The body’s fitness-gong, the soul’s fulness-song

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Preface

Sri Chinmoy lovingly dedicates the joyful festivities of this day to his brother Mantu on his 71st birthday.

Since Sri Chinmoy's youth as a sprinter and decathlete, Mantu has been his most enthusiastic supporter and inspirer.

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Mantu Ghosh

Part One: Afternoon lifts

17 November 1999, Aspiration-Ground

Inspiration-flow...

Sri Chinmoy is known as a man of prayer and meditation, a poet, singer, musician, artist, philosopher and peace-dreamer. One does not expect such a man of the spirit to be active in the field of weightlifting — specially at the age of 68. Sri Chinmoy explains:

"Everything I do, I do at the behest of my Inner Pilot. Now He has commanded me to serve Him through weightlifting, where the barriers of the mind can be lifted. If I can inspire anybody in this world, then I feel that my life is meaningful."

Six Herculean tasks...

Sri Chinmoy started his lifting programme at 2:30 p.m. with a series of spectacular and imaginative outdoor lifts. The lifts all utilised a standing calf raise machine which has been modified by attaching a ground platform instead of the conventional weight stack. This platform is reinforced with steel rods so that it may support extremely heavy objects.

The lifting action — which is actually a combination calf raise and squat — involves elevating the heels and bringing the torso into an upright position. A lift meter indicates the height of each lift.

The lifts all took place at Aspiration-Ground, a meditation park in New York, in the presence of many distinguished guests and several hundred of Sri Chinmoy's students.

Sri Chinmoy lifts his own car...

Lift 1

Chevrolet GEO Tracker
Weight of car: 1,367 lbs.
Fuel: 100 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 1,779 lbs.

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"Cowboy Mania"...

Lift 2

Two horses, 2 riders: 1,974 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 2,286 lbs.

Next, two members of a group called "Cowboy Mania", which celebrates the contribution of African-Americans to early American history, rode their horses onto the lifting platform. Sri Chinmoy successfully lifted them to a height of almost two inches.

Pictures

A boat casts off...

Lift 3

Campion Explorer sport utility boat plus trailer: 2,550 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 2,862 lbs.

A sport utility boat on a trailer was now backed onto the lifting platform. Sri Chinmoy donned a sailor's cap before hoisting it easily into the air.

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A trio of Harley Davidson motorcycles...

Lift 4

3 motorcycles plus 3 riders: 2,203 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 2,515 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy then added three passengers to the lift and performed it for the second time:

Lift 5

3 motorcycles plus 3 riders and 3 passengers: 2,785 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 3,097 lbs.

"When we live in the heart, there is no such thing as impossibility.
— Sri Chinmoy"

— Sri Chinmoy

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Inspired viewers

Scenes of the audience featuring special guests such as Mahasamrat Bill Pearl, Bhavatarini Judy Pearl, Steve Finley, Tony de Domenico, Dr. Ananda and Mrs. Darshanika Guruge, Donny and Christie Lalonde, Sudhahota Carl Lewis and his mother, Ambalika Evelyn Lewis.

Pictures

Speed meets strength...

Lifts 678 (three lifts)

"Minnie" the elephant: 7,500 lbs.
Sudhahota Carl Lewis: 200 lbs.
Apparatus: 440 lbs.
Total: 8,140 lbs.

Around four o'clock in the afternoon, the doors of a large semi-trailer opened and "Minnie," a huge 28-year-old Asian elephant, gracefully disembarked onto a busy street in Jamaica, Queens. She meandered into Aspiration-Ground, paused briefly to munch on carrots and allow herself to he gaily caparisoned, and then was led to the lifting platform.

Sudhahota Carl Lewis, world famous sprinter and long jumper, now adopted the role of a climber as he ascended to his seat just behind Minnie's head. In traditional Indian fashion, Sri Chinmoy offered Minnie a 15-foot garland. He then waited while the elephant's trainer adjusted her position so that all four feet were firmly planted on the lifting platform.

Sri Chinmoy lifted this shifting and unstable load once. Then, because the platform had risen unevenly, he proceeded to lift it a second and a third time, with the elephant changing position for each lift until a more equal balance could be established and Sri Chinmoy was fully satisfied with the height of the lift.

"The mind immediately makes us feel that the elephant is such a solid object. When we think of an elephant, a kind of unfettered fear enters into us. How will it be possible to lift it? So I do not use my mind at all; I use my heart and try to establish my oneness with the elephant. Everything helps me and everyone helps me when I use my oneness. Whereas, if I stayed in the mind, I would not be able to lift heavy weights at all.
— Sri Chinmoy"
"Who can imagine what Sri Chinmoy does! He does it through his spiritual strength, his power, putting his faith in God and understanding that anything can be achieved. I think it is a message that is strong to everyone in where to direct their attention or meditation and that they can achieve anything they set out to do.
— Sudhahota Carl Lewis"

Pictures

Minnie spontaneously adopts a symbolic victory pose.

Sri Chinmoy honours the Himalayan achievements of the greatest track and field athlete of all time — 9-time Olympic gold medallist Sudhahota Carl Lewis — in a most memorable and significant way.

Special moments...

Sri Chinmoy's dear brother-friend Mahasamrat Bill Pearl, "a giant within and a giant without", very compassionately agreed to be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening performance. He travelled to New York with his wife Bhavatarini Judy Pearl, also a physical fitness expert.

These scenes show Sri Chinmoy's fond reunion with them.

"Mahasamrat is at once the beauty-power of his body-temple and the love-confidence of his heart-shrine. He is tomorrow's vision-eye of the Beyond.
— Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Baseball star Steve Finley, Sudhahota Carl Lewis, boxer Donny Lalonde and his wife Christie congratulate Sri Chinmoy at the conclusion of the afternoon lifts.

