Pioneer-runners of tomorrow’s world-peace-dawn: ultramarathon running and self-transcendence

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Part I — Remarks on ultramarathon running

1.

Run and become,
Become and run.
Run to succeed in the outer world.
Become to proceed in the inner world.

Remarks before the first 700 — 1,000 — 1,300-mile race1

Brave runners, my heart is all gratitude to you. The English dictionary houses the word 'impossibility', but your life-history book does not include the word 'impossibility'. You live not only in the world of possibility, but also in the world of inevitability. This race is new, unique and unprecedented. Only your heroic hearts can accept the challenge and become victorious in every possible way, inwardly and outwardly.

When we think of 700, 1,000 or 1,300 miles, we are reminded of Eternity. We are all running along Eternity's Road, which is at once birthless and deathless. You are the pioneer-hero-runners who will be running along Eternity's Road. Today humanity is loving your hearts and treasuring your lives with utmost joy and utmost pride.

Once more, to each runner, on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, I wish to offer my most humble and most soulful gratitude and gratitude. Each runner is marking the beginning of a new dawn that transcends at every moment its beauty, its light and its divinity. This divinity is embodying world-joy and world-peace. You are the true and perfect embodiments of world-peace. For that, to each of you my heart bows with boundless love and gratitude.


  1. PRT 2. 5 June 1987, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York

Remarks before the first 7-day race1

My dear seven-day race runners,

You are brave, very brave, exceptionally brave, divinely brave, supremely brave. Only the brave can and shall win the ultimate goal, which is birthless and deathless satisfaction. This birthless and deathless satisfaction you already have in the very depths of your souls. Now you are bringing it to the fore through your adamantine will-power and your sleepless self-giving to the outer world of running and to the inner world of becoming. Being a truth-lover and a seeker of the ultimate Truth, I wish to tell you that you are doing something most significant not only for yourself and your own life, but also for all those who love the outer running and the inner becoming.

You are the pioneer-runners. You are the brave soldiers. You are tomorrow's pathfinders. You are supremely courageous by virtue of your divine self-giving to the running world. I am very, very proud of you and very, very grateful to you all. My heart of joy and my life of infinite gratitude I am offering to each of you as you start on your way.

This is a seven-day race. The number seven has a very special significance for those who study spirituality. According to the Indian way of thinking, there are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. Since we are human beings, we have already passed beyond the boundaries of the seven lower worlds. Now we are climbing up high, higher, highest in the seven higher worlds. Each of the seven higher worlds has a very special kind of delight — oneness-delight and fulfilment-delight — to give us. Each time we step into a higher world, we enter into a world of ecstasy. Each time we climb higher, this ecstasy increases. All the time we are dealing with a boundless and limitless ocean of ecstasy; but although it is an ocean, still it increases, for God the Supreme Runner at every moment is increasing His own Capacities, His own Light and His own Delight.

Although this is a seven-day race, please do not think of all seven days while you are running. Think of only one day at a time. Then, do not even think of one day; think of only seven hours. Then, for a few minutes, think of only one hour. If you can mentally divide the race and break it down into separate parts, you will get much more energy and much more joy while running. Every time your mind decreases the amount of time you have to run, you will get tremendous inner strength and vigour. So do not keep in mind seven days. Go at your own pace, but mentally divide the race to make the distance as short as possible. In this way you will always have inner strength and be able to run throughout.


  1. PRT 3. 14 October 1988, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York

2.

The determination
In your heroic effort
Will permeate your mind and heart
Even after your success or failure
Is long forgotten.

Remarks after the 1991 700 — 1,000 — 1,300-mile race1

I am a student of peace, and I feel this is one of the ways to offer peace to the world at large. I am a man of prayer and meditation, and from my prayer and meditation, I got this inspiration to be of service to mankind. I feel that while running we are able to offer our very best to establish a world of peace.

Athletes derive tremendous benefits from these races. They go beyond their capacities. In order to make oneself happy, one has to go always beyond and beyond and beyond one's capacities. So here, while running, each runner is getting a very special opportunity to go beyond his or her capacities. Self-transcendence is the only thing a human being needs in order to be truly happy. So these races help the runners tremendously, although outwardly they go through such hardship. Eventually, when the race is over, they feel they have accomplished something most significant.

The future of this kind of race is very bright. Our philosophy is the philosophy of self-transcendence. I do hope either in the near future or in the distant future we shall increase the distance. Eventually, it is my fervent hope that we shall one day have a 2,700-mile race. Since we believe in self-transcendence, I am sure that we are not going to stop at one thousand three hundred miles. We shall try to cover a longer distance. The seeker-runners who believe in their capacity — which is totally the Grace of God —- with this Grace of God will be able to accomplish something unique in their lives.


  1. PRT 5. 4 October 1991, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York

Remarks after the first 3,100-mile race1

Dear runners,

I bow to your soul, I bow to your heart, I bow to your life, sleeplessly and unreservedly.

The number 31 has a very special significance in my life. I was born in 1931. According to my physical body and my vital, I am old. According to my mind, I am ancient. According to my heart, I am as young as ever. According to my soul, I am yet to be fully manifested. According to my Lord Beloved Supreme, I am living in His own Heart-Garden, and I shall forever do so. Finally, according to me, I am all gratitude to the climbing tears of Mother Earth and to the descending smiles of Father Heaven. I am one, inseparably one, eternally one with the climbing tears of Mother Earth and the descending smiles of Father Heaven.

Our philosophy is self-transcendence. Yes, there is no limit to our inner progress and outer success. But again, there comes a time when we reach a certain height, such an extraordinary height, that we feel we can live there for a good many years safely and self-givingly. Then we wait indefinitely for God's choice Hour to inspire us, to aspire in and through us to go forward, to embark on a new journey.

