Sri Chinmoy filled the month of October with a range of challenges that were Herculean in their proportions. Looking back over his mighty deeds, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that many of them were deemed to be humanly impossible at the time. Some athletes are at their best when the odds are slightly against them. Sri Chinmoy seems to be at his best when the odds are overwhelming! He faced the ever-changing tableau of weights with zero trepidation. An instant's weakness of his spirit or of his body would have spelled defeat.

On October 4th three classic Harley Davidson motor cycles were brought to the tennis court. Sri Chinmoy lifted them and their riders (30451/2 lbs.) and then added another three riders to bring the weight to 3540 pounds. Several motorcycle magazines later published photos of this lift under the caption "Easy rider, heavy lifter."

Another outlandish lift that day was one involving two men on horseback dressed in the uniforms of Canadian mounties (3I18 Ibs). The riders gave mountie salutes as Sri Chinmoy hoisted them skywards. Early that same evening, Sri Chinmoy journeyed to an iairport in New Jersey. The sandy launching pad was in darkness save for a spotlight that fell on Sri Chinmoy's calf raise machine. And adorning it, like a huge yellow grasshopper, was a helicopter! The entire weight of the helicopter was concentrated on the lifting platform. It totalled 2812 pounds.

Dressed in vivid red, a burning ember in the surrounding blackness, Sri Chinmoy took up his familiar position under- the yoke of the machine. He was ever the same: concentrated, intense, silent and prayerful. The extraordinary successes of the
past had had no effect on his attitude to lifting. He was still the simple and humble man who had first entered the weightlifting arena by lifting a 40-pound dumbbell fifteen months ago. He still refused to take any personal credit for his lifts: "My weightlifting, elephant lifting, car lifting and 'human mountain' lifting have been possible only due to the unconditional Compassion and Grace of my Lord Beloved Supreme," he affirmed.

Beneath the huge blades of the helicopter, Sri Chinmoy flexed his calves and began to lift upwards. A streak of light from a globe placed underneath the lifting platform shone through the crack that appeared as the helicopter was elevated. Sri Chinmoy lowered the helicopter and requested that its two pilots climb inside for another lift. The pilots were carefully weighed and then they boarded their chopper. The weight was now 3187 pounds. Once more Sri Chinmoy was able to lift it. His long day of spectacular feats had drawn to a close and a whole new set of vibrant images rose to take their place in his imagination.


Over the four day period from October 18th to the 21st, Sri Chinmoy performed 25 unusual lifts. His power seemed to burn within him. New and striking loads were created but each one in turn surrendered to Sri Chinmoy's indescribable bursts of energy. The logistics of finding a weight source that was equal to Sri Chinmoy's depth of power began to seem overwhelming.

On that first Saturday morning, a number of huge boxes holding reams of paper were loaded onto the calf raise machine. Sri Chinmoy initially lifted this weight (2440 lbs) and then added one person to make 2603 pounds. After his students had unloaded this impressive pile, 21 women stood on the platform. Once again, Sri Chinmoy seemed to have no difficulty in lifting this weight of 3621 pounds.
He now progressed to his largest vehicle to date: a Chevrolet 350 truck weighing 4512 pounds. It, too, was borne upwards. Sri Chinmoy was indefatigable. A huge truck arrived from Connecticut, bearing forty bales of hay. The hay alone weighed 2712 pounds. Sri Chinmoy lifted this haystack and then added four men (total weight 3362 lbs) and finally another two people (combined weight 3735 lbs).
The ultimate lift for the morning, however, came when Sri Chinmoy requested that the truck which had carried the hay be reversed onto the machine. This huge vehicle, with its double back wheels, weighed an unbelievable 9332 pounds. Most incredible of all is the photo taken several seconds later which shows its rear end suspended some 2" off the ground.

Sri Chinmoy was far from finished with his daily workout. He now headed for his seated calf raise machine and proceeded to inaugurate a whole new set of daring and imaginative lifts using this machine. His first innovation was to place a wooden platform above the crossbar. Three men then sat on the platform and Sri Chinmoy lifted it twice. The weight was 491 pounds, including the plank. One more person was added to make 615 pounds. In order to accommodate four people on the narrow beam, an extraordinary configuration was devised whereby one man was held aloft by the two seated men, while the fourth lay across them horizontally.
Sri Chinmoy extended this gymnastic display by next lifting two men who were simultaneously performing headstands! (Weight: 359 lbs.) His last lift for the morning consisted of two men standing on the platform with their arms locked, while a third performed a headstand on them. The total weight was 519 pounds. The degree of difficulty of this lift was enhanced by the fact that the weight load was not only unevenly distributed but also unstable. The involuntary movement of the men on the platform was immediately transferred to Sri Chinmoy, with the result that he had to overcome this rocking motion as well as the downward pressure of the weight. Although it made his task infinitely more difficult, his enjoyment of this new adventure was obvious to one and all. It provided another avenue for him to measure his strength, and his lifts on this machine were to become some of his most charming.

