Run and become, become and run, part 2

Run and become


Run and become.

Become and run.

Run to succeed in the outer world.

Become to proceed in the inner world.

— Sri Chinmoy


Shry and John McLaughlin1

Two Puerto Rican boys were in a car driving the wrong way on a one-way street as I came running down. One boy said, “Hi, Shry, Shry, Shry. I love you.” The other boy said, “Hi, John McLaughlin. I love you.”

RB 65. 31 August 1979

No objection2

Along one of my running routes a little girl of five or six and her father were entering into a car. The father was getting into the driver’s side and the daughter was getting in the other side. As I ran by, the daughter said, “Hi, Guru!”

The father said to her, “Call him by his real name: Sri Chinmoy.” Then he said to me, “I have no objection to her calling you ‘Guru’, but I just wanted her to know your real name. We have some tenants who always talk about you.”

RB 66. 2 September 1979

I miss my youth3

When I went out running I saw a short, thin, old man with a hat and cane sitting on the edge of a wall, waiting for the bus. I didn’t pay any attention to him, but when I came back from my seven-mile run, the same old man was still waiting there. He said to me, “How I wish I could get back my youth.”

I said, “I too miss my youth.”

“How old are you?” asked the man.

“Forty-eight,” I answered.

“I am seventy-three,” said the man.

I stayed there with him for two or three minutes and then I finished my run.

RB 67. 3 September 1979

I can beat you4

As I was running up 85th Avenue, a little boy said to me, “Hi, Shry Chinmoy. You can’t run. I can beat you.”

I said, “Easily.”

The little boy said, “Easily, I bet!”

RB 68. 5 September 1979

The ticket-giver5

While I was running about four or five days ago, I passed a man who was giving a parking ticket to a car — God knows what he is called. I was very tired, and when he saw me he said, “Young friend, you have run enough. Now take rest.”

After writing out the ticket, he himself sat down at the foot of a tree. He was a very old man, a very nice soul. I asked him, “Do you get joy by giving tickets to cars?”

“No, never!” he replied. “But will you give me my bread and butter? Daily I have to give at least ten or twelve tickets in the morning. If I do not, then my boss will fire me. He will not give me my bread and butter.”

So we sat down and both rested for about five minutes — this is how I run — and then we went our own ways.

RB 69. 21 September 1979

Stride instruction6

Yesterday when I was finishing a six-mile run on 150th Street, a young boy came up to me and said, “Nice style, but you need longer strides.”

He began demonstrating, saying that after each stride I should pause and press the ground with my toes. “In this way your stride becomes longer.”

He was very nice and demonstrated this for two minutes or so. I did not tell him that I know all the different stride techniques.

RB 70. 21 September 1979

The nice guy7

Around 4:30 in the morning, after running three and a half miles, I passed a very old man who was in his seventies. He was carrying a bag which had some food inside it. This happened between Queens Boulevard and Main Street.

He asked me, “Excuse me, which way is the subway?”

I said, “I'm very sorry. I don’t know.”

The old man said, “Never mind, you are a nice guy.”

After I went on about 200 metres, I remembered: “Oh, he is walking towards the highway. How is he going to get the subway there?”

So I ran back to get him. O God, he was coming back; somebody else had already told him to head towards Queens Boulevard.

But when he saw I came back to help him, he said, “I knew you were a nice guy.”

RB 71. 21 September 1979

How the world exists8

There are bad people, there are good people and there are very good people on earth. I don’t care for pizza at all, but some of my disciples enjoy pizza like anything. A few months ago I said, “Let me please my disciples!” So I went to the pizza parlour and asked for eight pieces. The man asked me to take a whole pie. It would be a matter of ten minutes, he said, for him to get it ready.

Instead of waiting in the hot pizza parlour, I went outside to do some jogging. After thirteen minutes I went back inside.

The man didn’t have it ready yet. He said, “I didn’t trust you. I thought you wouldn’t come back.” So I waited there, and in five minutes he gave me a pie to take home.

Yesterday I was running while some of the girls were working in the Jharna-Kala Store. Since I know my disciples like baklava, I entered into a store that sold it and asked the man if he could cut twenty pieces in half. He said yes and started cutting. He had cut only two pieces when I told him I would be back. Then I ran a mile and a half.

When I returned, the man was surprised to see me. He said, “I am giving this to you for fifty cents less because I am so surprised to see you.” In his case I was late, but he had it ready for me.

He asked me for ten dollars. I said to myself, “Each piece is 40 cents and there were twenty pieces.” Fortunately, a lady standing behind me said to the man, “That should be eight dollars.” The man said, “Oh, yes, yes. Sorry.”

Now we come not to better but to best. Three weeks ago I received an anonymous letter deeply appreciating what I am doing for mankind, along with a bank check for one thousand dollars. It was a check from Citibank, but for some reason it had been mailed from Maine. So there are, indeed, good people on earth. This is how the world exists. Otherwise, the world would collapse.

