| Outside magazine, October 1996|
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.