifts Bill McCreary.]

Bill McCreary: That was quite a lift!

Sri Chinmoy: Would you like to be lifted with the other hand?

Bill McCreary: No, one lift is fine, thank you. Can I come down? So that was a lift for peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, oneness-peace and world-harmony. With your aspiration and inspiration, you lift me up. With my aspiration and inspiration, I lift you up. Together we lift up the consciousness of humanity.

Bill McCreary: I really appreciate it.

Sri Chinmoy: I am so happy and honoured that I was able to lift you. This is my dedicated service to your own most exemplary service to mankind.

Bill McCreary: Thank you. Now I would like to talk about some of the things you do. You hold meditations at the U.N. You have been doing that for the last seventeen years. And now you are also doing it for the Congress down in Washington. Would you say that so far your efforts have been effective or ineffective? After such a long period of time, have you started to see some change?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a believer, I am a God-lover. And I feel that prayer — not only my prayer, but the joint prayer of humanity — is helping mankind considerably. We are progressing. But this progress is not so visible in the outer life. In the inner life, the progress is definitely tangible.

Bill McCreary: So you see a link between the outer world and the inner world?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a great link. The inner life and the outer life must go together. If I pray early in the morning, then I will have good thoughts towards others, I will have love for them. If everyone does the same, then there will be no quarrel, no fight. Everything has to come from within. From within, it comes without. If we have peace of mind, a moment of joy deep inside us, then this joy we express outwardly. Whatever we have within, we manifest in our outer life. If we have anxiety, worry, insecurity and other undivine qualities, then this is what we will manifest outwardly. But if we pray and meditate early in the morning, inwardly we become good citizens of the world. Then in our outer activities we will try to express our inner good feelings. This is how we can establish a oneness-family.

Bill McCreary: Has this philosophy been accepted by other people? Some critics would say, “He is Indian and they have ways of doing these phenomenal things.” So are you saying that a person should become a meditator and then he will be able to lift weights and such?

Sri Chinmoy: I am not telling people to meditate in order to lift up weights, far from it! Only I am asking people, I am begging people, to pray and meditate so that we can all have peace of mind. If we have peace of mind, then we will develop inner strength. And if we have inner strength, then we shall not quarrel, we shall not fight. So my prayer-life is not meant for weightlifting. My prayer-life is to become inseparably one with the rest of the world.

Inner strength helps us at every moment to become good human beings. I pray and meditate in order to become a good person and not to become a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. If someone can become a good person from his prayer-life, then he can inspire somebody else to become a good person and that person, in turn, will inspire somebody else. Our philosophy is self-transcendence. If we have just a small fraction of peace, then we have to try to develop more peace, abundant peace, boundless peace. This is our way of thinking and our way of becoming.

Bill McCreary: You have lifted many people.

Sri Chinmoy: Today, with you, I completed 549. My goal is 700 and, in a few weeks, I do hope to complete 700. Recently I lifted some great Olympians — Carl Lewis, Calvin Smith, Roger Kingdom and others. They are immortals in athletics. I was there at the Olympics. How much joy these athletes gave us all! I wanted to do something to add to their joy and this is the only way I could do it. They have given joy to countless people and I feel that if I can offer a little bit of my dedication through their joy, then I am blessed.

Bill McCreary: Thank you so much, Sri Chinmoy.

Question: Is it possible to be among the best in the world in power events, such as weightlifting and sprinting, without using steroids?5

Sri Chinmoy: My answer will be in the affirmative. It is quite possible to be among the best in the world without using steroids. There will come a time in the near future when weightlifters and athletes will be able to break world records and better the world standards without using any drugs.

ABIS 152-158. These questions were submitted in writing by Canadian Olympic Long Jump coach Daniel St. Hilaire, whom Sri Chinmoy lifted at the Seoul Olympics on 25 September 1988.

Question: We know that muscles are controlled by the brain via the central nervous system. Is it possible to get the brain to fire up more electricity (nerve impulse) and at a greater rate?

Sri Chinmoy: Being a seeker, I clearly see and feel that the power of concentration is infinitely stronger than mental power. The power of concentration usually comes from the third eye, which is the eye of intuition and the eye of vision. Therefore, concentration-power can easily and effectively increase the power of the mind.

But seekers of the highest order can also bring psychic power to the fore and utilise it in a most intense way. In this case, the intensity of concentration is infinitely stronger than when the power of concentration is only in the mind and from the mind. Psychic power has the rare capacity to identify itself with both the seeker and the thing that is sought. Because of this great advantage, God-seekers find that psychic power is by far the most effective.

Question: Where does energy come from?

Sri Chinmoy: We have more than 86,000 subtle nerves, but there are three principal nerves. One of the three has a very close connection with the cosmic energy. It can draw energy from the universe into itself in boundless measure in no time. He who knows how to concentrate, how to meditate and how to contemplate well can have a free access to this cosmic energy, which originated along with the Cosmic Vision of God.

Question: Which methods or techniques do you advise for power event (weightlifting and sprinting) athletes if they want to improve towards high performance?

Sri Chinmoy: I have no specific outer method or technique. In my case, everything is inner. The very first thing I do before doing heavy lifting is to make my mind absolutely calm and quiet. A mind of complete silence is my secret and sacred key to success and progress.

Question: When you first had the inspiration or idea of lifting the heaviest weight possible, did you have a clue as to your limits?

Sri Chinmoy: On the one hand, my inner aspiration kept no limits. It all depends on God’s Will. Whatever amount He wants to lift in and through me, I will be more than happy. On the other hand, in the outer life, seven hundred was my goal, because seven is a very special number in my life. But when it is a matter of seeing or realising or bringing down the truth, I have always taken the inner way seriously, the inner approach to my dream-manifesting reality.

Question: Have you ever lost confidence in yourself while trying to reach your ultimate goal of 7,000 plus pounds?

Sri Chinmoy: I never lost confidence. In my case, it is not mere confidence. It is the Grace of the Supreme that I invoke. If it is up to me, my mind will interfere and I will miserably fail. But I surrender my aspiration-capacity to the Will of the Supreme. Therefore, I do not need any confidence, either in my mind or in any part of my being.

Confidence most often plays its role either on the vital plane or on the mental plane. Aspiration plays its role on the psychic plane. The psychic plane has the capacity to identify itself with the Universal Consciousness which embodies infinite Power. Confidence spoke through Julius Caesar: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” But devoted and unconditional surrender to God’s Will operates in and through me.

Question: In the book 'The Miracle of Miracles' about your one-arm miracle lift of 7,033 3_4 pounds, there are two certificates proving your lift is valid: one from the Amateur Athletic Union USA signed by Cliff Sawyer; the second from the British Amateur Weightlifting Association signed by Jim Smith. Why do you think that some people still do not believe it?

Sri Chinmoy: There will always be some people who will not trust others, no matter what they do, even if it is done right in front of their eyes. I am a Truth-seeker and a God-lover. Therefore, I am a believer. I know that anything significant that takes place in the human family is a blessingful boon from Above. If we pray and meditate, one day definitely we will be able to have a free access to the realms of infinite energy and infinite capacities. After all, who can silence a critic? Nobody. This much I can say, for a oneness-heart, nothing is impossible. For a division-mind, nothing extraordinary is possible.