Students of yoga, leading athletes, martial artists and healers from all disciplines have long known of the underlying unity of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of of our being. The wellness of the body is inescapably linked to the energies and forces in the mind; an athletes endurance and strength is connected to will-power, concentration, attitude, self belief; and advanced students of karate will at some point begin to explore and tap into inner force and the opening of the power centres of the physical body – known in kundalini yoga as muladhara, svadhisthana and manipura, the root chakras.
Here the life-energy of the Universal Consciousness is gathered as prana, and flows through three principal channels in the subtle body called ida, pingala and sushumna. The places where these three life-energy channels meet together in the body are called chakras in Indian philosophy – there are seven major points, and many minor ones.
The extraordinary powers that one gets when these centres are opened are not actually miraculous or unusual at all in the inner world. Only when they are seen and used on the physical plane do they seem unusual or miraculous – but in the inner worlds these powers are constantly used by spiritual masters to help humanity.
In recent weeks Sri Chinmoy has demonstrated once again the remarkable capacity of the physical body to transcend it’s perceived limitations when it is harnessed to the force and power of spirit – to the inner world where cosmic energy and power lie concealed. He hoisted two huge dumbbells – totaling 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. Jim Smith, long-time Registrar of the British Amateur Weight Lifters Association and an expert on lifting heavy weights, exclaimed: “I am certain that nobody else in the world can do a wrist curl with a 200 pound dumbbell – no matter how old they are or how much they weigh! The strongest men in the world are seeing that a septuagenarian is curling with one arm much more than twice the weight that the world’s best bodybuilders and weightlifters can curl with two arms.”
Five-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, holder of the ‘Best Built Man of the Century’ title, added: “In my more than 60 years in the fitness and bodybuilding field, I have never heard of anyone in the world able to curl this huge amount of weight! This is a miracle to me!” And the authoritative Muscle and Fitness magazine described an earlier evening of weightlifting achievements as an event that it rated ‘one of the ten Greatest Strength Feats of the Year’.
Why does Sri Chinmoy bother to lift these super-heavy weights at what he describes as ‘the ripe old age of 74’? Simply to show that prayer and meditation can greatly increase one’s outer capacities, and to encourage in others a greater self-belief, that anything is possible if we dare to try and have faith. In explaining the unlimited potential of each and every human being Sri Chinmoy refers often to an ‘inner world’ accessible through meditation, where cosmic energy, the prana of the universal consciousness, is concentrated. 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.”
Thus 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. It’s home is high, very high, in the loftiest regions of the infinite Consciousness.”
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 opens the inner gateway to the soul and the power of spirit. With typical clarity and simplicity, Sri Chinmoy writes, “Unless you touch something everyday, it does not shine. Often I have told people to touch the furniture in their homes every day. As soon as you touch something, it gets new life. If you are aware of something, immediately it shines and gets a new luminosity. If you have good health, if you touch your health every day, it gets new life.”
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.”
By: Jogyata Dallas
– Auckland, NZ Sri Chinmoy Centre