Body, heart and soul one-arm lift anniversary, 25-26 June 1986

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An historic landmark

On 25 and 26 June 1986, several of the world’s Himalayan champion bodybuilders, weightlifters and Olympians gathered in New York to celebrate a most significant event: the first anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting adventure.

Sri Chinmoy’s remarkable feats of strength during this past twelve-month period have been utterly without precedent. To commence serious weight training at the age of 54 is in itself a rare act of courage, but Sri Chinmoy’s phenomenal rate of progress quickly surpassed all expectations. Specialising in the one-arm lift, he raised his own body weight of 155 pounds within only five months. Four months later, this total had leapt to 200 pounds, and five days short of his first anniversary, he accomplished a 240-pound lift — exactly 200 pounds more than the weight with which he started. Nobody in the history of the sport, regardless of age, has ever approached Sri Chinmoy’s speed of improvement or dared to lift weights so far beyond their own body weight.

Early in June, as the date of his anniversary drew near, Sri Chinmoy also began working out on a standard calf-raise machine. Initially, the machine was loaded with 400 pounds. After only four workouts, however, Sri Chinmoy was comfortably doing repetitions with 700 pounds. On 14 June, during only his fifth workout on the machine, Sri Chinmoy broke into four figures with five repetitions of 1000 pounds. Finally, on 23 June, just prior to his anniversary, Sri Chinmoy succeeded in raising 1300 pounds three times. In the course of nine workouts, extending over three weeks, Sri Chinmoy had not only mastered the challenge of the calf-raise but moved into realms where no other bodybuilders have ever been.

To watch Sri Chinmoy moving mountains of metal is to appreciate the spiritual essence of all his actions. It is as if his physical body is a chandelier illumined from within by a profound peace and power. He himself says that he is neither a bodybuilder nor a weightlifter. He is at once a lover of God and a server of man. In practice, this philosophy has led him into many diverse fields — such as art, music, poetry and sports — where he has been able to inspire thousands of people.

The gathering of champions in New York for Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting anniversary was in itself a testimonial to the depth of inspiration the world has already received from his weightlifting accomplishments. He has dreamt of the highest goals — and achieved them. He has faced the heaviest weights, without fear, and lifted them. He has confronted his age, his injuries and the slightness of his build — and yet refused to be limited by them. He has revealed that weightlifting can be a form of prayer and meditation to fulfil and please God in God’s own Way.

This booklet is the chronicle of that unique celebration, the tributes that were exchanged and the quality of joy that was manifest in each aspect of the programme. It was an experience that will live forever in the memories of those who were present.

The year in perspective

Poundage Date Body Weight

Clean & press (from the ground)

40 26 June 1985 50 7 July 1985 60 16 July 1985 70 30 July 1985 80 13 August 1985 85 6 September 1985 91 5 January 1986 94 27 January 1986 97 ¼ 13 March 1986 101 20 March 1986 103 ¾ 10 April 1986

One arm lift (with power rack)

106 ¼ 9 October 1985 117 1 November 1985 131 ½ 3 November 1985 140 12 November 1985 155 18 November 1985 155 170 16 January 1986 200 6 March 1986 157 210 28 April 1986 220 8 May 1986 230 17 May 1986 240 21 June 1986 159 ¾

Standing calf-raise 400 1 June 1986 159 500 2 June 1986 159 ¼ 600 3 June 1986 159 700 4 June 1986 159 ¼ 800 13 June 1986 159 1000 14 June 1986 159 ¾ 1100 15 June 1986 159 ½ 1200 19 June 1986 159 ½ 1300 23 June 1986 159 ¾

Milestones on the way to 240 pounds

Sri Chinmoy begins serious weight training with 40 pounds — 26 June 1985

Explanation of lifts

One-arm lift

When the dumbbell or barbell weighs under 100 pounds, it is raised by the lifter from the ground to the starting position. Heavier weights may be taken from spotters or from a power rack that suspends the weight in a sling.

One or two hands may then be used to move the dumbbell to the starting position, with elbow parallel to the shoulder. The dumbbell is pressed overhead in a continuous motion to a full arm extension, where it is held for three seconds. During this manoeuvre, the torso may not rotate. The dumbbell must be free of contact with the power rack at full arm extension.

The lift is complete at the end of three seconds and the dumbbell may be retrieved by spotters, returned to the power rack or set on the ground. In making this lift his speciality, Sri Chinmoy has named it the “Body, Heart and Soul One-Arm Lift.”

Photograph — 155 pounds

155 pounds — 18 November 1985 at a body weight of 155 pounds

Photograph — 170 pounds

170 pounds — 16 January 1986

Photograph — 200 pounds

200 pounds — 6 March 1986 at a body weight of 157

Photograph — 210 pounds

210 pounds — 28 April 1986

Photograph — 220 pounds

220 pounds — 8 May 1986

Photograph — 230¼ pounds

230¼ pounds — 17 May 1986

Photograph — 240 pounds

A still frame from a video reveals the historic moment on 21 June 1986 when Sri Chinmoy first lifted 240 pounds with one arm with a body weight of 159 ¾ pounds.

Photograph — lifting 101 pounds from the ground

This series of photographs, taken on 20 March 1986, shows Sri Chinmoy lifting 101 pounds from the ground. On 10 April 1986 he lifted 103 ¾ pounds, also using the clean and press. On both occasions he did three repetitions with the weight.

Photographs — the standing calf-raise

400 pounds — 1 June 1986

600 pounds — 3 June 1986

800 pounds — 14 June 1986

1,000 pounds — 14 June 1986

The standing calf-raise

The lifter positions his shoulders under the padded bars and places the balls of his feet on the raised platform with toes pointing straight ahead. The lifter commences the lift with his heels touching the ground. He then raises them to their highest point of extension. The weights should clear the ground by two to three inches. The moment the lifter begins to apply pressure upward, his shoulders should fully support the weight.

Photographs — the standing calf-raise

23 June 1986: Sri Chinmoy surpasses all his previous efforts and lifts a phenomenal 1300 pounds. Between 1 June, when he commenced, and 23 June, Sri Chinmoy had only nine training workouts.

Photograph lifting

Sri Chinmoy meditates prior to lifting a “human mountain” on 23 June 1986.

Photograph lifting

Sri Chinmoy successfully completes the lift: 600 pounds on the machine plus a 212-pound giant.

Assembly of champions

Each of the guests who joined Sri Chinmoy on the occasion of this first weightlifting anniversary has contributed something unique to build a powerful, illumining and fulfilling world. Each one has discovered a special way of manifesting the eternal Spirit in and through the temple of the physical body. Each one is a hero of both the inner and the outer worlds.

Opening prayer1

My dear friends, my kind brothers and sisters, I am praying to my Lord Beloved Supreme to grant you all soulful joy and fruitful peace in my aspiring heart-garden.

