Lifting Up The World With a Oneness-Heart

Return to the table of contents


Cover photo

Editor's preface

On 3 November 1988 Sri Chinmoy completed his great project of lifting 700 individuals overhead with one arm. Celebrations were planned for 7 November at the tennis court in Jamaica, New York, where most of these lifts had taken place.

Sri Chinmoy’s students arrived on that day only to discover his power rack set up once more for lifting. This time, however, it was Sri Chinmoy who stepped on the scales to be weighed in.

His dream was to lift his own body weight 100 times in continuous sequence, alternating left and right arms, as had been his pattern since the very beginning of this programme.

Sri Chinmoy’s body weight was 155 ½ pounds. In addition to the metal weights loaded onto the platform was a lifesise wooden cut-out of Sri Chinmoy. Where standard plates sometimes fail to carry the full impact of their weight to an audience, this vivid representation of Sri Chinmoy’s body weight emphasised the magnitude of his undertaking.

At 10:08 a.m. Sri Chinmoy began to lift. After each series of twenty, he took a short break to change his Indian garments. Their luminous colours are reflected in the division of pages within this book.

Barely sixty-eight minutes had passed before Sri Chinmoy stood, holding the weight aloft for the hundredth time. His dream had been realised within the narrow compass of earthly time. Using the powerful symbolism of lifting up his own weight, Sri Chinmoy had brought before our eyes the mystic meeting-place of man’s limited outer strength and the Supreme’s infinite Power. And he had revealed, beyond all shadow of doubt, that when the Highest takes up the body as its instrument, no man-made limitation, physical or mental, can remain unchallenged.

Photograph — before lifting

Moments before embarking on his 100-lift adventure, Sri Chinmoy invokes the Grace and Compassion of his Beloved Supreme.


This book contains selected extracts from Sri Chinmoy’s published lectures, poetry, daily meditations, and questions and answers during the 25-year period that he has resided in the United States.

Cover photo: Sri Chinmoy lifts a replica of the world at the celebrations concluding his “Lifting Up the World” programme on 7 November 1988.

Photograph — Sri Chinmoy weighs himself

Before embarking on his weightlifting adventure, Sri Chinmoy weighs himself to determine his exact body weight. It was 155 ½ pounds.

Register of statistics

Date: 7 November 1988

Sri Chinmoy’s body weight: 155 ½ pounds

Loading of platform:

Platform weight: 13 pounds

Metal plates and wooden cut-out: 142 ½ pounds

Total: 155 ½ pounds

Starting time: 10:08:21 a.m.

Finishing time: 11:16:44 a.m.

Total elapsed time: 1:08:23

Average time per lift: 41.03 seconds

Number of lifts per arm: 50 left arm, 50 right arm

Performance study:

Sri Chinmoy performed his lifts in five sets of 20 each. After each set, he took a short break. Following are the set times:

Set 1 Lifts 1-20 7 minutes 47 seconds

Set 2 Lifts 21-40 5 minutes 26 seconds

Set 3 Lifts 41-60 4 minutes 26 seconds

Set 4 Lifts 61-80 4 minutes 57 seconds

Set 5 Lifts 81-100 7 minutes 11 seconds

Total of actual lifting time: 29 minutes 47 seconds

Average per lift of actual lifting time: 17.87 seconds

Selected writings of Sri Chinmoy


My immediate goal is to lift 700 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.

LUW 1. 30 October 1988. Five days prior to reaching the goal of lifting 700 individuals overhead


I am trying to reach people in various walks of life who have inspired others — in sports, in literature, in science and in politics. Since they have inspired many people, I am trying with my limited capacity to encourage and inspire them. When someone does something great, he is cheered by his colleagues. They congratulate him. Here also I am trying to congratulate them with my prayerful meditation and inner oneness with them. I just lift them up to show my deepest appreciation of their achievements.

LUW 2. Sri Chinmoy talking about his "Lifting Up the World" programme. 21 October 1988


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. I do this in the spirit of my soulful and devoted service to humanity.