Sudhahota autographs a copy of his autobiography Inside Track for Sayeed-ur-Rabb, the editor of the Bangladesh paper The Weekly Thikana and a former Olympian representing Bangladesh in the shot put and discus in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Sri Chinmoy welcomes Ambalika Evelyn Lewis, Sudhahota's mother, who kept her presence on the day as a surprise for her son

Dr. Ananda Guruge, his wife Darshanika and Sri Chinmoy's student Pradhan exchange greetings with Sudhahota Carl Lewis

A group of singers who braved the chilly autumn conditions to perform some of the many songs that Sri Chinmoy has composed for his weightlifting adventures.

Two world champions, Sudhahota Carl Lewis and Donny Lalonde, strike up a friendship.

Sri Chinmoy greets Steve Finley and Durdam Rocherolle, who had just flown in from San Diego for the event.

A loving exchange of smiles between Sri Chinmoy and Donny Lalonde.

Part Two: Evening lifts

17 November 1999, York College

Introduction to the Master of Ceremonies

"Bill Pearl is unparalleled in his achievements as a strength athlete and as a supremely good and great human being. He is a 5-time Mr. Universe and was named the World's Best Built Man of the Century. He competed in only 11 contests over his 20-year competitive bodybuilding career and won every contest, including every top title in the sport. He won his 5th Mr. Universe title at the unprecedented age of 41, after he had previously retired from active competition.

In the weightlifting world Sri Chinmoy has received unimaginable inspiration, encouragement and enthusiasm from his dearest Brother-Friend Bill Pearl…Sri Chinmoy considers him a giant within and a giant without and he has lovingly offered him the name "Mahasamrat," which means "Sovereign Emperor." We are so fortunate in having him again as our Master of Ceremonies…"

— Dr. Agraha Levine, Sri Chinmoy's Spokesman

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Address by the Master of Ceremonies

"It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Sri Chinmoy fitness marathon. This evening you are going to see some amazing feats of strength performed by a 68-year-old man weighing 167 lbs. In no way do I classify this man as a world's strongest man; I think of him as one of the world-class religious leaders. Today you are going to see some amazing feats of strength that I myself — and I have been in the industry for 55 years — would not even attempt to perform. And I seriously doubt that any top athlete in the world today would attempt to duplicate what you are going to see this evening. I think you are in for a big, big surprise at what a little guy with a gigantic heart can do…"

— Mahasamrat Bill Pearl

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Theme song...

#+BEGIN_VERSE

The body's fitness-gong. The soul's fulness-song.

#+BEGIN_VERSE

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Choir of Sri Chinmoy's students performs the theme song he composed for the evening.

Some of Sri Chinmoy's distinguished guests who have shone in the sports arena receive a special round of applause. From right to left: Sudhahota Carl Lewis — Track and Field; Steve Finley — Baseball; Paula Newby-Fraser — Triathlon; Andrey Kuznetsov — Marathon; Elvira Kolpakova — Ultramarathon; Donny Lalonde — Boxing; Jose Torres — Boxing; Dan Lurie — Bodybuilding; Ted Corbitt — Ultramarathon; plus Joe Franklin — Radio and Television.

Sri Chinmoy begins with a silent meditation...

"Everywhere this man walks, he leaves stepping-stones for people like you and me to follow…"

— Mahasamrat Bill Pearl

Seated double-arm lift

Lift 9 (Not pictured)

100 lbs. with each arm
Total: 200 lbs.

Lift 10 (Pictured)

120 lbs. with each arm
Total: 240 lbs.

Cumulative weight carried over from the afternoon: 32,679 lbs.
"I wanted to see if age has anything to do with physical fitness. I have found that it is our human mind that creates the problem. If we can go beyond the mind by challenging the mind, then the physical body obeys us.
— Sri Chinmoy"

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Standing double-arm lift

Lift 11: Double bodyweight

167 lbs. with each arm
Total 334 lbs.

Having been carefully weighed before the programme at 167 lbs., Sri Chinmoy proceeded to lift the equivalent of this weight with each arm simultaneously, a total of 334 lbs.

This double-arm lift has become one of Sri Chinmoy's signature lifts. On November 27th, 1998 at his 13th weightlifting anniversary celebration, Sri Chinmoy lifted his then bodyweight of 145 lbs. with each arm, a total of 290 lbs. (see inset photo). At the time, this weight represented his personal record.

Pictures

November 27th, 1998

Double-arm lifts

Lift 12

200 lbs. with each arm
Total: 400 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy's assistants now loaded the dumbbells with 200 lbs. each. Sri Chinmoy successfully lifted them both — an impressive total of 400 lbs. (see photo at left). Although he had first reached 400 lbs. in training on March 22nd this year, this was the first time Sri Chinmoy had performed the lift in public.

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Double-arm lift: 500 lbs.

Lift 13

250 lbs. with each arm
Total: 500 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy now leapt forward by an increment of 100 lbs. — a staggering 210 lbs. more than his best in 1998. The photograph at right shows that the dumbbells are clearly lifted.
"I lift these heavy weights to inspire people. When we, as human beings, are inspired, we do many good things for ourselves and also for the betterment of the world. Inspiration can bring us so much happiness, and if we are happy, then we will also get peace, for inside happiness abides peace. That is my simple philosophy.
— Sri Chinmoy"

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Double-arm lift: 600 lbs.

Lift 14

300 lbs. with each arm
Total: 600 lbs.

Undeniably the most heart-stopping lift of the entire evening was the final lift in this double-arm series. Mahasamrat Bill Pearl introduced it by saying, "The next lift you are going to see, I don't even want to think about."