BHS 1. Sri Chinmoy's opening prayer, 25 June 1986

Photograph of opening ceremony

Seated next to Sri Chinmoy in this photograph of the Opening Ceremonies from left to right are:

1. Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) — Winner of four gold medals in track and field at the Los Angeles Olympics Master of Ceremonies for the weightlifting anniversary

2. Bill Pearl — Mr. America and five-time Mr. Universe World’s Best Built Man of the Century Trainer of bodybuilding champions

3. Judy Pearl — Physical fitness expert

4. Terry Todd — Former U.S. powerlifting champion Professor of Physical Education World-renowned authority on strength-related feats

5. Jan Todd — American and world record holder for squat and deadlift Men’s and women’s coach of the U.S. powerlifting teams for international competition

6. Al Oerter — Four-time Olympic gold medallist in the discus

7. Cathy Oerter — Internationally competing U.S. long jumper

8. Jim Smith — Registrar of Records, British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association World masters weightlifting champion

9. Cliff Sawyer — Chairman of the Mr. America Committee and President of the Physique Committee of the A.A.U. Arm wrestling champion

10. Mrs. Cliff Sawyer — Physical fitness advocate

11. Narada Michael Walden — Grammy Award winner for rhythm and blues, Songwriter of the Year

12. Anukampa Walden — Performer of classical Indian dance

13. Evelyn Lewis — U.S. Olympian at the Helsinki Olympics Track and field coach, Mother of Carl Lewis

14. Bill Lewis — Great running coach, Father of Carl Lewis


My Lord Supreme, my Beloved Supreme, my All, today marks the first anniversary of my weightlifting career. There was a time when you made me a runner, a sprinter, an athlete. Now you have turned me into a weightlifter. My Lord, soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally I shall become what You want me to become.

My Lord, my Lord, may my outer name and my inner name be gratitude, gratitude, gratitude — sleepless gratitude, breathless gratitude and deathless gratitude—my Lord, my Eternity’s Lord, my Absolute Beloved Lord Supreme.

— Sri Chinmoy

BHS 2. Prayer offered on 26 June 1986

Programme highlights — Wednesday, 25 June


- Opening meditation

- Welcome speech by Master of Ceremonies Carl Lewis (Sudhahota)

- Sri Chinmoy presents plaques, gifts and bouquets to each guest

- Each guest is honoured with a song composed by Sri Chinmoy and by music that he has set to their words

- Videos of the Olympic achievements of Al Oerter and Carl Lewis (Sudhahota)

- Videos of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting progress

- Closing meditation

Thursday, 26 June — Morning

- Tennis match between Terry Todd and Sri Chinmoy

- Terry Todd and Jim Smith referee a spontaneous weightlifting contest among Sri Chinmoy’s students


- Visit to an exhibit of 1,000 paintings by Sri Chinmoy


- Video of Sri Chinmoy’s creative expressions

- Songs composed by Sri Chinmoy in different languages

- Video of Sri Chinmoy singing songs composed for each guest

- Classical Indian dance performed by Anukampa Walden

- Video of Bill Pearl

- Video of Jim Smith and demonstration of various lifts

- Video of Terry Todd and Jan Todd

- Video of Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) and Narada Michael Walden

- Presentation to guests of cakes with their portraits etched in icing

- Closing meditation


Upon their arrival, Sri Chinmoy escorts his guests past an honour guard;

Master of Ceremonies Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) takes the stage.

Al Oerter with Bhashwar Hart, great photographer and champion sprinter of the Sri Chinmoy Centres.

A soulful pair — Sri Chinmoy and Bill Pearl.

The children of the Sri Chinmoy Centre welcome the guests.


Bill Pearl receives a standing ovation following a video on his training methods and philosophy.

Sri Chinmoy presents gifts to Terry and Jan Todd after a friendly game of tennis.

Jan Todd and Bill Pearl work out at a private gym during a break;

Terry Todd and Jim Smith referee a weightlifting competition.

Sri Chinmoy presents gifts to Evelyn and Bill Lewis, parents of Carl Lewis (Sudhahota).

Narada Michael Walden and Carl Lewis after their “Canadian” doubles match against Sri Chinmoy.


Special moments with Bill Pearl, Judy Pearl, Sudhahota, Terry Todd, Anukampa Walden and Jim Smith.


Terry Todd and Jim Smith referee a weightlifting contest. The weights used were 40 pounds for men and 10 pounds for women. Sri Chinmoy added an extra degree of difficulty by requesting that contestants sing for the duration of their attempt.

Dr. Todd completes 37 repetitions. Everyone was supposed to sing while lifting but, unfortunately, Dr. Todd forgot to sing in spite of the fact that he has a very good singing voice! Deliberately, he stopped lifting at 37, though he could easily have done more. He wanted Sri Chinmoy to win.

Mr. Smith does 19 repetitions. Mr. Smith is clever. By stopping at 19, he was able to preserve all his precious energy for the evening performance. He did a magnificent demonstration in the evening using very heavy weights. In that way, we can excuse him. Although Mr. Smith used to be a choirboy in his youth, he too forgot to sing.




Sri Chinmoy wins the weightlifting competition with a total of 38 reps.


A former college tennis champion, Terry Todd enjoys a game with Sri Chinmoy.

Dr. Todd won the closely fought match 6-4.

Narada and Sudhahota, brother-friends, doubles partners.


Terry Todd and Jan Todd examine Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting equipment.


Sri Chinmoy offers fruit to all present.


Bill Pearl, Jan Todd and Terry Todd work out in the private gym of Abakash, one of Sri Chinmoy’s students.


Sri Chinmoy welcomes his guests to a gallery where 1,000 of his paintings are displayed. These paintings, which Sri Chinmoy refers to as Jharna-Kala (meaning “Fountain-Art”) express the radiance and beauty of the inner life.


Some of Sri Chinmoy’s major musical instruments were also exhibited at the gallery. He performed for a few moments on a number of these, including the ocarina and dove, as shown. Sri Chinmoy’s favourite instrument is the Indian esraj. During his Peace Concerts, however, he frequently performs on as many as twenty-five instruments, ranging from flutes and recorders to vibraphone and synthesiser.


Jim Smith reveals excellent form in his weightlifting demonstration.

Master of Ceremonies Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) on the elaborately decorated stage.

Jim Smith explains the various categories of lifts to Sri Chinmoy.

On behalf of the British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association, Jim Smith presents Sri Chinmoy with honorary membership of the Association and a silver medallion commemorating his 200 pound one-arm lift.

Comments on Sri Chinmoy's achievements


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.

BHS 3. Sri Chinmoy, 23 June 1986

Weightlifters and athletes

Bill Pearl

Sri Chinmoy is truly unique and special. He is like the old-time bodybuilders and weight-lifters. Sri Chinmoy has rediscovered the lost art of special strength feats and weightlifting. Sri Chinmoy has special style. Machines do all the work for most people these days. But Sri Chinmoy uses good old strength; he is really unique, and he trains for good, sound reasons.

Sri Chinmoy is amazing, seriously; just to support 1300 pounds in any way is amazing. I cannot do this; I cannot even get this amount of weight off the ground. He has got the biggest, heaviest calf machine in the world. It is tremendous, so wonderful. It is beyond me.

For Sri Chinmoy to lift 240 pounds with one arm is unbelievable, incredible, absolutely beyond me. It is a miracle that this man can even support this kind of weight. It is so difficult, the style that he has chosen to push the weight up. I do not know another person in the world who can do this. There are very few people, to be honest, very few bodybuilders in the world who could even support 240 pounds with two arms overhead.

That Sri Chinmoy does not hurt himself is an absolute miracle to me, an absolute miracle. He is pushing the weight uphill; he is doing it with his shoulders and elbows. You know, the elbow has the smallest and most fragile joints in it. It is difficult, so hard for anyone to lift this kind of weight without tearing themselves up.

Sri Chinmoy impresses me, let me tell you; this man impresses me. It is a shame that there are not more people like him in this world. He is really an inspiration to me, much more than I can be for him. Sri Chinmoy sure is dedicated.

I do not think of the spiritual as much as Sri Chinmoy, and I look at things from a cosmetic standpoint. So you can understand, when I think of bodybuilding or whatever, to a degree, but not 100 per cent, I think of cosmetics. He is looking at it strictly from a spiritual standpoint — to spiritually lift himself up. But I look at it like a woman putting on lipstick and eyeshadow — the cosmetic effect. Now that is equally as important to some people as his spiritual is to him.

