Challenging Impossibility Exhibition in Bristol

In Bristol, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre have organised an exhibition of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting equipment along with other events, such as free meditation classes.

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At the exhibition, there are frequent screenings of the film – Challenging Impossibility – a 30 minute film which captures the essence of Sri Chinmoy’s unique weightlifting odyssey. (See: Challenging Impossibility.com)

The weightlifting equipment includes standard weightlifting machines, such as calf-raises, wrist curls and bench presses. However, it also includes some of Sri Chinmoy’s innovative and new types of lift. In particular, Sri Chinmoy lifted many people overhead from a seated position, in a specially constructed apparatus. This was part of the ‘Lifting up the world with a Oneness-Heart‘ programme.

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A lift which honoured over 7,000 individuals from all walks of life, including Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and other dignitaries, sportsmen and musicians. See more at: Lifting up the World at Inspiration Lifts.

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During the week long exhibition, there have also been several evening functions, including meditation classes. Sri Chinmoy was a great advocate of meditation and ascribed his unique weightlifting capacities to the inner strength and grace received through prayer and meditation.

Other photos from event

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“The invisible faith
Is often visible
To our heart’s warrior-strength.”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

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Some of the participants in the Lifting up the World with a Oneness Heart award.
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Dumbells used in Sri Chinmoy’s Wrist Curls

Related

Footnote

[1] Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 195, Agni Press, 1993.

Exhibition of Sri Chinmoy’s Weightlifting

In Prague, Czech Republic there is a public exhibition of some of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting equipment.

Sri Chinmoy began weightlifting in the mid 1980s when he was already in his 50s. Sri Chinmoy said that weightlifting was an opportunity to show how the power of meditation could enable people to transcend their own limitations. In particular, he wished to inspire people in a positive way.

“If I can inspire anybody in this world, then I feel that my life is meaningful. With my weightlifting, I am offering my physical strength to inspire people.” [1]

Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting apparatus, included many unorthodox lifts. He wished to change the boundaries of weightlifting and introduce new challenges.

From the very beginning of my weightlifting career, I have tried to do new things. Why should I go on always with the old system as if that is the only way? I feel that people who come to break the traditional barriers are the ones who are the real heroes.”  –  Sri Chinmoy [2]

The exhibition includes two free screenings of the film – Challenging Impossibility.

Related

[1] New Zealand Fitness, Feb/March 2006 issue (No.77). Full article reprinted here:

[2] A Mystic Journey in the Weightlifting World

Challenging Impossibility

A short film about the weightlifting of Sri Chinmoy will feature in this years Tribeca film festival. The film includes interviews with various weightlifters and celebrities who were lifted by Sri Chinmoy during his unique weightlifting career.

Sri Chinmoy lifting 200lbs from seated position.

Details of the film screening are available at the site – Challenging Impossibility

Continue reading “Challenging Impossibility”

Sri Chinmoy’s 23rd Weightlifting Anniversary

Sri Chinmoy lifting pyramid of 15 men

June 26 was the 23rd Anniversary of the beginning of Sri Chinmoy’s serious weight lifting and the 20th Anniversary of the `Lifting Up The World’ program. There was a function in New York to commemorate this significant anniversary.

Arpan kindly wrote a function report, which you can read here – Weightlifting anniversary

“It was and still is obvious that Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting was not really about a strong man trying to get stronger. It was really about a great Spiritual Master who had a dynamic approach to faith in God and tried to include as many people as were inspired to participate in his efforts to show how important and real this faith is for all of us in our own lives. His lifting of seemingly impossible weights, objects and subjects was a dramatically convincing way to show us how any of us, even a small Indian Yogi, can work toward achieving what only seems impossible to our minds if we use our faith and hearts of Oneness.”

You can also view a new site on Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting – Inspiration Lifts

Sri Chinmoy lifts six light aircraft and a glider in New York

Earlier today, Sri Chinmoy continued his recent run of amazing weightlifting feats, this time lifting an assortment of aircraft. The lifts included four light aircraft which were placed overhead on a modified calf-raise machine and lifted, two stunt planes which were placed on a platform and lifted also using a calf raise technique, and a glider which was lifted overhead using the right arm.

(Photo: Sri Chinmoy lifting light airplane – total weight including apparatus comes to 980 lb. The height of the lift can be seen in the small gap between the white lines on the apparatus above Sri Chinmoy’s head)

Over the years Sri Chinmoy has lifted many aircraft as part of his effort to demonstrate the power of the human spirit. At the beginning of June, he lifted an ultralight plane and a Stearman biplane as part of a lifting program that also included cars, motorcycles and boats. Lifting airplanes also sometimes form a part of the weightlifting program that often takes place on the anniversary of when he started lifting; as part of this program he lifted airplanes in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, Sri Chinmoy celebrated the centenary of the first manned flight by the Wright brothers by lifting over 100 pilots overhead using a special apparatus – this program was part of the Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart award program, in which Sri Chinmoy recognises the achievements of men and women who have been of service and inspiration to the community and the world by lifting them. To date, he has honoured over 8,000 individuals in this way.

