Carl Lewis: the champion inner runner
Part I — Thirty soulful inspiration-flowers//Sri Chinmoy lovingly and gratefully dedicates the following thirty soulful inspiration-flowers to his extremely dear friend and coach, Carl Lewis, in honour of the champion inner runner’s thirtieth birthday.//
Carl LewisSudhahota \
Unparalleled sacrifice of Immortality’s Nectar-Delight
1.Carl Lewis is indeed a great citizen of God’s Heart-Land.
2.Carl Lewis is the fastest human being on earth.
He is undoubtedly a triumph of global delight for track and field lovers.
3.He was previously a flaming torch of hope.
He is now a fulfilled promise.
4.Fast, very fast, he drives his heart-car on the international freeway to a oneness-world-peace-destination.
5.His hostile enemies tell the world that Carl Lewis has a very big mouth, while his divine friends tell the world that he has a very big heart.
Lo and behold, even his enemies readily agree with his friends!
6.He is at once his soul’s faith-founded inner existence and his life’s confidence-blossomed outer existence.
7.Only Carl Lewis could do it! At the Olympics in Seoul, right after losing the 100-metre final to Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis dashed across the track to the winner to shake hands and congratulate him. Only the deception-champion Ben Johnson could do it! At first he indifferently and callously ignored Carl Lewis. Finally, he reluctantly shook hands with Carl Lewis for the briefest possible moment.
8.At the Los Angeles Olympics a good many observers — including even his so-called admirers — criticised Carl Lewis ruthlessly for not making the six attempts that he was officially allowed in the long jump.
But his first jump was more than enough to prove his supreme supremacy.
If the observers, and especially his admirers, had been wise and kind enough, they would have been happy with his decision.
For he still had to run 200 metres the following days, as well as the relay.
He made us happy by becoming first in the long jump.
Let us admire heartily and unreservedly the confidence-emperor in him and not the critics and the curiosity-mongers who just wanted to see how he would fare with his other jumps.
9.To athletes who are not doing satisfactorily and are experiencing failure, Carl Lewis’s life — with its “Never give up!”
motto — is a source of inspiration and encouragement.
In the earlier part of his athletic career, unlike his present and abiding golden days, he was quite accustomed to sad failure and frustration.
But he did not give up.
He continued, only to be gloriously and enduringly successful, not in one, not in two, not in three, but in four events: the 100 metres, the long jump, the 200 metres and the relay.
10.Alas, his worst adversaries so often interpret his confidence-wisdom-light as defiance-ignorance-night!
11.After the Seoul Olympics, time and again Carl Lewis declared that he would defeat Ben Johnson whenever Ben Johnson became drug-free.
And he did fulfil his promise, in France.
Long live Carl Lewis, the promise-fulfiller!
12.Carl Lewis profusely thanks his coach, Tom Tellez, for his coach’s assistance in helping him achieve his supreme success and glory.
Needless to say, the gratitude he feels for his great sister-athlete, Carol, and for his two brothers, Mack and Cleve, is also unreservedly profound.
13.His heart’s gratitude-boat every day, without fail, plies between his father’s soul in Heaven and his mother’s life on earth.
The beauty, purity and divinity of this boat send ecstasy-thrills through all those who know how rare is the existence of gratitude in this world.
14.He never forgets to appreciate deeply his manager, Joe Douglas, and his Santa Monica Track Club, the greatest track and field club in the world.
This club is a flower-garden of surprising oneness-hearts, in which he has been growing so beautifully.
15.To his sorrow and to the sorrow of his dear ones, he does not get the full appreciation that he rightly deserves in his own country, America.
But the heart of Japan and the soul of Japan compensate.
Japan’s love and admiration for him can only be felt and not described.
In Japan, not to know Carl Lewis, the country’s fondness-athlete, is nothing short of impossibility!
There they have for Carl Lewis, the king, a very special throne.
16.For Carl Lewis, unlike others, there is no such thing as confidence-overdose.
In his case, we call it confidence-light.
This confidence-light has come to the fore from the Compassion-Satisfaction-flooded Blessings of his Inner Pilot.
17.Not in the immediate past, but in the remote past, to his extreme joy, his wisdom-soul and aspiration-heart tore down his mind’s doubt-posters.
Now Carl Lewis’s mind is bathed in the faith-sea of his heart.
His sterling faith brings him his endless summit-success-glories.
18.Most remarkable is his intense willingness-speed to self-givingly help all, especially “Lay Witness for Christ” and his teacher, Sam.
19.As his mind is working hard, very hard, to earn the unfathomable wealth of the longest imagination-length, even so his heart is working hard, very hard, to earn the wealth of the highest aspiration-height.
His supreme victory-day is fast approaching.
20.In him the unimaginably fastest speed is still endeavouring to surpass itself.
This message of self-transcendence is his soul-divinity’s infinite delight.
21.His kindness-flooded heart has given me not one, not two, but three of his immortal achievements.
In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, right after winning the 200 metres, he gave me his victory-bouquet.
In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, immediately after winning the long jump, he gave me his long jump shoes.
And in the 1991 Tokyo World Championships, after becoming the fastest human with his world-record victory-speed, he gave me his sprinting shoes.
Carl Lewis, my Sudhahota, my aspiration-heart and my dedication-life are all gratitude to you and to your heart’s vastness-magnanimity.
22.Carl Lewis’s fastest speed is God’s Satisfaction-Pride in him — and the world’s, too.
23.Two of my very dear students — Narada Michael Walden, the supreme musician-producer, and his wife, Anukampa, the talented Bharat Natyam dancer, introduced Carl Lewis to me eight years ago.
To them I am offering my blessingful love and gratitude.
The flower they brought me is extremely beautiful, with an ever-increasing fragrance.
24.Since Carl Lewis and I have become quite close over the years, from time to time I have taken sprinting lessons from him.
How lovingly and compassionately he teaches me!
25.Quite recently, after Carl Lewis again became the world’s fastest human, I was inspired to get some more lessons from him.
As usual, most lovingly and compassionately he taught me.
He said that my hands must go farther back in order to get a longer stride and greater speed.
He also told me that I must relax my neck and face, which were stiff and tight, and that I need more flexibility in order to make progress.
Carl Lewis, my Sudhahota, my coach, the world’s fastest speed, how I wish I could make you happy with my progress and also proud of me!
26.Each time I see Carl Lewis, I clearly see something very special in him.
His body regularly visits the world of serious effort, and his heart smilingly visits the world of precious accomplishment.
27.Two destinations: a life of glory and a soul of victory.
Carl Lewis enjoys the shuttle between these two destinations.
28.Not once, not twice, but thrice I have read his book Inside Track cover to cover with my mind’s relentless admiration and my heart’s ceaseless affection.
The thing that inspires and impresses me most is this: how does he win so frequently here, there and all-where?
He wins precisely because his is at once the enthusiasm-energy-boatman and the progress-dream-boat.
29.The moment I think of him, the moment I meditate on him, I weave an affection-gratitude-garland for him.
30.Carl Lewis, Sudhahota, O world’s fastest body-speed and heart-speed, we your genuine admirers are enjoying the Infinity’s happiness-feast that you have given us.
Your heart and your life will eternally remain in our gratitude-heart-garden.
Sri Chinmoy's Meetings And Conversations With Carl Lewis
Part IICarl Lewis first learned about Sri Chinmoy from music producer Narada Michael Walden and his wife, Anukampa, two of Sri Chinmoy’s students. In October 1983, Narada interviewed the champion athlete and sent the tape recording to Sri Chinmoy as a gift. Excerpts from that tape recording follow.
Narada: Would you like to tell Sri Chinmoy something about the video of his running that you saw recently?
Carl Lewis: For inspiration and determination I use the challenge of perfecting the best in myself. Of course, in athletics that just comes from repeated practice. I saw some of your starts the other day and I thought they looked really good. The way you are going to get faster is to just keep working hard at it and wanting to do it. So many people have the capacity to be fast, but they all fall short because they do not want to work at it hard enough. But you also have to make sure that you do not overwork in your running. And if you ever feel tired, take a rest. If you ever feel you are not as excited on a certain day, just take a break — because there’s always a reason.
Narada: What were you saying about how important it is to keep the hips above the feet?
Carl Lewis: In sprinting you want to have your centre of gravity over your feet. The thing that you want to do is to stand flat and straight, then rise on your toes, send your hips forward and just run off. That’s the idea you want. You want to get your hips over your feet. You do that by shooting them in. Then, of course, your upper body will just follow. You want your hands to swing up to your face in front and then your arm to go back just a little bit. Those are the mechanical concepts of sprinting, the easiest things.
Narada: Is there any advice for someone who has a weak lower back?
Carl Lewis: I myself have lower back problems. I always have to stretch before and after I compete. Easy, slow sit-ups are good for backs — very slow and very easy. You don’t have to do very many just so long as you do them consistently — even if you do only 20 or 30 a day, three times a week. It’s not very much, but it helps activate the muscles in the back and gets your stomach muscles stronger so they can support the back. That’s the main thing with back problems: the stomach muscles a lot of times are not strong enough to support the back.
Narada: Is God personal or impersonal to you?
Carl Lewis: I feel He has reached down and touched my head, and brought me along and paved my way. Even before I felt God in a personal way, I can look back and see that He was paving my way. It’s as though He kind of reaches down and touches me, and turns me this way and that way, or says, “Slow down!” or “Stop!” That’s why I feel Him to be really personal.
Narada: What do you think about spiritual names?
Carl Lewis: I have been thinking so much about this, especially since all weekend I've been with you and your wife, Anukampa. Anukampa was saying last night that she feels it keeps her so positive. I think it would keep me positive and proud as well. My parents gave me the name ‘Carl’, but I think that a spiritual name is something I would really like. There’s no question that I'd really cherish it because it would be something that was given directly to me at a time when I could feel it.
Part IIIOn 11 November 1983 Carl Lewis met with Sri Chinmoy and his students for the first time, at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens. During this meeting, Sri Chinmoy’s students sang a song their teacher had composed, entitled “Carl Lewis,” as well as five songs in which Sri Chinmoy had set tune to the champion’s own words.
Sri Chinmoy: I offer you my boundless, loving gratitude for what you have achieved for mankind and for this world at this tender age. You have been supremely chosen. I offer you my heart’s deepest love and deepest gratitude.
