Inner Worlds – Outer Worlds
For anyone associating old age with physical decline, 75 year old Indian luminary Sri Chinmoy is a refreshing dose of inspiration. The prolific author, artist, musician and spiritual leader has recently sent the word 'impossibility' into orbit with a number of age-defying feats of strength that have had world strength athletes gasping for superlatives.
Athletes have long known of the relationship between mind-body-spirit in sporting success – the principle of holistics – and practioners of yoga and meditation have for centuries championed this principle as essential to a balanced life and to happiness. Seventy five year old spiritual master Sri Chinmoy has attracted renewed interest and attention in the mind-body connection with several astonishing recent feats of strength, all attributed to the power of prayer and meditation. He hoisted two huge dumbbells weighing 740lbs overhead from their cradle on a custom-built exercise machine, then went on to wrist-curl – 10 times with each arm – a record 256lb dumbbell.
"Out of all the weightlifters and champion bodybuilders I have seen," responded weightlifting authority and Mr. Olympia Contest Chairman Wayne DeMilia, "Sri Chinmoy is the only one I have ever seen wrist curl a 200lb. dumbbell."
Why does Sri Chinmoy bother to lift these super-heavy weights?
"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... 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."
In explaining the unlimited potential of each and every human being Sri Chinmoy refers often to an 'inner world' accessible through meditation, where power, cosmic energy and inspiration are concealed. We can draw upon this 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," he explains. "If we can have a free access to our inmost consciousness, the cosmic energy is bound to come to the fore. If we go deep within, it comes like a spring, a never-failing spring. And when it comes, it permeates the whole body."
Regarding his recent weightlifting achievements – dedicated simply to inspiring others – Sri Chinmoy distinguishes between strength, which is finite and limited to the physical realm, and power, which has a higher and deeper source. 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 indicate a capacity of one's inner being. For power, unlike strength, immediately gives us the feeling of an essential aspect of God. Its home is high, very high, in the loftiest regions of the infinite Consciousness."
The limited mind and body can thus be transcended through prayer and meditation, and what today may seem like miraculous achievements can become everyday realites as we gain access to these higher and deeper capacities inherent in our nature. Sri Chinmoy speaks too of the force of faith, and love of God, as keys to the inner world and notes, with beautiful simplicity; "Impelled by His strongest compassion, God takes the feeblest man into His omnipotence."
In a lifetime devoted to fostering the spiritual awakening of humanity, Sri Chinmoy encourages a holistic approach to wellbeing, happiness and spiritual progress – exercise brings physical excellence and health to the body-temple; service to others widens our heart and deepens our oneness and compassion; spiritual music and literature nourish and illumine our minds; meditation brings to the fore the peace and happiness of the soul.
Sri Chinmoy's recent weightlifting achievements encourage us not to grow old, to dare to tackle new challenges, to believe in our own unlimited potential – the fullness of life, he tells us, lies in dreaming and manifesting the impossible dreams.
"And I tell the citizens of the world only one thing: never give up, never give up! Physical fitness is of paramount importance. There is no age limit when you live in the heart and when you try to be of service, prayerful and soulful service, to God in humanity."
All quotes on this page are by Sri Chinmoy.