This 3,100 miles is an unprecedented journey in our world-peace-manifestation-dream. World-peace can come into existence only when we are inundated with patience and perseverance. Infinite patience we need in our inner life and perseverance we need in our outer life.

These 3,100 miles remind us of one divine and supreme reality: we can and we must do everything at our command to transform the world of lethargy and unwillingness to be dynamic. Unwillingness we do not leave behind us. Therefore happiness remains always a far cry. Willingness to give, willingness to achieve, willingness to grow and glow should be the message of our souls. With our souls' blessings we can and will fulfil our earthly life.

To Ed, Suprabha, George and Alexandar, my soul's summit blessingful love, blessingful joy and blessingful pride I am offering unreservedly and unconditionally. Whenever I passed by you running, you reminded me of our souls' eternal, birthless and deathless journey and you reminded me of Eternity's choice runners.

Human pride is devoured and has to be devoured for the development of humility, which we all desperately need to make inner and outer spiritual progress. It is our spiritual progress which will make us God-champions in each and every field of life. Again, there is something called divine pride. This divine pride breathlessly whispers into our ears: "You are the choicest instrument of God. It is beneath your dignity to wallow in the pleasures of ignorance-night, to surrender to the wrong, undivine forces. God wants you to be an exact prototype of His Universal Manifestation and Transcendental Dream." So this divine pride I have seen and felt in each of the four runners. I have seen and felt God's own Pride, founded upon His infinite Delight in each of you.


  1. PRT 6. 2 August 1997, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica Hills, New York

Remarks after the 200-mile race1

My dear children, my divine children, your Guru shall cherish and cherish and cherish your loving self-giving and sleepless oneness with your Guru's vision-eye and with his satisfaction-heart. You have done something great, divinely great. You have done something good, supremely good.

In the New Year's message I told you that this is the year of teeming surprises. What else can be a surprise if not an achievement like this? And I have said that this month will convincingly give all the seekers in their inner lives a true sense of progress and in their outer lives a true sense of success. During these four days you have made immense, immense progress in your inner lives and you have offered immense, immense success to your outer lives.

Since all of you are blessed with aspiring hearts, please feel my heart of gratitude, gratitude and gratitude. My heart established — as it always does — its constant, sympathetic oneness with your 200-mile run. Now my heart is establishing its oneness with your stupendous success-glories. An achievement like this makes me see and feel that my spiritual children can do and will do everything for the Supreme inside their Master on the strength of their sleepless dedication and oneness-heart.

Three divine things I shall cherish in the very depths of my heart: your love for your Beloved Supreme inside my heart, your most exemplary dedication to your Beloved Supreme inside my heart and your brave, braver and bravest self-giving to your Beloved Supreme inside my heart. My pride in you knows no bounds today and my gratitude to you knows no bounds today, for you have proved to your brothers and sisters that this is an unprecedented month of inner progress and outer success. I made the announcement, and you have executed my vision-prophecy. Each of you is a runner of tomorrow's ever-illumining, ever-transcending, ever-fulfilling dawn. Therefore, my heart is all gratitude to you.

These two hundred miles represent your supreme glory. I am sure that each of you has placed this supreme glory soulfully and unconditionally at the Feet of your Beloved Supreme. His unconditional Compassion-Light has acted in and through each and every one of you. What you call capacity is nothing other than His unconditional Compassion. If there is one secret in God's entire creation for seekers like you, if there is one supreme secret for you to cherish in the inmost recesses of your heart at every moment in your life, then it is this: we can do nothing, nothing, nothing; we are absolutely nothing, and we will remain nothing. All of our capacities are flames of the Compassion-Sun of our Beloved Supreme. Because of His unconditional Compassion acting in and through us, we do something to inspire humanity to raise its inner and outer standards. We are grateful to our Beloved Supreme. He is proud of us. Our gratitude and His Pride shall always remain together in His Eternity's Satisfaction-Heart's Satisfaction-Nest.


  1. PRT 7. 20 March 1986, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York

Remarks to Yiannis Kouros upon his breaking the world record for 24 hours1

You have made our track, our race, historical and immortal. For that I am extremely proud of you. You are not only a Greek. You have become a universal figure.

Previously people thought the four-minute mile was impossible. Then they saw it was quite possible. Now you have proved that long-distance running is also something that a human being can easily do. There are many who will follow you, but you have become the forerunner, the harbinger of a new world. You have brought here on earth a new world, and so many runners will follow you. I am extremely, extremely proud of you….

This is just the beginning. You will do on earth many miracles — miracle after miracle. Now people are not admiring ultramarathons. They care only for short distance — a mile or even up to a marathon. But because of the glory you have brought into the world for ultramarathons, you will see that the whole world will appreciate and admire ultramarathons the way they appreciate marathons. They will think of ultramarathoning and long-distance running and your name together. Whenever they say "ultramarathon," they will say "Yiannis" at the same time. You are the supreme hero of ultramarathoning.


  1. PRT 8. 1984, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York

Part III — Talks on running

The outer running and the inner running

The outer running is a powerful struggle
For a great independence.
The inner running is a soulful cry
For a good interdependence.
Independence brings to the fore
What we have unmistakably deep within:
A freedom-smile.
Interdependence makes us conscious
Of what we eternally are:
A oneness-satisfaction.

The outer running is a burning desire
To achieve everything that we see here on earth.
The inner running is a climbing aspiration
To receive from Above a vast Compassion-Sky
And to give from below a tiny gratitude-flame.

The outer running is an extraordinary success
On the mountain-summit.
The inner running is an exemplary progress
Along Eternity's sunlit Road.
Success is the ready and immediate acceptance
Of the challenges from difficulties untold.

Progress is the soulful and grateful acceptance
Of the blessingful joy from prosperities unfathomed.

The outer runner and the inner runner:
Two aspects of the seeker-runner.

