Part III: My American life

Unbearable cramps

When we were competing in the 24-hour Pepsi-Cola Bicycle Marathon, alas, how I suffered. At the very beginning of the bicycle loop in Central Park, just after our camp at the 200-metre mark, the road just goes up, up, up. I used to have such a hard time at that place on the course.

During the race, at that very place, I was attacked by unbearable cramps. I left my bicycle and went down the hill to the foot of a tree. I was fifty metres away from the actual cycling course. I was lying down on the grass absolutely in agony. Arpan happened to see me there. He stopped and he immediately started massaging me. This was the first time that he had massaged me and I have to say that he saved me. Such severe cramps I had! That was my worst cycling experience here in America. My life is full of wonderful experiences!

The troublesome bridge

When we used to cycle round the lake at Flushing Meadow Park on our five-mile course, there was a particular bridge. Everybody used to cross over that bridge easily, smiling, but for some reason, I always had difficulty on that bridge. Then I used to blame my bicycle. And my bicycle at that time was the best bicycle available!

Charoibeti runs to save me

This incident happened before Charoibeti came back to our path. I was cycling around Flushing Meadow Park and I did not see that there was a big bump in the road. I fell down miserably.

Charoibeti happened to be walking there and she saw me fall. Full of sympathy and concern, she cried out, "Oh, Guru!" Then she ran to get help. More than four hundred metres she covered to tell the disciples what had befallen me and she had to jog quite slowly because she was pregnant. Chataki was inside her mother.

Afterwards Charoibeti said that she had gone to the park with the hope of seeing me.

What old age can do

When I was a little child, how I used to cry because I had to ride a tricycle! It was beneath my dignity. And now, what kind of cycle am I using? Three wheels, three wheels. This is what old age can do for you!

Constant progress

While you are praying or meditating, imagine that you have a bicycle inside you. When you ride on a bicycle, you have to pedal it all the time. If you do not pedal, you cannot make any progress and you will fall down. Similarly, while you are meditating, you have to aspire all the time; otherwise, you will fall. You cannot balance motionless at one point. In the spiritual life, movement has to be constant. Either you move forward or you move backward. If you try to remain motionless, the ignorance of the world will pull you right back to your starting point.

The significance of cycling

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 that at every moment and in every place falsehood is reigning supreme. Our goal is to bring back again the golden age in which truth will be our inner guide and truth will reign supreme. So cycling reminds us of evolution, inner and outer.

In the process of evolution, our life-process, our life-energy — everything—is spinning so fast. The faster we can go, the sooner we will be able to have outer success and inner progress. And with our outer success and inner progress, we will be able to arrive at our goal infinitely faster than otherwise.

Part IV: Six cycling songs

Cycle marathon relay

Cycle marathon relay:
Hurry up, no delay!
Cycle marathon relay:
Oneness-height's progress-play.

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

Cycling

Cycling, cycling, cycling!
Evolving, evolving, evolving!
The march of time and the soul of Goal
Are proud of our giant role.

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

The Empire State cycle relay

The Empire State Cycle Relay:
Exciting, inspiring, illumining earth-play!

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

I bicycle at speed high

I bicycle at speed high.
Not with wings but with legs I fly.
The journey's dawn and the journey's end
Treasure me as their oneness-friend.

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

I bicycle with my Heavenly friend

I bicycle with my Heavenly friend: Speed!
Earthly cries before me die,
Heavenly smiles within me fly.
Supreme God-Joy our only need.

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

O come and watch

O come and watch our cycle-marathon-relay!
It gladly shows you the good God's Vision-Play.
Our dear and brave New York, the Empire State,
Opens for the world Heaven's Ecstasy-Gate.

Words and music by Sri Chinmoy June 1979

24-Hour Pepsi-Cola Bicycle Marathons

Remark before the 1977 24-Hour Pepsi-Cola Bicycle Marathon

The Pepsi-Cola marathon is the devoted self-giving and astounding capacity of the human body to follow the divine soul while it is travelling along Eternity's Road to reach Infinity's Shore.

Editor's note

The 24-Hour Pepsi-Cola Bicycle Marathon in Central Park was held over the Memorial Day weekend in May 1977. More than 9,000 cyclists entered. From the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team 135 cyclists participated.

Despite severe leg cramps, Sri Chinmoy reached a total of 175 miles. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team pedalled a total of 22,530 miles and won the prizes for the best riding team and for best uniform. The team had only begun practising two weeks earlier.

In the last half hour of the marathon, Sri Chinmoy led the entire team in a victory lap around the five-mile course. A photo of the victory lap appeared in The New York Times on Monday, May 30, 1977.

Talk on eve of 1978 24-Hour Pepsi-Cola Bicycle Marathon

Here you are showing in boundless measure your physical capacity, your perseverance. Of all the qualities, perseverance stands foremost, not only in the spiritual life but also in the outer life. People start practising Yoga but they do not persevere; they do not pursue their journey. For two or three years they practise and then they give up. Here, if you can have perseverance for twenty-four hours, then you will reach your goal. Spirituality, needless to say, demands much more perseverance.