Oneness, oneness, oneness! If we think of oneness before we do something, if we can maintain this feeling of oneness while we are acting and also at the end of our action, then there will always be peace. From the beginning to the end, we have to sing the song of oneness.


Physical force does not and cannot equal the force of the heart’s oneness.


It is individuals who are responsible not only for their own lives but also for their countries and also for the entire world. It is from individuals that the message-light of inner strength can and will enter into nations. And, when oneness-light-strength enters into the nations, there will be no more war. It will all be oneness-song.


I feel that there shall come a time in the near future when the entire world will be inundated with peace and this world of ours will become a oneness-world-family-home.


If we have peace of mind, then we develop inner strength. And if we have inner strength, then we shall not quarrel and fight, we shall not declare war. Inner strength helps us at every moment to become good human beings. My prayer-life is not meant for weightlifting, far from it. I pray and meditate in order to become a good person. If I can become a good person, then I can inspire you to become a good person and you will be able to inspire others. This is how we will go, from the one to the many, from the individual to the collective.


We talk about peace, but talking is not the answer. The embodiment of peace is the answer. The revelation of peace is the answer. The offering of peace to the entire world is the answer. First we have to embody peace, and then we have to reveal and offer peace to the world at large. This is what I am trying to do with my weightlifting.


No price is too great to pay for inner peace. Peace is the harmonious control of life. It is vibrant with life-energy. It is a power that easily transcends all our worldly knowledge. Yet it is not separate from our earthly existence. If we open the right avenues within, this peace can be felt here and now.


In great power, there is quietude.


Through meditation we can find peace, and once we have peace of mind, impossibility cannot exist for us. Our Lord Supreme will then be able to manifest Himself in and through us all the time, so there will be no such thing as impossibility in our life. If we pray and meditate soulfully, then we can transcend all our barriers — mental and otherwise.


Meditation speaks. It speaks in silence. It reveals. It reveals to the aspirant that matter and spirit are one, quantity and quality are one, the immanent and the transcendent are one.


Our absolute freedom will come into existence from the spirit. But matter giant breast will be the field of our full manifestation.


Matter is the pride of the West. Spirit is the pride of the East. Neither of the two can possess a complete satisfaction, for the former is in the dark about the potentialities of the spirit, and the latter about the cogency of matter. There can be no abiding happiness until matter and spirit are amalgamated into one reality.


The East has control of spirit. The West has control of matter. Spirit is creative, conscious existence. What is matter? It is anything but lifeless, mechanical substance. Matter is vibrant energy which deliberately hides within itself life and consciousness.


We can draw upon the cosmic energy by entering into our deeper consciousness, the all-pervading consciousness, which is here, there, everywhere. It is the inmost consciousness that touches the springs of the cosmic energy. If we can have a free access to our inmost consciousness, the cosmic energy is bound to come to the fore. If you go deep within, it comes like a spring, a never-failing spring. And when it comes, it permeates the whole body.


The inner world has to be a source of inspiration to the outer world. They should not be like opposite poles — North Pole and South Pole. No, they have to be united. The body and the soul must go together.


I know that I have not done it. Somebody else has done it and that person is God, my Inner Pilot. Out of His infinite Compassion and Bounty He has acted in and through me. It is one hundred per cent God’s Grace.


The inner life and the outer life must go together. Whatever we have within, we manifest in our outer life. It may be undivine qualities, such as anxieties, worries or insecurities. Again, if we pray and meditate early in the morning to become good citizens of the world, then we can express these divine feelings in our outer life. This is how we can establish a oneness-family.


The inner life and the outer life can be fully harmonised and they can go side by side, like two complementary souls.


I know it is not my own capacity that is lifting. It is my Beloved Supreme who is having an experience in and through my physical body.


I would like to tell the world not to neglect the body-consciousness. God has given us the body. The body is the temple, and the heart is the shrine where the deity within resides. If we do not pay the necessary attention to the body, then the temple will be weak or defective. Without a fit temple, how can you help the presiding deity inside? So I feel that the body must be kept fit.