The outer runner does.
Therefore, he succeeds.

The inner runner becomes.
Therefore, he proceeds.

When he succeeds,
The seeker-runner gets a new name:
Glorification.

When he proceeds,
The seeker-runner gets a new name:
Illumination.

The seeker-runner's glorification is a beautiful flower
That charms and inspires his entire life.
The seeker-runner's illumination is a fruitful tree
That shelters and nourishes
His entire earthly existence.

The outer running is a colossal satisfaction,
Although at times it may be quite oblivious
To the existence-reality of a quiet perfection.

The inner running is a perpetual satisfaction
In and through a blossoming perfection.

The seeker-runner has a shadowless dream
Of his full realisation-day
In his outer running.

The seeker-runner has a sleepless vision
Of his God's full manifestation-hour
In his inner running.

The outer runner challenges
The Himalayan pride of impossibility.
The inner runner smilingly arranges a feast
Not only with impossibility
But also with Immortality.

The outer runner runs through the golden gate
And arrives at the sound-kingdom.
The inner runner enters into the unique palace,
Runs up to its highest floor
And places himself at the very Feet
Of the Silence-King.

Finally, the seeker-runner's outer running
Says to his inner running,
"Look, I am giving you what I now have:
My majesty's crown."
The seeker-runner's inner running
Says to his outer running,

"Look, I am giving you what I now am:
My beauty's throne."

A great champion

A great champion is he who wins all the races.

A great champion is he who participates in all the races.

A great champion is he who does not care for the results of the races — whether he is first or last or in between. He races just to get joy and give joy to the observers.

A great champion is he who transcends his own previous records.

A great champion is he who maintains his standard.

A great champion is he who remains happy even when he cannot maintain his standard.

A great champion is he who has established his inseparable oneness with the winner and the loser alike.

A great champion is he who, owing to the advancement of years, retires from racing or terminates his career happily and cheerfully.

A great champion is he who longs to see the fulfilment of his dreams — if not through himself, then in and through others.

A great champion is he who meditates on his Inner Pilot for the fulfilment of His Will before the race, during the race and after the race.

A great champion is he who sees and feels that he is a mere instrument of his Inner Pilot and that his Inner Pilot is racing in and through him, according to his own capacity of receptivity.

A champion of champions is he whose inner life has become the Vision of his Absolute Supreme and whose outer life has become the perfection-channel of his Beloved Supreme.

Who is the winner?

Who is the winner? Not he who wins, but he who has established his cheerful oneness with the result, which is an experience in the form of failure or success, a journey forward or a journey backward.

Who is the winner? Not he who wins the race, but he who loves to run sleeplessly and breathlessly with God the Supreme Runner.

Who is the winner? Not he whose glory we sing, but he who embodies God's Compassion-Light in abundant measure.

Who is the winner? Not he who has acquired tremendous name and fame and amassed a big fortune, but he who requires only one thing: God-Satisfaction in God's own Way.

Part IV — The body and the soul

1.

O world-ignorance,
Although you have shackled my feet, I am free.
Although you have chained my hands, I am free.
Although you have enslaved my body, I am free.

I am free because I am not the body.
I am free because I am the soul-bird
That flies in Infinity-Sky;

I am the soul-child
That dreams on the lap
Of the immortal King Supreme.

O my body

O my body, you are a gift of the Supreme. Potentiality inexhaustible you have deep within you. To misunderstand you means to misunderstand the chosen instrument of God.

O my body, you want not, you must not, you cannot conquer the length and breadth of the world with your physical strength. Offer your growing heart to the hearts far and near. Offer your glowing soul to the souls around, below, above. Then alone will you become the conqueror and possessor of God's entire universe.

O my body, invoke your soul always for you to lead. Invoke! Never shall the monotony of the uneventful life plague you. With lightning speed, yours shall be the ceaseless march — upward to the highest, inward to the inmost, forward to the farthest.

O my body, God the eternal Dreamer is dreaming in you, with you and through you. God the eternal Reality is living in you, with you and for you.

What is the purpose of the physical body?

The soul, which is a conscious, divine portion of God, has to live inside the physical body in order to make progress. The body is a temple, and inside the temple is the shrine, the soul. The body is our outer protection and, at the same time, our instrument for manifestation. Without the body the soul is helpless. Until manifestation takes place in the physical world, we cannot offer the real Truth to the world at large. The purpose of the body is to manifest the Reality of the soul. The soul needs the body to manifest the Truth. The body needs the soul to realise the highest Truth.

When the soul inspires us to do something, it also gives us the necessary capacity. Unfortunately, the unaspiring body, vital and mind often do not obey the dictates of the soul. The desires of the body often directly contradict the divine necessities of the soul, because this material body is unconsciousness itself. But when the physical body starts to become one with the soul's inspiration and aspiration, then God's Light can find a fit receptacle in the seeker.

2.

Run, run, with your soul's
Dynamism-river-flow.
You are bound to succeed
In everything that you want to do
And everything that you want to become.

"The purpose of my life"

If the body is the only thing that I can call my very own, then temptation, sense-pleasure, frustration and destruction also belong to me. But if I can say that the soul is what I am, if I can feel that I am one, inseparably one with the existence of my soul, only then will I see the purpose of my life, why I am on earth, what necessity God has for me and what work He will do through me here on earth. Each individual has something special to offer, and this message has to come directly from the soul and enter into the physical consciousness.

3.

O body, my body,
Think of the soul,
For with the help of the soul
You will grow into
Eternity's Poise, Peace, Light and Bliss.

O soul, my soul,
Think of the body,
For it is in and through the body
That you will have to manifest your divinity.

"When we live in the soul"

The outer world is the body; the inner world is the soul. We live in the body, but we constantly have to abide by the dictates of the soul so that the body, instead of being a blind tool of fate, becomes a perfect channel for the Supreme's divine manifestation in the physical.