Sri Chinmoy positioned himself beneath two dumbbells, each weighing 300 lbs. — a total of 600 lbs. This was 310 lbs. more than his personal best from 1998, with a bodyweight gain of only 22 lbs.

An automatic camera at ground level was set to capture the lift as soon as the dumbbells broke contact with the metal cradles. No such technical assistance was needed, however, as Sri Chinmoy's convincing lift was clearly and dramatically visible to all members of the audience.

"Mahasamrat's smile gave me the utmost joy and strength. When I lifted my 600 and he said, 'Guru, you have done it!' he gave me the strength and joy and satisfaction of ten elephants. Nobody smiles like Mahasamrat. His is the smile of infinite affection, love and confidence.
— Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

A surge of strength propels the plates upwards — side view from ground level.

The lift from another angle

The greatest relief as Sri Chinmoy successfully meets his most difficult challenge.

400 lbs. with 50 repetition

Lift 15

Right arm: 10 Left arm: 10
Right arm: 10 Left arm: 10
Right arm: 5 Left arm: 5

With Mahasamrat Bill Pearl leading the audience in counting out loud, Sri Chinmoy achieved his goal, in spite of the fact that his thrust was so powerful that the metal lifting cage began to travel across the floor of the stage.

It is illumining to note that in 1998 Sri Chinmoy performed this lift with 100 repetitions of 300 lbs. Regarding Sri Chinmoy's capacity to constantly transcend his own records, Bill Pearl said:

"When you consider that world records are broken in half pounds, any time you add as much as 100 pounds to a lift, whatever it is, that is an astronomical amount of gain in a period of 12 months."

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"Weightlifting is not my forte..."

Lift 16

Standing calf raise with ground platform
4 grand pianos with benches: 2,625 lbs.
Expanded platform and apparatus: 530 lbs.
Total: 3,155 lbs.

After lifting these pianos, Sri Chinmoy played a well-known tune on each one in turn.

1998 comparison: Sri Chinmoy lifted 2 grand pianos with 4 pianists performing on them. Total weight: 2,624 lbs.

Pictures

"Weightlifting is not my forte. I was born as a poet and singer. Here in the West, I embarked on playing musical instruments, composing and so forth. Then I got a message from within to enter into the weightlifting world. As you can see, I am not a bodybuilder; I am not a weightlifter. I do not have the muscle mass of a bodybuilder; I do not have the strength of a weightlifter. But I am a truth-seeker and a God-lover. I pray and meditate so that I can establish my oneness with each and every human being in the whole world. My lifting is all done on the strength of my heart's oneness with the world.
— Sri Chinmoy"

An international gathering...

Lift 17

Standing calf raise with ground platform
9 Dignitaries: 1,545 lbs.
Apparatus: 530 lbs.
Total: 2,075 lbs.

This was Sri Chinmoy's first lift of the evening which honoured individuals from a particular walk of life. He invited members of the diplomatic community in New York to be on the platform.

Ambassadors to the United Nations and various other consular officials from different countries who had so kindly taken the time to attend the function were then lifted wearing their country sashes. In the background are the flags of the 36 Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms-Nations.

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From right to left on the platform: Dr. Ananda Guruge (former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the USA), Mr. Hazairin Pohan (Counsellor from Indonesia); Ambassador Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikhan(Mongolia); Mrs. Shashi Tripathi (Consul General of India in New York); Mrs. Beatrice Warji (wife of the Deputy Consul General of India:); Ambassador Vladimir Sotirov (Bulgaria); Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh); Anselmo Evans (UN staff).

Imagine 1,000 lbs. resting on your thighs...

Lifts 18-24

Seated Calf Raise
Weights lifted: 500 lbs., 600 lbs., 700 lbs.,
800 lbs., 900 lbs., 1,000 lbs. (2 repetitions)

For these lifts, Sri Chinmoy began with 500 lbs. and increased by 100-lb. increments until he reached 900 lbs. Here he was successful on his 2nd attempt. The selector fork was then placed at 1,000 lbs. The most that Sri Chinmoy had ever lifted in public prior to this evening was 740 lbs. on 27 November 1998.

Mahasamrat Bill Pearl prefaced this lift by saying:

"If you can just imagine 1,000 lbs. resting on your thighs, let alone lifting it into the air! Let's get behind him. You can do it, Guru!"

With barely an audible sign of his tremendous exertion, Sri Chinmoy lifted this massive weight once. Not completely satisfied with the height of the lift, he then proceeded to lift it most emphatically a second time.

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Sri Chinmoy the author

Lift 25

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Sri Chinmoy's entire literary output
1,328 books: 569 lbs.
Apparatus: 62 lbs.
Total: 631 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy calls this lift "Sri Chinmoy the author versus Sri Chinmoy the weightlifter." He first did it in 1986 with his collection of 700 books (477 lbs.).

In 1998, he lifted 1,256 books (594 lbs.). In 1999, by publishing an additional 72 books, Sri Chinmoy has also increased the weight of the lift. Before this lift, Mahasamrat Bill Pearl exclaimed:

"I haven't read 1,300 books in my entire life!"

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Lifting a tower of plates

Lifts 26-32

Standing Calf Raise
Weights lifted: 500 lbs., 800 lbs., 1,000 lbs.,
1,200 lbs., 1,400 lbs., 1,600 lbs., 1,800 lbs.

A series of four steps up to the toe bridge of Sri Chinmoy's standing calf raise machine denotes the major adjustments that have been made to it to accommodate the twenty-one 100-lb. plates that it now bears. In 1998, Sri Chinmoy lifted 1,500 lbs. on this machine at his weightlifting anniversary. This year, he worked his way upwards to 1,800 lbs. and most resoundingly lifted it on the first attempt.

Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is one of constant self-transcendence. He says,

"I do not have any set goal; my goal is self-transcendence. I always try to transcend myself. I do not compete with the rest of the world. I compete only with myself and I try to become a better human being so that I can be of service to mankind.
— Sri Chinmoy"

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Lift 33

Lift 33

Pec deck lift
Joe Franklin: 191 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 260 lbs.

Joe Franklin is one of the most beloved television and radio talk show hosts in the US. He holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running television talk show in history with a total of 31,015 episodes over 37 years.
"Words cannot express the energy and happiness Sri Chinmoy has brought into my life. As long as I am facing a microphone and a TV camera, I shall he singing the praises of my beloved Sri Chinmoy.
— Joe Franklin"

The pec deck machine is a new addition to Sri Chinmoy's repertoire this year.

"My immediate goal is to lift individuals who have inspired mankind in all kinds of ways, in all walks of life. But my ultimate goal is to love God the Creator and serve God the creation sleeplessly and unconditionally until I breathe my last.
— Sri Chinmoy"

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Lift 34

Lift 34

Pec deck lift
Dr. Ananda and Mrs. Darshanika Guruge
Combined weight: 302 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 338 lbs.

Dr. Ananda Guruge, the former Sri Lankan Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris and to the USA, is a highly esteemed Buddhist scholar. An extremely powerful orator, he offered the following illumining comments about the evening:
"...Seeing your miracles tonight, I would like to limit my remarks to three lines:
The world becomes weightless by the faith of your goodness. We all become light in your hand by the brilliance of your wisdom. May the divine Compassion that guides you and your human aspiration lead the world to harmony and to peace.
— Dr. Ananda Guruge"

Pictures

Lift 35

Lift 35

Pec deck lift
Ambassador Anwarul and Mrs. Mariam Chowdhury
Combined weight: 367 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 436 lbs.

Ambassador Chowdhury is the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations. He has served the United Nations with great distinction and was recently responsible for overseeing the landmark "Culture of Peace" declaration. On November 23rd, 1999 Sri Chinmoy offered Ambassador Chowdhury the U Thant Peace Award on behalf of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations.

After being lifted Ambassador Chowdhury said:

"I was amazed! My esteem and respect for Sri Chinmoy increased many fold. He certainly shows how the mind and heart can give determination for strengthening the body.
— Ambassador Chowdhury"
"No human being can lift so much weight. How does he do it? We are so touched by everything Sri Chinmoy does.
— Mrs. Mariam Chowdhury"
""Age is in the mind and not in the heart. If one can remain a childlike heart from his first breath to his last breath, then he can be of great service to both Mother Earth and Father Heaven."
— Sri Chinmoy"

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Lift 36

Lift 36

Pec deck lift
Swami Bua-ji and conch: 122 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 191 lbs.

At 110 years of age, Swami Bua-ji is absolutely unique. Responding to the amazed introduction of the Master of Ceremonies, he bounded up the stairs of the pec deck machine with the energy of a young man and then proceeded to play his conch for several minutes uninterruptedly. Swami Bua-ji is a great authority on Hinduism and was named Hindu of the Year for 1998.
"To many you have become a loving brother
Approaching the Almighty in a way Unique
Achieving the Siddhi by grooming the physique
You have created a new path
For emulating by the youth
Kindly continue your way of leading people
For many more years adopting your methods simple
Almighty be with you, affection and Love
Of people with you! O Swami Chinmoy Da!
Your loving Chela! Little Swami Bua!
Om Shanti! Om Shanti!! Om Shanti!!!
— Swami Bua-ji"

Pictures

Lift 37

Lift 37

Pec deck lift Monsignor Thomas Hartman: 249 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 318 lbs.

The deep friendship between Sri Chinmoy and Father Tom has spanned 17 years. They first met when Father Tom interviewed Sri Chinmoy for his Catholic television programme aired by the Diocese of Rockville Center in New York. After this lift, Father Tom requested the opportunity to say a few words about the evening:
"...What Sri Chinmoy wishes to extend to all of us is that we are meant to live in the Light, helping each other to get back to God.
— Monsignor Thomas Hartman"

Pictures

Lift 38

Lift 38

Pec deck lift
Dan Lurie: 234 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 303 lbs.

Mahasamrat Bill Pearl next called up his old friend Dan Lurie, a legendary bodybuilder and strongman from the golden days of bodybuilding. For more than a decade, Dan and his son Mark have offered Sri Chinmoy tremendous encouragement and support. Much of the equipment on the stage had been modified from original Dan Lurie machines — even the pec deck machine on which he was lifted!

Two days after the event, Dan sent the following message: "What an enjoyable evening I had! I felt sorry for Sri Chinmoy. He worked so hard doing all those amazing and unbelievable feats of strength."

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Lift 39

Lift 39

Pec deck lift
M.D. Sayeed-ur-Rabb: 254 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 323 lbs.

Mr. Rabb attended the weightlifting event both as the editor of The Weekly Thikana, a Bangladesh newspaper, and as a former Olympian in the shot put and discus for Bangladesh at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was national champion of Bangladesh in shot put and discus for 12 years and wrestling champion for 2 years. Sri Chinmoy also hails from Bangladesh, which in former times was known as East Bengal.

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Lift 40

Lift 40

Pec deck lift
Sudhahota Carl Lewis and Ambalika Evelyn Lewis
Combined weight: 345 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 414 lbs.

Sudhahota Carl Lewis comes from an extremely talented family. His mother Ambalika made the 1952 Olympic track and field team as a hurdler. She and her late husband, Bill, who was very close to Sri Chinmoy, were track and field coaches for many years. Sudhahota's sister, Carol, has represented the USA in the Olympics and his older brothers, Clem and Mack, were also track stars.