Carl Lewis: I'm in a funny position right now because I've just met all of you today. For me to come in, sit down and feel so close means that there’s something that’s drawing us together. I feel so good sitting here right now because I have acquired so many spiritual friends. But I also feel that I have grown a lot in myself because I realise how much there is for me to see. I don’t think I can really tell you how much a time like this means for someone like myself, and how grateful I am to meet people like Narada and yourself. So many people we meet, but here I know that your spirit is with me all the time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel so comfortable being here. I'm glad we can be together. Hopefully, we can stay that way, and longer than we can all imagine.
1.Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl!
Victory-banners great and high
Your body and soul powerfully hurl.
We love your confidence-sky.
Track and Field’s Olympian voice!
Sri Chinmoy: When is your birthday?Carl Lewis: July 1st. Hint!
Sri Chinmoy: July is very significant for us because it is the seventh month. The number seven is very, very significant in the occult world. So you chose July 1st. Now perhaps you would like to answer a few questions from my students.
Question: Were you always good in running?Carl Lewis: I started off good. Then for a number of years I was not very good. I have experienced winning and also very severe losing. Very! But I think it was important in my life to have seen both sides. I have seen people run faster and slower than me, and that was important. It taught me how to deal with people better, and how to deal with the sport.
Question: I have noticed in your races tremendous finishing power. To what do you attribute your power?Carl Lewis: That comes from being disciplined, keeping my mind on what I have to do and always looking ahead. Also, I always have utmost confidence that I am going to win. No matter what happens, I am not going to change my game plan — even if someone gets a bum start. Also, I am relaxed. You really have to conquer the fear of pain and falling or accidents.
Question: Do you throw yourself into activity?Carl Lewis: That’s the attitude I have. I like to do everything and be involved. Of course, by throwing yourself into things it’s possible to become injured. I have competed while injured. But you have to get into the frame of mind where you want to do something and where you feel that nothing can really stand in your way.
Question: When you run the 100, are you able to relax?Carl Lewis: I think the main reason I can relax so well is because I'm so disciplined. It comes from knowing what I can do and having confidence that my way is going to work. So many people get involved in what others are doing, but that’s not my way. If you are within yourself and everything you do is within yourself, then relaxation won’t be difficult.
Question: Do you incorporate any long-distance training or long runs into your training, or do you only concentrate on speed?Carl Lewis: I don’t do very much because we work on fast-twitch muscles most of the time. But I'm sure going to do some long distance when I retire from sprinting.
Question: When you are long jumping, do you feel that there is still a lot to learn?Carl Lewis: I think that every day I learn something and understand another aspect of what I need to know. There is so much to do. Whenever I am in a competition, I think that’s the easiest time. I know I'm ready to compete and do well.
Question: Do you do form training?Carl Lewis: I do a lot of that. Even though I'm one of the best starters in the world, I have to work or I will lose. I work on my long jump mistakes to perfect them. I try to leave the board at a 22-23 degree angle. One degree can make a difference of six to eight inches. In the start, you basically want to get down in the blocks to the set position where you are comfortable — with the front leg at about a 90 degree angle. If my shoulders are too low, when I want to come out I have to step and stand up. So just a small difference in angle can make a big difference in the start. Even a person like myself has to keep working on it every day.
Sri Chinmoy: What is your set position?Carl Lewis: In the set position, you leave your head where it is — right where the shoulders are — and let it come down as the shoulders come up. The idea in starting is to keep the shoulders up, because you want to come out low and come up fast. Most people think you have to run low, but you will come out straight up. The right knee in the set position should not be straight but with a slight bend. The position of the front leg is most important. There can be a slight V. The back leg should be a little straighter than the front leg.
Question: How many breaths do you take in the 100 metres?Carl Lewis: I don’t know. Probably one or two. That is the last thing I think about.
Question: When you take the set position, do you inhale?Carl Lewis: I think I breathe in and out and then go. I think I want the air out of me when I go. I made a mistake in Helsinki. All of us jump beforehand every once in a while. But you should always wait for the sound of the gun. Regardless of how quick you are, the body is not going to work without the gun. You get set, hear the noise and you go!
I think it is good to keep the fingers wide open when you run. I used to run with them closed, but now I like the hands open. It is smoother and more relaxed.
Question: What happened when you were going for Beamon's record but failed. Did you feel miserable?Carl Lewis: No, I didn’t! But I know that I am going to do it. Nothing is going to stand in the way of it. I don’t feel that there is any obstacle that can prevent it; it’s going to happen! I feel I have the talent.
Question: Which event do you like best?Carl Lewis: The long jump by far I prefer. I like running, but it uses more muscles and it’s much harder to train for. It took two years for me to change my style. I had been competing for ten years, then I had to change. It was very hard.
Question: You were doing quite well, too.Carl Lewis: It is a matter of body movement and pelvic position. The reason somebody like Alberto Salazar can’t sprint has only a little bit to do with his muscles. Fast twitch or slow twitch accounts for, say, ten percent of the reason. The rest is because he doesn’t know the mechanics of sprinting. The mechanics of sprinting always require the hips to be in front of the centre of gravity. Most people think you have to lean over, but you stand up on your toes, tilt your hips forward and run. You can’t run on your toes unless your hips are forward. If they are not forward, you run on your heels.
We tape every competition. For the first year, in 95 percent of my workouts we found mistakes. I'm still working on them. But I don’t make mistakes that much in practice. You practise, you review and work for the next time.
Question: Have you done any triple jumps?Carl Lewis: As drills only!
Question: How much longer will you be competing?Carl Lewis: As long as I have fun, and as long as I can improve. The ultimate thing for me is to improve.
Question: Is there pressure being number one?Carl Lewis: Not really, because I don’t start in the outer world; I am in my own world. At the 200-metre relay, I blow kisses, sign autographs. There is no pressure from outside because I am having a good time. All the time I am very relaxed, confident, with nothing to worry about. I feel peace of mind.
Question: How many times a day do you think about training?Carl Lewis: I think about it many hours a day. It’s funny how things pop into your mind and you think about them! I don’t think a lot about the Olympics because it’s not here yet. In a lot of important workouts, I practise power of mind.
Question: Do you practise the lean at the finish?Carl Lewis: I have needed it, but I don’t practise it. It’s one of those things you overlook.
Question: How many drills do you do?Carl Lewis: My drills are basically centred around bounding. I do just a few very small sprint or jumping drills. If you want to increase the strength of the quads, you have to go through the full range. I do a lot of weight and leg drills. Most of the ones I do are basic. I don’t have any mysterious schemes or take any special vitamins. Everything I do is basically natural.
Question: What do you do just before an event?Carl Lewis: I go over every single aspect of the race or jump. Then I think of the mechanics of the start. After that, everything else is natural. Before the long jump, I bend over and get relaxed, and then attack the board. I paint a mental picture of what I want to do, and then I am able to carry it out.
Question: Do you ever do a hitchkick?Carl Lewis: Yes, I do a double hitchkick. Jesse Owens used to do only one. I was talking to Narada about this. We were watching a movie of his start — how he came up and ran. No one else at the time was doing a hitchkick. That’s why he used to run away so fast. He was 15 years ahead of his time — so far ahead! Unbelievable!
Question: Do you recollect the incident when you met him?Carl Lewis: I was introduced to him when I was 10. I heard him speak and really became enthused. Every word he said was positive. He was talking about kids; he wanted us to grow and prosper. We were 10 mouths hanging open! He gave me personally encouraging words. He helped me because I was going through times when I wasn’t a very good athlete. In the middle of that, Jesse Owens taught me to keep my head up and always try harder — never give up. He was able to help me move on. So many people I.
Jesse Owens pointed out, “You are quite short.” This is one thing that hurt me — that I was really short. But then I had a growth spurt in high school. I remember I once came up to him to accept an award. He said, “Who is first?” I pushed my way out. Instead of immediately giving me the award, he used the occasion to inspire others. “Look, this small boy is working so hard. With his determination he was able to win today. That doesn’t mean he will beat you tomorrow. But everybody can try hard and do well. There is nothing keeping you from achieving if you want to.” Those kinds of things Jesse Owens said week after week and day after day. A positive attitude always came out of him.
Question: Do you do any knee exercises?Carl Lewis: No, because my knees are so bad. When I came to Houston as a freshman I couldn’t take more than one jump a meet. After one jump I was limping, and I had to rest my knee. I have a lot of scar tissue between the muscle and tendons. I have tried chiropractors, doctors, even faith praying. Finally I worked myself up to being able to do more than one jump. But as a freshman, one jump was all I could do.
Question: Do you ever pray before you compete?Carl Lewis: I always do. The one thing I pray for is that everyone will compete well and that no one will get injured. That’s the only thing; everything else will take care of itself. As I told Narada a while back, when I compete I don’t really concentrate; I just let things flow. Narada said the power of concentration inspired me to come up and meditate here. I have been practising Christianity, but I haven’t been able to settle down and get into meditation, relaxation and concentration. That’s something I find very interesting. That’s one reason I'm glad to be here — so I can get a better grasp of these things.
Question: What should you do to increase your stride?Carl Lewis: Number one: make sure your hips stay forward! Lengthening the stride is a very sensitive subject. You should not try to lengthen it more than one or two inches. That may not seem like very much, but if I take 40 or 50 strides per 100 metres, if I lengthen my stride by one inch, that adds up to 50 inches. Fifty inches could be two tenths of a second. You have to work in very small quantities. One inch longer in a mile makes such a difference!
What you want to do is push off more, not reach out more. Strengthen the hamstrings through drills. That will help. Make your legs stronger and lengthen your stride from the push, not the pull. Leave the ground hard and go farther. Lift is over-emphasised. When a sprinter keeps his hips correct and lifts his knees, he is doing everything basically right. Most people have correct running mechanics when they are born. But as you grow older, just a little bit sticks with you. Basically, you’re going faster because you’re running faster across the ground. And that’s because your hamstrings and quads are stronger. The stronger you get, the more you push off. With a longer stride, you move through the air farther in the same amount of time.
A lot of stretching afterwards is very important; you've got to warm down. After a hard workout, stretching is not as important as jogging two or three laps. Sprinters need to jog at least two laps to let the body warm down. I have a Jacuzzi after workouts. It helps me relax. Some people get rubdowns, but I don’t. I just do normal things. I feel good because anybody can emulate everything I do.
In sprinting you need to explode while still maintaining your relaxation. I did 6:06 in the 60, a world record. But the first 60 of the 100 metres I probably do in 6:16. In the 200, it will be 6:36. In different events I change the cadence. You have to plan each race differently. I do 400s all the time in workouts. This year I have a goal to run under 45 seconds before I retire. I have run 46.3, but I haven’t run a good 400 in a while.