When we live in the soul, we have the spontaneous experience of fulfilment. But if we live in the body, we shall have the spontaneous experience of frustration and misery. Our success and our failure have very little to do with God's experience and God's operation in the physical world. He is our success, He is our failure, He is the Doer and the action. If we can see God's presence in each action, then see the action itself as God, and later the result —- success or failure — as God, and finally the Doer of the action as God, then all our problems are over. We are truly God's highest Pride and Vision if we know the secret of living in the soul here on earth and there in Heaven.

4.

"Life is effort. " So says the body.
"Life is blessing. " So says the soul.

"The soul lives in constant joy"

The physical is not and cannot be satisfied with its own possessions. It feels that others have truth, light, beauty and joy, whereas it does not. The very nature of the physical is to feel that it is the eternal beggar. It wants something from somewhere else, either from human beings or from Heaven. There is always a sense of dissatisfaction in the physical.

The soul constantly feels that it already has everything from God in infinite measure, and that it has the potentiality to house Infinity. It is satisfied with its reality because it knows what it has and what it can grow into. It knows that it has the capacity to unveil the Infinite, either today or tomorrow. It is satisfied with what it has right now, and it is also satisfied with what it will have, what it will do and what it will reveal in the Infinite and for the Infinite. The very nature of the soul is to remain satisfied. It lives in divine satisfaction. Very often the body gets joy and still remains unsatisfied. But the soul lives in constant joy, for it sees the eternal Reality.

5.

The body and fleeting time
Are synonymous.
Each fleeting second
Is a fleeting life-breath.
Therefore, do everything
As soon as possible
In and through the body.

"The necessities of the body"

We have to know the difference between the necessity of the body and the extravagance of the body. The unnecessary demands of the body are lethargy, inertia and indulgence. The necessities of the body are alertness, dynamism, cheerfulness and eagerness to participate in the fulfilment of the soul's vision, the soul's realisation and the soul's manifestation.

Often we see that the body is standing in the way of our inspiration. We are inspired to do something, but the body says, "No, the best thing is to take rest." Early in the morning, something within us is inspiring us to get up and meditate. But the body says, "No, it is only five o'clock. Let me sleep for another five minutes." But it is not just five minutes; it becomes twenty-five minutes. Then we will say, "Now the best thing is for me to sleep only one more minute. That is enough." Then that one minute stretches into twenty minutes. Finally we get up at seven o'clock or even later and curse ourselves, "Why did I do it? Why did I get up only now when I wanted to get up at six o'clock?" At that time we made friends with inertia, not with aspiration. If we had listened to the soul, we would have got up and meditated.

When it is a matter of indulgence, we must feel that we are not the body; we are the soul. The consciousness of the body that does not want to aspire, the physical consciousness that wants to stand apart from dynamism, aspiration and inner cry has to be illumined.

6.

There is no need of rest
For a truly God-serving life.
There is no need of rest
For a truly God-fulfilling heart.

"By ignoring the body"

By ignoring the body, we cannot fulfil our promise to God. At the same time, we have to remain aloof from the demands of the body. The body, vital and mind are like mischievous monkeys. We have to keep these monkeys under control by becoming one with the soul. That means that we become the boss in our life. We have to be very strict. If three of our workers go on strike, then we shall immediately force them to go back to their job. We have to threaten these workers and warn them that they are doing something wrong. Naturally, they know that it will not be easy for them to leave us because they will not get a better salary elsewhere. Just because they are our body, our vital, our mind, they have a special connection, an inseparable link with us. They cannot break that connection. Eventually they will come to know that we are telling them the right thing.

If the demands of the body will not allow the seeker to make progress, then those demands have to be discarded. But if the body is participating consciously and soulfully in the soul's task, then we have to feel that the body is doing absolutely the right thing. The integral way is for the body, vital, mind, heart and soul to go together. They are all members of the same family. But we have to know that the soul is the oldest and wisest member. Whoever is the oldest and the wisest should take the lead. What we need is not the path of indulgence, but the path of alertness, the path of acceptance of the soul's light. This is what we want from the body.

7.

Sleepless dynamism
Is God's greatest Boon
To the human body.

"When we have dynamic energy"

When we have dynamic energy, easily we can conquer sleep. Divine manifestation needs constant movement. We have to feel inside ourselves a flowing river of dynamic energy and dynamic light. Then we have to feel that we have become that river and we are continually moving toward the sea, which is our goal. We are in the process of continuous movement — running forward, climbing upward, diving inward toward our goal. When we feel this, then we cannot be attacked by lethargy or sleep.

8.

Try every day
To paint your life of dynamism
With purity-brush.
You will definitely be chosen
To run the victory-lap
In your Godward race.

9.

You can enjoy a limitless life of glory
If you do not allow
Your life to be bound
By your body's rules and regulations.

Part V — Competition, training and self-transcendence

1.

The divine meaning of competition
Is the manifestation of soulfulness
In the outer life.
The supreme meaning of competition
Is the perfection of oneness
In the inner life.

Question: Why do you encourage your students to participate in and to organise endurance events or long-distance races?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel that the world needs dynamism. The outer world needs dynamism and the inner world needs peace. As seekers, we have to pray and meditate in order to have peace. Again, if we can be dynamic, then we will be able to accomplish much in our outer life. To be dynamic we need physical fitness at every moment, and running helps us considerably to keep physically fit. Also, running reminds us of our eternal journey in which we walk, march and run along Eternity's Road to our eternal Goal.

Question: What is the spiritual purpose of competitive sports?

Sri Chinmoy: Our aim is not to become the world's best athlete. Our aim is to keep the body fit, to develop dynamism and to give the vital innocent joy. Our aim should not be to surpass others, but to constantly surpass our own previous achievements. We cannot properly evaluate our own capacity unless we have some standard of comparison. Therefore, we compete not for the sake of defeating others but in order to bring forward our own capacity. Our best capacity comes forward only when there are other people around us. They inspire us to bring forward our utmost capacity, and we inspire them to bring forward their utmost capacity. This is why we have competitive sports.