The following day a rather large surprise greeted Sri Chinmoy when he arrived at the tennis court: an 8-year-old African elephant. At 2856 pounds, this pachyderm weighed more than double the one Sri Chinmoy had previously lifted in Connecticut. As it was coaxed onto the lifting ramp, it seemed to fill the entire length. Sri Chinmoy and the elephant gazed at each other from either side of a narrow grille and then Sri Chinmoy began to push upwards. A crack of daylight appeared beneath the ramp — the lift was a success. Together with the weight of the machine, this elephant lift had been an immense 3283 pounds.

In an interview later that day, Sri Chinmoy commented: "I am not competing with anybody. I am competing with myself. Last month I lifted up an elephant in Connecticut. It weighed only 1,200 pounds. This morning the elephant I lifted weighed over 3,000 pounds. It was more than twice as heavy as the previous one. So here also I am competing with myself. If we can compete only with ourselves, then this world will definitely be a better world. If we compete with others, by hook or by crook we try to defeat them, and that does not add to the divine qualities and capacities of the world. But if we compete only to increase our capacities, to transcend ourselves and to inspire others, then we will be better citizens of a better world."

In living testimony of this philosophy, Sri Chinmoy made an excursion to a small airport on Long Island. There he lifted a Cessna 140 aeroplane weighing 2412 pounds and a Cessna 185 amphibian aeroplane with six passengers (3632 lbs). The owner of the seaplane, who had been one of the passengers, shook Sri Chinmoy's hand enthusiastically after I lie lift, saying: "I've been flying for 45 years and that was the first time I ever got off the ground that way in my life."
An interesting technical difference between the two lifts —necessitated by their wing structure —was that the front rnd of the smaller plane was lifted, whereas the second plane was positioned laterally on the machine so that Sri Chinmoy lifted the entire craft. "His strength is ' plane ' to see," someone quipped as the long day of lifting drew to a close.

Taking Monday as a rest day, Sri Chinmoy tackled a whole new set of lifts on Tuesday, October 21st. A tiny house containing a refrigerator and furnishings was first lifted onto the standing calf raise machine. Seven occupants were added to bring the weight to 2653^ pounds. Sri Chinmoy easily lifted it several inches from the ground and a further eight people were included to give a weight of 3625V^ pounds. A photo of Sri Chinmoy taken at the apex of this lift, as he held the household aloft, shows his head slightly turned outwards—and a smile playing about his lips. Perhaps he was amused by the core of delight that he had discovered in the heart of weightlifting. In the early days, he had frequently expressed the opinion that weightlifting dealt only with dead, inconscient objects. He pined for his beloved running training, where he was wont to cover new territory each day, at all hours and in every conceivable kind of weather. He loved the experience of being surrounded by nature. Whenever he pressed the ground, he felt a subtle answering response from earth, but the stubborn mountains of metal plates that came with the advent of weightlifting knew only how to resist.

So Sri Chinmoy brought them out into the open, where he could immerse himself once more in the trees and flowers, the sky and the earth. The unlimited space meant that he could also give his vision full reign to express itself, marrying the earth to heights intangible.

Sri Chinmoy's house-lift was succeeded by some interesting advances on the seated calf raise machine. A tiny "Animal Farm" had arrived and, one by one, the animals filed onto the machine to be lifted. The first was a sheep (405 pounds including apparatus); followed by a calf (520 lbs); a miniature horse and its rider (574 ½ lbs); a donkey (705 lbs) and a pony with its rider (800 lbs). The pony lift was the heaviest seated calf raise Sri Chinmoy had ever undertaken.

The joy of this series of lifts was underscored by a number of enchanting songs which Sri Chinmoy spontaneously composed and dedicated to each animal. The culmination of these fireworks came when all the animals were gathered together on the platform of Sri Chinmoy's standing calf raise machine for one last lift. They came to 3055 pounds. Sri Chinmoy hoisted them skywards and retired to the court for some well-earned tennis matches.

Dazzling fireworks indeed! Sri Chinmoy's multifaceted feats of strength are incandescent with inner fire and intensity. Their splendour can never be dimmed, for they generate a perpetual energy. It is the energy of creation reaching towards the Ineffable.

Sri Chinmoy Calf Raises

Sri Chinmoy Weightlifting