I enjoy all sports. I play tennis, sometimes racquetball (Narada beats me), football and basketball. But mostly I watch other sports because my coach doesn’t let me play. I was a little surprised when Nehemiah said he was quitting. He didn’t feel there was another challenge. I can’t challenge that decision. He was disappointed because he thought there was still more for him in track and field.
Question: Will you ever try other events in track and field?Carl Lewis: Possibly the hurdles. It’s not totally new for me; I did it in high school. But I won’t do field events or the decathlon. We see so many athletes who are given the opportunity to act or be a commentator. They are in the public eye, but they are not very good. But we try! How many hours I have tried things in my life! Why do I expect to be able to step out and do it well immediately? You have to work at these things the same way you work at sports. That’s why I'm starting now. I have to work hard. It takes years and years of working before you get a big opportunity. My name will remain known, but if I am not good, I am not going to go far regardless of how well known I am. Right now I am really wrapped up in the things I am doing.
Carol’s goal is to be the best athlete in her event, the long jump. She is two years younger than I am. I received so much more publicity, but she also has her goals and aspirations. She stands tall and makes it true. When I retire, my little sister will still be there. I am still going to encourage her. My sister does basically the same workout as I. We trained together for so long. We had different coaches, but we did basically the same drills. She helps me at just about every meet. She helps me and I help her. I have been competing against her since she was six. I also have two brothers who both played sports; one played soccer and one was previously a track person. He is a good tennis player now; he always beats me.
Part IV1Sri Chinmoy: You have a soul. Each soul has a special colour. The soul has many colours, but it has a preference for one particular colour that signifies the way it can make the fastest progress in terms of manifesting God’s Light and Delight. In your case, the colour blue is best. Narada’s colour is violet.
Each individual has to bring to the fore his own divine potential. At the age of 22 you have already brought forward your divine potential considerably. It is your soul’s capacity that you have brought forward through the capacity of your body, vital, mind and heart.
Your soul’s capacity sometimes takes the form of indomitable will-power. Sometimes it takes the form of universal oneness-love. Sometimes it takes the form of peace, light or joy — qualities that the soul has in boundless measure. These are your soul’s qualities that are being manifested in and through your life of self-sacrifice for suffering humanity.
There are three or four predominant soul’s qualities in your life. When these qualities come forward and start manifesting themselves in and through you, then not only your world of outer running but also your world of inner running has a very special significance.
The most important and significant quality of your soul is sacrifice — sacrifice for suffering humanity. Sacrifice is an experience that we get on the human level. But from the divine point of view there is no sacrifice; it is all oneness. On the human level people may say that you are making a sacrifice for your sister when you are helping her jump. Perhaps at that time you should be concentrating on your own competition, or on your studies, so you are making a sacrifice. But from your point of view, it is not a sacrifice because Carol is so close to you. You and your sister are one, and oneness contains divine joy and delight. Joy cannot be taken away from oneness, and oneness cannot be taken away from joy.
There is an outer consciousness and an inner consciousness. In the outer consciousness you have already done something extremely great for mankind. You have established something immortal, and millions of people are being inspired by the results. When the world thinks of Carl Lewis the sprinter, spontaneous admiration immediately comes. Everybody is appreciating, admiring and adoring you. It is the outer man who has done this, and it is the outer man who is getting the acclaim, appreciation and admiration from mankind.
But there is also a Carl Lewis the inner man. And there is also an inner consciousness, which we call the heart’s love for mankind and the heart’s cry for the improvement of the world. Aspiration, prayer, concentration, meditation, contemplation, love, devotion and surrender are the realities of the inner life. These are the things that become part and parcel of our consciousness when we become the inner man.
The inner man establishes a sleepless reality that lasts for Eternity. Two thousand years ago someone came. Five thousand years ago someone came. What came was the inner man. The world called them the Saviour Christ and the Lord Buddha, and what they offered to the world will remain permanently. When you consciously become the inner man, you give the earth something that is not only immortal but also of permanent value.
When we think of the Olympics, everybody thinks of Carl Lewis. You stood first; you brought glory to America. So many people are inspired by you. But there are also many people on earth — in remote villages of India and Africa, for example — who know nothing about you. Because they are ignorant, they are not getting anything from you in their heart of hearts. Even if somebody tells them that Carl Lewis is the world champion, they will not get anything from you. But if somebody tells them that Christ said this or Buddha did this, immediately they will receive something. They do not have to be a follower of the Christ or Buddha or Krishna. Still they will inwardly get something in their heart of hearts because what these souls have brought to earth is immortal and eternal.
So when the outer man does something, it does not have the same effect as when the inner man does something, and it does not last in the same way. When the outer man does something great, the world immediately gets tremendous joy. But unfortunately it does not last. But the offering of the inner man elevates the consciousness of each individual on earth and also of those who will come to earth again and again in future incarnations. The contribution of the outer man lasts for a few years or for many years. Then it becomes a kind of historical fact. But the contribution of the inner man lasts forever. So humanity will only get the highest benefit from Carl Lewis the inner man.
Earlier I was speaking about your soul’s colour, which is an aspect of light. The light of your inner consciousness will permeate the entire world, not the achievements of your outer body. The outer body’s contribution will be appreciated and admired by all those who know about it. Millions of people on earth will admire you for what you have done. But when you become the inner man, countless people will unconsciously get tremendous inner upliftment from your very existence on earth. They don’t even have to know who Carl Lewis is. That is what Carl Lewis the inner man can do for humanity.
Carl Lewis: I was mentioning to Narada that concentration and meditation have always been foreign to me. I did not feel I could sit down and meditate and be totally relaxed. What paves the way for the inner life? It has been a mystery to me up until recently. I haven’t grasped meditation and contemplation. I can see the ideas and effects, but I haven’t grasped what path to take.
Sri Chinmoy: There are two roads — the road of the mind and the road of the heart. By God’s infinite Grace, right from the very start you have taken the path of the heart. You are so fortunate that you were born into a family where affection, love, family feeling and oneness are so strong. In the spiritual life, we want to be the dearest, closest and also the most perfect instrument of God. God is already using you as a supreme instrument of His in the outer world. He has offered a new vision to the world in and through your outer existence. Now you want your inner consciousness to come to the fore most powerfully.
In order to find the inner man, you have to walk along the path of the heart where there is true love, true peace, true light and true delight. In your case there is again a great advantage. Some people have to start acquiring things fight from the beginning. They don’t have anything in stock. In your case, you already have something very spiritual, but you are not fully aware of it. Once you become fully aware of it, through your meditation and concentration, you will see that whatever you have inwardly is also going out from you. It is spreading like the beauty and fragrance of a flower. While spreading its own beauty, it is also staying with you.
To come back to your question, the power of concentration you do have. When you take the starting position, when they say, “Get on your mark, get set, go!”, you have tremendous power of concentration. But now you need the power of meditation. Concentration is like the sun — bright, brilliant, very powerful. As soon as you see the midday sun, you feel its strength. That aspect you have.
What you are missing is the other aspect of your reality, which is peace. In the evening, at night, or in the small hours of the morning, you can become very peaceful. That is also something that can give you a tremendous sense of satisfaction. When you look at the power aspect of life, you are so happy that you have become one with it. But the peace aspect which is also a form of power, you are not experiencing. So if you value the inner man, which you do, then you have to meditate to get peace.
When we look at the ocean, we see waves and surges. It is full of life-energy, so dynamic. That dynamic aspect of life comes from the power of concentration. But beneath the surface of the ocean, at the bottom it is calm. This deep and peaceful aspect of life comes from meditation. If we want power, if we want to go as fast as possible and reach our destination, then we need concentration. But if we want to inspire humanity, if we want to take countless people along with us towards the destination, then we need meditation.
The power of concentration will take you to the goal faster than the fastest, defeating everybody. But the power of meditation, which is all boundless peace, will be able to carry everybody with you. What you now need is meditation. If you didn’t have the power of concentration, you could never be the fastest human. You do have it. At every moment I observe in your life the power of concentration. But the power of meditation, which is infinite peace, you have to develop. So if you meditate regularly, then like the power of concentration, without fail you will also get the power of meditation.
Concentration gives us the victory. But meditation gives us joy and confidence. After we have achieved the victory, a kind of fear may enter into our mind that tomorrow perhaps we will not be so fortunate. Today you have won; you are so happy. But a few minutes later you may think, perhaps Calvin Smith will do better in the next meet. Perhaps the day after tomorrow I will not be able to perform as well. Even when concentration brings the victory, you are always afraid that you will not be able to perform well or that somebody else will surpass you. So it is very important to have the power of meditation so that doubt will not be able to attack you and take away your joy.
Now Calvin Smith and others have different names, while your name is Carl. But once you have the power of meditation, if somebody calls you Calvin, you are not going to mind because you have become one with him. When you have won by virtue of the power of meditation, you have won it for me, for Narada, for everybody. When you win with the power of meditation, you have won for mankind, and that victory will forever last. Meditation is something new to your mind, but not to your heart, not to speak of your soul. Your heart is quite familiar with meditation because you have a beautiful, soulful heart. But your mind is not accustomed to the Eastern type of meditation, although your heart is more than prepared. Your heart is quite familiar with it. Your heart is all love, good will, fondness and oneness. Your heart was fully prepared but the mind has taken 22 years to know what the heart already has in boundless measure. So meditation is something new to your mind, but your heart knows it extremely, extremely well.
Carl Lewis: I just wanted to say that last night was really beautiful. I want to especially thank all those who did the singing.
Sri Chinmoy: These things that you have said are so profound that I wanted to set tune to them. Your words have tremendous prophetic power. Then, when they become songs, they have even more power, they become part and parcel of the universal harmony. The songs that I have composed embody the power of your words. When we set tune to them, we embody the power in the words. Otherwise, the power just remains before us, but we don’t have the happiness and joy that it contains. When we sing songs, inside our songs we see happiness. Music keeps us in tune with our universal Self.
During the Olympics, spiritually we will all be there. We will be 100 percent for your victory — not 99 percent but 100 percent for you.