Always there should be a goal. Having a goal does not mean that we have to try to defeat the world's top runners, far from it. In the spiritual life, our goal should be our own progress. Progress itself is the most illumining experience. If we want to make progress, and if somebody else is with us, immediately his mind or our mind may think that we are competing. In the ordinary life we compete with others to gain supremacy. But in the spiritual life, we are not in competition with others. We are only trying to transcend our own capacity.

We can think of ourselves as two halves. One half is our imperfection and the other is our sincere cry for perfection. One side is weakness and the other side is strength. With our inner cry for perfection, let us run towards our destination and reach the illumination-shore. When our being is fully illumined, then dark, ignorant forces are afraid to come near us. Before we reach the destination, they challenge us. But once we reach the illumination-destination, the ignorant forces do not dare enter into us because they feel that they will be totally destroyed. They do not know that they will only be transformed and illumined.

2.

Competition is good.
Provided it is the competition
Of self-transcendence
And not the competition
Of ego-demonstration.

Question: What should an athlete do, from the spiritual point of view, to increase his performance?

Sri Chinmoy: If one is a seeker-athlete, then before he enters into physical activity, he should offer a few moments of gratitude to his Inner Pilot for inspiring him to become an athlete. An athlete is he who runs, who values time, who values speed and who believes in a goal that ever moves forward. There are millions and billions of people on earth who are not athletes, whereas he is. If he can offer his gratitude for that, then he increases his receptivity-power. If he increases his receptivity-power, automatically he increases his athletic capacity. Receptivity increases capacity, and the only way one can increase receptivity is to offer a gratitude-heart for what one has already become.

Question: How can I go faster? I find it so uninspiring to run slowly.

Sri Chinmoy: To a great extent, speed in running starts with the mind. You have to develop more imagination. Imagine that you are running fast and appreciate your speed. Then let the thrill and joy that you get from your imagination inundate you. This joy will increase your speed. You can also think of some people who really do run fast and try to identify yourself with them.

3.

Go fast, My sweetness-child!
You are of My Immortality's Vision-Eye.

Go faster, My fondness-child!
You are inside
My Eternity-Infinity's Heart-Nest.

Go fastest, My oneness-child!
I am of you,
I am all for you And I am only for you.

Question: How can we sustain enthusiasm and freshness in our training and keep it from becoming tedious and boring?

Sri Chinmoy: We can prevent training from becoming tedious and boring if we keep in mind that running is nothing short of a newly-blossomed flower which we are placing each day at the Feet of our Beloved Supreme. We have to feel that this newly-blossomed flower is our soul's daily awakening, a self-giving reality that each day we are offering to our Beloved Supreme. If we can maintain this experience while running, then we will never find our training tedious or boring.

Another way to sustain freshness and enthusiasm in our training is to have a clear, meaningful and fruitful goal. If we keep in mind this meaningful and fruitful goal, then enthusiasm and freshness will automatically dawn. If we value the goal, then the goal itself will give us enthusiasm and freshness. We are not aware of our goal's conscious eagerness to help us reach it. We think that the goal that is ahead of us is indifferent to us. If we can come to it, well and good; if we cannot come to it, the goal is not going to come to us. We feel that the goal is something stationary. But it is not like that. In the case of a spiritual seeker, the goal is always progressive and this progressive goal is more than eager to help us.

The mother will stand at a particular place and wait for the child to come crawling or running towards her. But the mother is not only passively waiting and observing; she also has tremendous eagerness for the child to reach her. If the mother sees that the child is trying but not succeeding, she will come running towards the child. Similarly, in the inner world, the goal actually comes towards the runner. If we value the goal and feel that the goal is something worthwhile, if we feel that it has boundless things to offer us, then naturally the goal itself will inwardly help us. The goal does not want us always to feel that it is a far cry; it wants us to reach it.

4.

In my life of surrender,
Each step of my inner running
And each step of my outer running
I am offering, offering, offering
To my Lord Supreme.

Question: How can I remain cheerful about my running on days when I cannot run my fastest?

Sri Chinmoy: Your running capacity changes every day because every day you are in a different consciousness. One day you feel light. One day you feel heavy. One day you feel inspiration and another day you feel no inspiration. On a slow day, if you want to maintain the same joy that you have when you are running well, you can play a trick on yourself. Imagine that instead of being forced to run at a slower pace, you decided to run at that pace. If you feel that it is you who commanded your body to go at such a slow pace, then you will not feel miserable.

Question: Why do we get injuries for no apparent reason?

Sri Chinmoy: There is always a reason, either in the inner world or in the outer world. In the inner world, if something is dislocated — if your consciousness has descended or if some hostile forces have attacked — you get an injury. Sometimes you are totally innocent, but the wrong forces, the malicious forces which are hovering around, can cause injury.

Again, sometimes in the inner world or in the thought-world you have done something wrong, and this can also cause an injury. Thought can be more destructive than a hydrogen bomb. Wrong thoughts, which are so destructive, may come and attack you, especially your physical, which is in ignorance most of the time. The wrong forces find it very easy to attack the plane which is fast asleep, because they will encounter no opposition there.

So, in the inner world either your consciousness has descended because of wrong thoughts, or some hostile force has attacked you, and that is why you get an injury which you cannot see any reason for.

Question: How can we spiritually heal injuries?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of inner capacity. One kind of capacity is to heal the injury by bringing down peace and light from Above. Another kind of capacity is to ignore the pain altogether.

If you have intense aspiration, then you can bring down more light from Above to cure your injury. But you have to do this consciously during your meditation. If you just casually say, "Oh, how I wish I didn't have any pain!" that will be useless.