Comments made during a visit to Sri Chinmoy’s art gallery: Sri Chinmoy’s paintings are really beautiful. He has so many talents, so many ways of expressing life. Now just look at the colours. There is a painting for every mood you could possibly be in. Look how dynamic this painting is and look how peaceful this one is. Amazing! I bet he has not one picture in his gallery that is exactly like another. Beautiful, really beautiful!

I’m sure that visiting with you folks has been one of the most inspirational things that has ever happened to many of the visitors here. It is really moving. And one thing that moves me the most is that whenever I look up at you people, everybody is smiling — smiling back at me from the love you have inside your hearts. And what a wonderful thing that is!

Sri Chinmoy is the type of person who will bring out the best qualities in you if you have anything good in you at all. You get around Guru, and boy, I tell you, it is going to come out; it’s got to. It is tremendous to have this kind of impact on an individual and not to have to demand it, but to get that kind of respect.

Sri Chinmoy is really, really a unique man. He is so self-giving that I am sure many people wonder what the catch is to all this. But I tell you, this man is a true spiritual Master. This man is real! He is the most devout, devoted person I have ever known.

In my whole career, no kidding, there are only certain things, maybe three things, that have stuck with me and moved me enough to remember over the years. But here with Sri Chinmoy is by far the best. This is a day to remember forever. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In five lifetimes you might never see this. It is tremendous, so incredible.

You are all very, very special people. I wish the world were made up of only people like you all. Thank you for everything. If there is any time I could be of assistance to Sri Chinmoy in any way, please tell me. My wife and I will never, ever forget you.

Bill Pearl 1953 AAU Mr. America 1953 NABBA Mr. Universe, amateur 1956 Mr. USA, professional 1956 NABBA Mr. Universe, professional, tall men’s class 1961 NABBA Mr. Universe, professional 1967 NABBA Mr. Universe, professional 1971 NABBA Mr. Universe, professional 1974 WBBG World’s Best Built Man of the Century 1978 Entered into the WBBG Hall of Fame 1978 Elected IFBB National Chairman of the Professional Physique Judges Committee

2. Judy Pearl

Regardless of how Sri Chinmoy is doing it, this lift of his is absolutely incredible. That he is capable of supporting that weight overhead with one arm or even two arms is incredible.

Sri Chinmoy is wonderful. He encourages people instead of discouraging them. It is so incredible to be around people who are so determined, so inspiring and so beautiful. It is also incredible that such a distinguished man of God like Sri Chinmoy would even consider honouring us.

Judy Pearl Physical Fitness Expert

3. Dr Terry Todd

When I first heard about Sri Chinmoy, I was curious, and now that I have met him, I can see that I had good reason to be. Sri Chinmoy is an athlete who uses meditation for his inspiration. For example, he learned tennis at age 48, which is as difficult as trying to learn Chinese at age 48. I feel that Sri Chinmoy is not really all that concerned with how he compares with other people, but rather he is concerned with self-transcendence, concerned with how he is doing in comparison to his previous accomplishments. His only aim is progress.

The progress Sri Chinmoy has made in one year and the amount of determination he shows are extraordinary. The progress he has made in this short period of time — to go from 40 pounds to 240 pounds in just one year, at his age and with no experience in the field — is extraordinary. In fact, just to support 240 pounds is extraordinary.

With the calf-raise, it is difficult to prove where others stand. It’s never been done in competition before. To know for sure if it is a world record, we have to bring people to the machine and say, “OK. Now you’ve got nine days to see what you can do.” That’s how long it took Sri Chinmoy to raise 1300 pounds. I’m pretty convinced that that’s higher than anybody has tried before.

Referring to Sri Chinmoy’s self-transcendence in the literary world: Can you imagine being Sri Chinmoy, and going into a bookstore and telling the owner that you are an author. And he says, “Oh, really? What’s the title of your book?” Then you pull out from your pocket that list of 700 titles!

Please be sure to thank everyone for me for all they’ve done, especially Sri Chinmoy.

Dr. Terry Todd Former U.S. powerlifting champion Professor of Physical Education World-renowned authority on strength-related feats


Sri Chinmoy certainly deserves a party after all he has done. Only it seems the party is more in honour of us than him. It’s been so wonderful. We are just overwhelmed.

You can’t dispute that Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting is extraordinary. After seeing the videos of his lift so many times, I still can’t figure out how he’s supporting that much weight. He just doesn’t have much mass!

I noticed that Sri Chinmoy doesn’t seem to be ageing at all. Look at his skin. It’s so shiny and smooth. Compared to other people his age, he doesn’t seem to be ageing.

It’s really amazing the way that the spiritual and the physical go together on this path. Terry and I are both really impressed that Sri Chinmoy has emphasised the aspect of physical fitness along with the spiritual. When Terry first came home from meeting with Sri Chinmoy, he said to me, “You won’t believe these people. They are all so happy and athletic.”

Do you realise what an impressive group of people you all are? It is quite unusual to have such a talented group of people all together like this.

There is no way we could ever thank you all for everything you’ve done. I’ve never been given such a nice trophy, even in all the years I did powerlifting. I had no idea what we were coming to! I’m just overwhelmed.

Jan Todd American and world record-holder for squat and deadlift Men’s and women’s coach of the U.S. powerlifting teams for international competition


The chief thing about Sri Chinmoy’s 240-pound one-arm lift is that, really, regardless of the manner in which it is performed, the final result means that a man of 160 pounds and 54 years old is holding a weight of 240 pounds. There can’t be too many men in the world of any weight at that age who could actually support that weight. The number of men throughout the world in the past 50 years who have lifted 200 pounds or more over their head with one hand is very, very few. Terry Todd, Bill Pearl and I spoke, and we all agreed. Whichever way you look at it, the final result is an absolutely tremendous feat — that any man can hold 240 pounds with one hand.

In the same way, 1300 pounds for the calf-raise is a colossal weight no matter how you raise the weight. Our British and American raises are just done differently, but that is not to disparage either. Sri Chinmoy’s calf-raise is obviously colossal.

Sri Chinmoy is really amazing. I asked myself, “Who is this man just beginning his career, stepping into the weightlifting field when most of us are long retired?” When he told me about his workouts on a daily basis, I had thought it would be arduous. But after speaking with him, I see that’s not the right word. It’s an endlessly exhausting schedule. Most people who do heavy weights would only approach these heavy weights four times in a few days. I ask myself why it is that Sri Chinmoy can have such a great recovery when he’s so new to the field and I’ve been working so long. I figure it must be the meditation, although I don’t know too much about that side of things.

In New York I have had an absolutely marvellous time. It is an experience I will never forget for the rest of my days.

Jim Smith Registrar of Records, British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association and masters champion in the two-handed standing press


After reading some of the comments from other athletes and dignitaries to the audience at the celebration: I have really enjoyed reading these because a piece of every one of these lines is in my heart as well, and I think that all of us draw the same inspiration that everyone spoke of.

Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) Winner of four gold medals in track and field in the 1984 Olympics World record holder for the long jump (indoors and at sea-level)


You know what was the nicest thing for me about Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting anniversary celebration? When we were on the stage, I looked up into the audience and every pair of eyes met mine! It felt like there wasn’t even one stranger out there, like I knew everybody … a big family! That really says a lot for Sri Chinmoy.

If you can go beyond your fears and turn your palms up, faith will make everything work out. It’s great to feel whole. I guess that’s what Sri Chinmoy is teaching you all.