CL 62. On the morning of 12 November, Carl Lewis visited Sri Chinmoy at Progress-Promise, the spiritual teacher's meditation hall.↩
Part V: Sudhahota/During a function at P.S. 86 in Queens that evening, Sri Chinmoy offered the champion athlete his spiritual name: ‘Sudhahota’. First he placed his hand on the athlete’s heart, chanting ‘Sudhahota’ four times, and then he gave the meaning of the Bengali name: “Unparalleled sacrificer of Immortality’s Nectar-Delight.” As part of the ceremony, Sri Chinmoy sang a song which he had written for Sudhahota, accompanying himself on the harmonium./
Sudhahota Sudhahota Sudhahota Sudhahota
Dharanir ankhi nir samapti mahatrata
Sutibra gati dhara pabitra hiya tara
Ucchhas uttal he nabik taba pal
Antare chira tare spriha bhanu durbar
Jaya jaya nartan duniyar patakar
O unparalleled sacrificer of Immortality’s Nectar-Delight,
O liberator supreme,
In you is the complete halt of earth’s streaming tears.
O fastest speed of the Beyond,
Yours is the heart flooded with purity-stars.
O divine pilot, your life-boat is sailing
With Eternity’s Himalayan aspiration-height.
Indomitable is the inspiration-sun of your inner world!
Victory, victory, victory to you!
You are the dance of the world’s victory-banner.
Part VI2Sri Chinmoy: Yesterday I was speaking about the difference between the outer man and the inner man. The outer man eventually grows into the inner man; after many, many incarnations and at God’s choice Hour, the outer man definitely becomes the inner man. During his earthly sojourn, the outer man collects millions of experiences, and the quintessence of these experiences he keeps. These add to his inner wealth. The inner man already has infinite inner wealth. In fact, the inner man eternally is what the outer man is longing for.
There are people on earth who will take many, many years to bring to the fore their inner man. In your case, it took you only a few fleeting hours to bring to the fore your inner man. While you were meditating with me, right from the very beginning your inner man came to the fore. At that time you were no longer Carl Lewis, the greatest athlete, the champion athlete of the world; you were something else — something infinitely more beautiful and infinitely more powerful than this. You had become the supreme hero-warrior to fight against humanity’s ignorance. You became what your outer life at times consciously, at times unconsciously, has always been searching for: the unparalleled sacrificer of Immortality’s Nectar-Delight.
Yesterday I offered you a flower. The spiritual significance of that particular flower is gratitude. I offered you my heart of gratitude and, at the same time, my soul of blessings. My heart’s sweetest gratitude and my soul’s highest blessings I offered to you, and you received everything most powerfully. Receptivity is not a mere word in your life of aspiration. No, in your case it is a living reality. The living reality of your receptivity has touched the inmost recesses of my heart. You have proved to both the outer world and to the inner world something unprecedented: that the outer man, whose name and fame have covered the length and breadth of the world, can also long for the inner man, who is the true ambassador of the Absolute Supreme on earth. This is what the inner man in each human being is. In you, yesterday we saw the perfect and unprecedented oneness of the outer man and the inner man.
The outer man says to the inner man, “What I have is all for you.” The inner man says to the outer man, “What I am is all yours and will always be yours, only yours.”
CL 64. The next day, on 13 November, Sri Chinmoy made these remarks to Sudhahota at Progress-Promise.↩
Part VIIDuring a visit to Progress-Promise on the morning of 14 November, Sudhahota offered Sri Chinmoy some coaching tips on how to improve his sprinting. This conversation then followed.
Sri Chinmoy: In your approach for the long jump, do you start slowly?
Sudhahota: You start slowly, then gradually speed up. Every step Coach Tellez wants faster. He wants it faster, faster, faster until you reach full speed, and then you hit the board. That’s the idea he has — every step faster.
Sri Chinmoy: In the past, coaches used to advise the athletes to slow down the last two steps so that they could get a proper footing. What does your coach say?
Sudhahota: That’s what the general idea was 10 years ago. About 60 percent of the long jumpers still feel this way today. But my coach says to tear all the way through it.
Sri Chinmoy: They say that before cats or other animals jump, they bend a little so they can go higher. But in order to bend, they have to slow down. That was the old theory. I am an old man, so I am telling you all old theories. But you are the young generation; you are discarding the old theories. The young generation has every right to discard old theories.
Sudhahota: That was the old way. But my coach and I believe that you should just run right off. In physics, most people think of height as very important. Well, I can sit here and I can throw a pencil straight up, and what does it do? It comes down! But if I throw this pencil at an angle, it goes far away. So what you want to do is keep the speed and keep the angle of take-off lower, so that you can go farther. Because if you try to go higher, you are going to use your energy to go up instead of out.
We have incorporated the laws of physics into long jumping. At a 22 or 23 degree angle we must leave the ground. We have calculated it to such an extent that if I'm going at a certain speed and I leave the ground at a 22 degree angle, then I know I will jump over 30 feet. But it’s not easy, of course, to hit that particular angle.
The hitchkick is a continuation. What gets you into the air are your last four strides. Then you just keep going with the hitchkick. But if I were to just slow down and stop, then I couldn’t finish it. It’s not quick enough; I would stop here or I would stop with my feet straight down. The only way I can finish it is to just be very quick and keep running through — make my preparation and go. Then I can land correctly.
Sri Chinmoy: From one hitchkick during a jump it has come to two. The world is progressing. Would you try two and a half or three?
Sudhahota: I thought about doing three, but I would have to jump over 29 feet. So if I jump over 29 feet and feel comfortable, then I'll try. It will be like another challenge — to go one step farther. I am four and a quarter inches away from the world record now.
Sri Chinmoy: Buy a few records, then just break them. But don’t break any of Narada’s records!
Why do people accuse you of not working hard? There will always be people to criticise you. They say, “If he runs 200 metres he is a fool, because he will ruin his long jump.” But they also criticise you if you don’t run 200 metres. So no matter what you do, you can’t please the critics.
Sudhahota: Most of the time they criticise me for not training hard. Compared to other athletes, I don’t. I may do two 600s in a workout, whereas most of the athletes do three. I may do two 400s; most of the athletes do three. But Calvin Smith doesn’t really train super hard most of the time, and I don’t either. That’s not to say that we're the best athletes. But I've only had one injury in my entire career outside of a knee problem, and I had that because I was still growing. Otherwise, I've only had one injury since 1969, and the reason is because I've rested my body.
Even if I'm in great shape, I don’t want to risk injury. What I do is gradually go on, gradually go on. In this way I'm able to stay injury-free. That’s the only way you can be number one — by staying injury-free. If you are hurt, you can’t run — no matter how talented you are. I get criticism for not training hard. But I've run as fast as anybody, and I've not gotten injured. So I think that’s the real correct trade-off.
Sri Chinmoy: Nowadays you are not planning to run many races.
Sudhahota: Right! When I was in college, I ran tons of races — four or five races a meet. I ran 33 track meets in my last year at the university. Two years ago, the first year that I didn’t run for my school, I cut it down to 24 meets. Last year it was 18 meets. I had my best performances this year, with fewer meets. So it’s a matter of what is correct for you. If you believe in yourself and know, “I can do it if I train six weeks,” then that’s all you need.
Sri Chinmoy: As long as your confidence is always at the highest, whether you run one race or 10 races doesn’t matter. Even after only one practice when there is a serious meet, you can do well.
Sudhahota: Right! For instance, I ran our nationals; then I ran only one more meet before Helsinki, which was then six weeks away. After that I took five weeks off. Most people thought that was deadly, but I knew what I was doing. In Helsinki I was rested and mentally ready, whereas a lot of people were tired. They didn’t want to take chances and they didn’t run as hard. But I could do what I wanted to do. I was very much at ease because I had the confidence. I knew I was rested because I hadn’t been competing, and I was ready to run.
Sri Chinmoy: In the relay you take the last leg, the anchor.
Sudhahota: Yes, I have a strong finish. In the 400-metre relay, they always put me in the anchor leg, so if we're ever behind I can make up for it. They always put Calvin third because he runs a good turn. If Calvin and I make the team, we're always third and anchor. It’s good, because Calvin and I have been on six teams together, and we know each other. We could be dead last and still win because I know Calvin can catch five, six or seven people on his turn alone, and I know I can make up the rest. So it’s good to have him there.
Sri Chinmoy: So everything changes! The old theory, 40 years ago, was that the third runner should be the weakest. They felt the first person should be the second best, while absolutely the best runner should be the last. But now you are learning everything different. The other day a Canadian coach was saying that the best runner should be first. His theory is that if the first runner can get a one or two-metre lead, then the other team members will get confidence and be able to win. But if the first person is not the fastest, then your confidence may go away and who knows what will happen.
Sudhahota: Selecting a national team for us was easy, because Calvin Smith and Emmit King were on the same college team. If Calvin runs on the moon, he'll run third. So I'm talking about anywhere! What we did was to run Emmit first. In a way we were incorporating the Canadian coach’s theory by having the best person for the first leg run first. I'm faster than Emmit, but Emmit will beat me on the turn every single time because I'm taller. I'm not used to running the turn, and I'm not as comfortable in it. I like to run the straightaway. So even though I can run faster, technically Emmit would come first because he is better at the turn. It’s that type of thing. That’s why I like to run anchor, or even second.
Sri Chinmoy: You are a vast ocean of knowledge. I am very proud of you. All the world’s theories, how nicely you have discarded. And you have done so most effectively! The old must give way to the new. There is great joy in this. The old theories you have studied, but now you see that they are of no avail. Everybody is progressing and progressing, so the new theories are bound to be better than the old ones.
I am so grateful to you and so proud of you. Now I will try my best to be a very devoted student of yours — not like I was with my German coach.
Part VIIIThat evening Sudhahota brought his parents to Progress-Promise. Sri Chinmoy opened the evening by presenting Sudhahota with a trophy inscribed “To the greatest champion of the world.”
Sri Chinmoy: We are extremely happy and extremely proud to be here with the world’s greatest champion. Now we are also with the world’s most renowned family: mother, father and son. Our joy knows no bounds and our admiration for this family also knows no bounds.
Carl has definitely, definitely raised the consciousness of the entire America. In him a new world has dawned, and this new world he has offered not only to America but to the entire world. For that our little community here is extremely proud of him.
Now we have with us this evening his source, his parents. They have been the source of tremendous inspiration, encouragement, light and perfection for him. What he has received from his parents, he has enlarged and multiplied, and now he is offering the fruit of his achievements in profuse, boundless measure to the hungry running world. For that we are extremely, extremely grateful to his parents and to him; we are happy in boundless measure, and we are also proud of him and proud of his parents in boundless measure.
Bill Lewis: Thank you. I would like to say that a friend used to tell me that if you keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, you will learn a lot. When I came into this room, I had my shoes on. So you survey the situation and act accordingly. As you can see, now I have no shoes on.