Again, you can increase your capacity to tolerate pain. Now you have pain, let us say, but still you run; whereas if you had had the same kind of pain four years ago, perhaps you would not have been able to run. Again, sometimes the pain is unbearable and it is absolutely impossible to run. Then what can you do? But if it is bearable, try to run according to your own capacity. At that time, do not think of how fast this person or that person is running. Just go according to your own capacity and remain cheerful. All the time think that you are competing only against yourself.

Again, if it is beyond your capacity to ignore the pain, in addition to praying and meditating, you can also go to the outer doctor. Light is also inside the doctor. But in some cases there is no way to cure the pain.

Question: How can we use meditation to get rid of pain?

Sri Chinmoy: You should try to invoke Light in order to cure pain. Pain is, after all, a kind of darkness within us. When the inner Light or the Light from Above starts functioning in the pain itself, then the pain is removed or transformed into joy. Really advanced seekers can actually feel joy in the pain itself. But for that, one has to be very highly advanced. In your case, during your prayer or meditation you should try to bring down Light from Above and feel that the pain is a darkness within you. If you bring down Light, then the pain will either be illumined and transformed or removed from your system.

Question: Do pain and suffering aid our spiritual life by purifying it?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a general notion that if we go through suffering, tribulations and physical pain, then our system will be purified. This idea is not founded upon reality. There are many people who are suffering because of their past karma or because undivine forces are attacking them, but we cannot say that they are nearing their destination. No! They have to aspire more sincerely in order to reach their destination. We shall not welcome pain; we shall try to conquer pain if it appears. If we can take pain as an experience, then we can try to transform it into joy by our own identification with joy, which we then try to bring into the pain itself.

It is not necessary to go through suffering before we can enter into the Kingdom of Delight. Many people have realised God through love. The Father has love for the child and the child has love for the Father. This love takes us to our goal. Our philosophy emphasises the positive way of approaching Truth. We have limited light; now let us increase it. Let us progress from more light to abundant light to infinite Light.

The highest discovery is this: We came from Delight, we are in Delight, we grow in Delight and at the end of our journey's close, we shall retire into Delight.

Question: What is the source of suffering?

Sri Chinmoy: If we go deep within, we see that it is the limited 'I', the ego, that suffers. The unlimited I does not suffer. He who wants to bind reality suffers. But he who wants to free and liberate the reality within himself will not suffer.

Again, we have to know that what we call suffering is not at all suffering in God's Eye. It is an experience that He is having in and through us. If we live in God's Consciousness, then no matter what happens in our life, we will feel that it is only an experience that our Beloved Supreme is having in and through us.

Question: How do you run through inner pain?

Sri Chinmoy: Inner pain is a joke. Outer pain I believe in. Sometimes I cannot place my foot on the ground without getting such pain! But inner pain, which comes from frustration, depression, jealousy and insecurity, is a joke. Inner pain should be discarded like a filthy rag! Outer pain you cannot so easily ignore, but inner pain must be discarded.

If you have inner pain, if you are jealous of someone or are in an undivine consciousness, then the outer running will actually help you. When you are running and perspiring, when you are struggling, at that time the inner pain goes away to some extent. Otherwise, if because you are depressed you do not go out to run, then you are just a fool.

If you feel depressed while you are running, you can sing loudly and deliberately try to sing wrong notes. Then laugh at yourself. Some of my friends used to do this. They were good singers, but deliberately they would sing wrong notes while they were walking, and it would make them laugh. In that way they got rid of depression.

Question: Should we run even when we are extremely tired?

Sri Chinmoy: As a rule, when we are extremely tired it is not advisable to run, for it will not help us in any way. At that time, running will be nothing but fatigue and self-destruction, and it will leave in our mind a bitter taste. But sometimes, even when we are not extremely tired, we feel that we are. At that time we are not actually physically tired. We are only mentally tired or emotionally tired, but the mind convinces us that we are physically tired. Our human lethargy is so clever! It acts like a rogue, a perfect rogue, and we get tremendous joy by offering compassion to our body. We make all kinds of justifications for the body's lethargy and make ourselves feel that the body deserves rest.

So we have to be sincere to ourselves. If we really feel extremely tired, then we should not run. But we have to make sure that it is not our lethargic mind, our lethargic vital or our lethargic physical consciousness that is making us feel that we are extremely tired. This kind of tricky cleverness we have to conquer.

With our imagination-power we can challenge the tricky mind and win. We weaken ourselves by imagining that we are weak. Again, we can strengthen ourselves by imagining that we are strong. Our imagination often compels us to think we cannot do something or say something. We often use imagination in a wrong direction. So instead of letting imagination take us backwards, we should use it to take us forward towards our goal.

"No, never!"

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

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

—- 29 September 1979

Question: How do you keep your enthusiasm when you start to get tired and exhausted during running?

Sri Chinmoy: While running, do not think of yourself as twenty-five or thirty years old. Only think of yourself as being six or seven years old. At the age of six or seven, a child does not sit; he just runs here and there. So imagine the enthusiasm of a young child and identify yourself not with the child but with the source of his enthusiasm. This is one way.

Another secret way, if you are running long-distance, is to identify yourself with ten or even twenty runners who are ahead of you. Only imagine the way they are breathing in and out. Then, while you are inhaling, feel that you are breathing in their own breath and that the energy of the twenty runners is entering into you. Then, while you are exhaling, feel that all twenty runners are breathing out your tiredness and lack of enthusiasm.

While you are running, it is difficult for you to feel that cosmic energy is entering into you. So secretly you will breathe in the breath of twenty runners at a time. This energy which you get, which is nothing but enthusiasm, will let you go ten steps forward. But you have to remember that you are breathing in their breath, their inspiration and determination, and not their tiredness. You have to feel that their breath is like clean, distilled water. If you think of someone who is dying, that person's breath will not help you. But if you think of someone who is running faster than you, only you are taking in the spiritual energy that is all around him and inside him, just as it is inside you. But because he is running faster, you are more conscious of it in him.