Please tell Sri Chinmoy that last night was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve ever had. I really appreciate everything he did for us and is doing for the world.

Al Oerter Four-time Olympic gold medalist in discus


Sri Chinmoy keeps surprising people! His calf-raise is incredible! It’s fantastic!

It’s so wonderful when Sri Chinmoy shows the spiritual in the physical. It’s the power to go beyond. We’re brought up to believe that we’re limited. Showing people something like this in the physical is one way to get them to open up to spirituality. We can realise his spirituality in the physical when he proves it like this.

People will look at what he is doing and maybe see something deeper. It’s just so good for the world.

Cathy Oerter Internationally competing U.S. long jumper


I never thought that I would have such joy and such a nice experience. Otherwise, I would have come fully prepared. I shall come again.

Cliff Sawyer President, Physique Committee Chairman, Mr. America Committee, A.A.CJ. Third, World Arm Wrestling Championships 1980


I cannot imagine going from 40 pounds to 240 pounds in my lifetime, much less in one year. We are all extremely proud of you, dearest, dearest Guru, C.K.G. On behalf of the world and humanity’s better half, we are extolling you to the skies.

Narada Michael Walden Top drummer and producer Owner of “Tarpan” studio Grammy Award winner for rhythm and blues Songwriter of the Year


For me, Sri Chinmoy is a really good example of right effort. It means doing the best you can in a situation. It’s important to have right effort in order to reach the goal. It means doing everything you possibly can in a situation to reach a goal. Sri Chinmoy reached his goal of lifting 200 pounds much sooner than the time he set for himself. With full application of one’s power, and Sri Chinmoy has many powers, you can do these things.

Sri Chinmoy has been an inspiration to me. Just simply that he has had a goal like his one-arm lifting and he is working towards it has inspired me greatly. In bodybuilding, you need to draw on inspiration all the time. In the gym I’ve often drawn on Sri Chinmoy’s inspiration. When I have negative internal dialogue, like doubt, he inspires me. I try to always remember my real self, to become aware of the purpose. The poster of Sri Chinmoy that I have up is a reminder of the goal. It’s a very inspirational picture. I use it to draw inspiration, and it will inspire a lot of other people!

Also, I use his transcendental picture to draw inspiration. I have put it on the lever arm of my Soloflex. When you press the bar all the way up, Sri Chinmoy is looking straight at you. You go into a meditative state with this picture. In one of my exercises I do supersetting with a 45 degree incline dumbbell and then go to the Soloflex. With his photo there it helps me to use what the Buddhists call “Shin Buddhism” or “other power” to draw power from a source other than my limited self. The first 12 to 15 repetitions are “self power” and the last 5 are “other power.” It’s the same way with the squat. After 20 reps I say, “This is it! I stop.” Then I look at Sri Chinmoy’s picture, and I can do 5 more.

Sri Chinmoy’s example is one of tremendous discipline. He is the only real spiritual leader doing bodybuilding, and he is setting an excellent example for athletes. I myself have always been a teacher. But it is like a ladder. Sri Chinmoy is way up on the ladder and passing spirituality along to many, many others. Buddha, Christ and Sri Chinmoy are on my list of the great, great teachers. They are Bodhisattvas. Literally, that means “Compassionate Ones.” They have foregone the ultimate self-dissolution in order to stay in the world to teach others.

Sri Chinmoy has encouraged me to work on the heart a lot, to work on compassion. Many of my limitations are due to anger and resentment. But since our meeting I now feel a sadness for people who have problems and are creating their own suffering. I have more of a feeling of oneness. Sri Chinmoy has helped me to have more compassion by example.

This one-year anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting is really something special. I’ll be there in spirit, and I will meditate at the same time as the anniversary celebration.

Sri Chinmoy, please accept my best regards and congratulations. I’m thankful for your existence as a person and for your inspiration as a friend.

Frank Zane Three-time Mr. Olympia


Sri Chinmoy’s calf-raise is incredible! It is very, very unusual. This proves that the mental has a lot to do with it. But his physical is also very, very strong. I have seen several pictures of him, and his physical is extremely strong. Sri Chinmoy has both the natural and the supernatural together.

Christine Zane Manager of Zane Haven fitness center Former Miss Americana


Wow, 1300 pounds is incredibly good for the calf-raise! I do not know of anyone else who can do this much weight. I usually work out on 500 pounds and the highest I can do is 600 pounds, but I do more repetitions.

240 pounds with one arm is great. Sri Chinmoy really has the capacity to go beyond; he goes beyond mental and physical limitations. He has spiritual guidance: this is why. He has a spiritual force, a life force, that takes him beyond all limitations.

Sri Chinmoy is not the normal athlete; he is a special athlete; he is a super superathlete. It is spirituality that separates superathletes from super superathletes. Sri Chinmoy is a super superathlete.

Sri Chinmoy, I wish you a very happy anniversary, and I wish you the best. I wish I could be there for the celebration. I regret that I cannot be, but I am there in spirit. I feel we are both brothers in Christ. I have great respect for you, and I feel I share a special bond with you. I hope that someday I can achieve what you have and that I can go beyond what you have achieved mentally, spiritually and physically. You are great!

Ask Sri Chinmoy to pray for me, and I will pray for him too.

Lee Haney 1984 and 1985 Mr. Olympia


I think that Sri Chinmoy is great. This is so inspiring. He must have an incredible mind. He is really getting strong. 1300 pounds in the calf-raise is amazing, as is lifting 240 pounds with one arm.

Tell Sri Chinmoy that he is so powerful spiritually and physically. He is really amazing. Please ask him if he has seven angels guarding him.

Dr. Franco Columbu Mr. World, Mr. Universe and two-time Mr. Olympia


Sri Chinmoy seems to transcend and transcend. He transcends and goes on and on. He is endless spiritually and physically. Most weightlifters get hung up on large numbers of pounds, but not Sri Chinmoy; he transcends them.

His approach is amazing. 1300 pounds is incredible. I have never heard of anyone lifting this much weight in the calf-raise. I have never done anything close to this. I can only lift 500 pounds. He is really incredible.

Lifting 240 pounds with one arm in less than a year of training is a unique achievement. It is really something. Amazing, really amazing! Tell Sri Chinmoy to keep going and to have a very happy anniversary. I think he is remarkable.

Chris Dickerson Mr. America, Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe All-time leader in IFBB professional bodybuilding victories


A lot of people think about doing great things and talk about doing great things, but very, very few people actually accomplish the things they set out to do. In Sri Chinmoy’s case he’s determined to succeed. He’s one of those very few people who have been able to do extraordinary things.

Sri Chinmoy has controlled his mind completely. He has conquered his mind totally. It’s like what I would try to do when I would face a wrestling opponent. Sri Chinmoy is using his will to surpass his mind, and he is using his mind to conquer his body. He is putting his thoughts into a higher state to allow him to have a superior capacity.

In an emergency situation people can do this type of superhuman thing. When they are in an emergency, people can do amazing things like lift up cars. It seems that Sri Chinmoy can at will have this kind of experience. At will he can have this state of mind. It’s a state of mind higher than most human beings ever experience except in an emergency situation, when their adrenalin rushes. It’s a state of mind I’ve tried to experience while wrestling with an opponent, that higher state of mind over body. Sri Chinmoy obviously has great control over his thoughts.

I tell you, it’s a lot of weight for a little guy, and he’s made a lot of progress. I find it very impressive.