RB 72. 23 September 1979

Who will feel sorry for whom?9

Sometimes someone is ten or twenty metres ahead of you in a race. If you look at that person, you see that he is running so slowly. You can’t believe that you are running slower than him, but you are.

In our last ten-mile race, two older women were running near me. Who will feel sorry for whom? But they finally went ahead of me, even though they seemed to be going so slowly, and I couldn’t catch up to them again.

RB 73. 23 September 1979

The insurmountable hill10

I will never allow the Centre to sponsor a race with the same kind of hilly course that we had in today’s ten-mile race. Even my road crew driving alongside me in a car knew what we were going through. Each mile had at least one hill or even more, and there were three hills that were almost insurmountable.

When I saw one particular hill, my reaction was immediately to collapse. Then I saw two of my girl disciples running together in front of me, literally running and jumping up the hill.

I said, “If they can jump like that, why can’t I drag my body up the hill?” And I did finally reach the top.

RB 74. 23 September 1979

"Look, mom!"11

The day before yesterday I was running by the Indian grocery near our old gym. An Indian family was standing beside the grocery. As I came by, a young boy of eight or ten began calling his mother, “Mom, look, Sri Chinmoy is running, Sri Chinmoy is running! We haven’t seen him for a long time.”

He called his mother, but I had disappeared before she could come out of the store.

RB 75. 26 September 1979

The race12

This morning at 4:30, when I made a turn off 150th Street onto the Grand Central service road at the half-mile mark, I passed a very thin, old man who was half drunk and very dirty.

He said to me, “I can beat you walking.” I smiled at him. Then he started walking very fast for forty metres, but I was still a little ahead of him.

Then I told him, “You run. I can beat you walking.”

So he started running and I started walking. I stayed behind him deliberately; otherwise, I could have easily defeated him.

He said, “Oh, now we are even.” He could not defeat me when he was walking and I could not beat him when I was walking.

RB 76. 26 September 1979

"One, two, three!"13

This morning a fat lady, my neighbour-friend, was standing with her two dogs near my house. She saw me run by and then she started walking slowly across the street. By the time she reached the other side, I was back from running around the block. She said, “You run so fast. One, two, three, and you are here!” She could not cover fifteen metres in the time I took to run 400 metres.

RB 77. 26 September 1979

"Don't stop"14

At four in the afternoon, after running a half-mile, I stopped for two seconds in front of an old man, an invalid who was sitting in a wheelchair in front of his house.

He said to me, “Don’t stop, don’t stop! It is not allowed. Keep going, keep going. Don’t stop, it is not allowed.”

I thanked him, and then I ran a mile and a half. When I was returning, I thought that the old man would still be there and give me the same advice. So about 100 metres before his house, I stopped for a few seconds and thought of him. Immediately I saw a flash and heard him say in the inner world, “That’s perfect.”

When I saw him 100 metres later, I smiled and he said, “That’s perfect.” He didn’t know that I had stopped 100 metres before.

RB 78. 26 September 1979

"Run softly!"15

After I had run about two miles and was near my tennis court, I saw an old lady who had just mowed her lawn. Leaves and grass were lying on the sidewalk. When I was about to run by, she said to me, “Please run softly and gently. Don’t make a mess!” When I heard this, I immediately jumped into the street. “Such a nice guy!” she said.

RB 79. 26 September 1979

"No, never!"16

When I was running the day before yesterday, I felt such tiredness in my body. The body was so undivine, not receptive at all. After 200 metres, I stopped for no rhyme or reason. After 400 metres, again I stopped. This time I got mad at myself. “Is it tiredness or is it something else?” I asked.

Inwardly I said a few times, “I am not going to stop, I am not going to stop.” Then I began chanting out loud, at every step, “No, never! No, never! No, never!” In this way I covered one mile. If people had heard me chanting in the street, they would have said: “Insane!” Luckily, no one was around. Then I ran all the way back home, feeling quite happy.

RB 80. 29 September 1979

"You are beautiful!"17

Early yesterday morning around seven o’clock, as I was running towards Parsons Boulevard, I saw an elderly man sitting on a chair across the street. As I came by he raised his hand and said to me, “Hey, your style is beautiful. You look beautiful. You are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!”

When I came back from running around 7:30, one of the disciples came to my house to drive me to the playground. As soon as she opened the door and saw me on the porch she said, “Guru, you look so beautiful!” She used the same words as the old man. So in silence I blessed the soul of my laundress for my beautiful outfit.

RB 81. 29 September 1979

The old runner18

In the afternoon at three o’clock I was running along the street near the turn-off to Guru Stationery. Many children were coming home from school at that time.

A little girl, eight or nine years old, said to a little boy, “Look, look, Shry is running!”

The boy said, “His name is Sri.”

The girl said, “He runs like an old man.”

The boy said, “He is not old.”

The girl said, “But he runs like an old man.”

RB 82. 29 September 1979

The saint19

After I had run 400 metres more, I saw a group of boys standing opposite one of my disciples’ houses. One white boy was so excited to see me running. “Oh, Sri Chinmoy!” he said.