The fitness of the body is of paramount importance in all walks of life. To be a strong person in humanity’s life, the fulness of the soul must complete God’s Vision in the oneness-song of Heaven’s beauty and earth’s purity.


The physical body has to become a pure and perfect instrument of the spirit. I am doing these lifts with the physical body, but the strength and power are coming from within — from an inner source.


I pray and meditate and concentrate and, when I feel that I am inwardly energised, I try to lift. Before that I don’t do it because I feel I owe everything to my Source, which is my inner guidance. So I have to first enter into my Source for inspiration, aspiration, guidance and protection.


What I wish to show by these feats of strength is that prayer and meditation can definitely increase one’s outer capacities. I hope that by doing this I will be able to inspire many people to pray and meditate sincerely as part of their regular daily routine.


From my concentration, prayer and meditation I am able to bring forward inner strength, inner power, and use that power to increase my outer strength.


Prayer and meditation are my inner secret and my outer secret.


Our prayer-life reminds us of the infinite capacities that we have deep within us.


On the strength of my prayer and meditation, I try to enter into the material consciousness and become part and parcel of the weights that I lift.


I did not choose to start lifting weights. If one prays and meditates sincerely, somebody within him talks to him and tells him what to do and what not to do. You use the term “God”; I say my “Inner Pilot”. In 1985, when I was praying and meditating, that somebody within me — you can call it an inner voice or a source of inspiration — asked me to start weightlifting. That is why I am doing it.


I am trying to inspire people who are not praying and meditating. I am telling them that everybody has a vital, everybody has a mind, everybody has a heart, everybody has a soul. But they are not utilising these members of their inner family the way I do. Otherwise, if I had to depend entirely on the physical, I could do next to nothing. My biceps are not even 14 inches, whereas the biceps of other weightlifters are 21 or 22 inches. I can lift as much as I do because I am taking help from the strength within me. My friends — the vital, mind, heart and soul — are helping me from within. They are my inner friends. So I am telling those people who are not yet aware of the inner life that inner strength is something real. They will be able to increase their capacity tremendously if they also take help from their inner friends.


If one can control the mind while bodybuilding, then the body can get tremendous help from the mind and the intuitive faculties. A strong mind is a mind that has conquered or can easily conquer the power of negative forces when they come to assail it. In order to have a mind that can be of real service to mankind, a mind that is illumined, one has to enter into the spiritual life. For the spiritual life has the secret of secrets to release the mind from the meshes of limitations and the prison-cell of ignorance-night.


The physical mind has to be transcended by inner prayer. When you can transcend the limitations of the mind, at every moment you can perform so-called miracles. In the inner world, however, there are no such things as miracles. They exist there as realities. We bring them down into the material world to prove that there is something called inner power.


Because of our limited mind, because of our doubting mind, because of our suspicious mind, we have limited ourselves and we always think that we cannot go farther, deeper or higher. We are stationed at one place. There is no hope for us to come out of this mental prison. But no, we can come out on the strength of our prayer and meditation and fly in the sky of Infinity.


Sometimes there is no logic behind my performances. But again, inner inspiration is such that it does not correspond to outer reasoning. Many, many things I have done which my physical mind cannot believe. When I look at the weight, I am frightened to death. But then again, when I concentrate, I am not afraid of it.


The concentration of the seeker-weightlifter
Most speedily invokes the soul of the goal
And says:
“Goal, my goal, you are great,
Divinely great, supremely great;
Therefore I admire you
And I want to be like you.
Lo, I am entering into you, my friend,
To declare our oneness-trance.”


My Lord Supreme,
My Beloved Supreme,
My body’s strength
Comes from my mind’s happiness.
My mind’s happiness
Comes from my heart’s gratitude.
My heart’s gratitude
Comes from my life’s surrender.


Has its weak body.

Has its strong soul.