Dan Gable 1968 National Collegiate Wrestling Champion 1971 World Champion in Wrestling 1971 Pan American Games Lightweight Wrestling Champion 1972 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling 1980-1984 Head Coach ofU.S. Olympic Wrestling Team 1986 Head Coach of University of Iowa Wrestling Team


I appreciate the fact that Sri Chinmoy is working hard to excel. For a man who has not been involved before in weightlifting, he is reaching a very high level of competitiveness very quickly.

From the description, Sri Chinmoy’s 1300-pound calf-raise is being performed absolutely correctly, and the weight is a stupendous and outstanding amount for any age or body weight.

Sri Chinmoy, please accept my deepest congratulations on your amazing first year of bodybuilding. We would definitely like to consider your “Body, Heart and Soul One-Arm Lift” for inclusion as one of our official International All-Round Weightlifting Association lifts. Thank you!

Bill Clark Founder, International All-Round Weightlifting Association Chairman, National Masters Subcommittee of the U.S. Weightlifting Federation

Political representatives


Sri Chinmoy teaches us so much: the importance of striving, of dedication and discipline. And now he reminds us of the role of celebration in our lives: of rejoicing as we thank God for the strength to achieve great things in His Name.

Mario Cuomo Governor of New York




June 26, 1986

Dear Sri Chinmoy:

It is for me a great pleasure to congratulate you on the first anniversary of your weightlifting career.

Your progress and triumphs during the last year are not only evidence of your success as a weightlifter but, also, they are testimonies of your perseverance and self-discipline. These are the very qualities that make of you an outstanding human being and an example to society.

In the past you have excelled in writing, painting and meditating. Now as you join the world of sports, you prove that determination and willpower triumph in any field man sets himself to conquer.

Lila and I wish you the best now and always. I send you my warmest regards.


Rafael Hernandez Colon







As Governor of Washington State, I would like to express my congratulations to Sri Chinmoy for a tremendous athletic achievement: lifting 1300 pounds on the calf lift. Clearly, your efforts reflect a determination and inner spirit most people would find impossible to emulate.

I would also like to convey my appreciation for all your activities in Washington State. Concerts, races and support for the local United Nations demonstrate a commitment we all admire. Best wishes for your next endeavour.


Booth Gardner Governor


To be able to set weightlifting records is an achievement; but to be able to set records and shatter others with just one year of training in weightlifting is an outstanding achievement. As one who enjoys seeing the discipline and spirit involved in competition, I join with others on this occasion in congratulating and wishing Sri Chinmoy continued success in his efforts.

Tony Anaya Governor of New Mexico


I join the people of the world that admire your dedication to the best ideals of mankind. On this memorable date we congratulate you and pray for your continuous health and success and for the achievement of the supreme goals of the United Nations and for the peace and security of all.

Best regards, conveyed with all my affection, admiration and solidarity.

Dr. Jorge Illueca Former President of Panama and President of the Thirty-eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly


I would like to offer you my heartfelt congratulations and to join your many distinguished friends from the fields of sports, government and the arts who are honouring you on this special occasion.

For a man to equal what you have achieved in weightlifting — to lift 240 pounds one-handed and to raise 1300 pounds with your calf muscles — would be a worthy achievement of a lifetime of practice. The fact that you have done it after only a year of participation in this sport is a miracle.

When we consider your other major achievements in music, poetry, literature and art, together with your important work for peace at the United Nations, it is beyond the imagination.

But we must remember that nothing is impossible if the Spirit is there. This we see in full measure in your life, for you embody and reveal the Spirit of man in your admirable accomplishments.

On behalf of Mrs. Rossides and myself, I want to offer you my sincere best wishes and love on this happy occasion.

Mr. Zenon Rossides Ambassador of Cyprus to the United Nations


From the time I first came here to the United Nations, I have been following with great interest and excitement Sri Chinmoy’s development, his progress and success in his physical accomplishments. This is matched only by his great spiritual power.

A healthy mind in a healthy body with a joyful spirit is the principle that he seems to advocate.

Please congratulate him for me.

Dr. Lamuel A. Stanislaus Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations


My heartiest congratulations! We are very proud of your achievements. A champion runner and now a champion weightlifter. Really fantastic!

Mr. Vinay K. Verma Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


I would like to congratulate Sri Chinmoy for his achievement and I wish him success. We would suggest that other people, including his followers, his family and all peoples would follow suit in his philosophy and principles.

Mr. Tin Pe Deputy Permanent Representative of Burma to the United Nations


Congratulations to Sri Chinmoy on his great feat. We are astounded by his spiritual as well as his physical strength.

Mr. Anwarul Karim Chowdhury Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations


Certificates of Commendation

Sri Chinmoy’s unparalleled weightlifting achievements, accomplished at the age of 54 and at a body weight below 160 pounds, have been officially recognised by a number of different athletic associations. These include the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, the National Masters Committee of the U.S. Weightlifting Federation and the British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association.

Their certificates of commendation and merit, reproduced on the following pages, testify to the profound impact that Sri Chinmoy’s strength feats have had on the weightlifting world.

Photograph after lifting

After the lift, Sri Chinmoy gets joy from comparing the huge pile of weights to his own height.


Amateur Athletic Union

of the United States

Certificate of Appreciation

Is Awarded to Sri Chinmoy

Given at Special Recognition this 31 day of March 1986

Dear Sri:

On behalf of the AAU Physique Committee we would like to congratulate you on your outstanding one-handed lift.

We wish you more success in the future. It is a tribute to know you.

Yours faithfully,

Cliff Sawyer AAU Physique Chairman


Middle Atlantic Association

Amateur Athletic Union, Inc.


I hereby commend Sri Chinmoy for his noteworthy achievement in lifting 200 pounds with one arm at the bodyweight of 157 pounds on March 6, 1986 at 5:40 a.m.

LIFT One arm dumbbell lift WEIGHT OF LIFT 200 lbs

BODY WEIGHT 157 lbs. DATE OF LIFT March 6, 1986

DATE OF BIRTH August 27, 1931 PLACE OF BIRTH Chittagong, India

International Referee's Note:

This lift is a most impressive performance since the athlete is 54 years of age.

Dave Mayor AAU Registration Chairman United States Weightlifting Federation International Referee Class I Bodybuilding Hall of Fame Administrator

4. British Amateur Weightlifters Association

All-Round Award Scheme Diploma of Achievement

This certificate is awarded to record the meritorious performance of

Sri Chinmoy

in completing the following feat(s) to the satisfaction of our duly elected officers:

A right hand side press overhead off stands of 200lb at a bodyweight of 157lb

RJ Smith Registrar

March 1986


National Masters’ Record Weightlifting

Be it known that

Sri Chinmoy

Lifting 75.0kg class of the 50-54 age group

Established a National Masters’ Record of 231.3-lb Right-Hand Dumbbell Press


Bill Clark


Metropolitan Weightlifting Committee of The United States Weightlifting Federation


This is to certify that SRI CHINMOY

has lifted 200 pounds with one arm from a vertical stand on March 6, 1986 at 5:40 AM and on at least four consecutive times at two day intervals following.

Lift: One Hand Dumbbell Press Weight: 200 lbs (90.7 kg)

Bodyweight: 157 lbs Class: 75 kg

Date of Birth: 8_27_31 Place of Birth: Chittagong, India

Referee’s note: I must say emphatically that the lift impressed me greatly. It is one of the most impressive feats I’ve seen in my over 40 years of weightlifting.

Sing Stanley Bailey Class IA Referee

Metropolitan Weightlifting Committee of the United States Weightlifting Federation (Registration Chairman)


Washington State Weight-lifting Committee Of The United States Weightlifting Federation


I hereby certify that SRI CHINMOY

has successfully lifted 200-pounds with one arm using a one-arm press from a vertical stand. The first of such lifts was performed on March 6, 1986.