A black boy said, “No good, he takes away everybody’s money.”

The white boy said, “No, my father said he is a saint like our Christian saints. He never charges any money.”

I didn’t want to enter into their conversation, so I just kept going.

RB 83. 29 September 1979

The missing water bottle20

At night, one of my disciples was driving us along the route where one of my spiritual daughters, A., was going to run thirteen miles the next morning, so we could leave bottles of water there. She was saying that she wanted to get rid of all her old running shoes. Another of my spiritual daughters, B., who was in the car with us, said, “Why do you have to get rid of them? There will be many people to buy them.” But she used some American slang expression.

A. said, “Nobody will buy my shoes.”

B. said, “Why don’t you give them to Casey to sell in his flea market? People will be happy to buy running shoes at a cheap price.”

A. put bottles of water at the three-mile, five-mile and six-mile marks. On the bottles it was written, “This bottle is for a runner. Please do not remove!” or something like that.

The next morning A. was supposed to start running at six o’clock. At five o’clock I was out running along the same route. A little before the three mile mark, I said to myself, “Let me go and see whether the bottle is still there.” I knew she had put it near the sidewalk at the base of a drinking fountain. I stopped there to look, but the bottle was not there. “Wonderful, wonderful” I thought sadly. “Somebody has removed it.”

I was about to start running again on the street when one of my inner beings said, “My Lord, please run on the sidewalk.” I didn’t ask why. After 100 metres, right at the 1,500-metre mark on the sidewalk, I saw the bottle standing straight up. Someone had removed the bottle and put it on the sidewalk. Had my inner being not asked me to run on the sidewalk, I would not have seen the bottle since it was quite dark.

I picked up the bottle and ran back to put it in the original place. Then I continued my run.

RB 84. 29 September 1979

Seven dollars talks21

At the four-mile mark I saw a middle-aged, innocent looking lady in trouble. She was having problems with her Volkswagen and had opened the hood. She said, “Can you give me a hand?”

O God, I know nothing about cars. I said, “I know nothing about mechanics, but please wait. In ten minutes I will be able to send you my chauffeur.” She didn’t understand my English, so I said, “My driver, my driver.”

Then I began running quite fast to look for a telephone booth to call the disciple who drives me around. After 200 metres, I saw an ambulance driver asleep in his ambulance. As soon as I passed him he woke up and said, “Hey, such a beautiful, cool morning. Don’t you know how to enjoy sleep? You woke me up.”

I said, “Friend, can you do me a favour? A girl is having trouble with her car.”

He said, “Pretty girl?”

I said, “Middle-aged lady.” This man was a real joker. I never carry money when I run, but this time I happened to have seven dollars with me. I gave him the money, and the seven dollars talked. He immediately turned on the motor and made a wrong turn down a one-way street heading towards the lady. When I saw him finally talking to the lady, I said, “Now I have done my part. He is a joker, but he will fix her car.” So I continued running.

RB 85. 29 September 1979

The policeman22

Twenty metres away from the five-mile mark there was a parked police car with two policemen in it. One of them was asleep. The other one said to me, “Sir, how I wish I didn’t have duty at this hour. Why don’t you go and rest? Why do you have to run at this hour?”

I said, “I enjoy it.”

He asked, “Where are you going?”

I answered, “Somebody has put water at this spot to drink.”

The policeman said, “Don’t you want to drink it? Aren’t you thirsty?”

I said, “No, I am not thirsty.”

“Go home and sleep,” he said.

RB 86. 29 September 1979

A great runner23

When I had run another mile and a half, I stopped for a second or two. Immediately a tiny dog came and sat by my right foot, wanting me to caress it and give it a little kindness. I never do this kind of thing, but this time I bent a little to touch the dog’s head. The owner, who was bald-headed, wearing a grey coat, came over to me and said, “My Dolly has fallen in love with you.”

I kept caressing the dog. The owner said, “Dolly, do you want to become a great runner like this gentleman?”

I said, “How I wish I could become a great runner!”

RB 87. 29 September 1979

The mysterious hat24

On my way back I wanted to see if the first bottle of water was still there. I was wearing my Pepsi Cola Bicycle Marathon hat and I put it under the bottle to see if my spiritual daughter A. would find it. Later, A. told me that some crazy person had put a hat under her water bottle and she had just left it there. Her intuition wasn’t working. I didn’t tell her whose hat it was.

RB 88. 29 September 1979

The show-off25

I had just started running very slowly and I passed a little boy about six years old playing with his older brother on 150th Street. The younger boy said, “What are you doing? Just showing off?”

His older brother said to him, “Don’t say that. He is a very great man.”

The younger one said, “My daddy is far greater.”

The older boy said, “Our daddy is not as great as he is.”

The younger one said, “No, he is just showing off.”

“Don’t say that, don’t say that, don’t say that!” the older one told him.