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A weekend of weightlifting: Sri Chinmoy lifts the world’s tallest horse, and then the strongest men in the world


At the beginning of June Sri Chinmoy lifted the world’s smallest horse, Thumbelina, weighing just 57 pounds. On Saturday, the last day in June, the 75-year old fitness champion and harmony leader went to the other end of the scale, lifting 2540 lb Radar, who is the Guinness world record books as the tallest horse in the world. In this lift, Radar stood on a platform as Sri Chinmoy performed a calf raise lift as shown in the photo above. Then his handler, Charles Wood, stood on the platform with Radar as Sri Chinmoy performed a second lift – including the apparatus, the total weight for this lift came to 3966 pounds.

Sri Chinmoy frequently honours men and women who have been an inspiration to the world by lifting them as part of an award program called ‘Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart’ – in the same way, Sri Chinmoy also says that Radar has been an inspiration to him: “Radar is the tallest, so Radar gave me the inspiration to set my goals to the highest”, said the 75-year old fitness champion. Sri Chinmoy also wrote 2 songs in praise of Radar which were performed at the event.

The very next day, Sri Chinmoy was in Philadelphia at the Liberty Strongman Classic, where many of the world’s strongest men were gathered for a unique ‘Team USA’ versus ‘Team World’ strongman competition. To show his appreciation for the contestants on both sides, Sri Chinmoy lifted eight of them overhead with his right arm, as one by one they stood on an overhead platform. Then all the members from each team ascended onto an overhead platform as Sri Chinmoy lifted them all together using a calf raise. In this photo we see all the Team USA members being raised in this manner.

In total Sri Chinmoy lifted 5948 pounds in the space of half an hour. “Today was one of the highlights of my weightlifting career“, he reflected after the event. “These great strongmen have inspired countless people on earth, and I am so happy I could offer them my most sincere appreciation from the inmost depths of my heart.

The honorees themselves were very impressed by the lifting. The world’s number 1 strongman, Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania exclaimed, “It is fantastic for this little man to do these magnificent lifts!” His fellow team member Andrus Murumets of Estonia, ranked number five in the world, concurred. “It was amazing this little dude could lift me. It was very, very impressive!

Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting: a case study in listening to the inner voice

If Sri Chinmoy had not embarked upon the path of spirituality and attained such high meditative states, he might still have been a poet and singer, and perhaps even also an athlete – these are activities which have always given him tremendous joy and satisfaction right from his childhood. However weightlifting is something that, as a young man growing up in a spiritual community in South India, he never dreamed he would be doing 50 years later. He recalls disliking weightlifting intensely back then; he would lift 20 pounds twice a year so that he would do well in the shot put event in the decathlon.

And yet many years later, fast approaching the age of 76, Sri Chinmoy is regularly lifting astounding amounts of heavy weights. This new phase of his service to the world started in 1985, when Sri Chinmoy received an inspiration in the depths of his meditation: “I did not choose to start lifting weights.”, he says in an interview he gave a year later. “If one prays and meditates sincerely, somebody within him talks to him and tells him what to do and what not to do. You use the term ’God’; I say my ’Inner Pilot’. Last year, when I was praying and meditating, that somebody within me — you can call it an inner voice or a source of inspiration — asked me to start weightlifting. That is why I am doing it.”

Sri Chinmoy says it is only because he is able to act from the heart due to his meditation that he was able to take up weightlifting and embark upon the many feats of strength he has performed over the years. He has often spoken about the difference between the mind’s fear and hesitation and the heart’s spontaneous eagerness: “
When I look at the weights with my heart, I am not frightened at all, no matter how heavy they are. But when I look at them with my mind’s eye, I am filled with fear. I have no idea how I am going to lift them.

Therefore, when he lifts the weights, he tries to keep his mind completely silent, so that he can become an instrument for a much greater strength to operate in and through him: Through God’s infinite Compassion and Grace, from my concentration, prayer and meditation I am able to bring forward inner strength, inner power, and use that power to increase my outer strength. The inner strength that enables me to lift elephants and airplanes is not my sole monopoly. Far from it! It is available to anyone who prays and meditates. Everyone can get inner strength from prayer and meditation.”