Lift: One-Hand Dumbbell Press

Weight lifted: 200 lbs (90.7 kg)

Bodyweight: I57 lbs

Weight class: 75 kg

Age at time of lift: 54

Date of Birth: 8_27_31

Place of birth: Chittagong, India

Pounds lifted over body weight — 43 lbs

President’s note: I have never heard of anybody else in the world lifting this much weight over body weight for this lift. It should be placed in the Guinness Book of Records every bit as much as Paul Anderson’s record is in the Guinness Book.

Glenn Derwin President Washington State Weightlifting Committee of the United States Weightlifting Federation


Calpian Weightlifting Club

Certificate of meritorious achievement

I have observed SRI CHINMOY lift 200 pounds overhead with one arm on videotape, using a one-hand dumbbell press from a vertical stand. I wish to recognise this highly meritorious achievement which was first accomplished on March 6, 1986.

At the time of the lift, Sri Chinmoy was 54 years of age and weighed 157 pounds. (He was born on 8_27_31 in Chittagong, India.)

Referee's note: Through meditation and the application of internal power, Sri Chinmoy has once again expanded the so-called "limits" of human potential. I applaud his feat and feel it places him among the strongest and most amazing individuals I have ever seen.

John T. Thrush

Region V Coach (Washington,

Oregon, Idaho, Alaska),

National Referee and past President of Washington

State Committee of the United States Weightlifting Federation


New Jersey Physique Committee of the N.P.C., Inc.

Certificate of Recognition and Merit

I hereby certify that SRI CHINMOY has successfully lifted 200-pounds with one-arm using a one-arm press from a vertical stand. The lift first occurred on March 6, 1986 at 5:40 AM and has since been repeated on at least ten occasions.

Sri Chinmoy’s lift was completed at a bodyweight of 157 pounds and age of 54 years (born August 27, 1931 in Chittagong, India).

I wish to add that a 200-pound lift with one hand is an absolutely remarkable feat. Even lifting 200 pounds with two hands is a superb feat. It is Sri Chinmoy’s unparalleled spiritual power that is allowing him to harness his physical to accomplish this lift

Gus Salerno New Jersey State Director National Physique Committee


Self-transcendence is perfection at a particular stage.

— Sri Chinmoy

Selected newspaper articles

Between 21 and 26 June 1986, Sri Chinmoy’s 240-pound one-arm press, his 1300-pound calf-raise and his anniversary celebration followed quickly upon each other’s heels. A number of newspapers picked up on the momentum that was being generated and carried stories, features and photographs relating to these events. Of particular interest to journalists was the way in which Sri Chinmoy revealed how the spiritual can work through the body and how the body can be receptive to this spiritual power.


A Spiritual Lifter

A Spiritual Lifter

Chinmoy uses meditation to heave 1,300 pounds

By Damian Cristodero

Sri Chinmoy sat quietly during a recent interview, answering questions in soft, polite tones, and only opening his eyes occasionally. But as the conversation turned to his childhood, his eyes opened slowly and he cracked a wide grin.

"I was an active and dynamic child,” said the spiritualist and physical fitness advocate. "You could say that everybody in my family, all my brothers and sisters, were very calm and quiet. In that sense I was very mischievous. I used to break things and my parents said if I entered into a room, it was like a holocaust.”

It is hard to imagine.

Chinmoy was born in Chittagong, in what is now Bangladesh, and now lives in Jamaica, Queens. In addition to being his family’s No. 1 mischief-maker, Chinmoy was the only member who enjoyed athletics. Even after entering the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry, India, at the age of 12 to develop his apparent spiritual awareness, his love of sports continued. "Running, jumping, throwing, any kind of physical activity,” Chinmoy said.

Today, the name Sri Chinmoy is known widely in fitness circles around the world and to the thousands of amateur runners in the New York City area. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team sponsors more than 500 races a year worldwide, including the 1,000-mile ultra marathon in Queens.

Chinmoy himself was forced to give up running after injuring his right leg in a running accident last year. As an alternative, he turned to weightlifting and, at 5-7, 159 pounds, the 54-year-old is well-conditioned. When wearing his robes, however, Chinmoy looks almost meek, though his supporters would say peaceful.

Still, Chinmoy said he can support 240 pounds over his head with his right arm in an overhead lift — which starts with the weight slightly higher than shoulder level — and he said he lifted 1,300 pounds in a standing calf-raise last Monday. Both lifts are on videotape and were shown Wednesday during an affair in Queens celebrating Chinmoy's first anniversary as a weightlifter.

Dr. Terry Todd, a physical education instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, who has written five books on strength and strength training, attended the gathering and said he has seen videotapes of both lifts. Todd made it clear that there are others who could also accomplish that lift, but given Chinmoy’s height, weight and that he had been weightlifting for only a year, supporting 240 pounds was extraordinary. "Just to support it,” he said. "He’s holding it free. It’s like holding up a pro linebacker.”

Jim Smith, the British Amateur Weightlifting Association Registrar of All-Around Lifts, who also saw the videotape at the gathering, said: "The chief thing really is, regardless of the manner in which it is performed, the final result is that a man of 160 pounds and 54 years is holding a weight of 240 pounds overhead. There can’t be too many men in the world of any weight and that age who can support that weight. Terry Todd, Bill Pearl [a five-time professional Mr. Universe who was also at the gathering] and I all agree, whichever way you look at it, the final result is an absolutely tremendous feat.”

Todd said there is no yardstick to measure Chinmoy’s calf-raise because "nobody’s doing it” as a strength test. Todd, who has a Ph.D. in sports history, said bodybuilders do the exercise with lighter weights and higher repetitions to increase calf size. He added, "I’m pretty convinced that that’s higher than anybody has ever tried before, and I hear about such odd things and I’ve never heard about that.”

For the calf-raise, Chinmoy said he trained only nine days during a three-week period on the calf-raise machine. His strength, he said, comes from an inner power brought to the fore by deep meditation.

"I totally depend on God’s grace,” Chinmoy said. "My capacity is next to nothing, and I also know that no human being can achieve anything great or significant unless he has God’s grace. I know my strength is very limited, but from my prayer life and meditational life I get inspiration and the capacity to do these things.”

He uses that same principle during his "meditations for peace,” which he has conducted at the United Nations since 1970 after an invitation by U.N. staff members. He was encouraged to continue the practice by then Secretary General U Thant, said Dhruva Hein, who helps handle Chinmoy’s public relations. Chinmoy, who earlier in the year concluded a worldwide peace concert series in which he played more than a dozen instruments and performed his own compositions, holds the hour-long sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Last Tuesday’s session was attended by approximately 40 people. "We are offering good thoughts, good will to the body, the vital mind, heart and soul of the United Nations,” Chinmoy said after the session. "I am not a politician, I am not a diplomat, but I am a lover of God. So I am praying to God to grant peace to all the workers, right from the secretary general to the general staff so that everybody can have peace. And this peace will inundate from here the length and breadth of the world.”

Chinmoy does not charge a fee for his services and his Sri Chinmoy Center in Queens survives on the sales of his 700 books and more than 30 tape recordings on spirituality. He has approximately 1,100 students worldwide, said Hein, who is a program coordinator in a United Nations office that deals with developing countries.

But while meditation is the key to Chinmoy's quest, he said he found out long ago that physical fitness is one key to good meditation. "If you have a severe headache or a stomach upset or something, or you have caught a cold, how can you meditate? If you have good health you will have no obstruction. Someone who wants to pray and meditate but is not in good shape, will have difficulties,” Chinmoy said.

