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Code Of Silence


I JOINED SRI CHINMOY'S ORGANIZATION IN 1972, AND LEFT IN 1989. I JOINED AT THE AGE OF 20, A RESPONSIBLE ADULT. I WAS AT COLLEGE IN LONDON, AND AT THE TAIL END OF SOME SERIOUS RECREATIONAL DRUG USE. IT WAS ALSO A TIME WHEN EASTERN RELIGIONS WERE THE RAGE, AND IT INTERSECTED CONVENIENTLY WITH MY DESIRE TO MOVE ON TO SOMETHING NEW AND UPLIFTING.

LIKE MANY OF MY PEERS IN THE GROUP, WHAT STARTED OUT AS A REFRESHING EXPERIENCE SOON TURNED INTO A CATCH 22 LIFE, WHERE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF CREATED A MENTAL VORTEX THAT WAS HARD IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO ESCAPE. ON THE ONE HAND, WE HAD TAKEN A STEP AWAY FROM OUR PREVIOUS LIVES, THAT REQUIRED US TO ACCEPT THAT THE DOUBTING INTELLECT WAS THE PROBLEM, FOR WHICH THE ANSWER WAS TOTAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE ILLOGICAL.... SO THAT IN SPITE OF A NAGGING DISBELIEF IN WHAT WE WERE LED TO BELIEVE. WE COULD ONLY ASSUME THAT THERE WAS SOME INTERNAL LOGIC THAT WE COULD AND WOULD SOON GRASP.

I SPENT FROM 1972 TO 1983 IN ENGLAND, AND I THEN CAME TO THE UNITED STATES AT THAT TIME I STARTED TO BE ASKED BY CHINMOY TO DO VARIOUS ART PROJECTS MOSTLY DECORATIVE..IN SERVICE OF HIS VARIOUS ENTERTAINMENTS. BUT WHEN IN ABOUT 1985 HE STARTED LIFTING WEIGHTS, HE DECIDED TO USE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIMSELF DOING `SUPERHUMAN FEATS' OF STRENGTH, AS YET ANOTHER VECTOR OF HIS DRIVE FOR PUBLICITY, FOR WHICH HE HAD AN INSATIABLE APPETITE. IF HE DID NOT SUCCEED IN LIFTING THESE RECORD AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT, IT WAS NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING, INDEED HE DID LEGITIMATELY SUPPORT FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT FOR A MAN OF HIS AGE; HE WOULD STRUGGLE, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH TWO HANDS TO GET A 100 POUND DUMBBELL ABOVE HIS HEAD, AND THEN HOLD IT BRIEFLY ALOFT WITH ONE HAND. SOON I WAS ASKED TO COME TO HIS HOUSE, WHERE HE WOULD INDICATE FOR ME TO DRAW CLOSER TO HIM...`Good Boy' HE WOULD SAY( I AM PARAPHRASING HERE) ,` IS IT NOT POSSIBLE TO MAKE THIS THIS LITTLE PIECE OF THE MACHINE LOWER? YOU CAN SEE IT IS ALREADY LIFTED....BUT FOR THE PRESS?.............SO THAT THEY CAN SEE CLEARLY???'....

WELL, HE STARTED ASKING ME TO DOCTOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIS LIFTS MORE AND MORE TO MAKE IT APPEAR AS THOUGH HE HAD LIFTED HIGHER AND MORE IMPRESSIVELY THAN HE ACTUALLY HAD. BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE WEIGHTS HE WAS TRYING TO LIFT WITH ONE ARM BEGAN TO GET PROGRESSIVELY MORE UNREALISTIC.. AND INCREASING EXPONENTIALLY, I WOULD HAVE TO AIRBRUSH IN.. OR OUT, BITS OF APPARATUS AND ADD SHADOWS WHERE THERE WERE NONE, GIVING THE ILLUSION OF A LIFT EVENTUALLY I WOULD WORK MORE AND MORE CLOSELY WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHERS....UNTIL I BECAME, MYSELF, ONE OF SEVERAL PHOTOGRAPHERS. AS THE WEIGHTS INCREASED I NO LONGER HAD TO AIRBRUSH. AS PHOTOGRAPHERS WE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE IT LOOK AS IF WEIGHTS HAD BEEN LIFTED. WE WOULD SHOOT FROM A LOW VANTAGE POINT SO AS TO MAKE IT LOOK AS THOUGH THE WEIGHTS HAD BEEN SLIGHTLY ROLLED UP THE BEND ON WHICH THE WEIGHT WAS CRADLED.

