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Sri Chinmoy is a fully realized spiritual Master dedicated to inspiring and serving those seeking a deeper meaning in life (Chinmoy, 1985).
Sect members believe that Chinmoy is an “avatar” (Eisenstadt, 1993).

A NATIVE OF BANGLADESH, Chinmoy Kumar Ghose arrived in the United States in 1964, having previously lived for two decades at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India. Three years later, he started his own Aum meditation center in Queens, New York.

Once described by the Wall Street Journal as “the stunt man of the spiritual world,” Chinmoy has earned that appellation many times over, via numerous demonstrated “feats of strength.”

The Supreme doesn’t want you to be satisfied with fifty meters. He wants you to run fifty-one meters, fifty-two meters, fifty-four meters.... Otherwise, if you always aim at the same goal, it becomes monotonous (Chinmoy, in [Jackson, 1996]).
Weight-lifting is “the perfect analogy to the spiritual life,” explains one devotee. “As the dead weight is lifted up, so also a person’s lower, unilluminated being can be lifted to a level of increased peace, light, and delight” (Rae, 1991).

Chinmoy’s publicized weight-lifting stunts (aided by a Nautilus-like machine which does most of the work) have included

  • Lifting one thousand sheep (four at a time) in Australia

  • Raising a Piper Arrow aircraft while balanced on one leg

  • Hoisting the prime minister of Iceland, two San Francisco 49ers, four Nobel laureates, comedian Eddie Murphy (speaking of “dead weight”), the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a Ford pickup, an elephant and a small schoolhouse (separately) into the air. Also, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Ali, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Yoko Ono, Sting and Richard Gere (separately)

Nor are the man’s quantitative accomplishments limited to weight-lifting. Rather, if Chinmoy’s followers are to be believed, the man has written at least 1200 books, 62,000 poems and 14,000 songs.

In 1974 he wrote 360 poems in twenty-four hours, then the next year batted out 843 verses in a single day. In one hundred days from November 1974 to February 1975 he completed 10,000 “works of art”—pen-and-inks, abstract acrylics, watercolors (Jackson, 1996).

Indeed, by the “avatar’s” own count, he has produced over four million drawings of birds, and a total of more than 150,000 paintings.

Chinmoy is in his seventies, so four million drawings would work out to over 150 per day, every day—or one every ten minutes, if he had done nothing during a sleepless life except “draw birds.”

Impressive. Indeed, to do all that and still find time for meditation or working out would almost require more than twenty-four hours in a day.

Such record-setting “for God” seems to have rubbed off on at least one disciple of Chinmoy’s, a Mr. Ashrita Furman, whose activities have included

simultaneous jogging and juggling (six hours, seven minutes: three balls); long-distance somersaulting (12.3 miles) along the same route Paul Revere took through Boston; and underwater pogo-sticking (three hours, forty minutes) in the Amazon River (Areddy, 1989).

For the latter stunt, “a lookout was posted to keep watch for piranhas.”

As to the spiritual advancement and years of meditation underlying his own evinced productivity and demonstrated strength, Chinmoy (1978) explains:

After one has realized the Highest and become consciously one with the Absolute Supreme, one has no need to pray or meditate. But I have a number of disciples, so I meditate for them as I used to meditate for myself many years ago.

Chinmoy further leaves no doubt as to his own importance in effecting his disciples’ evolution:

The Guru has the power to nullify the law of karma for his disciple (Chinmoy, 1985).
Without a guru, your progress will be very slow and uncertain....
The best type of meditation comes when you enter into my consciousness by looking at a picture taken of me when I am in a high meditative consciousness (Chinmoy, 1978).
* * *

Chinmoy himself is a prolific musical entertainer. Indeed, if his press kit is to be believed, the man has performed close to three hundred concerts, for nearly half a million people in thirty countries over the past twenty years.

This is noteworthy because Chinmoy and his supporters concede that he is not a gifted musician; he sometimes makes mistakes and starts over, and generally improvises the melodies on the spot (Galloway, 1991).

Concert venues have included the Royal Albert Hall of London, Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan—made famous in the West by Cheap Trick in the 1970s—and the Sydney Opera House.

According to Chinmoy’s website, his own personal record for “most instruments in a single concert,” playing music to soothe the savage chakras—purported subtle energy centers in the human body—is now up to 150.

There is some music that is really destructive to our inner being. This music comes from the gross physical or the lower vital. Undivine music tries to awaken our lower vital consciousness and throw us into a world of excitement (Chinmoy, 1978).

Given that, it is interesting to note that Chinmoy’s devotees have included Grammy-winning musician and “guitar god” Carlos Santana who, with his wife, devotedly followed Chinmoy for nine years, from 1972 to 1981. Also, Clarence “Born to Blow” Clemons (Bruce Springsteen’s sax man), Roberta Flack and Sheena Easton.

“My guru takes the morning train....”

* * *

Chinmoy claims up to seven thousand disciples worldwide, formerly including the late Zen Master Rama, or Frederick Lenz. (Lenz’s first book was dedicated to Chinmoy, prior to their split.) His reported teachings on the relation of sex to spirituality for those students are unequivocal:

In order to have Self-realization, celibacy is absolutely necessary....
God-realization and the sex life are like the combination of sugar and salt. If we try to put them together we cannot taste either....
Those who are really advanced find that lower vital necessity does not enter into them. For them the life of pleasure is replaced by the life of real joy. And naturally, once realization takes place temptation can never assail them (in Ross, 2003d; italics added).

Such a position, however, stands in contrast to the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct made against the guru himself, raised via the Testimonials section on the website. It likewise does not square with the following allegations:

Some of his followers left ... amid accusations that Chinmoy was making sexual advances toward the wives of his disciples (Occhiogrosso, 1996).
Anne Carlton, a former member for twenty years, told The [New York] Post Ghose [i.e., Chinmoy] summoned her for sexual encounters over two extended periods—one in 1991 and another in 1996.
Then, in 2000, Ghose [allegedly] called her at work and told her to have sex with another female disciple while he watched (Ginsberg, 2004).

Chinmoy, through his lawyer, has denied those sexual allegations.

Of course, with the man’s penchant for quantity over quality—i.e., “mo’ is better”—one almost expects to hear Paul Bunyan-esque tales/allegations of sexual conquest, too. For example, of having slept with 1200 women in a twenty-four hour period while continuously playing the kazoo and sketching thousands of images of assorted waterfowl, etc.

And what did Chinmoy himself have to say about behaviors such as he has been accused of?

[S]o-called human weaknesses are one thing; but if the Master indulges in lower vital life, sex life, then that Master is very bad and you have to leave him (Chinmoy, 1985).
The Guru has to be a perfect example of what he teaches. His outer being has to be the perfect example of what he is saying. Otherwise he is not a Guru.... The responsibility of a Guru is tremendous. If the Guru is not a perfect example of his teachings, then he is not a true Guru. He is what in the medical world they call a “quack” (in Ross, 2003d).

Well, if it looks like a duck, meditates like a duck, and lifts weights like a duck....

* * *

Carlos Santana, for one, no longer has any connection with Chinmoy or his community.

After leaving the group it seems Sri Chinmoy “was pretty vindictive,” recalls Santana. “He told all my friends not to call me ever again, because I was to drown in the dark sea of ignorance for leaving him” (Heath, 2000).

Or, as Santana—Mr. Supernatural himself, whose strong sympathies for Eastern philosophy persist to this day—put it in the same Rolling Stone interview, when speaking of Chinmoy’s path: “This shit is not for me.”

Now that’s mo’ like it!

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