His day begins at approximately 2 a.m. after only two hours sleep. For 60 to 90 minutes, Chinmoy, a vegetarian, will meditate, followed by a rigorous exercise program. Practice on his musical instruments is next, sometimes followed by two or three hours of tennis.

Chinmoy has a following. Kevin Keefe of Seaford, L.I., who works for UNICEF, has run in the New York City Marathon, and swam the English Channel in September to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the United Nations. Keefe, who played basketball at Seaford High School, said he had long ago shunned organised sports because they were too aggressive. Now, he said, athletics and meditation are intertwined. "As I got into it I saw a change in myself. I saw things like humility from doing endurance events,” said Keefe, who added that while in college at the University of Dayton, running a mile was a huge achievement. "And the experience I got from watching Sri Chinmoy doing it. If I hadn’t met someone like that I would never have been able to put [athletics and meditation] together.”

The combination also has helped him on the job at the U.N. "I think my colleagues see it. It’s like a slow growth type of thing, but it's incremental progress. I’m able to handle things a lot more positively than I was before,” Keefe said.

That is the essence of Chinmoy’s philosophy. "Anything that is good we shall try to increase and transcend ourselves. Anything that is bad we shall try to decrease and diminish,” he said.

Said Todd: "I think that what he’s doing is his way. The way he knows to tap into the type of well springs you have to. My guess is he’s a lot more interested in moving past what he can do than in moving past what others can do.”

For Chinmoy, this is certain: "If I did not have the capacity from my prayer life and meditation,” he said, "I don’t think I would lift more than 60 pounds.”


Soulful homages

Sri Chinmoy paid homage to each of his guests, as well as to others who joined the celebration in spirit, by composing a song about them. It was a time-honoured way of immortalising the achievements of such distinguished individuals and of offering his gratitude for their encouragement and inspiration.

Bill Pearl

Bill Pearl, Bill Pearl, Bill Pearl, Bill!
Body builders’ 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.

Judy Pearl

Judy Pearl, oneness-Bill,
Judy Pearl, oneness-skill!
Perfection-tree, fulness-flower,
Beckoning smile, grandeur-tower!

Terry Todd

Terry Todd, Terry Todd, Terry Todd, Terry Todd!
The choicest child of the Power-God.
Giant in mind, Giant in heart, Giant in life,
Dauntless you smashed the pride of ignorance-knife.
Terry Todd, Terry Todd, Terry Todd, Terry!
Power-light, power-height, power-blossom-cherry.

Jan Todd

Jan Todd, Jan Todd, Jan Todd, Jan!
The Supreme Lord’s pioneer vision-plan.
Within, champion light-giver,
Without, champion power-lifter.
Jan, Jan, Jan, Jan Todd, Jan!
The whole world is your fan.

James Smith

Brother Jim, Friend James, Mister Smith,
To you I offer my gratitude-wreath.
O body-strength, O mind-light, O heart-love,
You are English sky’s fondness-dove.
Goodness inner life, greatness outer life;
Registrar! In our oneness-glow I see your Summit-Star.


Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl!
Victory-banners great and high
Your body and soul powerfully hurl.
Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl!
We love your confidence-sky.
America’s everest-choice,
Track and field’s Olympian voice.

Al Oerter

Al Oerter, Al Oerter, Al Oerter, Al Oerter!
Only with Olympic crowns you barter.
Birthless, deathless discus, Olympian King!
Heaven’s blue Eye, earth’s green heart in you sing.

Cathy Oerter

Cathy Oerter, Cathy Oerter, long jumper, long!
Our hearts proudly sing your glory’s song.
Long jump blazing,
Distance amazing!
O great athlete, longer jumper, long,
All our admiration-eyes throng!

Cliff Sawyer

Cliff Sawyer, Cliff Sawyer, Cliff Sawyer, Cliff!
A compassion-heart of oneness-belief.
President A.A.U. Physique, President!
Loftiest in the body-building enlightenment.


/Narada narada brahma manasha putra/ /Dhara adharar ekatar setu sutra/ /Trikal darshi trilokagya vedagya tapashwi/ /Paramer jyoti pranatijanai maharshi/

Inspired words and soulful music

Sri Chinmoy selected some striking words from the writings of his guests and set them to music, blending his exquisite harmonies with the emotions and realisations the words embody. These songs, a sweet surprise for the guests, were performed at the opening ceremony by a choir of Sri Chinmoy’s students.


He is really something!
He always likes to compete
With himself and
Transcend himself.

God smiles with joy
Because he competes
With himself.
God cries with joy
Because he does really
Transcend himself.

— Sri Chinmoy

My physical fitness career

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

My physical fitness career has been one series of goals after another.

If you want to be a champion

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

If you want to be a champion, you must act like a champion.

In time the physique will diminish

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

In time the physique will diminish, but it is the overall impact you have made on people that causes them to remember you.

Always try to give more

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

Always try to give more than you hope to receive. And this attitude alone will raise you to become a champion in your own right.

Never complain about a decision

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

Never complain about a decision you feel was unfavourable, but instead be the first to congratulate the winners. Avoid appearing that you are more involved with yourself than your fellow human beings.


Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

Remember, people you offend today, young or old, could sit in judgement of you tomorrow.

Don't wait for someone

Words by Bill Pearl Music by Sri Chinmoy

Don’t wait for someone to put the first foot forward. You put the foot forward.

'A sound mind in a sound body'

Words by Terry Todd Music by Sri Chinmoy

‘A sound mind in a sound body’ is apparently a lot closer to the truth than many had previously thought.

Boredom kills more fitness programmes

Words by Terry Todd Music by Sri Chinmoy

Boredom kills more fitness programmes than any other villain.

We hope you have found a way

Words by Terry Todd Music by Sri Chinmoy

We hope you have found a way, as we have done, to make training an integral part of your life.

We can fortify ourselves

Words by Terry Todd Music by Sri Chinmoy

We can fortify ourselves with exercise against the guerrilla warfare waged on our bodies by the passing years.

I feel I can run with anybody

Words by Carl Lewis Music by Sri Chinraoy

I feel I can run with anybody and jump with anybody.

I expect big things

Words by Carl Lewis Music by Sri Chinmoy

I expect big things from myself.

What other people call pressure

Words by Carl Lewis Music by Sri Chinmoy

What other people call pressure, I call inspiration.

If you are at your best

Words by Al Oerter Music by Sri Chinmoy

If you are at your best, what more can anyone ask of you?

What more can you ask of yourself?

I find the journey more fascinating

Words by Al Oerter Music by Sri Chinmoy

I find the journey more fascinating than the attainment of any goal. Don’t tell me how this is all going to end.

The consequences of aging

Words by Al Oerter Music by Sri Chinmoy

I really don’t know what the consequences of aging would be. It would be interesting to find out.


Inner power and outer strength

In his various poems, lectures and discussions, Sri Chinmoy unfolds his vision of the body and the soul working together in harmony. When the beauty, power and poise of the inner life are reflected in our outer physical natures, then it is possible to achieve integral perfection. Sport is dedicated action for the Supreme. It is an expression of our aspiration to found a dynamic and fulfilling life here on earth while manifesting the Supreme in His own Way.


Sri Chinmoy beneath an archway built of his literary works to date. They number in excess of 700 books of poems, lectures, stories, plays and discussions on spiritual themes.