Sri Chinmoy first met Carl Lewis in 1983. They immediately established a strong mutual affection and admiration which has deepened over the years. Sri Chinmoy calls him by the Indian name "Sudhahota", meaning "Unparalleled sacrificer of Immortality's Nectar-Delight." Sri Chinmoy's spiritual name for Sudhahota's mother Evelyn is Ambalika, which signifies "The Goddess supreme; Mother of bounty."

At the close of the evening, Ambalika said:

""The weightlifting was exciting and inspiring. Then, when Guru was playing during his concert, I was so relaxed. His concert was very soothing. My heart was filled with peace and love.""

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Lift 41

Lift 41

Pec deck lift
Joel Martin and Elise LeVaillant
Combined weight: 365 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 434 lbs.

An award-winning television host and bestselling author of books on psychic phenomena, Joel Martin has several times very kindly interviewed Sri Chinmoy on his show. He was accompanied by Elise LeVaillant (lifted) and Chris Martin.
"It was the most marvellous event; it was an event of immense inspiration. When you watch Sri Chinmoy do what he does, in terms of weightlifting and all the other achievements, you realise how powerful the mind is, that you haven't achieved your full potential. You come out feeling energised, inspired, motivated and spiritually uplifted. Sri Chinmoy has had a tremendous influence on me. He does a lot more for people in his quiet way than you can ever imagine.
— Joel Martin"

Pictures

Lift 42

Lift 42

Pec deck lift
Mahasamrat Bill Pearl and Bhavatarini Judy Pearl
Combined weight: 362 lbs.
Apparatus: 69 lbs.
Total: 431 lbs.

Mahasamrat invited his wife Judy to join him on stage for Sri Chinmoy's next lift. In 1989 in Vancouver Sri Chinmoy had lifted both husband and wife on his seated calf raise machine. This time he wanted to give them a new experience. This was the 10th and final lift in Sri Chinmoy's pec deck series.

Many years ago, Sri Chinmoy offered Judy Pearl the name "Bhavatarini", which means "World-Mother."

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Lift 43

Lift 43

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Donny and Christie Lalonde
Combined weight: 327 lbs.
Apparatus: 36 lbs.
Total: 363 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy first lifted Donny in July 1988 to honour him for the tremendous achievement of becoming the WBC Light-Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Donny became known as the "Golden Boy" of boxing.

He and his wife Christie travelled from Vancouver to join Sri Chinmoy for this event. After the lift, Donny said:

"Twelve years ago I became the Light-Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, and I actually thought I had accomplished something. I have been living in a cloud of ignorance for 12 years. Today Sri Chinmoy woke me up and made me realise the human potential we have and how I have maybe taken a baby step towards my own. I pray for the world that we can all be so blessed as to understand just how high we can climb.
— Donny Lalonde"

Pictures

In this series of lifts Sri Chinmoy is partially obscured.

Lift 44

Lift 44

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Combined weight: 372 lbs.
Apparatus: 36 lbs.
Total: 408 lbs.

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Three generations: Govinda (centre), her mother Nilpushpi and grandmother Helen

Lift 45

Lift 45

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Combined weight: 514 lbs.
Apparatus: 36 lbs.
Total: 550 lbs.

Pictures

Bishwas (centre), his father Nayak and mother Nandita

Lift 46

Lift 46

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Steve Finley and Durdam
Combined weight: 366 lbs. Apparatus: 36 lbs.
Total: 402 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy lifts a pair of friends: Steve Finley and Durdam Rocherolle. Steve is a household name for millions of baseball fans. He is the All Star centre fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was the 1999 Golden Glove Award winner. Durdam is the champion decathlete of the Sri Chinmoy Centres.

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In addition to the large group of singers on stage who sang Sri Chinmoy's compositions throughout the programme, the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers sang a number of his devotional songs in Bengali.

Lift 47

Lift 47

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Freezer with ice cream: 381 lbs.
Apparatus: 50 lbs.
Total: 431 lbs.

Following this lift, ice cream bars were distributed to the entire audience and Mahasamrat Bill Pearl announced a 10-minute intermission.

Pictures

The recommencement of the programme was heralded by a group of Sri Chinmoy's students blowing conch shells.

Following this, another group of boys soulfully recited some of the special prayers that Sri Chinmoy offers each morning before he begins his weightlifting regimen.

""My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!
May all my God-dreams blossom
In my aspiring heart-garden.
My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!"
— Sri Chinmoy"

Lift 48

Lift 48

Standing Calf Raise with Shoulder Platform
6 Sportswomen, combined weight: 911 lbs.
Apparatus: 100 lbs.
Total: 1,011 lbs.

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From left to right: Tabea Schindler (runner, Switzerland), Sue Osborn (triathlete), Judy Molnar (triathlete), Julie Kling (triathlete), Paula Newby-Fraser (triathlete), Elvira Kolpakova (ultrarunner, Russia).

Sri Chinmoy offers his gratitude to Sue Osborn, women's 35-39 year age group record-holder in the Ironman triathlon. Sue personally invited many of her fellow triathletes to come to New York for the event.

Lift 49

Lift 49

Standing Calf Raise with Shoulder Platform
6 Sportsmen, combined weight: 1,143 lbs.
Apparatus: 100 lbs.
Total: 1,243 lbs.

Jose "Chegui" Torres, the beloved Puerto Rican Olympic silver medallist boxing champion and the 1965-66 Light-Heavyweight Champion of the World, was among the earliest guests to be lifted by Sri Chinmoy when he first began this programme in 1988.
"Sri Chinmoy is a wonderful messenger of love, will and strength — physical as well as mental... Whenever I watch Sri Chinmoy in action, I wonder if other people can grasp what I have been able to...every time: He trusts his mind, only because his heart rules...Long live the man who would help others out of his heart, not of his thoughts.
— Jose "Chegui" Torres"

Andrey Kuznetsov represented Russia in the 10,000 metres at the 1988 Olympics and was named the Male Masters Runner of 1998 by Runners World magazine. He has a personal best in the marathon of 2:14:12.