I was very inspired by the singing of the songs pertaining to my son, Carl. They were outstanding. But best of all was to look at the faces of the individuals when they were singing. The songs came from their hearts and not from their lips. That’s most gratifying.
When I was in Helsinki, there was a young lady from Japan who had on a T-shirt that said, “The mind is the man.” I know I'm not going to get myself involved in any argument with women if I change that last statement and say, “The mind is the person.” I've often said that track and field people are unique because they are individuals within themselves. Their motivation comes from within.
As I sit here and listen to the statements of Carl being associated with Jesse Owens, I think back to when I met Jesse Owens myself — when I was a young teenager in Chicago. Jesse, at that particular time, was still young, still running. He was always such an encouragement to all the youngsters on the south side of Chicago!
I remember when I first had a chance to take Carl to meet Jesse. I had him bathed and scrubbed. You know how you do these things. I took him up and said, “Hey, Jesse, this is my son.” Then we started talking about old times. It was really gratifying to me to have been associated with Jesse Owens during that time.
It’s also gratifying to be associated with people who have done something that is outstanding. I met Martin Luther King in 1953 in Montgomery, Alabama, during the time that we were teaching and working at Alabama State College. We started from the grassroots and watched that grow to maturity.
As I sit here and see the warmth on your faces and the gratification that you have offered to my son, I think I can say that Carl has offered that same type of inspiration to the people — that he has given back to the people of himself. That is very unusual for an athlete. He has given back to the people some of the thing that they have given him, and that is love. I can appreciate that and I can see that from the gratification and the warmth which I have found here in this room. It will live with me forever. I really appreciate being here with you and being a part of you. I am sure that when Mrs. Lewis and I hit that turnpike heading back home to Willingboro, New Jersey, we will take part of you with us. I really appreciate that. Good luck to all of you. I will put my shoes on when I get outside. Thank you.
Sudhahota: I know everybody’s heard me enough, so I'll keep it short. This has been a special weekend for me because it has enlightened me in many ways. But more than that, it’s the souls that I've gotten involved with! All of you are saying that I've been such an inspiration to you. But I can’t get across the idea of how much you've all been an inspiration to me! More than that, to see my parents come down and see the joy in their faces gives me enough joy for years and years to come. Of course, I'll visit back millions of times, and I'll keep all of you in my heart. I hope you do the same with me. Thank you, and I'll see you all.
Narada: I really don’t know what to say. My life has been so moved by meeting Carl. Having this chance to bring him to New York to meet all of you has been so moving. I've been a disciple for 10, going on 11 years. I don’t know that I've ever seen the disciples, Guru — all of us together — so happy to have shared a time together. I just want to offer my gratitude as well. Thank you all, thank you all.
Anukampa: We were only the chauffeurs. That’s all I have to say. We were just the chauffeurs to bring our beloved Carl to our spiritual family.
Sri Chinmoy (to Mrs. Lewis): Would you kindly say a few words about your two Helsinki experiences? Once you went to participate and once you saw the performances of your children. Could you tell us the highlights of your experiences?
Evelyn Lewis: Before I say anything about that, I would like everyone to know that this has been a most moving and rewarding experience for me — one of the most moving and rewarding experiences I've ever had in my life! I do want to thank you for allowing me to share this with you. From the bottom of my heart I'd like to thank you for that.
My first experience with Helsinki wasn’t one of the best experiences. I was an athlete in track and field years ago. If I tell you how long ago, I'll date myself. Yes, it was the 1952 Olympics. Unfortunately, I had injured myself and was unable to compete. So this time, as soon as I knew we were going to be in Helsinki, I started to pray that I would get to see Carl and Carol fulfil the dream that I never fulfilled. True to form, God did allow me to be there and to witness their performances. Praise be to Him, it was a beautiful experience! Again, I'd like to thank you for having us here.
Sri Chinmoy: Once more I wish to thank you from the depths of my heart. You came here to give us tremendous joy — divine joy and divine confidence. It makes us feel that we belong to one family no matter where we are. We are like a tree that has many branches. One branch is called New Jersey, one is called San Francisco, one is New York. So we all belong to the same tree — the tree that aspires and tries to give inspiration, aspiration and dedication to mankind.
Part IXThe next day, on 15 November, Sudhahota visited Sri Chinmoy at Progress-Promise. Sri Chinmoy sang the “Sudhahota” song, accompanying himself first on the harmonium and then on the cello.
Sri Chinmoy: The vibration of your name is always inside you — in your heart of aspiration. Your heart is beautiful. God’s Inspiration, Determination and Confidence you will always carry inside your heart. (Short meditation follows.)
As regards my capacity, I am your worst student. But as regards my obedience, I shall not be your worst student. Yesterday, at the very first start that I tried, you saw what a severe muscle pull I got! Today I am unable to walk properly. So it is my physical disability that did not permit me to abide by your advice — not my unwillingness. Far from it! I tried my best, but my muscle cramp didn’t permit me to do the things in your way. Many, many years ago when I had a German coach, I gave him lots of trouble. But he is still very kind to me.
Sudhahota: Like I said yesterday, rest also is important in training. So just rest a while and start again.
Sri Chinmoy: I will always listen to your advice. (Joking) But don’t give that kind of advice to my students! If you, the greatest world champion, tell them to rest, then all the time they will quote you. They won’t go out to run; they won’t practise anything. They will only enjoy more rest — as if the rest they presently take is not enough! In my case, I don’t believe in rest. Only when I am compelled, do I rest.
For the last few weeks, I have been going out early in the morning — at 4:30. I practise a little hill work and running for about an hour. Then, in the evening I have been going out again around 9:30. I have a crew of 8 or 10 members who help me. This has been my programme. But now my muscle cramp and back pain — these two undivine elements in the body — are not allowing me to do anything. It is a very painful experience! So your advice about taking rest is applicable to me — but not to my students!
Now, let me be serious. On Tuesdays, when you do not run, you do weightlifting. How long does it last?
Sudhahota: About an hour or two, because there are other people there. There are about 15 other members in the same group. So we have to shuffle around.
Sri Chinmoy: You are the world champion. Why do you have to go to a gym to practise? You cannot have a gym of your own? Then you won’t have to waste your precious time. Or do you like to be in their company?
Sudhahota: I enjoy it.
Sri Chinmoy: Very good. Otherwise, in terms of time, perhaps you are wasting time. But if you enjoy being in the company of your friends, that is again your heart’s magnanimity. You share their joy, and your own joy you contribute to them. It is very good.
In track and field, who is your best friend? Whether you are rivals or not, in terms of heart’s feeling, who is your best friend?
Sudhahota: Evelyn Ashford.
Sri Chinmoy: Very good. She belongs to which club?
Sudhahota: She’s in her own club. Her coach founded a track club basically for Evelyn. Her coach is very strict, but she always cares very much for Evelyn. She shows that first, regardless of who is around. She has one or two other students, but Evelyn is her main student.
Sri Chinmoy: Last night we were so happy to have your parents here. They gave us such joy.
Sudhahota: They were very happy to have come. At first they didn’t know what to expect. But I think they were very pleased to have come.
Sri Chinmoy: When I saw your mother, immediately I felt in her an Indian mother’s heart. Forgive me, we Indians always brag! We have nothing else to do. India is so poor in every respect, so at least we have to say that we have one good quality! Who is going to know whether my heart is good or bad? As long as I say that my heart is good, you have to believe it. So we always speak of an Indian heart or an Indian mother’s heart. By this we mean a heart of sympathy, kindness and closeness — a heart of oneness that feels real concern and sympathy for others. In America this kind of heart is very rare; sometimes it is not even to be found. I am already one with America, so I can criticise it. After establishing my inseparable oneness, I can criticise.
Yesterday, when your mother stood here, her heart was overwhelmed — full of spiritual feelings. Her heart was more nourished, perhaps, than her mind. Her mind had some curiosity about what was going on, but her heart didn’t find it at all strange. To her heart, the surroundings and the gathering were not at all strange. Her heart found a free access to our hearts, I we also found a free access to her heart.
Your father is also extremely good, extremely brilliant. He has met with many people and he has really established, within and without, a kind of divine confidence. He knows what he is talking about. He knows what he has to give and what he is.
Narada: Guru, last night Mr. Lewis was very impressed at how organised everything was. Everything went like clockwork. He said he was very impressed with you because it takes a lot to keep things so disciplined. He said, “A person off the street cannot be a part of this. This takes more intelligence.”
Sri Chinmoy: Our intelligence is here inside our hearts. Did you get a chance to speak to his mother?
Anukampa: She loved every minute of it. When we went to a restaurant, we spoke about her being an Olympian and asked if she'd like to be in a Masters competition one of these days. She said, “Oh no, my competition days are over.” But when we were sitting here watching the Masters Games in Puerto Rico, she said, “Oh, that really looks nice. It looks a lots of fun. Maybe one day…” She was very inspired.
Sri Chinmoy: It really is fun. Two thousand athletes came to the Puerto Rican Masters Games from all over the world. At these Games what we see is not jealousy but a real heart’s feeling. From the beginning to the end the competitors are in another world. They have become like five or six-year-old children. In terms of age, they are 50, 60, 70, even 80 years old. But while they are participating, they are all children. There is no fear, no doubt, no tension. They have got back their childhood. They give us great joy.
Sudhahota: How should I pray when I'm preparing for competition, during the practice time and also right before a race?
Sri Chinmoy: If you can pray to the Supreme with an eagerness to please Him and fulfil Him, then He will run the race in and through you and also for you. Always feel that you are running not for yourself but for Him — only to please Him.
The Creator has created the creation. The creation also has created something — something powerful but, unfortunately, not divine. I am speaking of human pride and human ignorance. To create something divine we must bring to the fore our soul’s qualities and please God in God’s own Way. If we can please God in His own Way, then we can have true Nectar-Delight. But if we try to please ourselves in our own way, we will never be satisfied.
If you try to please only yourself, today you will be very happy that you are the world champion in the 100 metres. But tomorrow you will pray to God to reduce your timing — to run the 100 metres in eight seconds, let us say. Then the day after tomorrow you will ask God to grant you the ability to run it in seven seconds. In this way your demands will never end. At the same time, you will always be thinking of Calvin Smith or somebody else who may defeat you. There will be always a kind of insecurity or a sense of insufficiency. You will never feel complete satisfaction.
