JAMAICA, NY — Track and field star Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) was master of ceremonies.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist (discus) Al Oerter and bodybuilding champion Bill Pearl, five-time holder of the Mr. Universe title, were sitting in the front row, enthralled.

These were a few of the athletes attending an unusual celebration June 25-26 of the weightlifting achievements of spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy.

Applying the power of meditation to weightlifting, the 54-year-old spiritual teacher has astonished the sports world with his 240-pound one.arm lifts and 1,300-pound calf raises after only one year’s training. (By the end of July he was lifting 250 pounds with one arm and 1,500 pounds in the calf raise.) He weighs under 160 pounds.

During the two-day event, the visiting athletes took a tour of the Master’s art gallery ... played tennis with the spiritual teacher ... officiated at disciple weightlifting, pushup and headstand contests ... and listened to a medley of 50-odd songs Sri Chinmoy had composed to honour them. “In my whole career there are ... maybe three things that have stuck with me and moved me enough to remember over the years,” Pearl said afterwards.

“But here with Sri Chinmoy is by far the best ... This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Jim Smith, Registrar of Records for the British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association and masters champion in the two-handed standing press, also called it “an experience I will never forget for the rest of my days.”

Others attending the celebration of the first anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting included: Cliff Sawyer, President of the Physique Committee of the American Athletic Union and chairman of the Mr. America Committee.


Sri Chinmoy with (top) Olympic gold medalists Al Oerter and Carl Lewis (Sudhahota) and (bottom) weightlifting champion Bill Pearl at celebration honouring the Master’s weightlifting anniversary.

Published in Anahata Nada, Volume 14, April-July 1986