""I really enjoyed it. It was a new experience."
— Andrey Kuznetsov"

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Left to right: Jose Torres [boxer, Puerto Rico), Steve Finley [baseball player, USA), Andrey Kuznetsov (marathoner, Russia), Terry Laughlin (swim coach, USA), Ed Small (masters sprinter, USA), Donny Lalonde [boxer; Canada)

Tribute to the medical world...

Lift 50

Standing Calf Raise with Shoulder Platform 6 Doctors
Combined weight: 1,078 lbs.
Apparatus: 100 lbs.
Total: 1,178 lbs.

Pictures

Left to right: Dr. Meghabhuti Roth (Minneapolis), Dr. Gerald Deas (New York), Dr. Sakhshat Flowers (New Jersey), Dr. Mridul Schwartz (Veterinary surgeon, New Paltz), Dr. Andres Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Dr. Singharaj Gibson (Hawaii).

To his doctor-friends and students, Sri Chinmoy offers his infinite gratitude. Among these, two have most special responsibilities: Dr. Mridul Schwartz has lovingly taken care of Sri Chinmoy's little dogs for many years; and each year Dr. Andres Rodriguez shoulders the responsibility of the welfare of over 30,000 runners in the New York City Marathon.

"Here it is a family game in front of my spiritual friends and students. Their sympathetic oneness with me is such that no matter what I do, whether I succeed or fail, they are one with me. People come here for peace of mind. They do not come to see a weightlifter or bodybuilder. They know me only as a man of prayers for peace, love and harmony. They come to see me as their fellow compatriot in peace.
— Sri Chinmoy"

The audience enjoying Sri Chinmoy's performance. Seated on the far left is Jack Curran, legendary baseball and basketball coach at Archbishop Molloy High School.

Lift 51

Lift 51

Standing calf raise with ground platform
11 Distinguished Guests
Combined weight: 1,112 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 1,424 lbs.

Picture

Lift 52

Lift 52

Standing calf raise with ground platform
Distinguished guests
Combined weight: 2,085 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 2,397 lbs.

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A human pyramid...

Lift 53

Standing calf raise with ground platform
Pyramid of 16 assistants
Combined weight: 2,662 lbs.
Apparatus: 312 lbs.
Total: 2,974 lbs.

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Pyramid of 16 assistants

This pyramid is comprised of the assistants who helped Sri Chinmoy on the evening and were responsible for setting up all the equipment. The leader of the team was Unmilan (inset), who also constructed many of the lifting machines.

Lift 54

Lift 54

Seated calf raise with knee platform and pole
A 3-man tower combined weight: 483 lbs.
Apparatus: 62 lbs.
Total: 545 lbs.

This is an extremely difficult lift because of the instability, constant shifting and backward lean of the vertical configuration of boys.

All these factors are absorbed through Sri Chinmoy's knees which, by this advanced stage of the evening, had already supported and lifted many thousands of pounds.

Picture

A lion-roar

Lift 55

Seated calf raise with knee platform
Lion statue: 493 lbs.
Apparatus: 36 lbs.
Total: 529 lbs.

Pictures

Sri Chinmoy's assistants reflect the immense effort required to lift this huge lion onto the platform and to keep it in a stable position. Sri Chinmoy barely had room to squeeze under the lifting platform, and even then a high degree of risk was involved.

"I am a lion-roar.
My boat has touched
My Supreme Beloved's
Golden Shore.
— Sri Chinmoy"

Lift 56

Lift 56

Lat pull-down
2 Women
Combined weight: 318 lbs.
Apparatus: 45 lbs.
Total: 363 lbs.

Picture

Carol Springmeyer (right) and her close friend, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Anne C. Dranginis, were the first two to be lifted on Sri Chinmoy's lat pull-down machine.

"I feel the physical and the spiritual must go together; they cannot be separated. There are people who feel that the physical and the spiritual are like the North Pole and the South Pole. My feeling is that they are not like that at all. To me, they are the temple and the shrine. The soul is the shrine and the body is the temple. If we do not have the temple, the shrine will fall into disrepair or the wind may blow it away. And if we enter into the temple and find there is no shrine, what kind of temple will it be?
— Sri Chinmoy"

Lift 57

Lift 57

Lat pull-down
Ted Corbitt and Al Crawford
Combined weight: 255 lbs.
Apparatus: 45 lbs.
Total: 300 lbs.

Sri Chinmoy offers his thanks to Ted Corbitt, "The Father of Long-Distance Running in America." He was a 1952 Olympian in the marathon and has held many American records. Just 10 days before this weightlifting event, at age 80, Ted racewalked the New York City Marathon. Sri Chinmoy and his students look up to Ted as a most treasured inspirational guide.

Ted's comment on the evening was: "Lifting Up the World is a colourful celebration by a variety of people allowing Sri Chinmoy to give an amazing display of will-power and stamina as he lifts weights of equipment and people. Remembering this programme must serve as an inspiration for others to strive to be fit, spiritually and physically."

Al Crawford is the Director of Programming at QPTV in Queens. He has produced several shows featuring Sri Chinmoy and also the music of the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers.

Picture

Lift 58

Lift 58

Lat pull-down
3 Bodybuilders, combined weight: 634 lbs.
Apparatus: 45 lbs.
Total: 679 lbs.

This was undoubtedly one of Sri Chinmoy's most difficult lifts of the evening, specially coming towards the end when he had already lifted so much weight. This is the maximum that he has ever done using the lat pull-down.