Determination, my determination!
You are divinely great inside my mind.
You are supremely good inside my heart.
You bring me measureless riches
From the helpless poverty
Of hopeless frustrations.
You smash impossibility’s Everest-pride
For me.
You show me tomorrow’s far-distant God
In the tearing immediacy of today.


My Beloved Supreme,
My happiness is my strength,
And I know, I know,
That Your Compassion-Eye
Is the only fount
Of my happiness-strength.


My Lord Supreme,
My Beloved Supreme Lord,
You are at once God the Power
And God the Compassion.
I need You, my Lord, as God the Power
To destroy the devouring tiger-hunger in me.
I need You, my Lord, as God the Compassion
To liberate the encaged soul-bird in me.


My Lord Supreme,
My sweet Supreme,
My Beloved Supreme,
May my body’s outer success
Soulfully depend on
My heart’s inner progress —
Always and always.


My Lord Supreme,
I know my prayer-life
Is weaker than weakness itself.
But I also know
That Your Compassion-Heart
Is Your Infinity’s Power-Manifestation.


When I lift up heavy weights, I am hoping to inspire others to also bring forward their own inner strength. Inner strength is not my monopoly. Everybody has it. Only it has to be brought forward.


There is a great difference between power and strength. Strength is predominantly in the physical, with the physical and for the physical. Power has a higher and deeper source. But again, when a seeker-lifter or bodybuilder invokes the higher power, it can come and act inside the physical and for the physical. Strength is an outer achievement. Power is an inner achievement. If there is a tug-of-war between strength and power, power will always win, for the source of power is infinitely greater than the physical strength that any human being can have.


When we use the word “strength”, we usually refer to the physical strength, the vital strength, the mental strength or even we go as far as the inner strength. When we use the word “power”, we try to indicate a divine power which is the night-chasing capacity and the soul-fulfilling capacity of one’s inner being. In the spiritual life, it is always better to use the word “power” instead of “strength.” For power, unlike strength, immediately gives us the feeling of an essential aspect of God. Strength is bound in the physical and it can be used only in the physical world. Power, too, can be used in the physical, for the physical, but it is not bound there. Its home is high, very high, in the loftiest regions of the infinite Consciousness.


Determination and strength we need in every sphere of life. In the spiritual life, too, at every moment we need abundant strength, for we have to fight bravely against fear, doubt, worry, jealousy and imperfection. Only a brave aspirant can conquer all his inner enemies.


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


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


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


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.”


Surrender to God’s Will is the highest realisation of our hidden power.


The Joy of the Supreme is my strength.
The Love of the Supreme is my life.
The Inspiration of the Supreme is my salvation.


May the breath
Of spirituality
Become my life’s
Only strength.


Surrender your human will
To God’s omnipotent Will.
Automatically you will strengthen
Your own faint hope and promise-life.


My Lord, do You want me
To be an athlete to please You?
I am all ready.

My Lord, do You want me
To be a bodybuilder to please You?
I am all ready.

My Lord, do You want me
To be a weightlifter to please You?
I am all ready.

My Lord, do You want me
To be a dreamer of the unknown Beauty?
I am all ready.

My Lord, do You want me
To be a lover of the unknowable Divinity?
I am all ready.


I am not competing with anyone. I am simply trying to give people joy. In each new adventure, I am only trying to serve as an inspiration-light.


Impelled by His strongest Compassion, God takes the feeblest man into His Omnipotence.


When man chooses the force of Truth, ever at play in earth’s atmosphere, he aligns himself with evolution’s greatest power.


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 better service to mankind.


The strength of self-transcendence
Comes from the heart’s
Silver faith.


Each high dream
Of man
Is God’s own


Today’s goal has to be transcended tomorrow. Today’s goal is the foundation-stone. Every moment we have to transcend ourselves and, while transcending, deep within us we shall cherish the message of perfection.


Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others, we do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.


The attainment of each goal
Is the very beginning of a greater goal,
More illumining and more fulfilling.


My Lord Supreme,
For immediate success
The human in me cries.
For continuous progress
The divine in me cries.
For the absolute perfection of my life
You, my Lord Supreme, sleeplessly in me cry.