When I was coming back after covering one mile, the two children were still playing. The little one again said to me, “You are just showing off. Go home, go home!”

The older brother got furious and shouted, “Don’t say that! Don’t say that! Don’t say that!”

RB 89. 30 September 1979

The priest26

As I was running by Queensboro Hall, a very big building on Queens Boulevard, I saw a priest crossing the street in front of me. He was about 60 years old and wearing a black robe. Suddenly he said, “Damn you!”

I stopped and said, “Father, why do you swear?”

The priest said, “Why not? All the time I see people like you running, running, running. Why don’t you run inwardly? You don’t believe in Heaven? By running in the street, do you think you will be able to go to Heaven?”

I was in a joking mood so I said to the priest, “I will find Heaven everywhere except inside your tongue.”

He said, “Who are you, after all?”

“I am an ordinary man,” I answered. “As you see, I am just a runner.”

The priest said, “Why do you have to run?”

I said, “I am getting ready for the New York Marathon.”

“You dark fool!” he shouted. “Look at your head, look at your head.”

“It seems I have more hair than you,” I said.

He said, “Like you, thousands and thousands of fools will be running in the New York Marathon. Go back to your running. I shall pray for your salvation.”

I said, “Perhaps you need salvation more desperately than I do.”

Then the priest swore again, “Damn you!” and crossed himself.

RB 90. 30 September 1979

The queue27

The journey to Greece, where I was going to run the marathon, took about nine hours. For me to sit for that long on a plane — especially with my right leg problems — was a difficult task. At one point, I got up to go to the bathroom. I was standing in line for about fifteen minutes but the line did not move. So very gently I was stretching my right leg while standing.

An elderly lady saw me and came up to me. “I am sure you are going for the marathon,” she said. “Look, my husband too is going for the marathon.”

Then she called her husband over and introduced me to him. I had a long talk with him. He came from Cleveland, and this was going to be his seventeenth marathon. Sixteen times he had run, but this was going to be his first time in Greece. He told me his time in his first marathon was 4:17. Now he does it in three hours or 3:15.

He was advising me to do hill work. “You must do hill work if you want to become a good runner. Nobody can become a good runner without doing hill work. If you want to increase your speed, if you want to strengthen your legs, if you want to have long strides, then hill work is the only answer.”

I thanked him deeply.

RB 91. 7 October 1979

The Philadelphia man28

Then, at the airport in Athens, a tall, fat gentleman came up to me and caught me by the shoulder.

He said, “Friend, are you going to run the marathon?” I smiled at him.

Then he said, “I am going to run. I come from Philadelphia.”

I said, “Philadelphia gave me a very sad experience. I went to Philadelphia to run the marathon.”

He said he was also there and gave up after thirteen miles. I said, “At twenty-one miles I gave up.”

So in the same marathon where I gave up after twenty-one miles, he gave up after thirteen miles.

He had run one other marathon somewhere else, he told me; his timing was five and a half hours. So my ego came forward. I said, “I am not so bad.” O God, in two more days what would happen!

Then we talked for a long time. Since my timing is a little better than his, I felt quite at ease talking to him.

Then the Cleveland man came up and joined our conversation. He was very sincere; he was not bragging, only advising us what to do.

RB 92. 7 October 1979

My Japanese companion29

My first evening in Greece I went out to run. It seems that taxi drivers and car owners there are insane, especially at night. How badly they drive!

At every moment you are at their mercy, even in the park. I don’t know how, but they manage to drive right into the park itself. There is no street or anything; far from it. But they drive right into the park, and so speedily. Then they leave their cars there while they go to a party or some place. And we are trying to run there!

Inside the park an old Japanese man — very short, very skinny — started following me as I was running. I thought I was shorter than the shortest, but he was practically at my shoulder. And he was very old.

With such affection, such affection, he started running with me. Then we started talking. He told me all about his running experiences. I was very happy.

He was about 70 years old and he said he had come all the way from Japan for the marathon.

He was staying at the same hotel that I was. There were quite a few Japanese staying there. They all had come to run.

The following day also we ran together. I always make complaints about my strides, but his strides were shorter than mine. I ran two miles with him, very slowly.

I saw him once more after the marathon. He took seven hours and fifteen or twenty minutes. He was so delighted that he had completed it. Who would not be proud of him!

RB 93. 7 October 1979

Looking over the battlefield30

Later that day, which was the day before the marathon, I took a cab and went to the marathon starting point. I was disappointed, frightened, to say the least, when I saw the whole course.

I said, “Since I came all the way, best thing is to die on the battlefield.”

But when you are in the car, the battlefield is not a real battlefield. Only when you start running, when you are on the ground, is it a real battlefield.

When I saw it in the car, I still had a little hope that I would be able to manage it. Secretly I had a little hope that I would be able to finish it. O God, the actual day was something else!

RB 94. 7 October 1979

Well-wishes from a friend31

About ten minutes before the race, my Cleveland friend all of a sudden came up to me. He didn’t say hello or anything; he just grabbed my hand and started shaking my hand.