Sri Chinmoy has published several books of anecdotes detailing his experiences with weightlifting: they are an eye-opening view not only of a weightlifter, but of a spiritual Master trying to push out the boundaries of the possible. In these first-person accounts, we observe a contrast common to all spiritual Masters who try to offer what they have and are to help mankind progress – a contrast between the finite human frame which experiences discomfort and pain at these arduous activities, and the infinite consciousness of peace and delight, housed within that ‘still small voice’ which spiritual Masters can access at will through their meditation. Time and again, Sri Chinmoy invokes the Infinite to help him perform these feats:

Absolutely the fastest way to make progress in the inner life is through gratitude. When I look at my 350-pound dumbbell, believe me, perhaps my mind is more frightened than yours! But when I offer my gratitude to the Supreme early in the morning, there is no fear at all. (11 September 1986)

The two following entries give a very direct insight into how spiritual Masters are able to surrender to the inner command all the time:

I am seriously thinking of stopping again after November 17th. I want to walk outside again in the fresh air with Nature. This gives me so much joy. During these last twelve months with my weightlifting I have reached a very high level. Now I want to concentrate on other things. (2 October 1999)

I had been planning to give up my weightlifting after the 17th, but the Supreme Himself has asked me to continue. This weightlifting brings joy and inspiration to thousands of people. So I will be taking my weightlifting equipment to Brazil and I do hope that I can make some progress there. (29 November 1999)

These diaries are also full of appreciation for all the distinguished figures in the weightlifting and bodybuilding world who inspired Sri Chinmoy and encouraged him to go further. Sri Chinmoy has always seen inspiration as being a two-way street – it is not just a case of him inspiring others, but of contributing alongside his fellow world-citizens to make a better world. Indeed he has frequently used his weightlifting to show his appreciation to men and women who have given inspiration to the world in their own fields, in an award ceremony called “Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart. In this ceremony, Sri Chinmoy will lift these inspiring figures overhead in both body and spirit using a specially constructed overhead platform.

Resources:

Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting anecdotes have been published in the books My Weightlifting Tears and Smiles (Parts 1 and 2) and A Mystic Journey in the Weightlifting World (Parts 2-4). Other excerpts used in this article come from the Sri Chinmoy Answers series of books and also the book Aspiration-Body, Illumination-Soul. These books can be found on Sri Chinmoy Library.

Recent blog entries on Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting:

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Airplanes, Cars, Motorcycles and 40-ft. high Catamaran: all lifted by 75-year old Sri Chinmoy

This weekend, fitness pioneer Sri Chinmoy was continuing his remarkable inspirational weightlifting program at the Naval Aviation Museum in New Jersey. During a non-stop lifting marathon, Sri Chinmoy lifted airplanes, cars, motorcycles and boats, battling age (he is now 75 years old) and injuries to his knee and shoulder. He used three kinds of lifts in the course of the afternoon: a one-arm overhead lift from a seated position, a seated calf raise and a standing calf raise (as shown in photo).

This extraordinary test of strength underscores Sri Chinmoy’s avid belief in the joy of self-transcendence and the unlimited potential of the human spirit. With his weightlifting he hopes to be an example to inspire others to fulfil all their hopes and dreams in their own field of endeavour, regardless of age. With these superhuman heavy lifts he tries to challenge himself, not others.

Some of the remarkable lifts included:

  • Airplanes: An ‘Ultralight’ weighing 424 lbs, lifted with only one arm from a seated position and a Stearman Bi-plane and pilot weighing an enormous 2,952 lbs, lifted with a standing calf raise (see photo).
  • Micro Cars: a BMW ISETTA Microcar weighing 1,011 lbs, lifted in an overhead two leg calf raise and also a 1,290 lb FIAT 500.
  • Boats: a Hobi 16 Catamaran weighing 424 lbs lifted overhead with one arm only from a seated position and a Day Sailor Sailboat with sailor weighing 660 lbs lifted overhead with a one leg sanding calf raise. Carl Behrens, who was in his sailboat when Chimoy lifted it, said: “Well you know, I don’t know so much about the message, but it’s pretty impressive that a guy that age could perform such a feat.”

  • Motorcycles: A 384 pound Suzuki 400 lifted in a right arm overhead lift. Then using a seated calf raise with platform, Sri Chinmoy lifted a 583 lb Triumph Bonneville 27 times and one additional lift with the rider totalling 731 lbs.

Overall, Sri Chinmoy lifted a total weight of 32,453 lbs, over 16 tons in one day.

Sri Chinmoy is the founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, an international marathon team that organizes 500 athletic events each year and the inspiring force behind the World Harmony Run, a global friendship relay covering 80 nations.

