Muhammad Ali was not just a sporting legend, he was a universal figure that inspired millions with his soaring spirit. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team would like to offer some remembrances of this great figure.
Sri Chinmoy was a tremendous admirer of Muhammad Ali, both as a figure of inspiration and also of his spirituality. The following are some excerpts from a conversation between the two in 1977.
Sri Chinmoy: You are changing the face and fate of mankind. Your very name encourages and inspires. As soon as people hear 'Muhammad Ali,' they are inspired. They get tremendous joy. They get such dynamism to be brave and face ignorance. Your very name does that. That's why I am so grateful to you, so proud of you.
Muhammad Ali: My goal is to be like you one day - to be peaceful and out of this sport working for humanity and for God....After we finish boxing I want to learn how to get out of this life and use my popularity and my intelligence for humanity - to help people in whatever way I can. I don't know how, but I want to do something - bring people together, work for God and help people.
During that meeting, some of Sri Chinmoy's students sung a song that Sri Chinmoy had composed for Muhammad Ali.
Greater than the greatest,
Swifter than the swiftest,
Ali, Ali, Champion!
Owner of a new vision.
Supreme boxer's jabbing thunders
Sport with art-beauty's wonders.
Sri Chinmoy also wrote another song in praise of this great champion:
Muhammad Ali, Champion Ali,
Greater than the greatest, really!
Sleepless you cry for Allah’s Grace,
Deathless you fight for the Muslim race.
Muhammad Ali, Champion Ali!
Your moon-pure heart and justice-light
Shall smash the frown of ignorance-night.
Ali, you are Eternity’s pride.
Your victory’s smile is the pole-star guide.
In 2003, Muhammad Ali became the 6000th person to be honoured as part of the Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart program; being lifted overhead by Sri Chinmoy using a special apparatus, together with his wife Lonnie.
Sri Chinmoy was always very grateful for Muhammad Ali's kind words of support for his weightlifting over the years, right back to when he first started in 1985:
Sri Chinmoy is a very spiritual man. I feel the reason Sri Chinmoy lifted this weight is because of his love of God and belief that through God all things are possible. This man has done the impossible because of faith, wisdom and love of God. Through God we can do anything and He allows us to reach beyond human endeavours. We may feel we can’t go on, but because we find inner faith, we do. The body says “stop,” but the spirit cries “never.” In the warrior’s code there is no stopping.