About the author:

Nirbhasa is originally from Ireland but currently lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is an enthusiastic multi-day runner, having twice completed the Self-Transcendence Ten Day Race, and recently completed the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race - the longest race in the world.

A small collection of questions and aphorisms by Sri Chinmoy on the inner significance of swimming


"When we are inspired, we try to swim the English Channel. When we are inspired, we go from one country to another country to inspire people and to be inspired by them. I feel that when we inspire humanity, we automatically become good citizens of the world. This is my philosophy."


Let us swim and swim
Across the ignorance-sea
To reach the Golden Shore
Of the Beyond.


Question: Does swimming also help us to enter into a higher consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Swimming has its own symbolic value. I always say that we are sailing in the Golden Boat with the Golden Boatman towards the Golden Shore. The spiritual significance of water is consciousness. We are all eager to be in a good consciousness. As soon as we are in water, consciousness enters. So swimming has its own very special reality and divinity. While we are swimming, we can imagine that we are crossing from ignorance-sea into the sea of light and wisdom.


Every morning I swim in the river  
Of enthusiasm.
Every evening I swim in the sea
Of peace.


Question: Does the triathlon have any spiritual or symbolic significance?

Sri Chinmoy: I have the deepest admiration for those who participate in triathlons. Swimming reminds us of our spiritual life. Right now we are swimming in the sea of ignorance, but we are praying to our Beloved Supreme and meditating on Him to be able to swim in the sea of Light and Delight. When we are running, we are reminded of our birthless and deathless journey along Eternity's Road. Then, while we are cycling, we are reminding ourselves of evolution, of how the world is evolving in cycles. When we think of our planet, we think of a wheel turning; our life also is evolving like a wheel. So cycling reminds us of the process of evolution and of how everything goes in cycles. Once upon a time, in the hoary past, we lived in an era of truth. Now we are living in an era of falsehood. There was a time when truth reigned supreme, but now we see at every moment and every place that falsehood is reigning supreme. Our goal is to bring back again the golden age in which truth will be our inner guide and will reign supreme. So cycling reminds us of evolution, inner and outer. I appreciate and admire the athletes who have tremendous capacity in these three major events: running, cycling and swimming. Each event is so significant.



In an adventure, if you do not meet with immediate success, you have to feel that eventually you will succeed. In the beginning, the idea of swimming the English Channel seemed impossible. Now a number of our girl disciples are doing it, and one older man is defying age and conquering the Channel. So if somebody else fails, you should not give up. Either you will do it, or there will be somebody else to come who will succeed. (source)


La Manche

(The English Channel)

I am the ceaseless surge of unique delight.
Two are the flames that kiss the highest height
And the deepest deep no one beholds save I.
One is in Paris, the other in England's eye.

My breadth is the hyphen white between the twain.
Their union is hid in dull Time-brain.
The rapture flood of their diamond amity
In years thirty and five the world will see.

He and She my left and right, with them I shine.
He is the Supreme and She the Mother divine.
To lift the doleful earth to heaven's height
Their human birth and forms of endless Might.

Sri Chinmoy wrote this poem in his twenties, when he was still in India. (poem source)