Pictures

Dr. Singharaj Gibson who came from Hawaii specially for this event.

Lift 59

Lift 59

Seated leg press
3 Children
Combined weight: 246 lbs.
Apparatus: 60 lbs.
Total: 306 lbs.

Pictures

"Unless I do the impossible,
I do not consider myself
To be a true child
Of my Beloved Supreme.
— Sri Chinmoy"

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart, number 2,056

Lift 60

Elvira Kolpakova: 120 lbs.
Apparatus: 19 lbs.
Total: 139 lbs.

The first person to be lifted by Sri Chinmoy overhead with one arm on this evening of kaleidoscope lifts was Elvira Kolpakova, a marathon and ultramarathon champion from Russia. She has a world-class marathon best of 2:34:22 and in September 1999 she won the European 100-kilometre championship in a time of 7:33:39.
""I am from a small town in Siberia. I am really happy to be here. It is great."
— Elvira Kolpakova"

Elvira became the 2,056th person to be lifted by Sri Chinmoy in his "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" programme, which he began on June 26th, 1988.

"Lifting up the world
With a oneness-heart,
The Hour of God
And His Victory-Start.
— Sri Chinmoy's theme song for this series"

Pictures

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart, number 2,057

Lift 61

Paula Newby-Fraser: 127 lbs.
Apparatus: 19 lbs.
Total: 146 lbs.

Paula Newby-Fraser is the most famous triathlete in the history of the sport. She has won the gruelling Hawaii Ironman event 8 times and was the first woman to break the nine-hour barrier. She has won a total of 21 Ironman events in various countries and holds the world record with a time of 8:50:23. She has opened up new horizons in the world of women's endurance sports, based on her philosophy: "You must have an unshatterable belief in yourself." In 1989 she was named the "Greatest All Around Female Athlete in the World." Paula lives in Encinatas, California.
"I think that for everyone there are boundaries. You always have boundaries on what you think you can do. Sri Chinmoy says that what you did last year is not necessarily where you need to stay, as great as it might have been. Sri Chinmoy blows away the boundaries, onward and upward — there doesn't need to be a limit.
— Paula Newby-Fraser"
"I am Paula Newby, Paula Newby,
My glory-life is flooded with ecstasy.
Infinity's fountain-mountain-pride
Eight times gave me its oneness-fulness-ride.
— Song by Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart, number 2,058

Lift 62

Tony de Domenico: 180 lbs. Apparatus: 19 lbs. Total: 199 lbs.
A man of high integrity in the political sphere, Tony de Domenico served for two years in the Australian legislature, including one year as Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. Sri Chinmoy was profoundly grateful to Tony for covering more than 10,000 miles to attend the weightlifting event. Sri Chinmoy and Tony established an extremely deep inner connection long before they met on the outer plane.
"Guru, heartfelt thanks for the opportunity of being with you in New York. Your inspiration has helped me to deal with the problems I have and you have given me a sense of peace. I feel that I am one of your disciples in spirit and look forward to living this experience throughout life.
— Tony de Domenico"
"A fountain-heart, a mountain-soul,
O great Australia of mine!
For me, for all, your zenith-goal,
Success-march, progress-dive divine.
— Song by Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart, number 2,059

Lift 63

Steve Finley: 194 lbs.
Apparatus: 19 lbs.
Total: 213 lbs.

A baseball immortal, Steve Finley has played on three division championship teams, including the 1998 San Diego Padres, who went to the World Series. This year he had career bests in home runs and in runs batted in. He also led his team in reaching 100 victories. Steve now holds 3 Golden Glove awards which he proudly dedicates to his three sons. Steve and his wife Amy have been extremely kind to the members of the San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre and for that Sri Chinmoy is extremely grateful to them.
"I think we all set limits on our physical abilities. Sri Chinmoy just blew out of the water my concepts of that! It just makes you realise that if you really look within — and not only at your physical capacities — you are capable of anything. He has really proved that tonight. If you can't get inspired by that, then there's something wrong with you!
— Steve Finley"
"Steve Finley, Steve Finley, Steve Finley,
Mother Earth's summit-jubilee.
In a human body, a superman-soul.
He is his own absolute goal.
— Song by Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart

Lift 64

Sudhahota Carl Lewis: 200 lbs.
Apparatus: 19 lbs.
Total: 219 lbs.

Sudhahota Carl Lewis is the greatest track and field athlete of all time. He has won 9 gold medals in four Olympics over 12 years and 8 gold medals in the World Championships. At the age of 30, Sudhahota set a new world 100-metre record, a new 4xl00-metre record and made the greatest long jumps in history. Sudhahota has offered his supremely loving and expert coaching assistance to Sri Chinmoy on a number of occasions and has dedicated the Robertson Stadium track at the University of Houston, home of the Santa Monica Track Club, as a Sri Chinmoy Peace Track.

This is the 4th time that Sri Chinmoy has lifted the immortal Sudhahota Carl Lewis in his Lifting Up the World programme. Sudhahota was on his way to Vienna to receive the "Athlete of the Century" award for his Everest-achievements in sport.

"Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl!
Victory-banners great and high
Your body and soul powerfully hurl.
We love your confidence-sky.
America's Everest-choice,
Track and field's Olympian voice!
— Song by Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart

Lift 65

Mahasamrat Bill Pearl: 217 lbs.
Apparatus: 19 lbs.
Total: 236lbs.

This was the 12th time that Sri Chinmoy has lifted Mahasamrat overhead with one arm. He is the most lifted person in Sri Chinmoy's Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart programme. Significantly, twelve years ago, Mahasamrat became the very first person to be lifted by Sri Chinmoy. Tonight's lift was on the same machine that was used in 1988.

As Mahasamrat ascended the lifting platform, after his five-hour marathon as Master of Ceremonies, the audience gave him a thunderous ovation.