Question: How can I maintain my aspiration throughout a particular race?

Sri Chinmoy: Before the race starts, meditate most soulfully for five minutes. Try to make yourself feel that you are not the runner, but that somebody else is running in and through you. You are only the witness, the spectator. Since somebody else is running, you are at perfect liberty to watch and enjoy. While you are running, sometimes it is very difficult to enjoy the race. Either the competitive spirit or frustration is killing you, or your body is not abiding by your mental will and you feel that you are literally dying. So many problems arise.

But before you start, if you can convince yourself that you are a divine observer and that somebody else is running in you, through you and for you, then fear, doubt, frustration, anxiety and other negative forces will not be able to assail your mind. Once these thoughts occupy the mind, they try to enter into the vital and then into the physical. Once they enter into the physical, they create tension, and this makes you lose all your power of concentration. But if you feel that you are not the runner, if you feel that you are observing the race from the beginning to the end, then there will be no tension, and these forces will not attack you. This is the only way to overcome these forces and maintain the highest type of concentration from the beginning to the end.

This is what I do. Right from the beginning I try to become an instrument and feel that somebody else, my Beloved Supreme, is running in and through me. At the beginning of the race, I offer my gratitude-heart to the Supreme, and at the end, after I finish the race, I also offer my gratitude. If you can offer your soulful gratitude to your Inner Pilot before the race, during the race and after the race, then there can be no frustration, no decline of aspiration. Your aspiration and your power of concentration will remain the same throughout the race.

5.

Do not think
That you cannot do it.
Just think that God
Is definitely going to do it
In you, for you.

6.

I know what to do,
Precisely because God does it for me.
I know that I do nothing And can do nothing.
God is the Doer.
God is the Action.
God is the Fruit thereof.
My life is an eternal experience of God.

Question: What do you think is the best attitude for a seeker-athlete during training and during competition, and how should these two attitudes work together?

Sri Chinmoy: During practice, the seeker-athlete should feel that he is preparing himself to become a beautiful flower. Then, at the time of competition, he has to feel that he has grown into the beautiful flower and is now ready to place himself at the Feet of his Lord Supreme.

Question: How much does the idea of failure hold back one's progress in training or competition?

Sri Chinmoy: The idea of failure is a most deplorable thing in one's life in any field. We must never cherish the idea of failure. We must always have the feeling that we shall succeed. There is no such thing as permanent failure. Failure is only temporary. Even if we fail today, tomorrow we are bound to succeed. Again, we have to know that success cannot come at the seeker's own sweet will. God Himself will act through the sincere seeker and grant him success at His choice Hour.

Question: What is a winning attitude?

Sri Chinmoy: A winning attitude, from the spiritual point of view, is a self-giving attitude. If you have a sincere, self-giving attitude, then you are more than ready to conquer your own ignorance. In ordinary human life we try to win by defeating others. In the spiritual life we try to win by conquering the unaspiring and the undivine in ourselves. The winning attitude is our eagerness to conquer the qualities is us that are not progressive.

7.

There are only three winners:
The one who competes with himself,
The one who crosses the finish line first
And the one who finishes the race.

Question: During training an athlete sacrifices a great deal of time, and yet on the race day he may not do well. What attitude should he have at that time?

Sri Chinmoy: If one is a spiritual athlete, a seeker-athlete, then every day is a golden opportunity. No one day is special. Every day, every hour, is a golden opportunity to become a better instrument of God. It is a life-long process. Therefore, every time one practises, one has to devote and surrender oneself to the Will of the Supreme.

If someone is not a seeker, but an ordinary athlete with abundant capacities, then he should feel that life is not a matter of self-giving or sacrifice. Life is only a matter of giving and taking. When he is training, he is giving. Then, on the particular day when there is a race, he is receiving world recognition. So the athlete gives and gives for a few months and then there comes a time when he receives appreciation, admiration and adoration from the world. So how can there be any sacrifice? It is all give and take.

An athlete may practise seriously for three or four months and then during the competition, if he does poorly, he may think, "Oh, I made such sacrifices for so many months. Now what a deplorable result!" But it was not a sacrifice. He was only giving for a period of time, and now he is receiving the result in the form of an experience. The seeker who recognises his inner oneness with the rest of the world will not feel sad and miserable if he does poorly. He will say, "I did what I could during my practice, and now the result I am taking as an experience. Whether I was first, last or in between, the result has been given to me by my Lord Supreme as an experience." The experience of both success and failure is absolutely necessary for everybody in every walk of life.

From the spiritual point of view, there is no such thing as sacrifice when there is a feeling of oneness. I pick up a fruit with my left hand and put it into my right hand, and then with my right hand I eat it. If you want to separate the parts of my being, you can say that the left hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it gave the fruit to the right hand, and that the right hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it put the fruit into my mouth. If there is a sense of separativity, there is always sacrifice. Otherwise, it is all oneness. It is all part of God's Cosmic Game that I do this and you do that. There is no "I", there is no "you". There is no winner or loser. It is all a oneness-reality.

8.

God smiles twice:
Once when I say
That I can accomplish
Whatever I want to
Without God's Help,
And once when I say
That God does not care at all
Whether I accomplish
Or do not accomplish anything.

Question: How can an athlete establish peace inside himself to give him strength?

Sri Chinmoy: An athlete can have the same kind of peace as a seeker who is consciously praying and meditating for world-peace. An athlete can have peace on the strength of his oneness. Before he starts his competition, he can just take a fleeting second to feel: "No matter who is first, I will be equally happy, for whoever wins is my brother or sister. If I did not run or jump, there would be no competition, so that person could not be a winner. Again, if I win, it is only because others have also run and jumped."

