In a recent interview, Ashrita Furman, a student of Sri Chinmoy, explains how the practise of meditation helped him in his spiritual journey and setting a wide range of Guinness World Records.
When Ashrita was young, he admits he was not good at sport, in fact he mentions he was ‘a bit of nerd’. But, after practising meditation for several years, Sri Chinmoy saw Ashrita had the potential to aim for a big mileage in a 24 hour cycle race. To Ashrita’s surprise he was able to ride 405 miles in 24 hours, with little training – displaying to himself how techniques of meditation and mantra can help us to transcend our previous limitations.
Ashrita Furman recently set a new Guinness World Record for walking in the heaviest shoes, another unique feat of self-transcendence from the person who holds the most current Guinness World Records. The record was part of Guinness’ annual – Guinness World Records day. Previous records include challenging events such as the most consecutive forward rolls – a rather nauseous 12 miles, and the longest continuous distance whilst balancing milk bottle – 80 miles .
In a recent article at the Wall Street Journal, Ashrita explains his inspiration for feats of self-transcendence come from his meditation and spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. Though unathletic at school, Ashrita found a new source of energy and athleticism after practising yoga and meditation under the tutelage of Sri Chinmoy.
“I want to inspire people,” says Mr. Furman, who is almost always training for three or four events. “If you have a dream, you can achieve your dream. I’m living my dream.” – Ashrita at Wall Street Journal
As part of the Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival, August 2010, an international team of individuals helped set a new Guinness World Record for translating a poem by Sri Chinmoy into the most number of languages (146).
Those reciting the poem included Olympic legend Carl Lewis, Guinness top record holder Ashrita Furman, UN Ambassadors and Consul Generals as well as people from a wide variety of different countries.
The poem was
Be like a child,
Act like a child.
Go from one flower to another
In your heart-garden
Until you find complete joy
And perfect satisfaction.
– Sri Chinmoy
The poem was from the new book “Jewels of Happiness” written by Sri Chinmoy. The 146 languages ranged from Bengali and Maori to Newari and Zulu, “Be Like a Child” was expressed with some of the most unusual and charming communication sounds in the globe.
Ashrita Furman has been setting Guinness World Records since 1979 and has broken 299 Guinness World Records on all seven continents.
Ashrita continues to break a diverse range of Guinness World Records, in his latest blog post you can read about the challenges of balancing on a circus ball and 100m frog jumping by the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Ashrita – stilt walking in a record attempt for fastest 100m on stilts.
“….Back to the record attempt. The time flew by. When Steve called out, “40 minutes”, I suddenly remembered that there were only 4 minutes of tape left. Vinaya made a frantic search for another video camera and tape but, amidst all the hubbub, I lost my concentration and fell off the ball with only a few seconds left on the tape. It didn’t matter. I was elated and so grateful to have been blessed with such a powerful experience of self-transcendence….” – from Ashrita’s blog
August 27, 2009. On the occasion of Sri Chinmoy’s birth anniversary, New Yorker Ashrita Furman unveiled the world’s largest lollipop with a weight of 6,706 pounds (3041 kg). It surpasses the previous Guinness World Record for a giant lollipop by almost 2,000 pounds (907 kg). Ashrita Furman, holder of the most Guinness records, was the architect behind the feat accompanied by an international team of over 25 assistants.
The 6,706 pound (3041 kg) lollipop is 10 feet (3 m) in diameter and 10 inches (25 cm) thick. The huge red candy is made of sugar and corn syrup, which was melted in hundred 100-gallon (380 litre) pots. Including the stick it has the height of 25 feet (7.50 m). This size ensures Ashrita Furman a new entry into the Guinness Book, because the previous largest lollipop was 4,759 pounds (2158 kg).
Ashrita Furman of Queens, New York continues to set more Guinness World records as he enters the Record books for holding 100 simultaneous Guinness World records. Since his first successful record back in 1979, Ashrita has broken 237 official Guiness World Records.
Ashrita Furman recently set an impressive landmark for setting his 100th simultaneous Guiness World Record. Over the past 30 years, Ashrita has been fascinated with Guinness world Records and has set over 230 official Guinness Records. With his recent record attempt he now has 100 current Guinness records.
The Record was set in City Hall Park in Manhattan on April 14th. It was the record for reciting a poem in the most number of languages. The previous record was 79 languages, but, with help from friends in the Sri Chinmoy Centre, Ashrita set a new record of 111 languages. Ashrita read the Poem, Precious Beyond Measure, in Zulu. Speaking of the record, Ashrita said:
“It was fun learning about many of these languages – quite a few I never even heard of,”
Councilman, Jimmy Genero spoke about the record and said how appropriate it was to set the record in New York, which is renowned for its cultural diversity.
Ashrita talks about his Guiness Record breaking journey and what helps him break over 221 records –
“….After breaking the ice by jumping on a pogo stick while jumping rope, Furman discussed how he transformed from the nerd to one of the most versatile athletes today.
The son of a successful attorney growing up in Kew Gardens Hills, Furman came to the realization that there was more to life than having a nice family and a big house. He started studying eastern philosophy and began meditating on his own, but shortly met up with Chinmoy. Their idea of meditating originally clashed. Furman wanted to go into a cave and drink strange teas, while Chinmoy was a strong advocate of physical activity….”
Ashrita Furman set two new Guinness World Records in Edinburgh taking his number of current world records to 88.
The 54-year-old – managed to catch 51 malteasers in one minute – smashing the previous entry of 41 To make the record more fun, Ashrita decided to strap a Maltese dog to his back. The idea was to attempt the record by the statue of Bobby at Greyfriars. But, the lcey condition meant Ashrita’s helper was too cold throwing the maltesers, so the record was set inside a sports hall. Ashrita said, the key to breaking this record and the grape record was the power of concentration.
A couple of years ago, Ashrita set record for the most pogo stick jumps by Bobbys Greyfriar in Edinburgh. – Honouring Bobby Greyfriar at Ashrita.com
On a recent visit to Europe, Ashrita succeeded in breaking two Guinness World Records, despite gaining 7 pounds, (courtesy of Italian ice cream.)
Ashrita’s first record was for the most jumps on a pogo stick in one minute. Ashrita managed to break the record, completing 256 valid jumps in one minute, adding an extra 12 jumps to the previous record of 234. (This works out at over 4 jumps per second). The record was set to the backdrop of the famous coliseum in Rome.
Ashrita’s second successful attempt was in Munich, at the Impossibility Challenger event. This involved running a sub eight minute mile on stilts.
The Impossibility Challenger event is held annually in Munich and involves a diverse range of feats of self transcendence. Previous challenges have involved, the longest continual laughing, playing music for 24 hours non stop, and riding a bicycle the wrong way. Often the event attracts quite a few Guinness World Record attempts.
For an entertaining read of Ashrita’s battle against impossibility, Italian Gelato and pastries see his own blog entry – Worth the Weight
Ashrita has currently 80 Guiness world records and has broken over 180 records since he stated breaking records in the 1970s.
Ashrita credits his ability to set new records due to teaching meditation under the tutelage of his spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. In particular it is a philosophy of self-transcendence that encourages Ashrita to try and transcend limits – both mental and physical.
Ashrita’s record attempts are not always successful; for every successful record there are near misses and failed attempts. In his latest blog post, Ashrita recounts an interesting experience with Tabasco sauce. – Humility comes in a small bottle