But when you pray to God to fulfil Himself in and through you, you will be the happiest person no matter what you achieve because God will give you His own Happiness. In spiritual terms this happiness is called Delight. God is all Happiness, but right now we are not all happiness. Only when we please God in His own Way can we become really happy.
God is infinite, eternal, immortal. Only His infinity, Eternity and Immortality can please us. If we remain in the desire-world, we will always be running after happiness but we will never achieve it. This week we will try to grab one inch, and next week we will try to grab two inches, three inches, four inches and so on. In this way we will try to make ourselves happy. But unless we can possess God’s infinite Wealth, we shall never be truly happy. And God will give us His own Infinity, Eternity and Immortality only if we please Him in His own Way.
When you pray to God before practising and also before a race, feel that you are an instrument. Feel that God Himself, your Beloved Supreme, is running in and through you. Then it is His responsibility to make you the happiest person in His own Way — whether by making you first or last. It will not matter to you whether you finish a few metres ahead of someone or a few metres behind someone; you will be happy because you are fulfilling God’s Will.
Mankind received absolutely the highest prayer from the Christ when he said, “Let Thy Will be done.” Indian spiritual Masters of the highest order have always said the same thing: “Lord Supreme, do execute Your Will in and through me.” Even before the Christ came into the world, Krishna gave his dearest disciple, Arjuna, the same message: “Totally devote yourself to Me. Only execute My Will.”
Now you are happy because you are the fastest runner. You have received just a drop of outer joy, but this drop makes you feel that you are the happiest person. Similarly, the people who love you and admire you also feel happy because they have become one with your heart and soul. But when you become the fastest runner, the supreme hero, in the inner world, the joy that you receive is infinite. At that time you become the happiest person by becoming one with your own infinite Light and Delight. When this happens, the outer happiness that you previously felt fades into insignificance.
This is what happens when we pray to God, our Beloved Supreme, to run in and through us. A spiritual musician has the same prayer. He prays for the Supreme to play in and through him. Otherwise, if the musician plays all by himself, then nobody is going to be pleased — not even him. He knows that his Reality is God the Supreme and that his very existence is nothing but the Supreme. If the musician cannot please the Supreme with his music, then how will he be able to please himself? So he prays devotedly for the Supreme to play in and through him.
Your friend, Narada, performs on the drums and other instruments, but the actual Player is someone else. Narada is beating the drums with his outer hands, but someone else is playing inside his heart. I have painted thousands of paintings. When I paint, I just follow a streak of light that the Supreme shows me. In this way He paints in and through me. In your case also, your supreme prayer will be for the Supreme to run in and through you. Then you will be the happiest person no matter what results come from your sports, because you will get the highest joy by becoming a supremely choice instrument of His.
Nothing we achieve in our outer life lasts. It may last 5 years, 10 years or 20 years; but eventually it disappears. Then we have to rely upon our memories, saying, “Oh, I did this 20 years ago.” But those achievements — no matter how significant they seem — are not immortal. Here you may be able to progress from jumping 9 or 10 metres to jumping 12 or 15 metres. But if you know how to jump in the inner world, then in a fleeting second you can jump from New York to Houston.
If your sister is in Houston, you will not need a telephone to convey a message to her or to share your feelings with her. It will be a matter of a second to communicate inwardly with her. The Supreme, who is inside you, is also inside your sister in Houston. By becoming more and more conscious of your Beloved Supreme’s Presence inside your own heart, you will also become more conscious of His Presence in others’ hearts.
So when you want to say something to your sister, to your mother, to Narada, or to anybody, just approach the Supreme in them. He is omnipresent; He is here, there, everywhere. If you approach the Supreme in someone, immediately He will give that person your inner message. On the strength of His Omnipresence, He will carry your message.
While you are jumping, Carl Lewis may think of somebody like Bob Beamon and try to beat his record. But Sudhahota will think of the Ultimate, the Supreme. This is the difference. Sudhahota will not think of jumping 10 metres or 12 metres. While running and jumping, he will think of becoming part and parcel of the transcendental Consciousness and the universal Consciousness, which is what you truly are in the inner world. If this is what you are thinking, you cannot go against the Will of the Supreme.
When I was a youth in India, my running standard was nothing, nothing, in comparison to your standard. But for 16 years I stood first when I competed with other seekers in my spiritual community in India. In 1955 or 1956, after being first for so many years, I wanted to become one with the second and third place runners and the other runners as well. That was my wish. So one day I used a little bit of magic power, or we can call it occult power, to give myself a high fever so that I would not come in first. I had such a high fever that I was unable to do warming up exercises even 15 minutes before the race. Then, when I was taking preliminary starts, I could not see; I was almost blind.
Whenever I ran, as soon as I got to the starting line, in Bengali I used to say, “Let Thy Will be done.” At that time I had no will of my own. The previous night I had exercised my own will, giving myself a high fever so that I would end up second, or third, or even last. But just before the race began, as usual I said, “Let Thy Will be done.” So what happened? As soon as the race started, my fever and my weakness immediately disappeared. God knows where they went, and I came in first. Because I had already realised God, I was able to inwardly communicate with my Beloved Supreme. After the race, I said to Him, “I didn’t want to be first. Why did You make me first?” He said, “Just before the start of the race, you said, “Let Thy Will be done.” At that time, you did not think of your wish to become second or last so that you could get a different kind of experience. You said that My Will should be done.” It was God’s Will that I become first. So because I said this with absolute sincerity, God’s Will prevailed and I did stand first.
Once you realise God, your own highest Reality, even if you have a wrong desire, you cannot fulfil it because you have offered your body, vital, mind, heart and soul to your own Highest. My vital and mind wanted to have the experience of losing. But I could not get this experience because it was not God’s Will. At the last moment, when it was absolutely necessary, I did the right thing by surrendering my will to God’s. Then, afterwards, I became the happiest person because I had been able to please God in His own Way.
In your life also, from now on try to feel the difference between outer happiness and inner happiness. Outer happiness is like a tiny drop. True, there are millions and billions of people in the world who do not have even that tiny drop, but it is still infinitesimally small when compared to the vast ocean. When you get inner happiness, you see how soulfully that little drop merges into the ocean of joy. If you try to trace a drop in the ocean, you will not be able to find it; it has become indivisibly one with the ocean. Similarly, when you enter into the delight of the inner world, you will see that your happiness has become as vast as the ocean. At that time nobody will be able to say, “Once upon a time he had only a drop.”
So this is what happens when we pray and meditate: our finite consciousness enters into our own infinite Consciousness. At that time our limited earth-bound consciousness becomes the universal, Heaven-free Consciousness.
Sudhahota: What is the ultimate limit of an athlete’s performance?
Sri Chinmoy: There is no ultimate limit to an athlete’s performance. You used to come back home from college and tell the members of your family that you were tired of losing. Needless to say, even at that time you had already reached Himalayan heights. Yet you can see how much progress you have made since then. Now, for the last few years you have been the champion of champions.
Your most extraordinary achievements at Helsinki and Los Angeles have placed you in the galaxy of immortal athletes. Yet who can say if this is your ultimate contribution to track and field? We who are most sincere admirers of yours are fervently praying to God for you to have better, more illumining and more fulfilling achievements. Your heart has implicit faith in God’s infinite Compassion. You are also aspiring to become the greater-than-the-greatest athlete in the world. God’s Compassion and your own aspiration combined will sing the song of self-transcendence in and through you to the joy of your loving admirers throughout the world.
When we admire and idolise great athletes of the past, we definitely derive inspiration and aspiration from them. In your case, Jesse Owens was the ideal runner. Who else can be a better hero than the unparalleled athlete, Jesse Owens? He was supremely great not only because of his body’s speed but also because of his heart’s magnanimity. His heart’s good wishes and his soul’s blessings have definitely added to your outer inspiration, aspiration and manifestation.
Part XWhen Sudhahota was at Progress-Promise two days later, on 17 November, Sri Chinmoy told him the following story.
Sudhahota, I am telling you a story. This story took place in 1944 when I had been a permanent member of the Ashram for only four or five months. Around four-thirty or five o’clock one afternoon, we had a pole vault competition. The ashram had been having pole vault competitions for less than a year, and people were just learning. In those days definitely I was the best pole vaulter.
I had such confidence that I would win! The starting height was quite low, and we had three chances to clear it. O God, on my first try I very nicely failed. I couldn’t believe that I went under the bar! On my second try I knocked down the bar. One more chance was left. I was the best, but if I missed again I would be out of the competition. That very moment, a being — none other than the Indian Goddess Mother Kali Herself — came to me in the inner world and said, “Go home and make a circle in black ink on your left heel. Then come back, and you will be able to do well.”
I said jokingly, “My mental hallucination has started! What does a circle on my left heel have to do with crossing over the bar?” But Kali said, “If you do not do what I am saying, then you are going to fail, and you will be really embarrassed!”
I had started with such confidence, but confidence had now turned into humiliation. Of course, it was not yet total humiliation because I still had one more chance. So I left the playground and started running towards my house. Some people were puzzled; they couldn’t understand why I was leaving. Luckily my house was only two blocks away. Very quickly I put my finger into some ink and made a black circle on my left heel. Then I ran back to the playground. There was still time for my third attempt because the other competitors were still jumping. Nobody knew anything about what I had done.
When my turn came, this time I went far above the bar. That was not all. Gradually, as the height increased, everyone else dropped out of the competition and I stood first. I defeated the second-place person by a very large margin. This is the difference between what we can do with confidence and what we can do when the Divine injects Grace into our life. First I was so confident that I would be able to cross the bar. But God wanted to smash my pride. He wanted to show me that I could not do it myself, but that I had to depend on His Grace. For many years after that I always stood first in the pole vault. Then, finally, one or two persons did better than I did. One day I will tell you other stories about my pole vault experiences, but this is the story I wanted to tell you today.
When I won the pole vault competition that day, I didn’t receive any prize money; I got a game of Monopoly as a prize. Unfortunately, in this life God did not make me outwardly rich, but He compensated by making me inwardly very rich. It is up to God whether or not He wants to make you outwardly very rich. But I pray to Him to make you extremely, extremely, extremely rich inwardly in your life of aspiration, dedication and God-manifestation on earth.
In 1944, when this story took place, you were in the soul’s world, dreaming and meditating, meditating and dreaming. God was dreaming and meditating inside you. Then, after many years He sent you from the dream-world into the reality-world to do something unique for Him on earth. First you dream, then you meditate, then you reveal and then you manifest. So, in the soul’s world, you dreamed and meditated. Now, from the inner world your soul has come to reveal and manifest that extraordinary dream and extraordinary meditation.