He is a far better runner; I was so honoured.

Then he started giving me advice. He said, “You have to drink a lot, drink a lot.”

It was so hot — really very, very hot. Everybody had told me that the weather would be very cold. But no, it was really hot.

So my Cleveland friend said, “Drink a lot, drink a lot; otherwise, you won’t be able to make it.”

My Philadelphia friend — God knows where he was! But he would appear very soon.

RB 95. 7 October 1979

Caught by surprise32

They started the race at least two minutes early. Believe me, my New York time I always keep perfect, and I had got the New York time transferred into Greek time. But they started at least two minutes early.

Many people were surprised. They were just chatting and all of a sudden they heard a sound: “Boom!” Many people were murmuring, “It is not time, it is not time.” But we ran.

RB 96. 7 October 1979

The loop33

After two miles there was a loop that brought you back again to the main road. Look at their divine stupidity! Instead of making the loop cross the main road further up, they brought it back so it overlapped the first part of the route.

Some were running at a five-minute pace, and others were running at a 13-minute pace. So the fast runners who were finishing the loop were blocked by the slow runners who hadn’t reached the loop. They could not go fast because we were blocking the way. I felt sorry for them.

After two miles I saw my Cleveland friend. I was only 200 or 300 metres inside the loop, and he was completing it. He was practically 1,200 metres ahead of me. He had made the loop, but he was being blocked by the slow runners. He was almost furious. I don’t know, but his face was not normal at that time. Even then, when he saw me he waved. I was so grateful to him.

Now the fool in me — I don’t know how or why — also started running fast. When it was three miles, my time was under 21 minutes. I said, “Is it possible?”

When I completed the loop, I looked back and, O God, there were so many people behind me — hundreds of people. At that time all my pride came to the fore! “I am a great runner, because so many people are behind me.” I thought some had not even come to the loop. “I am completing three miles and, God knows, still they haven’t completed two miles.” And at least 300 or 400 were way ahead; God knows where they were.

But I felt sorry for the excellent runners, because they had to cross through the bad runners like us. We were disturbing them on the way.

RB 97. 7 October 1979

Terrible! Terrible!34

As soon as I reached five and a half miles, I saw the first hill. For at least 1,200 metres it went up. It was not yet six miles, so still I had strength.

The next 200 metres were not downhill but flat, and then again it went up for practically half a mile. Next it went down — this time not even for 100 metres — and again up.

Like this, when I came to nine miles, I felt miserable. I said, “What am I going to do?” Luckily, at that time it went downhill for about 800 metres. I was so delighted, so happy; at last there was an oasis in the desert.

O God, after 800 metres it went up again.

From five and a half it started, and for the next fourteen miles it was only hills. And you won’t believe me, but there were no downhills. At most it would be flat for 100 or 200 metres and then it went up, up, up. There were three hills that were at least, at least, one mile long.

People were cursing and dying.

One young man was lying right on the street — not on the sidewalk but right on the street — massaging his knee and saying, “Never in this lifetime will I run again.” Terrible! Terrible!

RB 98. 7 October 1979

Some fast walkers35

Some were running fifty metres and walking fifty metres. You won’t believe it, but three elderly men walked faster than I could run. I was running — “Huh, huh!” — and they were walking, but my running was not as good as their walking.

One of them was mischievous enough to laugh at me. He was laughing at me because I was running and he was beating me while walking. But after two miles I saw him; he had become so tired that he went to drink ERG or water, and he did not appear for a long time.

RB 99. 7 October 1979

Quick, quick, quick36

There were runners poorer than me. I felt sorry for them. And the people who were going ahead of me, I was admiring like anything. No jealousy, absolutely none! I was adoring them. It was an impossible task they were performing.

Sometimes old people — at least ten or fifteen years older than me — were going ahead of me. There was no competitive spirit on my part; only my admiration was coming forward. “These people are older than me and look how they are doing.” They had such short strides — about half the length of my strides — but quick, quick, quick.

RB 100. 7 October 1979

The exerciser37

One man was running with his wife. Every fifty metres she stopped and twisted herself. She bent down, touched her toes and did all kinds of stretching exercises. Then for fifty metres she would run again. Each time I would pass her while she was stretching, but when they ran they caught up with me. When they ran, they ran fast. This went on. Finally they stopped or fell behind me.

RB 101. 7 October 1979

Ruhhh, ruhhh, the motor man38

One man was following me for at least two or three miles making noise: “Ruhhh, ruhhh, ruhhh.” People around him were laughing at him. “Ruhhh, ruhhh.” For three miles he went on making that noise.

I didn’t have the capacity to go ahead of him, and I didn’t want to decrease the little speed that I had. So I said, “No, let me go at my own pace.”

For about three miles, he went on making that noise. Then afterwards he disappeared. He didn’t go ahead of me; perhaps he stopped running.