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Sri Chinmoy lifts the world’s smallest horse

The world’s smallest horse – named Thumbelina, weighing 57 pounds, and standing just 17 inches tall – her owner Michael Goessling and handler Tago DePietro were honored for their work to benefit children in need. In an award program entitled Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart, 75-year-old fitness champion and world harmony leader Sri Chinmoy honored Thumbelina with three different lifts:

  • Thumbelina in the arms of owner Mike Goessling were lifted overhead as Sri Chinmoy used only his right arm to lift a total of 301 pounds
  • Thumbelina stood on a platform and was lifted by a special machine that was propelled upward as Sri Chinmoy used a hand gripper (see photo)
  • Using a modified seated calf-raise machine, Sri Chinmoy lifted a total weight of 567 pounds as Thumbelina stood between her owner and handler – and he lifted them 33 times!

Thumbelina is the first horse to receive the Lifting Up the World award. She is devoted to raising money and awareness for children in need around the world. “If anyone is right for the job, it is Thumbelina,” say her owners. “Every day, thousands of people fall in love with Thumbelina and every day, she gets one step closer to fulfilling her mission (of raising $1 million for children). It is amazing to witness such a tiny, loving creature accomplish such great works. She is a blessing that we are thrilled to share with the world.”

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Sri Chinmoy receives Mongolian National Award – and Performs Lifting Feats!

Earlier this week, Sri Chinmoy was in Ulan Bataar, Mongolia, to receive an award from the country’s president, Nambaryn Enkhbayar. The award cited ‘his contributions to world peace’ and his ‘contributions to the people of Mongolia’. Sri Chinmoy also attended an exhibition of his paintings and drawings at the State Academic Theatre of Drama, where he received an award from the Mongolian Union of Artists.

A couple of days later, Sri Chinmoy travelled to the windblown steppes outside Ulan Bataar to fulfil a long-cherished dream of his – to lift some of the famous himor, or wind horses, of Mongolia as part of his inspirational weightlifting programme. On a special calf-raise machine, Sri Chinmoy lifted 17 of these beautiful animals, sometimes two or three at a time, in a series of six lifts. The photo below shows Sri Chinmoy lifting one horse plus its young rider; the height off the ground is indicated by the dial to the left of the apparatus.

Sri Chinmoy was also inspired to compose a song to mark the occasion:

“Mongolian white horse, Mongolian white horse, Mongolian, You give me the joy and pride of a real Olympian.”

Mr. Hamid Sardar, tour guide and animal lover who searched the Mongolian steppes to find the white horses for Sri Chinmoy to lift, saw tremendous symbolic significance in this lift. “For Mongolians, the horse is the symbol of humanity’s inner strength and spirit; by lifting these horses, Sri Chinmoy is lifting the ‘windhorse’ or the inner Spirit of all Mongolia.“, he stated.

Related links:

View more about Sri Chinmoy’s award on the Mongolian Presidential website…

Two remarkable weightlifting feats by Sri Chinmoy

In the space of two days, Sri Chinmoy has performed two remarkable displays of weightlifting transcendence. First, Sri Chinmoy achieved a weightlifting goal he set for himself two months ago, when he lifted a stack of plates weighing a massive 700lb – four times his own bodyweight – using just his right arm. In front of fifty observers at a private outdoor garden in New York, Sri Chinmoy meditated for a few moments before beginning a series of lifts which progressed in 50-lb increments to his ultimate goal of 700lbs. These lifts are even more remarkable from their being made from a seated position, which is considerably more difficult than standing.

Two days later he lifted two of his students, both tall strong men weighing a combined total of 528lbs, again with his right arm from a seated position – the heaviest lifting of people with one arm he has achieved.

Through his weightlifting, Sri Chinmoy hopes to inspire all of us to put aside our perceived limitations and see what we ourselves are truly capable of. Now aged 75, Sri Chinmoy explains: “I am trying to inspire all human beings, irrespective of age, to fulfil their dreams..The mind makes us feel that we are very old, but the moment I use my heart, I am 20 years old. When I use my heart, I feel oneness. Everything helps me and everybody helps me when I feel my oneness.”

Sri Chinmoy began weightlifting almost a quarter of a century ago, beginning with a mere 40-pound dumbbell. Since then he has performed some astounding feats of weightlifting, lifting not only static weights but also objects which capture the imagination – elephants, cars, airplanes, yachts, trees and countless other objects. In addition, Sri Chinmoy has presented the ‘Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart’ award to over 8,200 people who have worked to inspire humanity in their own fields. In this award, Sri Chinmoy honours the individuals by lifting them overhead using a specially- created apparatus, lifting them up in both body and spirit.

How does Sri Chinmoy get this capacity such heavy weights? According to Sri Chinmoy, the answer is simple: prayer and meditation. “I pray to God” said Sri Chinmoy, “not to lift heavy objects. I pray to God to please Him in His own way. This capacity He has given me, to inspire humanity to succeed in their own walks of life.”

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