Be Like Sri

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, October 1996

Be Like Sri
By Lolly Merrell

Hey, kids, try this at home. If you want to start your own mystical, spiritual movement, consider Sri Chinmoy. In order to carve out his particular niche--especially after his knees grew sore from running--he began lifting things: first a dumbbell, eventually an elephant. In between, he hoisted airplanes, football players, and a one-ton pickup. Wide-eyed disciples prostrated themselves before him. Publicists sent out glowing reports.

Meanwhile, the Master modestly attributed his exploits to one simple technique: "meditation," he told reporters, adding, "The strength and power are coming from within--from an inner source."

That source is more commonly known as the rule of levers. "Heard the phrase, 'Give me a fulcrum strong enough and I'll move the world?'" asks Terry Todd, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas. In a typical lever-enhanced lift, he argues, Chinmoy hoists less than a tenth of the actual weight before him. "With the right equipment, any of us could do that."

To make like Sri in your own living room, build a platform, add a lever, position the fulcrum so that it's just above your shoulders, add hundreds, even thousands of pounds to the platform--in the form of machinery or celebrities--alert journalists to your plans, pray enigmatically, then stand on tiptoe, pushing upward from your calves. VoilÌ! The platform will rise a quarter-inch.

A miracle.

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