NOW THE STORY OF THE 7,OOO POUND LIFT THAT NEVER WAS...... AND THE TURNING POINT FOR ME.. NO MORE DENIAL. THAT DAY, ( I CANT REMEMBER IF IT WAS DAY OR NIGHT?), ABOUT 15 PEOPLE WERE SUMMONED TO HIS HOUSE.. INCLUDING A HANDFUL OF PHOTOGRAPHERS. ON THIS OCCASION I WAS JUST A WITNESS AND NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. THE APPARATUS, A METAL FRAME WITH TWO U-BENDS CRADLING THE WEIGHT AT SHOULDER HEIGHT STOOD THERE. THE BUILDERS OF THIS WELDED MONSTER WERE SCURRYING AROUND CHECKING THE FLOOR FROM THE BASEMENT WHICH HAD BEEN REINFORCED WITH STANDING METAL BEAMS. BARE IN MIND NOW THAT SRI CHINMOY HAD SAID ON AT LEAST ONE OCCASION, THAT HIS FEATS OF STRENGTH ON EARTH WERE AS NOTHING COMPARED WITH WHAT HE WAS DOING IN THE INNER WORLD....

SO SRI CHINMOY STOOD UP, WALKED AROUND THE WEIGHT, ROLLED HIS EYES IN MEDITATIVE REVERIE....THEN TOOK HIS GRIP ON THE BAR. HE CRIED OUT, HIS FACE TURNED RED.. ALL THE DRAMA OF GENUINE EFFORT, EXCEPT THAT THE WEIGHT DID NOT BUDGE, DID NOT EVEN TREMBLE, IT WAS AS IMMOVABLE AS EXCALIBER. SHORTLY WE WERE WATCHING THE VIDEO TAPE. SRI CHINMOY WAS THRILLED.....AS HE PLAYED IT AT THE APPROPRIATE MOMENT, HE GLEEFULLY SHOUTED "THERE! DID YOU SEE?!'. CAME A DEAFENING SILENCE, AND THE TAPE WAS REPLAYED. `LOOK! DID YOU SEE?!' THIS TIME RANJANA AND A FEW OTHER OF THE GIRLS, POSSIBLY A FEW BOYS TOO, ENTHUSIASTICALLY AGREED, YES, THERE HAD BEEN A LIFT. THEN THE VIDEO TAPE WAS PLAYED AGAIN AND A FEW MORE PEOPLE WERE WON OVER. THEN AGAIN AND AGAIN. EVENTUALLY SRI CHINMOY WAS REDUCED TO ACTUALLY EYEBALLING INDIVIDUALS, ALL BUT PLEADING FOR THEM TO COME ACROSS. IT WAS ACTUALLY QUITE SWEET/PATHETIC. TALK ABOUT RETAIL POLITICS!

THIS ACCOUNT CAN BE SUBSTANTIATED BY ANY ONE OF THESE PEOPLE...YOGALOY, A YOUNG MAN FROM CALIFORNIA WHO LEFT SOON AFTER ME WAS THERE. ANYWAY, IT WAS NOT LONG AFTER THAT I TOLD HIM I WAS LEAVING, HE ASKED ME TO GIVE HIM A MONTH IN ORDER TO TRY TO PERSUADE ME TO STAY....TO LEAVE WAS THE SAME AS SUICIDE HE TOLD ME. THERE FOLLOWED A MONTH OF FLATTERING ATTENTION.. TENNIS WITH THE MASTER EVERY MORNING, INVITATIONS TO ALL THE HOTTEST EVENTS. THE MASTERS CHARM AND SWEETEST PERSUASION. TO NO AVAIL THOUGH, I WANTED TO ROMANCE THE BEAST - REAL LIFE!