Time is motion.
Life is action.
Love is perfection.


Take another look!
Within you is the perfection-tree with its


Perfection is at once man’s ascending aspiration and God’s descending Concentration.


We are all truly unlimited, if we only dare to try and have faith.


In the spiritual life, there is only one rule, and that is to have faith. Faith is like a muscle: it can be developed. As we develop our muscles if we exercise regularly, we can also exercise and increase our inner capacity. God does not bring anybody into the world without giving him capacity. Through regular practice we can become inwardly strong.


What can be a greater miracle than when a finite human being cries to the Infinite for Peace, Light and Bliss? The finite wants to house the Infinite. The earth-bound consciousness wants to be transformed into the Heaven-free consciousness. The infinite Spirit wants to reveal itself in and through the finite body. Are these not miracles of the highest order?


In this era, we are trying to raise the aspiring consciousness into the Highest and bring the Highest into the lowest of our nature, so the Highest and the lowest can have a meeting ground where the lowest totally transforms itself and becomes fully illumined by the Highest. Then they will work together inseparably.


Each time we reach a goal, that goal is our perfection. Each time we move forward, upward or inward, that is called perfection. So progress is always perfection.

When we start our journey, the first step forward is our goal. As soon as we reach this goal, we achieve perfection. But today’s goal, today’s perfection, is tomorrow’s starting point; and tomorrow’s goal becomes the starting point for the day after tomorrow. Continuous progress is perfection. Self-transcendence is the song of constant inner progress and constant outer progress.


Real perfection is an ever-progressing reality.


Without courage, life is a path without progress.



Every minute inspires me
To attempt.
Every hour perfects me
To ascend.
Every day illumines me
To reach.
In my attempt,
I have come to learn what I can be.
In my ascension,
I have come to learn who I eternally am.
On my arrival,
God and I shall stop playing our age-long game,


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


Enthusiasm in its purest expression is courage.


He lifts cheerfully
And sleeplessly
All his responsibility-weights,
Therefore, God has made him
His Heart’s satisfaction-partner.


The body-world
Likes to be free
From the domination
Of lethargy-monarch.


Turn your wishful thoughts
Into a powerful
Will power.


In the heart of His Vision
In the life of His Manifestation
Every day
God and His Power play together.


Faith is God’s mighty power in man.
Devotion is man’s mighty power in God.
Faith carries man into the Heart of God.
Devotion carries God into the heart of man.


When the highest Will wants to exercise itself in and through the physical body, the physical body must develop receptivity so that, in the outer life, soulfully and devotedly, we can manifest what we have within.


Power is meant
For greatness.
Peace is meant
For goodness.


With our soul’s aspiration and our inner dedication and surrender, we will be able to reach the Supreme Truth. After we realise the Supreme, we have to fulfil the Supreme by manifesting Him on earth. But in order to manifest the Supreme, the Highest, on earth, physical fitness is absolutely necessary. If we want to reveal and manifest Him, the body must be our divine instrument.


Every day earth sinks down
With sadness-weight.
God knows it.
Man does not.


Surrender is God’s God-Power in His own tiny human body.


O my body, you are a gift of the Supreme. Potentiality inexhaustible you have, deep within you. To misunderstand you means to misunderstand the chosen instrument of God.


We can perfect our physical and vital stamina if we know that we are just a tiny well or pond and right ahead of us is a sea of light and delight. We are very tiny, very small, and all unlit, obscure, impure, imperfect. But right in front of us we see a sea of inexhaustible energy, inexhaustible light, everything that is endless. Now what is the next thing to do? We just jump into this sea and claim it as our very own.


Lord, give me the strength
To fall into Your Hands.
Give me the strength
To be pure in mind.
Give me the strength
To be secure in heart.


I am a seeker and a God-lover. God is trying to inspire humanity in a new way in and through me.


First you need the strength
To be faithful in your heart.
Then you need the strength
To be perfect in your life.


