The uplifting journey
from inner peace to outer strength

Lifting

Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting feats were witnessed by many professional weightlifters and bodybuilders, who remarked on the enormous weights he was able to lift, made even more incredible considering his average build. Bill Pearl, five-time Mr. Universe and voted the Best Built Man of the Twentieth Century, declared:

What Sri Chinmoy has done in his weightlifting is an absolute miracle. He is a man of unique strength, a spiritual man exemplifying mind over matter. I have learned from Sri Chinmoy that the size of the arm does not make the man; the size of the heart makes the man. Nobody on earth has done what Sri Chinmoy has done!”

                             Bill Pearl

Under the watchful eye of bodybuilding legends like Bill Pearl and Frank Zane, Sri Chinmoy created a series of new lifts. His aim was not to compete with existing records, but simply to demonstrate the reality of inner power. His feats of strength hearken back to the old-time strongman lifts in which the athlete would have to lift a weight high enough to pull a piece of paper out from underneath it. Sri Chinmoy didn’t perform standard lifts like the clean and jerk, but used machines that allowed him to move tremendous weights and heavy objects.

Throughout Sri Chinmoy‘s weightlifting career, Bill Pearl was his foremost supporter, his services ranging from invaluable advice to compeering Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting ceremonies. One suggestion by Bill Pearl steered Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting in a whole new direction.

“The average person who wasn’t a weightlifter couldn’t understand the difference between objects weighing 500 pounds and those weighing 2,000 pounds. To them they were just numbers. But if he lifted objects the general population could better relate to, such as automobiles, large animals or platforms of people, then nobody would question how the lifts were done or how much the objects weighed.” – Bill Pearl

Frank Zane, three-time Mr. Olympia and three-time Mr. Universe, gave the following tribute to Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting: “He gave his life to lifting up the world – literally and metaphorically. His dedication and enthusiasm for his lifting was contagious—the last time we spoke, I was overwhelmed at his excitement about his lifting, always working to lift more and more over the years. It made me want to train harder.“

In September 2006 Wayne S. DeMilia, the leading promoter of bodybuilding events, invited Sri Chinmoy to demonstrate his weightlifting at the Night of the Champions, the third largest bodybuilding contest of its type in the world after Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic. Sri Chinmoy had lifted Heads of State, Olympic champions and luminaries from all walks of life, but never before had he lifted weights at such a prestigious bodybuilding event.

                      Frank Zane

During the evening, Sri Chinmoy lifted Bill Pearl and Hugo Girard overhead with one arm and also in the seated calf raise. He lifted then Wayne S. DeMilia and Charles Blake in the shoulder shrug. At the end Bill Pearl and Sri Chinmoy were presented with the Night of Champions Lifetime Achievement Award honoring their contributions to the weightlifting world. That was the night the bodybuilding world officially and publicly recognized Sri Chinmoy.

“Before I lift very heavy weights, I go and touch each plate before I lift it… I  touch each plate and try to establish my friendship with it, for even an inanimate object has pride. If you are my friend, then you will have no objection if I lift you up. As your friend, I can beg you to do something and you will feel obliged to do it. But if I am your rival, you are under no obligation. If I act like a commander and say “Stand up!”, why do you have to listen to me? , why do you have to listen to me? You will say, “Who are you to tell me to do something?” Then it will be like fighting with an enemy – challenging the weight or being challenged by the weight. The weight will say, “You cannot lift me,” and I will say, “I can lift you.“ At that time, the weight will be like a rival and, as soon as I hold it, there will be a competition between me and the weight. I will say, “I am going to lift you up,” and the weight will say, “Who are you to lift me up?” This is not my approach at all. Instead I become one with the weight itself. My whole approach is one of friendship and oneness. I am trying to be of service on the strength of oneness. So whether it is an inanimate object or an animal or a human being, my whole purpose is to establish oneness, oneness, oneness.” – Sri Chinmoy

Outstanding lifts

“Today I was very happy to lift the plane in New Jersey. The plane was huge. One side had the fuel. It went higher than the other side. Afterwards, for the second lift, we added six human beings and it became 10 527 lbs ( 4 775 kg ). That lift was really difficult. My shoulder and calf muscles were dancing! My whole body was shaking.” – Sri Chinmnoy

“Today I lifted up a Lear jet weighing over 22 000 lbs ( 9 979 kg). It took so much of my concentration to make the plane feel light. Beyond the mind, everything is possible. The owner told me that when he was sitting in the pilot´s seat, he saw the lift and he also felt it. He said it was very clear, very vivid.”                        – Sri Chinmoy

“Today, on Thanksgiving day, my humble service I placed at the Feet of God. I went back to MacArthur Airport to lift a much bigger jet plane. I lifted it twice. The second time there were twenty-one passengers inside, including the owner. The weight was 31 000 lbs ( 14 061 kg )  and the owner told me that he felt the plane shake. He said, “I am not even going to try to understand this.” When I breathe in three times before I lift, at that time I try to make my mind feel that the plane is light. I try to convince the mind that it is very light. Otherwise, immediately the weight of the entire plane comes to mind and fear can destroy everything.” – Sri Chinmoy

“When I lift very heavy weights, I take three very deep breaths before lifting. The best thing is to feel the breath of the life-energy in you spiritual heart and in your forehead. While you are concentrating, you can feel the same life-energy inside your wrist or inside your palm. It is life-energy that enables us to lift.”          – Sri Chinmoy