RB 102. 7 October 1979

The Philadelphia man's victory39

At about eleven miles, I heard somebody screaming my name. It was my Philadelphia friend. He knew my name, Ghose, and had remembered it. He was inside the bus that was carrying the dying soldiers, and he was waving at me. He had won his “victory”.

After eighteen miles there was another bus. All together, there were two or three buses carrying those who had dropped out. Another bus invited me to enter, but I said, “No! It is better to die.”

RB 103. 7 October 1979

The chorus40

At eighteen miles my first attack came: my hamstring revolted.

When it was twenty-one miles, out of the blue, five songs I heard all at once. It was absolutely a chorus; the music was on! How can I get five cramps at a time? The pain was excruciating. I was helpless, flat, dead! Some of the disciples were helping me. One of them was seated and, with a sponge, was pressing my leg with cold water, while another was pushing my toes forward. How hard, how quickly, the first one was massaging me! And afterwards, four or five times he did it again. Even now it frightens me when I think of the pain — excruciating!

After that experience I started walking. Slower than the slowest, a quarter mile I walked. Again the pain, so again I walked.

Running is forbidden now. Just walk, walk as slowly as possible. When it was twenty-three miles, another new friend came — right here in the neck. I couldn’t breathe in; neither nostril was functioning.

O God, this was really unbearable! With the previous pain, at least I was able to breathe in, so I felt that there was something going on. But when it started in this muscle, I was not able to breathe even. Too much, too much!

Some people — I think, nurses — came up, but we didn’t take their help. I said, “I have got my help.”

When it was twenty-five miles, a strong desire arose: “Oh, let me run at least the last mile.” It was a desire, nothing else. As soon as I tried, all the cramps said to me, “Where are you going? We are still alive.” Such pain!

I thought 800 metres, 400 metres, 100 metres I would run. Finally, when it was only twenty metres, the officials were asking me to run. I tried, but I knew if I had run, I would have dropped right there and fainted, so I just dragged myself. I wasn’t even walking — just dragging my body. Anyway, I managed to finish.

RB 104. 7 October 1979


The management of the race was far from perfection. Sometimes the water stations were on the right side of the street, sometimes they were on the left side. It didn’t bother me, because my disciples were supplying me with ERG. But others I saw. Sometimes they were running on this side of the street and they had to cross to the other side.

And a horrible thing! They allowed the vehicles to run along the same route. After eleven miles it was so difficult to run. When we had only six miles left, we had to run in the city of Athens. There it was infinitely worse.

You are running this way when, all of a sudden, from the side street cars will enter. Policemen hold the runners and let the cars pass. Here we are dying to reach the destination one minute sooner, and the policeman will say: “Stop!”

RB 105. 7 October 1979

The rogue42

After I finished, I waited around for practically an hour. I was enjoying watching the people coming in after me. I thought that I was one of the most unfortunate runners, but people kept coming in.

One man who came in was a rogue. He was about sixty. He came in quite fresh and did three somersaults. He was so happy.

He was jumping — one, two, three. Most of the people didn’t believe that he had run the whole course. His number was missing, but he said that he had the number. God knows!

RB 106. 7 October 1979


This morning I left about a quarter to four to go running. I ran a few blocks without gloves or a hat. After 500 or 600 metres, I was absolutely frozen to death. I went back home and got my gloves and hat, and then I went out again to run. How difficult to run in such cold!

RB 107. 11 October 1979

"Stop, my son!"44

The day before yesterday, in the evening, I was running on 150th Street, near the bus stop. An old lady affectionately said to me, “Stop, stop!” so I stopped. Then, with such affection she said, “My son, my son, cold, cold, cold!” She had on a heavy winter coat and fur hat. I gave her a very broad smile and continued running.

RB 108. 16 October 1979

The garbage-can man45

I was running around four-thirty in the morning when I saw a tall, thin black man was running ahead of me. When he saw a garbage can, he went over to it, removed the cover and threw it onto the owner’s lawn. Then he went on to the next one. After he did this to four houses I said, “O God, I am not going to run with him,” and I went in another direction.

RB 109. 16 October 1979

The lost taxi driver46

When I was running on the Grand Central service road near Jamaica High School, a taxi driver very pathetically asked me how to find Atlantic Avenue.

I am the one who never knows anything about giving directions. I said to myself, “O God, save me, save me!” Then I said to the taxi driver, “Make a right turn and go to Jamaica Avenue, and then ask people there how to go to Atlantic Avenue.”

The driver said, “I see the Van Wyck Expressway and Atlantic Avenue when I come from Kennedy Airport.”

I said, “Yes, you have to make a right turn.”

I was so proud of myself that I was able to give him the correct information.

RB 110. 16 October 1979

The mockers47

About a week ago I was running near the Jamaica High School track. Some mischievous boys on their way to Thomas Edison Vocational and Technical High School called out with tremendous mockery, “There he goes: the great spiritual Master!” It was not with any kind of good feeling that they were saying this.