Develop heart-power.
Because the power of the mind
Has now become obsolete.


We are all truly unlimited, if we only dare to try and have faith.


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.


Ours is the philosophy of self-transcendence. Based on this philosophy, every day I am trying to become a better instrument of God. So, in my case, there is no such thing as an ultimate goal. As soon as I reach a goal, I know that my Inner Pilot will not allow me to stop. He will always want me to continue. As long as He grants me inspiration, aspiration and dedication, I will continue most faithfully attaining new goals.

Photograph — Sri Chinmoy lifts a replica of the world

Sri Chinmoy lifts a replica of the world at the celebrations concluding his “Lifting Up the World” programme on 7 November 1988.

Photograph — Sri Chinmoy lifting

The birth of a new creation

On 19 November 1988, just 12 days after this awe-inspiring performance, Sri Chinmoy shattered his own record mercilessly. By eliminating his breaks and reducing the transition time between lifts, Sri Chinmoy was able to execute the full one hundred lifts in a rapid sequence, taking more than forty minutes off his previous time. To validate his record attempt, Sri Chinmoy invited Wayne DeMilia and his wife Karen to be present. Mr. DeMilia is Vice-President of the International Federation of Bodybuilders, professional division, and Head Judge of the Mr. and Ms. Olympia competitions, held to be the world’s most prestigious bodybuilding competitions. Karen DeMilia is Executive Assistant to both competitions.

Mr. DeMilia weighed Sri Chinmoy in at 156 pounds. He then certified that the power rack was loaded correctly. It comprised 137 pounds in metal plates and also the wooden cut-out of Sri Chinmoy. The remaining 19 pounds was the weight of the lifting platform. To the left of the platform, a large chronometer was positioned to show the precise elapsed time and, above it, a video screen was set to flash the number of each lift.

Sri Chinmoy concentrated deeply and moved swiftly into action at 2:59 p.m. He completed the first fifty lifts in 10 minutes 30 seconds, alternating left and right arms as he had done on the previous occasion. At the 99th lift, he requested Wayne and Karen DeMilia to stand beside him. He then completed the final two lifts, clocking a staggering 22 minutes 43 seconds for the entire feat.

The urge to transcend his previous record had carried Sri Chinmoy to a new creation, a feat of such might that it seemed to dissolve time itself. Although executed according to strict rules and guidelines, Sri Chinmoy’s act is unfathomable on a human level. It belongs to that realm of deeds which shall forever be fixed in the memory of mankind because they are a direct manifestation of Divine Power and Energy.


Sri Chinmoy begins his record-breaking attempt.


International bodybuilding judge Wayne DeMilia and his wife Karen stand beside Sri Chinmoy as he completes his monumental 100th lift. The photograph captures the total time taken for this feat: 22 minutes 43 seconds.

Statistical comparison of two mighty feats

1st series of 100 lifts

Date: 7 November 1988
Body weight: 155 and half pounds
Total elapsed time: 68 minutes 23 seconds
Overall pace: 41.03 seconds per lift
Total weight lifted: 15,550 pounds
Number of lifts per arm: 50 left/50 right
Number of rest breaks: 4
Location: outdoor tennis court

2nd series of 100 lifts

Date: 19 November 1988
Body weight: 156 pounds
Total elapsed time: 22 minutes 43 seconds
Overall pace: 13.63 seconds per lift
Total weight lifted: 15,600 pounds
Number of lifts per arm: 50 left/50 right
Number of rest breaks: none
Location: indoor public school


On 3 November 1988 Sri Chinmoy reached his goal of lifting 700 individuals overhead with one arm. He celebrated on 7 November by lifting his own body weight 100 times in 68 minutes 23 seconds. This is the complete pictorial record of that occasion. Just 12 days later, on 19 November Sri Chinmoy transcended even this staggering feat, when he repeated his 100 body weight lifts in 22 minutes 43 seconds. Full statistical details and significant photographs of this record-breaking event are also contained in these pages.

Translations of this page: Italian
This book can be cited using cite-key luw