24 June 1989

[On 24 June 1989, when Sudhahota was in Paris for a major track meet, Sri Chinmoy also happened to be in Paris to give a Peace Concert. In his book, Inside Track , Sudhahota recollects a conversation he had with the spiritual teacher when Sri Chinmoy visited him in his hotel room:]

“Before today, I thought I had heard all the excuses for running a bad race, failing to meet expectations or just missing a world record. But this morning I was introduced to a new explanation: the ground has a heart, and our relay team had not been in France long enough to feel that heart, to be comfortable with that heart, before our race.

“The explanation came from Sri Chinmoy, who was in Paris for another road run to promote world peace. I was glad when I heard Sri Chinmoy was here, because he had wanted to meet my teammates, and this was a good opportunity for that. In our hotel lobby, Joe DeLoach, Floyd Heard, Leroy Burrell and I visited with Sri Chinmoy. He was surprised when he heard we had arrived only a day before the meet.

“‘This explains why you did not win the world record,’ said Sri Chinmoy, his words coming slowly, his eyes opening and closing as he spoke, his head nodding gently as he focused on his thoughts. ‘The ground has a heart. Everything has a heart, a spirit and a heart. When you fly here you have to be on the ground long enough to feel the heart. Yes, that is important. And you missed the record by only a little bit. In a new place — you have to understand this — you have to be on the ground longer before you race.’

“I smiled and nodded, familiar with the way Sri Chinmoy explains things. But my teammates were a bit stunned. They did not say much to Sri Chinmoy. They just observed.

“Sri Chinmoy gave me a birthday cake, a week early, but he wanted me to have it. Sri Chinmoy wished us good luck for the rest of our trip, and that was that.

“Back in my room, Joe, Floyd and Leroy agreed on a one-word summary of what they had just seen. Interesting.”’

Note: Before going to Tokyo in August 1991 for the World Championships, Sudhahota said to Sri Chinmoy, “Guru, I’m going to take your advice and go two weeks early.” At those games Sudhahota set a new world record of 9.86 for 100 metres at the exceptionally advanced age (for a sprinter) of 30!