RB 111. 16 October 1979

The big man48

Today B. was running on a street near my house. A neighbour noticed that she was wearing our new Sri Chinmoy Marathon Runner shirt, and he said to her, “So, the big man is preparing for the marathon too?”

RB 112. 16 October 1979

The sub-three marathoner49

Today one of the disciples was telling me that he met a very good runner while running in Flushing Meadow Park. This man had told the disciple that he often sees me running and that he thought I was a sub-three-hour marathoner because I was so thin and I looked like I was in such good shape. The disciple was very polite and told the runner that I was hoping to break three and a half hours in the New York Marathon. He didn’t tell him my previous bullock-cart marathon times.

RB 113. 16 October 1979

The devoted jogger50

Yesterday while I was running on 150th Street I saw a girl of 14 or 15 also running. When she came near me, she said, “Sri Chinmoy.” Then she gave me a big smile, folded her hands and stopped running. After I ran past her, she continued her running.

RB 114. 18 October 1979

The lost child51

Right after I passed the young girl runner, a little child came up to me and asked how to find 140th Street. He was lost. When I told him which way to go, he ran in that direction very fast.

RB 115. 18 October 1979

Well-wishes from the bus driver52

That afternoon I went shopping to bring back some food for the disciples. When I entered into the bus, the driver said to me, “Why didn’t you run this morning? What were you doing?”

He was a very nice, bearded black man. I said, “Are you talking to me?”

The driver said, “Yes. Every day I see you running before five o’clock in the morning. I see you at least two or three times every day, but I have not seen you for a couple of days. What is wrong with you?”

I explained, “I am relaxing before the New York Marathon.”

He said, “Good luck! I see you don’t give a damn about cold or rain. People enter into my bus cold and frozen and I save them, but I see you running in such cold. For the last couple of days I have not seen you.”

I said, “This is on my route, but recently I have been running very few miles.”

When I was leaving the bus he said, “Lots of luck to you.”

RB 116. 18 October 1979

A gentlemanly bow53

I was about to cross the street when a small school bus stopped in the middle of the street. One of the disciples saw me waiting there and came running to carry my bags. Then I saw a thin man take off his hat and bow down. This kind of thing only the Harry who works at P.S. 86 used to do. When I came nearer I saw that it was Harry, so I also bowed down.

RB 117. 18 October 1979

The Con Edison worker54

When I was running early in the morning, a little after five o’clock, I saw a fat, black Con Edison man working near C.'s house. I heard someone call out, “Guru?” absolutely the same way the disciples call my name. Then I saw it was the Con Edison worker.

What is a Con Edison man doing calling me like that?

Who is my disciple in Con Edison?

RB 118. 18 October 1979

The sanctioned prayer55

Quite often I see the two soldiers, H. and T., running along the street. As soon as H. sees me, even at a distance, he puts his right hand on his heart. T. either folds his hands or gives me a smile. H. smiles through his eyes and T. smiles through his teeth.

Today I was returning home after running only one mile. When I had only five hundred metres left, I saw someone running very fast on the other side of the street. In silence I said to him, “I am not envying you. Go ahead.” I looked carefully and saw it was T. But this time he didn’t greet me. I thought, “Had it been H., he would have greeted me.”

As usual I was going very slowly, at my Indian bullock cart speed, so T. passed me and continued on his way. When I finished, I saw somebody practically hiding at the foot of a tree across the street. He gave me the biggest smile and folded his hands. I said, “My prayer has been sanctioned.” It was T.

RB 119. 19 October 1979

An invitational run56

While I was in Japan, I was running in a park. At one point I saw ten or twelve American boys about to run short distances. The coach, a Japanese, said to me, “Come along. Run with us.”

I said, “No, I can’t run with you. You will run fast. I am running long-distance.”

So I watched them. They were starting with one hundred or two hundred metre dashes. It was their morning run. Every day they run and many people in the park watch them. Their strides are quite good.

RB 120. 1 November 1979

Dogs are everywhere57

When I ran during my second day in Japan, there were many, many people in the park. At one point I said, “Here is the place where I will not be disturbed by dogs.” In two minutes I saw a gentleman running with his dog on a leash. He bowed to me and I saluted him.

RB 121. 1 November 1979

The Japanese tradition58

That morning I ran about six miles. During the run at least twenty other runners I encountered along the way bowed to me in the traditional Japanese manner. Ten or twelve times I also bowed to them. But after that it was too much for me. When they bowed I would just raise my hand to salute them.

Then, when I was really tired, I saw an old lady about sixty years old running. She bowed down, and in her case I felt that I had to bow down also.

RB 122. 1 November 1979

The Madras run59

When I was in Madras, I ran twelve miles in the Madras heat. Afterwards, I went to a store to get some soda.

One, two, three, four, five, six sodas I drank one by one. The owner laughed and laughed.

I said to him, “Why are you laughing? You go and run twelve miles!”

He said, “I won’t be able to run even half a mile.”