"I have the honour of being the last person to be lifted by Guru this evening and, in closing, I would like to present a little poem of my feelings towards Guru:
'...Did you know that I've grown
Stronger and better because
I've merely touched shoulders with you?'
— Mahasamrat Bill Pearl"
"Bill Pearl, Bill Pearl, Bill Pearl, Bill!
Bodybuilders' sky-vast thrill.
World's Best Built Man of the Century;
God-Glory's Himalayan perfection-story.
Your heart-smile has blessed the Hall of Fame;
Your soul-dance adorns God's Vision-Game.
— Song by Sri Chinmoy"

Pictures

Sri Chinmoy offers his deepest gratitude to his beloved Mahasamrat, the supreme Master of Ceremonies, whose heart's universal oneness, kindness, sympathy and love, not only for Sri Chinmoy, but for each and every member of this extremely diverse audience, won the hearts of all who attended this never-to-be-forgotten event.

Summary...

1998

Number of lifts: 53
Cumulative weight: 92,985 lbs.
Sri Chinmoy's age: 67
Sri Chinmoy's bodyweight: 145 lbs.
Heaviest double-arm lift: 145 lbs. x 2 = 290 lbs.
Standing calf raise: 1,500 lbs.
Seated calf raise: 740 lbs.
One-arm repetitions with 300 lbs.
Heaviest single lift of the day: 3,613 lbs.
(27 international representatives)


1999

Number of lifts: 65
Cumulative weight: 95,290 lbs.
Sri Chinmoy's age: 68
Sri Chinmoy's bodyweight: 167 lbs.
Heaviest double-arm lift:
300 lbs. x 2 = 600 lbs.
Standing calf raise: 1,800 lbs.
Seated calf raise: 1,000 lbs.
One-arm repetitions with 400 lbs.
Heaviest single lift of the day: 8,140 lbs.
(elephant and Sudhahota Carl Lewis)

MEDIA COVERAGE

Since Sri Chinmoy resumed weightlifting in September 1998, at the age of 67, the media has followed his adventures with great interest, airing footage of his elephant and plane lifts, as well as his double-arm, seated calf and standing calf raises. Sri Chinmoy's daring feats and his love of self-transcendence, specially in the face of his advancing years, have offered inspiration for young and old alike. Moreover, the paradox of a man who is at once a spiritual leader, a musician, a poet and a weightlifter has captured the imagination of people worldwide who have posed the question, "Is he one man or ten?" Sri Chinmoy's weightlifting anniversary on November 17th was seen around the world multiple times on the following news and sports programmes:

TELEVISION

CNN Sports Illustrated
CNN International
CNN Headline News
CNN Spanish
NBC News Channel
ABC News One
ESPN International
Channel 10 Sports Tonight, Australia
CTV Canada
National TV, Germany, Austria, Switzerland
National TV, Russia, Channel One
National TV, Yugoslavia
WWOR Channel 9 New York
WABC Channel 7 New York
WTMJ NBC Milwaukee
WBNS CBS Columbus
WDIV NBC Detroit
KGW NBC Portland
KFOR NBC Oklahoma City
SNTV Associated Press Broadcast Sports
RADIO Berlin One Radio
CNN Radio (Sports)

PRINT

Agence France Press
Daily News, New York
The Queens Tribune
Queens Courier
Queens Chronicle
The Times Ledger, New York
The Weekly Thikana (a Bangladesh paper in New York)
The New Probashi (a Bangladesh paper in New York)
India Post, New York
Delo (Czech Republic)
Trhak (Czech Republic)

Peace concert1

"Today's Peace Concert I am most gratefully dedicating to Raisa Maximovna, who raised the dignity-standard not only of the former Soviet Union women, but also of women of the four corners of the globe. With my heart's infinite appreciation, admiration and adoration, I am dedicating today's Peace Concert to Raisa Maximovna."


  1. BFG 2. After a short intermission, Sri Chinmoy began his Peace Concert. Against a backdrop featuring 1,000 of his soul-bird drawings, he performed on conch, esraj, flute, cello, harmonium and piano. He dedicated the concert in memory of Raisa Gorbachev:

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Prime Minister message

"I salute Sri Chinmoy for his sustained efforts in mobilising worldwide opinion for the noble cause of peace and harmony. Sri Chinmoy's Peace Blossom movement has become synonymous with individual efforts to seek lasting world peace. His ability to imbibe his philosophy of peace in the hearts of so many of his students across the globe has made him an effective instrument of peace.

I extend my warm felicitations to Sri Chinmoy and all his students. I am confident that in the years to come, the world will become a better place thanks to their efforts."

— A.B. Vajpayee

Messages from oneness-friends.

""You are indeed a modern Atlas. I wish I could join you but I am stuck here. By this letter I send you my best wishes for what I am sure will be a splendid evening."
— C.V. Narasimhan, Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Madras, India"
""My dearly beloved Sri Chinmoy, I am unable to attend your 14th weightlifting anniversary. I wish you all the success you deserve in this event which you so kindly dedicate to your brother."
— Rafael Hernandez Colon, Governor of Puerto Pico (1972-76, 1984-92)"
""I was delighted and honoured to hear from you. The event is a celebration of the great good that man can achieve through the inspired harmony of mind and body and spirit."
— Harry Cahill, US State Department Chief of Refugee Operations in Bosnia"
""It is a wonderful undertaking to provide New Yorkers with your services and I am sure that the demonstration tonight will be a huge success."
— Senator Charles E. Schumer, New York"

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"I have no idea how far my Lord will carry me. Whatever goal He has set for me, most devotedly I shall follow Him. His Compassion and Guidance are my outer strength and my inner Power.
— Sri Chinmoy"