“The reason I have entered into bodybuilding and weightlifting is to inspire everybody to pray and meditate so they can bring to the fore their own inner strength. If everybody brings to the fore his own inner strength, the world will eventually be inundated with peace.” – Sri Chinmoy
In June of 1985, Sri Chinmoy took up weightlifting with a 40 pound dumbbell lift. In a matter of six months, he had progressed to being able to lift 155 pounds from the ground overhead, more than his bodyweight.
He spoke of receiving an inner message or inspiration to try this new pursuit. He admitted that it didn’t give him nearly as much joy as a fitness discipline as running or tennis, but felt an inner obligation to obey this inner command; for, he felt that perhaps a greater purpose might be at work, however unusual this pursuit might be for a spiritual teacher.
As the odyssey unfolded, it became clear to observers that no more powerfully had a spiritual teacher ever connected the body and the soul than Sri Chinmoy through these weightlifting pursuits. Spiritual teachers of the past had given little importance to the body and those that did were hardly athletes themselves. Sri Chinmoy wanted to show once and for all that the body could be an aid to the spiritual life, particularly if it too received benefits from prayer and meditation, which, undoubtedly bring a sense of mental peace to the practitioner. Sri Chinmoy wanted to go further and show that inner peace could revitalize the body, which in turn could slow down aging and help a person maintain a youthful disposition even in advanced age.
“I tell my students that we should always pray and meditate to bring forward our own strength from within. It is individuals who are responsible not only for their own lives but also for their countries and 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. 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. That is what I am trying to do with my weightlifting.” – Sri Chinmoy