New Zealand in December, 2002. Sri Chinmoy stands in a field surrounded by last spring’s lambs, all around him green landscapes of hill country, clumps of forest, above him a deep blue sky with high-up skeins of wind-brushed cirrus. In this arcadian setting an extraordinary event is unfolding, one that will capture the imagination of the whole country for weeks to come.
Sri Chinmoy has set himself the goal of lifting 1,000 lambs during his stay in Hamilton and Taupo and on a number of central North Island farms musterers will bring in the ewes and lambs and draft the lambs into holding pens in readiness.
In spiritual literature the lamb is often seen to embody the qualities of innocence, helplessness and purity, qualities Sri Chinmoy saw as foundational in our reliance and dependence on God. Iconic symbols of New Zealand’s pastoral heritage, lambs presented Sri Chinmoy with a completely novel opportunity in a weightlifting career filled with wonderful innovations.
Two or three lambs were placed in each of two large bamboo and aluminium cages – and each cage was placed above Sri Chinmoy on his Lifting Up The World With A Oneness-Heart apparatus, one cage positioned independently above each arm. Sri Chinmoy would meditate briefly, summoning his inner reserves, then simultaneously lift each cage of lambs together, holding them briefly aloft before lowering them gently back onto the platform.
With each filled cage weighing up to as much as 265 pounds, the combined lifts often exceeded 500 pounds – these heavy lifts were repeated until 100, 200 or more lambs had been lifted in each session, a feat of both remarkable strength and sustained endurance.
Media interest was considerable and this colourful and imaginative tribute to New Zealand and to the symbolism of the lamb received a great deal of television and newspaper coverage. Sri Chinmoy the composer also rose to the occasion – several lamb songs were composed and sung by the group accompanying him, a vocal performance marrying the extraordinary with the charming. Under a wide summer sky an unforgettable blend of athleticism, joyful tribute songs, a delighted crowd of onlookers and a memorable message of inspiration.
Sri Chinmoy commented: “Why am I doing this? I have a deep love for lambs. The saviour Christ had a very special affection, love and fondness for lambs and I also have a very special inner feeling for lambs. We all need to be God’s lamb-children.”
"My goal is to inspire people – by lifting up one thousand lambs I feel God has given me a golden opportunity to be of service to Him and to inspire others to fulfil their own goals."