Spirit and matter must go together. The inner life of aspiration and the outer life of manifestation must go together. Otherwise, spirit will remain all pie-in-the-sky and earth will remain all ignorance and inconscience. What I have done in weightlifting offers a golden opportunity for people who remain only in the body and do not care for the spiritual to see what can be done on the physical plane by virtue of the spiritual. And people who have spiritual awareness, who practise the prayer and meditation-life, will see how spirituality can become part and parcel of physical activity.


In terms of my heart’s aspiration-sea, my weightlifting is like a drop in the sea. Right now, the world cares more for the drop than the sea. But if people value the drop, immediately they will ask the question, “Where does the drop come from?” Then they will find out about the sea. If the world cannot appreciate the Vastness, at least it can start with the smallness and from there it can go to the Vastness.


Be conscious of your outer strength. You will be divinely powerful. Be conscious of your inner strength. You will be supremely peaceful.


Great champions are of the opinion that 70 to 75 per cent of weightlifting is mental preparation. But in my case, 100 per cent is due to God’s Grace and God’s Compassion. Without my prayer-life and meditation-life, I am sure I could not lift more than 60 pounds.


I totally depend on God’s Grace. My capacity is next to nothing, and I also know that no human being can achieve anything great or significant unless he has God’s Grace. I know my strength is very limited, but from my prayer-life and meditation-life I get the inspiration and capacity to do these things.


Every day I am working to achieve my goal. Similarly, in the spiritual life you have to be very regular in order to make progress. How regularly I am trying to lift up heavy weights, but how difficult it is for me! Similarly, for you to make an inch of inner progress is very difficult. I fully realise how difficult it is for you to make spiritual progress. But you have the infinite Grace of the Supreme. So do not give up. In order to reach your goal, be regular, be determined, be cheerful!


Of late I have started lifting weights in accordance with the express Will of my Inner Pilot. If this new adventure of mine can serve as inspiration-light to bodybuilders and weightlifters, I shall be amply rewarded.


Before I train or compete, I offer a few moments of gratitude to my Beloved Supreme for inspiring me to become an athlete. If we offer our gratitude, we increase our receptivity to God. This increase in receptivity automatically increases our athletic capacity.


Before doing sports you can meditate most powerfully to make the mind calm and quiet so that negative thoughts do not enter. Once negative thoughts occupy the mind, they create tension, and this makes you lose all your power of concentration.


Awareness is strength.
Strength is unity.
Unity is the beauty of Infinity
And the reality of Immortality.


The physical world is not the only world. The inner world is as real as the physical world. If you are not getting enough joy from your training on the physical plane, then you can enter into the inner world and meditate. You can also bring forward capacity from the inner world into the outer world. First imagine that you are performing beyond your physical capacity; then bring that mental capacity to the physical plane and turn your imagination into reality.


With our imagination-power we can challenge the tricky mind and win. We weaken ourselves by imagining that we are weak. Again, we can strengthen ourselves by imagining that we are strong. We often use imagination in a wrong direction. But instead of letting imagination take us backwards, we should use it to take us forward toward our goals.


Not by hook or by crook
But by legitimate means,
God wants us to transcend ourselves.


To me,
Patience is another name
For strength,
Strength is another name
For perfection,
Perfection is another name
For oneness,
And oneness is fulfilled satisfaction.


If you have a goal, then you are bound to reach that goal sooner or later at God’s choice Hour. So many times I tried and failed to lift heavy weights. But because I did not give up, finally I succeeded. The Supreme within me gave me the necessary perseverance and determination and finally, by His infinite Grace, I succeeded. So never be discouraged, never be discouraged in the spiritual life. The supreme Grace of our Beloved Supreme is also there for you. Surrender only to God’s Will and not to ignorance-forces or hostile forces. Since it is God’s Will that you are surrendering to, you shall continue and continue until, through His infinite Grace, you have reached your goal. And once you reach your goal, it is up to God to set for you a new goal.


Do not give up, do not give up! Continue, continue! The Goal is ahead of you. If you do not give up, you are bound to reach your destined Goal.


Go beyond yourself.
Ecstasy-sky is all ready
To receive you.


You have to compete only with your own capacity.


Convince yourself that you are not the competitor, but that Someone else is competing in and through you. This is what I do. I try to become an instrument and make myself feel that God is performing in and through me.


Beloved Lord Supreme,
Do You approve of
My self-transcendence song?

“My son, not only do I approve
But it is I who will
Sing in you,
Sing through you
My Eternity’s Vision-Reality Song.”


Physical energy has only one source, and that source is spiritual energy. As long as we remain conscious only of the body, we are not aware of this. But when we go deep within through meditation, we see that spiritual energy is the source of physical, vital and mental energy.


The source of power is infinitely greater than the physical strength that any human being can have.


If the physical world becomes receptive and accepts soulfully and devotedly the offering of the spiritual world, then the physical world is in no way inferior to the spiritual world. If the giver gives with utmost soulfulness and the receiver receives with utmost devotion, from the spiritual point of view the giver and the receiver are on the same plane. It is like the right hand giving to the left hand; they are both part and parcel of the same reality.


I am trying to do something new in God’s creation. Even today spirituality shuns physical activities. Not only in India but even in the West I can spiritually and occultly see that they are like the North Pole and South Pole. But this is absurdity on the face of it. The inner divinity must come forward to blossom into the outer beauty. Outer beauty is strength or, let us call it physical fitness. For us, remaining in the Himalayan caves can never be the answer. Nor is it our goal to be in the larger-than-the-largest palace. The spiritual life is not the life of austerity, and it is not the life of pleasure; it is the life of inner aspiration and outer dedication. Inner discipline and outer determination must go together. Prayer-life, concentration-life and meditation-life are our inner meal. Regularity, punctuality and determination are our outer meal. We need nourishment in both our inner life and our outer life.


While playing sports, do not think of yourself as twenty-five or thirty years old. Feel that you are seven years old. At the age of six or seven, a child does not sit; he just runs here and there with such enthusiasm. So feel in your heart the enthusiasm of a young child and identify yourself with the Source of his enthusiasm.


Every day renew your enthusiasm. If you have been stumbling for years and years, then try to get up. If you are now walking, try to walk faster. If you are running, try to run faster. But do not think of giving up. We are all divine warriors. We shall fight against ignorance, and ours will be the goal!


In the spiritual life there is no such thing as failure. We may fail, we may descend, we may have the so-called outer experience of failure. But this is not the real failure. The real failure is only when we give up and say: “This is an impossible task; no matter how many times I try, I fail.” If I entertain this wrong feeling and give up, then I have accepted failure and become failure itself. I shall fail only when I give up — never, never before!


Not to give up under any circumstances should be the motto of our life: “I shall try again and again, and I am bound to succeed. There will be obstacles, but I have to defy the obstacles.”


God is all ready to grant you His indomitable Strength-Delight.


The strength of my sound-life
Surrenders to the power of my silence-life.
The power of my silence-life
Surrenders to the Vision-Eye of my Lord’s Compassion-Heart.
My Lord’s Compassion-Heart is now telling me,
“My child, my Immortality’s Dream-child,
Speed up!
The Goal is within your easy reach.
The Goal is all yours.
You and My Eternity’s Liberation-Light
Will before long be transformed into
My Infinity’s Absolute Satisfaction-Delight.”

— Sri Chinmoy

Photograph — Sri Chinmoy


Photograph Sri Chinmoy and Bill Pearl

Sri Chinmoy and Bill Pearl are all smiles at the celebration.

Photography Sri Chinmoy with Al Oerter and Carl Lewis (Sudhahota)

Sri Chinmoy with two unparalleled Olympians: Al Oerter and Carl Lewis (Sudhahota), both winners of four gold medals.