That is what you were then, Sudhahota, an extraordinary dream and an extraordinary meditation. And this is what you are now: revelation and manifestation through sacrifice. Sacrifice is nothing but the manifestation of our discovery of oneness. In our oneness-discovery, earth’s cry and Heaven’s Smile join together to manifest the same Highest. God cries through earth and smiles through Heaven. Now, through your own smiles and tears, you will do something most special for Him.
Confidence is absolutely necessary. Without confidence one cannot achieve anything in life. Again, as everything has a source, confidence also has a source. The source of true human confidence is the divine Grace. When I say, “I am,” then immediately the question arises, “Whose am I? Am I of God or am I of something or someone else?” When the answer comes, “I am of God,” then confidence flows from its divine Source. I am all confidence because my Source is God, God the Grace. Since I embody God’s infinite Grace, then I am bound to succeed. I can never fail because my Source is God’s infinite Grace.
When I feel that I am of God, then I want to prove to Him that I am also for Him. I am grateful to Him because He created me and I am of Him. Now I want to prove to Him that I am worthy of the Affection, Blessings and Grace that He has poured upon me in infinite measure. I tell Him, “Your Grace has made me what I am. Now my aspiration, my determination and my confidence will make You proud of me, for I know whose I am: I am all Yours. Also, I would like You to know for whom I am: I am only for You, only for You.”
This is how God the Master speaks to God the seeker in the inner world, in the soul’s world. At this moment, Sudhahota, you are God the Master and God the seeker at the same time. The divine in you is God the Master and the human in you is God the seeker.
Part XIThis conversation took place a few weeks later on 11 December at Progress-Promise.
Sri Chinmoy (giving Sudhahota his dogs, Sona and Kanu, to hold): You have defeated me in running, but I have defeated you in something else. I have two dogs whereas you have only one! Now please tell me about what happened in Los Angeles.
Sudhahota: The commercial I did when I was in Los Angeles is for Nike sports shoes. Nike is doing more artistic things. The idea was for me to run down a runway, jump into the air and just keep going — never to come down. I wish I could do that! As I am running and jumping through the air, I basically say that when I was young, I jumped nines; but I didn’t give up. In high school I kept coming in second, but I never gave up. The point is, if your philosophy is never to give up, there’s no telling how far you can go. The commercial has a little imagination.
Sri Chinmoy: That is exactly my philosophy: only progress, progress, progress. When you started doing the long jump, what was your distance?
Sri Chinmoy: From where to where! Now you have jumped over 28 feet. So, from nine to almost 29! On Thanksgiving we watched your family on television.
Sudhahota: My parents are still elated from the time they came here. They felt it was really special. Hopefully, during the Millrose Games, Carol will get to come here.
Sri Chinmoy: Does Carol know about your spiritual name?
Sudhahota: Carol liked it.
Sri Chinmoy: When am I going to get the training schedule you are making for me?
Sudhahota: I'll go back and work it out this week and send it to you. It will be some time next week because I have to speak to my coach.
Sri Chinmoy: You have to tell him that I'm the slowest man on earth. Also, I have had back pain for the past 12 years. But I am very greedy, so I want to run. If he wants to know, my fastest official time for the 100 was 11.7. Otherwise, in practice my time was 11.3.
I was brought up in a spiritual community. There were about 2,000 members in it. Over 200 participated in the sports competition, and I stood first for 16 years uninterrupted. For two years consecutively I was the decathlon champion. Then, for the third year, the rain ruined everything. At the time of the pole vault, out of the blue it started raining and I lost a number of points. Otherwise, the third year also I would have won the decathlon.
It was in 1944 that I started my sports career. You were in the soul’s world watching — just the way I am watching your career now.
Have you seen this year’s New Year’s message? “The seeker’s confidence-heart, the seeker’s surrender-life, shall play together the complete perfection-game in God’s Vision-Home.” Our confidence-heart comes when we leave everything in the Hands of God, our Beloved Supreme, and say: “Let Thy Will be done.” Then we have to say, “You have Your own Will, Your own Vision. So You execute and fulfil Your Vision in and through me. I am all surrender. My life is all surrender. Now, O Beloved Supreme, You fulfil Your Vision in and through me.”
Part XIISri Chinmoy sent this message to Sudhahota on 18 February 1984 at a time the champion athlete was experiencing some difficulties in his indoor competitions.
Dearest Sudhahota, I wish to offer you a soulful and a blessingful message. The soulful message is coming from my heart and the blessingful message is coming from my soul. Of late you have been experiencing sad realities in your sprinting career. My heart of sympathy and my heart of oneness are experiencing the same sadness that your own heart is experiencing. To us, so-called failure is nothing but an experience. Just because we are seekers, we say that either God has given us this experience for our own inner improvement, or that for some unknown reason God is tolerating this experience, which the hostile forces have maliciously given us. In any event, whether our Beloved Supreme approves of this experience or whether He just tolerates it, we abide by His all-loving Decision which, for us, is nothing but His all-encompassing Compassion.
For me to give you suggestions or advice is like a tiny flame giving advice to the sun. But a tiny flame is also a solid and concrete portion of God. In this world, when the tiny flame has established its inseparable oneness with the mighty sun, at that time the tiny flame is quite anxious to offer its capacity to the sun. So, from an absolutely practical point of view I would like to say a few things.
For the past few weeks, in the 50 metres and 60 metres you have been coming in second. For us, the thought of your being second in this event is far beyond our imagination. But to me the 50-metre and 60-metre races are of no importance at all. When the world speaks of sprinting or the fastest sprinter, it speaks of the 100 metres. When we talk about Jesse Owens being the fastest runner, we never think of 50 yards or 50 metres or 60 metres; we think only of 100 metres. Go to any obscure country and ask who is the fastest. Immediately they will say the name of the person who is first in 100 metres. In this respect, your name has covered the length and breadth of the world. The whole world knows you as the best, the superlative sprinter.
When I came to America and heard about 40, 50 and 60-metre races, it amused me more than it inspired me. If people want to value only the shortest distance, then there will have to be a 10-metre or a 2-metre race. Or some silly people will say that whoever comes out of the starting blocks first is the fastest sprinter. But if this person has to run 70 or 80 or 100 metres, perhaps he will be nowhere. Some runners are still behind even up to the 90-metre mark. But when it is 100 metres, they defeat their rivals.
The General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta, who passed away recently, was my boss when I lived there. His middle son was the fastest in 40 metres. But luckily for me, there were no 40-metre races, and in the 100 metres I always defeated him. He would be as much as 4 or 5 metres behind me. Then, after a few years, he gave up his running career and I continued with the 100 metres.
So please feel that 100 metres is the real race — not 60 metres or 10 metres or 2 metres! Please concentrate only on your 100 metres. Let the world mock you. As you have something to do, the world also has something to do. Let the world say whatever it wants to say or feel whatever it wants to feel. If you have already decided not to do any more short distances before the Olympics, then do not surrender your adamantine will to public criticism. People may try to instigate you to run more short distances, but if you have already decided not to run anymore, do not surrender to their unforgivable instigation.
If you want to continue and say, “I shall accept the challenge! I want to prove that I can do it,” then that is another matter. But the only thing is, the Olympics are fast approaching, and I personally feel that the time has come for you to concentrate on the 100 and 200 metres and on the long jump. Who knows, perhaps God is giving the runners who are right now defeating you in shorter distances just a few drops of Nectar, whereas He has decided to give you a very large quantity at a later time. Or perhaps He is giving them some crumbs and plans to give you a big loaf. Anyway, you please make your decision. If you feel it is inadvisable to run the shorter distances, then do not listen to the critics.
In case you are tempted to do 50 or 60 metres, I wish to offer you some advice on a very practical level. Of course, being a spiritual man, everything I say comes from a spiritual plane. When running 50 or 60 metres in competition, before the starter fires the gun please try to feel that you have to run 10 metres less than the other competitors. If the race is 50 metres, then convince yourself that you are running 40 metres. If it is 60 metres, make yourself feel that you are going to do 50. If you feel that they have to run 10 metres farther to reach the goal, then naturally you will feel that you will win. When you feel that your task is easier than their task, you will get an extra surge of joy — we use the spiritual term ‘delight' — that will help you succeed. You will have a very strong, cheerful, inner frame of mind and be able to run much faster. Then, by God’s Grace you will be able to always do a miracle on the track.
But even though you make yourself feel that you are running a shorter distance than your rivals, you will not come to an absolute halt after you have covered that distance. In the 100 metres, for example, everybody advises the runners to maintain their speed even after they have passed through the tape. That is absolutely the right thing to do. Similarly, if you convince yourself that you are running only 50 metres whereas your rivals are running 60 metres, after 50 metres you cannot let your speed drop. You have to continue your speed right to the end.
Also, while you are running, try to feel that you are being chased rather than being pulled by something or someone. That way you will go faster. If somebody is chasing you, your speed will be faster than if somebody in front of you is pulling you toward him with a rope. If you feel that a magnet is pulling you to the finish line, you will run fast; but you will run faster if you feel that somebody is chasing you and you are running for your life. Imagine that a ferocious tiger is right behind you and at any moment is going to devour you. You know how fast a tiger can run! So you will run for your most precious life, and you will run the fastest. If the image of a tiger is not pleasing to your mind or heart, then think that your house has caught fire and you are running to the nearest telephone booth to call the fire department. When you see that your most valuable house is being burned to ashes, definitely you will run the fastest.
If you cannot think of a tiger or a fire, then try to feel that you are one or two metres ahead of everyone else right from the beginning. Before the race has started even, when you are taking the set position at the starting blocks, please try to feel that the other five or six runners are behind you. Then, when you start, feel that they are not running with you but are chasing you because you are trying to eat something most delicious and they want to deprive you of it. If you can feel that your rivals are behind you, chasing you, then you will be able to run much faster than if you see that the others are all on a line with you. So if you can feel that your competitors are a little behind and chasing you, and that you are running for your life, this will give you more inner intensity and outer determination. All this that I am saying also applies to the 100 metres.
