Part 6

On September 16th, Sri Chinmoy lifted his first car. One of his students had duplicated the essential design of a calf raise machine and attached to it a metal frame with tracks that a car could back onto. This meant that the front wheels of the car remained on the ground while the back wheels rested on the tracks. This was a totally different kind of car lift from those in which a device is hooked underneath the back fender. Sri Chinmoy's lift displaced the centre of gravity with the result that a much greater proportion of the true weight of the car was actually lifted. The car used in this first lift was a small Datsun.  The machine was erected just outside the tennis court so that Sri Chinmoy could prepare himself for the lift by warming up on his standard calf raise machine. Cars have been lifted in the past by some of history's legendary strongmen, but none had used this particular form of lift, where most of the weight was borne by the calf muscles. Somehow, it made Sri Chinmoy's leg strength appear even more tangible to see the traditional weight stack translated into terms of equivalent objects from everyday life. Sri Chinmoy lifted the car twice, holding the second lift at full extension for seven seconds.

The era of explosive lifting had arrived.   On September 19th, Sri Chinmoy advanced to a Maverick model car. By this time, Sri Chinmoy's students had located the nearest weigh bridge for trucks and so they were able to obtain an accurate weight for the car. Sri Chinmoy takes up the story from here: "Our philosophy is self-transcendence.  Two days ago,   I lifted a car with my calves. At that time, no human beings were sitting in the car. Today, again, I wanted to lift a car. This time it happened to be my car. The weight of the car is 2,960 pounds and the apparatus for lifting is 82 pounds. So, altogether 3,042 pounds were loaded onto the machine.
"I lifted the car twice. Then, on the third lift, three persons were inside the car. The weight on the calf machine was 3,521 ¼ pounds. On the fourth lift, five persons were inside. The car and the weight came to 3,811 ¾ pounds. On the fifth lift, seven persons and the car totalled •1.107 pounds.

"On the sixth lift — this one really killed me — four persons were in the front seat, four were in the back seat and three were on top of the car. There were eleven people altogether. The weight came to 4,515 ½  pounds. I have no idea scientifically how much I actually lifted. Our great mathematicians and physicists are working it out. I lifted the 4,515 ½  pounds twice and held it for around seven seconds. Luckily, I am still alive. Now I shall take rest from the car lift for a long time, because I really suffered a lot."

In spite of Sri Chinmoy's immediate reaction, however, scarcely two days had elapsed before a third car found its way onto his calf raise machine. This time it was a 1980 Buick Sedan, by far the heaviest car to date with a weight of 3,487 pounds.
Sri Chinmoy lifted the car twice, the first time alone and the second time with the addition of five passengers. The final weight of this last lift was 4,422 pounds. It was especially noticeable that Sri Chinmoy seemed to attack the lift suddenly, carefully concentrating and controlling his energy and then allowing it to explode through his calves. Later that day Sri Chinmoy offered an interesting insight into his lifting technique:

"Today, the first time I lifted the car, I got such a severe cramp in my left side. This cramp was not like a running cramp. A running cramp is a sharp pain, but it does not cover the whole area. This cramp that I got while I was lifting covered the whole muscle.

"Although, in terms of weight, this lift was supposed to be 60 pounds less than when I lifted the last car, this time it seemed heavier. When I succeed in lifting, it has to be at the very firsti push. If the weight does not go up when I first push,  then it will never go up. There is no hope. It will only sink. This applies to both the calf lifts and my one-arm lifts."

One observation regarding the distribution of weight in this lift is that, of the five passengers involved two men, both men were seated in the back seat, the section of the car closest to Sri Chinmoy. At 246 pounds and 219¼  pounds, this tended to concentrate the weight towards the rear.

When asked about their experience afterwards, one of the men remarked: "It was an amazing feeling being lifted up. Probably the only comparable experience would be during an earthquake —it was the magnitude of an earthquake." The second one added: "It felt like a ride in the elevator —it just went up and there was no hesitation. It was like a short ride in a very powerful freight elevator."

Sri Chinmoy capped off his morning of calf raises by lifting six men who were standing on a platform on top of his standard calf raise machine. The combined weight of this lift was 1384 pounds.

Sri Chinmoy's imagination had opened up a whole new world of lifting. It was to become a noisy and colourful parade of life, a circus, a zoo, a caravan of passing images. The succession of human beings, animals, machinery and other animate and inanimate objects that crowded onto his machine over the next few weeks had an astonishing effect. In essence Sri Chinmoy was bringing weightlifting out of the gym and making it a part and parcel of everyday life. But, most importantly of all, he was infusing it with joy.



Sri Chinmoy Calf Raises