Sri Chinmoy was an avid sportsman from his youth and throughout his life. In the spiritual community where he grew up, he excelled in soccer and volleyball, and was the top-ranked sprinter. During his late teens he was also a decathlon champion.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he was an active long-distance runner, completing many marathons, ultra-marathons and shorter races. For many years he played tennis almost every day, and frequently competed in track-and-field events in Masters Games, including the World Masters Games in Puerto Rico in 1983, and the World Veterans Games in Miyazaki, Japan in 1993. He took up weight-lifting in the mid-1980s and over the years set several records in the calf-raise and one-arm lift.
Sri Chinmoy believed that a balanced lifestyle fosters harmony and inner peace. His integral approach to life encourages physical fitness and sports as a vehicle for personal transformation.
"There are countless people on earth who do not believe in the inner strength or inner life. They feel that the outer life is everything. I do not agree with them," he says. "There is an inner life; there is spirit, and my ability to lift heavy weights proves that it can work in matter as well. I am doing these lifts with the physical body, but the power is coming from an inner source, from my prayer and meditation."
Sri Chinmoy practised sports not only for the joy of it, and to keep the body fit, but also because he saw sports as a natural vehicle for expressing his philosophy of self-transcendence. Inspired by his example, several of his students have attempted to stretch their own personal limits - setting new world records in various fields, running multi-day races, swimming the English channel and climbing some of the world's highest mountains.
What gives life its value
If not its constant cry
Sri Chinmoy has written extensively and has answered hundreds of questions on sports as an avenue for spiritual growth.
He established the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which annually presents hundreds of events and races around the world.