About your long jump, people are enjoying a kind of malicious pleasure and accusing you of taking drugs, which is totally false, absolutely false! Unthinkable criticism has always been the order of the day, and there are always people who will say things that have no foundation. On the one hand, you have accepted the challenge and are doing absolutely the right thing. On the other hand, if you have to prove yourself to others in this way, then you are just surrendering to their whims. Today you have accepted this challenge. Tomorrow they may say something else very painful about your running and jumping, and again you will have to prove that they are wrong. Instead of proving to them that they are wrong, just think of your promise to the world at large that you will do something incredible. Only dream of those incredible things and do not surrender to the stupid criticism of humanity. In the future, if they bring up the same stupid subject, please do not listen to them!
A great spiritual figure, a spiritual giant named Vivekananda, came to America around 1893. He used to say, “The elephant is going to the marketplace and the dogs are barking.” You have to feel that you are the strongest elephant and that the dogs are barking at you. You don’t have to pay any attention to these human beings whose criticism is as useless as the barking of dogs to an elephant. (Joking) If they start barking, then ask your dearest brother Narada — instead of beating his drums — to take his stick and beat the heads of those foul critics.
In the Indian caste system, some people are called untouchables. When I read in the paper that some people are calling you untouchable, I say, “They are using the wrong word. They are saying ‘untouchable’, but what they mean is ‘unreachable’.” You are unreachable in the long jump. I understand 35 or 36 times consecutively you have been first. If this is not the supreme glory, the Himalayan height, then what else is? Even if you never break Beamon’s record — which I am sure you will do, without fail, in this lifetime — you are still a champion. For nobody has ever been able to jump more than 28 feet as many times as you have.
Now I am giving you some suggestions on the practical plane for the Olympics. When you start the long jump, please try to run for the full length; do not shorten your distance. It is absolutely important to have your proper distance. When you are about to start, of course you will pray and meditate the way you have been doing. But at the same time, try to feel that you are hearing people repeating your name: Carl Lewis. Like a thunderous noise, most powerfully, feel that you are hearing your name repeated.
Another thing: when you are about to start, try to feel that you are representing not only America but all of earth. Feel that a competition is going on between earth and Heaven. Since you took birth on earth, you are representing earth and demonstrating earth’s capacity to the cosmic gods and goddesses. Try to feel that the whole earth is behind you and that you are getting blessings, love, concern, determination and oneness from the entire earth. Do not think of the people you are competing against or the person who is second. You have to convince your entire being that the whole Olympic stadium is for you. The members of the audience are eagerly supporting you and helping you in every possible way with their inner will and determination.
You have to feel that there is not a single human being who is against you, because you are not representing any particular country or race, but the entire earth.
So, while running, feel that the whole earth in a thunderous voice is repeating your name: “Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis.” Then, when you are about to approach the board in the long jump, feel that the whole earth — all of humanity — is standing up. You do not have to see whether you have covered 9,10 or 11 metres. Only feel that millions of human beings are standing up to honour you because you have broken Beamon’s record and brought supreme glory to earth. This is what I advise you to do when you do the long jump.
As for your training, again I wish to tell you that every second of your life is of paramount importance now when the Olympics are fast approaching. So do what inspires you most inwardly, and do not surrender to the foul criticism of the outer world. The entire world knows what 100 metres is. So please pay all attention to the 100; the 50 and 60-metre events are of no importance.
The world cares for speed, so we have to prove that we are absolutely the fastest. How I wish all human beings would run faster than the fastest, with unimaginable speed, towards Eternity’s ever-transcending Goal. Once we reach the highest transcendental Height with our fastest speed and consciously begin serving our Supreme Pilot at every moment, at that time we can and we shall create an absolutely new creation. At that time there will be only one reality, one song: the song of self-transcendence. There will be no boxing ring where might is right. There will be no destruction. In order to prove our supremacy, we will only have to transcend ourselves the way the Absolute Supreme is transcending Himself. The supreme secret or goal will be to transcend our own capacities. We will not try to defeat others. We will try only to constantly transcend ourselves. In this way we will get supreme satisfaction and offer supreme satisfaction to the inner world and to the outer world.
This is what our Beloved Absolute Supreme expects from His creation, and He will be fully satisfied only when that type of reality manifests itself on earth. It may take thousands or millions of years, but He will not be fully satisfied until He has created that type of creation. Let us pray and meditate to become consciously part and parcel of His new creation. Let us try to become one, inseparably one, with His Will and, when the God-Hour arrives, to become the choice instruments in His tomorrow’s creation.
So, dearest Sudhahota, you are a runner, sprinter and jumper and I am a talker. Along with my marathon advice, I am offering you my soul’s transcendental blessings and my oneness-heart of sympathy. I am also offering you my oneness-heart of divine pride for what you have already done for mankind and for what you will be doing for the success and progress of humanity in its outer running. There shall come a time when humanity will see, through you and other world-class runners, that the inner running and the outer running must go together to create a new world that will be full of divine glory and divine satisfaction.
Part XIIIOn 7 August 1984, the day before Sudhahota ran the 200-metre race in the Los Angeles Olympics, he came to see Sri Chinmoy for a private interview. Also present were Narada and Anukampa. Following are some informal remarks Sri Chinmoy made about this meeting and an encounter the spiritual teacher had with Sudhahota at the Olympic Stadium the following day.
As soon as Sudhahota came into my room, he folded his hands. For 10 minutes I meditated with him face-to-face. Such loving devotion and oneness he had. When I sang the Sudhahota song, he was transfixed. Afterwards, we started talking. He told me his mother is making such progress. Previously she couldn’t watch while he was performing. Now she watches so intensely. His father has tremendous confidence in him.
He was so happy to see his name in my new book. He was telling me that the guards will not allow the children to approach him for his autograph. Then they themselves come to ask him for it. Ketan has given me a poster of Sudhahota running and jumping. While Anukampa held it for him, he sat down in front of the poster and autographed it. He wrote, “Dearest Guru, with all my love and boundless oneness. Sudhahota.” I asked him to put down the date. Of all people, he didn’t know the date!
He has the capacity to jump 29 feet. One day he will break the record. Sitting face-to-face with him I was observing his muscles. They are all invisible! In some people you can see their muscles, but his are all inside. They are not visible, but they just do miracles.
As he was leaving, I said to him, “You will be first, and second will be your best friend, Baptiste. And third, whom do you want? Jefferson is your friend.” He said to me, “Everybody has worked hard. Whoever deserves it.” I said, “Third will be Jefferson, since he is your friend. So first yourself, second Baptiste, third Jefferson — in that order. (Joking) God will listen to my prayer.” I predicted Sudhahota would be first, Baptiste second and Jefferson third. See how my prediction came true!
The next day, while Sudhahota was standing on the winner’s platform after winning the 200 metres, two or three times he acknowledged my presence. Then, right after they played the National Anthem, he stepped off the podium and came over to where I was sitting in the stadium. Then he gave me the bouquet of flowers he had received along with his gold medal. All the officials were standing there. He had to stretch his hand over the shoulders of some people who were sitting in front of me. Not for a fleeting second but for half a minute he held my hands as he was offering me the flowers. This is called the soul’s recognition — one soul recognising another soul.
My childhood dream was to be in the Olympic Games. But even when I became a good runner, I was nowhere near the world standard. Still, I longed to participate in the Olympics. That is called desire-life, wishful thinking, hoping to climb up to the highest height while standing at the foot of the Himalayas.
Jesse Owens was my idol, my supreme hero. I wanted to see him when he came to India, but owing to circumstances I could not see him. Then, here in America, I had a long interview with him. Sudhahota’s idol also is Jesse Owens. They say Sudhahota is the reincarnation of Jesse Owens. Now he has proved it in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and the long jump. He has done it!
Part XIVThe following day, on 9 August, Sri Chinmoy made these remarks about Sudhahota on a cable television interview in Los Angeles.
Interviewer: Do you believe that if a few would pray and meditate regularly in a community, they could alter — through subtle changes — the actual community itself?
Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! If a significant number of people pray and meditate regularly in a soulful way in a society, then the face and fate of that society are bound to change. Right now you, my students and I are in a spiritual consciousness. We are feeling love, peace and joy. Who has created this atmosphere? We ourselves have created it, this spiritual vibration, through our prayer and meditation. So if many people have one common goal, easily they can achieve it through meditation. While we are meditating, energy from Above — which you can call peace or light or bliss — is descending and permeating our entire being and also spreading through the atmosphere.
We believe in vibration. If somebody sits at the foot of a tree praying and meditating for half an hour, then an ordinary person may unexpectedly experience a sacred feeling when he passes by the tree, whereas in other places he will not get the same feeling. A sensitive person will feel something by the tree because somebody has created peace and joy there.
Suppose we are with Carl Lewis, who is the fastest man on earth. Immediately we get a vibration of dynamism and speed. If we stand near him, immediately we feel speed. I am over fifty and cannot run 100 metres in 20 seconds even, whereas he does it in nine point something. But as soon as I go near him, speed enters into my mind. This is not imagination. True, on the outer plane you and I will not be able to run at his speed. But in the inner plane, just by being near him, we actually have experienced speed. Speed has entered into our system. Then, when we go home, we will try to do things faster than usual. This is what being around a dynamic person can do for us.
Similarly, if we go to a spiritual person and see him praying and meditating, then even if we ourselves do not pray and meditate, we will still get a peaceful feeling. That is because a spiritual person lives this peace, in the same way that Carl Lewis is living the fastest speed. Since a spiritual person is living a life of peace, joy and light, this is the kind of vibration that people will get from him. Then, when those people go home, automatically they will transmit this vibration of peace to the members of their families. This is how divine qualities such as peace, love, light and speed are always spreading.
Interviewer: So you are a friend of Carl Lewis and admire his quest?
Sri Chinmoy: We are very good friends. He is super-excellent not only in his outer speed but also in his inner speed, which is inspiration and aspiration. His inner speed and his outer speed are both most extraordinary. Inner speed is inner hunger for God’s Love and God’s Compassion. Some people have outer speed and are wanting in inner speed. In his case, he has both outer speed and inner speed in unprecedented measure.
Part XVThat evening, Sudhahota attended a public Peace Concert Sri Chinmoy offered in the Los Angeles area. At the end of the concert, the Master invited Sudhahota onto the stage to meditate with him and said:
This evening we are soulfully happy, divinely honoured and supremely proud to have with us the unparalleled champion hero-athlete of the 1984 Olympic Games, Carl Lewis. His Himalayan achievements not only have inspired and enlightened the length and breadth of the United States of America but also have heightened the athletic capacities of the entire world. He is at once today’s unprecedented greatness and tomorrow’s fathomless goodness in the firmament of athletics.
(Sri Chinmoy’s students then sang a song congratulating Sudhahota.)