RB 123. 1 November 1979

Harry runs, you jog60

Yesterday, around five o’clock, I ran three miles. Two out of the three miles were hill work. After the hill work, I wanted to run one more mile to make three miles.

An old man waiting for the bus saw me and said, “Oh, you look like my friend Harry, only he is taller than you. But you are not running; you are jogging. My friend Harry runs, but you are not running.”

RB 124. 18 November 1979

The miserable runner61

When K. sees me running, at least she smiles at me. V. is so horrible. Either she ignores me or, if she looks at me, she won’t smile.

The other day I saw V. and, as usual, she did not smile. A few minutes later I saw K. and she did smile. When V. runs she is not irritated, but she is miserable. Once I even shouted at her when I saw her running, but still she ignored me!

RB 125. 24 November 1979

Mistaken identity62

The more I practise the slower I become. So I decided to cut down on my distance and only practise speed work.

Today I started my speed work. This morning I was running a very short distance, and in front of C.'s house I saw someone who looked exactly like T.

I said, “T., T., T.” three times. Then I said to myself, “It can’t be T. If I call him three times, how is it that he won’t answer? The strange thing is that he didn’t even nod. I came near him and, O God, it was a different person.

RB 126. 24 November 1979

My puddle experience63

Last winter I ran fourteen miles with four members of my road crew. After four or five miles I said to two of them, “You go ahead and clear the snow.” After one hundred metres, one of the two could not keep up with the other, so like a gentleman he slowed down and ran with us.

After five miles, one of the boys running with me became tired and didn’t want to run any farther. While I was barking at him, I ran into a puddle. For five or six steps it was so cold! Such agony!

When we completed seven miles, that same disciple said, “Now can we go?” I said to him, “We will take a taxi,” but in the back of my mind I knew we would run another seven miles.

Now, one of the boys was wise. He saw a diner. So he said, “I wonder if they have hot chocolate.” Three of them stopped and had a hot chocolate, and then we started running again. The disciple who had said he was tired was running behind us. All of a sudden he became inspired and started going ahead. So I barked at him. “Either run fifty metres behind me or ahead.” Again, I ran into the same puddle going back the other way.

Two or three miles later I saw that disciple and another of the disciples. They had taken off their jackets and left them on the street. People didn’t care for their jackets, so they picked them up on the way back.

RB 127. 24 November 1979

Editor's preface to the first edition

Sri Chinmoy’s interest in running dates back to his youth. At the ashram, or spiritual community, where he lived from the ages of 12 to 32, he was the top-ranked sprinter and, for two consecutive years, decathlon champion. It wasn’t until the fall of 1978, however, that he first became interested in long-distance running. Since then, he has pursued the sport with the same one-pointed intensity that he has brought to his various literary, artistic and musical pursuits. For Sri Chinmoy, running — like writing, painting and composing — is nothing but an expression of his inner cry for ever-greater perfection: perfection in the inner world and perfection in the outer world. “Our goal is always to go beyond, beyond, beyond,” he says. “There are no limits to our capacity, because we have the infinite Divine within us, and the Supreme is always transcending His own Reality.”

Sri Chinmoy regards running as a perfect spiritual metaphor. “Try to be a runner and go beyond all that is bothering you and standing in your way,” he tells his students. “Be a real runner so that ignorance, limitations and imperfections will all drop far behind you in the race.” In this spirit he has inspired countless individuals to “run” — both literally and figuratively.

“Who is the winner?” he writes in one of his aphorisms. “Not he who wins the race, but he who loves to run sleeplessly and breathlessly with God the Supreme Runner.” As a fully God-realised spiritual Master, Sri Chinmoy has consecrated his life to this divinely soulful and supremely fruitful task. At the same time, on an entirely different level, he has made some significant contributions to the sport of running. He was the inspiration behind several long-distance relays, including a recent 300-mile run in Connecticut and the 9,000-mile Liberty-Torch run through all the states held during the 1976 Bicentennial. He has composed several running songs, which his students have performed at a number of races. His students have sponsored Sri Chinmoy Runs throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia as an offering to the running community. Moreover, Sri Chinmoy has encouraged his followers around the world to take up running as a means of overcoming lethargy and increasing their spiritual aspiration on the physical plane. Two hundred of his disciples, for example — most of whom were novice runners — completed last years’s New York City Marathon.

In the year he has been running, Sri Chinmoy himself has completed seven marathons. He averages about seventy to ninety miles a week, with most of his running done late at night or in the early hours of the morning. During his runs he has been chased by dogs, accosted by hooligans, greeted by admirers and cheered on by children. Sometimes he has had significant inner experiences; other times he has suffered deplorable outer experiences. As a spiritual Master of the highest order, Sri Chinmoy views these experiences — both the divine ones and the undivine ones — with a unique perspective. The running world is nothing but the human world in microcosm, and Sri Chinmoy’s reminiscences stand as a remarkable commentary on the whimsical, poignant, funny, outrageous and, above all, supremely significant experience we call life.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Run and become, become and run, part 2, Agni Press, 1979
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