Now, if I have won the race, then naturally I will be happy. But when I look around and see that my friend or my brother, who has not done well, is unhappy, at that time do I get real happiness? I am being extolled to the skies because I have won, but my brother who has lost is doomed to disappointment. I sincerely love my brother, so how can I be happy? How can I have peace?

I will only have happiness if I can identify myself with his failure-life, if I can enter into his heart and feel the same sadness, suffering and shock that he is experiencing. I have already identified myself with my success-life, and I am very proud and happy. Now, if I can immediately enter into my friend's sadness and be implicitly one with his suffering, then I will be really happy. At that time my victory will give me joy and my sincere identification with the other person's defeat will also give me joy. This joy and happiness, you can say, is peace. Because of my victory I am getting happiness, which is peace, and also on the strength of my oneness with my friend's loss I am getting peace.

Then I will offer my achievement to the Source, who has given me the capacity to win, and I will offer my friend's sadness and failure-life equally to the One who alone can give victory and defeat. If an athlete can offer the results to God, then no matter whether he is first or last, he will be cheerful. This cheerfulness, along with his oneness with the winner's or loser's life, will definitely give him peace of mind.

This applies not only to athletics, but to everything that we do on earth. Oneness, oneness, oneness! If we think of oneness before we do something, if we can maintain this feeling of oneness while we are acting and also at the end of our action, then there will always be peace. From the beginning to the end, we have to sing the song of oneness.

Let us say we are running in a marathon. There are thousands of other people going to the same destination. Someone else may be first and I may be last. But if I have established my oneness with the other runners, then I will be equally happy because they are all part and parcel of my life. I will not feel miserable that one part of me has reached the goal before another part.

Without oneness, no matter what we do, we are unhappy. Even when we are successful, the joy we get does not last. Immediately somebody will bring the news that another person has done better, or doubt will enter into our mind and we will feel that tomorrow somebody will defeat us. At that time, we bring imaginary unhappiness into our lives. How can one have peace when he is thinking that his achievement is not the best or that somebody else will do better? But if we have established our oneness not only with the past and the present but also with the future, then we are bound to have peace all the time. If somebody does something better than we do, we feel that person is only an extension of our own lives. Yesterday I did something with one name and form and tomorrow, under the name of somebody else, I will do the same or better. I do not have to worry that tomorrow my capacity will be eclipsed. No, tomorrow, again it will be I, with a new name and form, who will accomplish something better than what I did today.

Yesterday I could lift 40 pounds, today I am lifting 60 and tomorrow I will lift 70.1 know that I am the same person who is doing the lifting, so I am not unhappy each time my previous record is surpassed. But if division starts, then I will be in trouble. There is always so much division even in our own being — especially between the mind and the heart and between the body and the vital. When I lift something, if there is division, immediately my mind will try to take the credit. Then the vital will say, "No, it was my determination," and try to take the credit. The body will say, "Who lifted it up?" The heart will say, "It was I, part of my existence." And the soul will say, "You know, if I did not remain inside the body, all the rest of you would be dead — heart, vital, mind and body." So every part of me will want to take the credit for my success.

But because there is oneness, the soul is not telling the mind, vital and body, "Because of me you have won." The body is not telling the other members of my life, "No, because of me you have won." The body knows that if the vital does not offer determination, I cannot succeed. Again, the vital knows that if the mind is not properly controlled, I will not be able to lift. My soul, heart, mind, vital and body could have revolted, but they did not, because I have already established my oneness with them. Each one separately could have fought against each other, but they are not fighting because we have established oneness. So we have to always feel oneness the way the body, vital, mind, heart and soul of an individual feel oneness with one another and work together to reach the goal. In this way we are bound to have peace.

9.

Whoever can soulfully and powerfully
Smile the oneness-smile
Before the game, during the game
And after the game
Is undoubtedly the real winner.

Question: Does inner running help our outer running?

Sri Chinmoy: Our inner running definitely helps us in our outer running. Through prayer and meditation we can develop intense will-power, and this will-power can help us do extremely well in our outer running. Meditation is stillness, calmness, quietness, while the running consciousness is all dynamism. Again, the runner's outer speed has a special kind of poise or stillness at its very heart. An airplane travels very fast, yet inside the plane we feel no movement at all. It is all tranquillity, all peace. So the outer life can be successful only when there is inner poise. Poise is an unseen power, and this unseen power is always ready to come to the aid of the outer runner.

Question: What is the difference between aspiration and ambition?

Sri Chinmoy: If a runner wants to exert himself to his utmost capacity and reach his best running speed, then that is his aspiration. But when there is ambition, immediately rivalry starts. Ambition wants to be the best in everything. Aspiration says, "I will do my best. I shall practise running, but the result, the achievement, will be entirely at the Feet of the Supreme."

Question: How does your philosophy of self-transcendence apply in an international competition where world records are often being contested?

Sri Chinmoy: All athletes should bear in mind that they are competing not with other athletes but with their own capacities. Whatever they have already achieved, they have to go beyond.

When there is an international competition, it is a great opportunity. When an athlete gets the opportunity to compete with the rest of the world, there is every possibility that he will transcend his own capacities. This is what is of paramount importance and not whether he defeats others or not. God will be extremely pleased with the athlete only when he transcends his own capacities. We are all God's children. If one of His children transcends himself, then the Father will be the happiest person. But if one member of the family defeats another member and gets joy while the other person becomes miserable, then where is the Father's joy?

If we are one with the rest of the world, then we feel joy in others' joy and their sorrow is also our sorrow. But most of us have not yet attained that consciousness. So it is always advisable for the athlete to keep in mind that he is competing with his own previous record. If he can transcend his own achievement, then it will be a true gain and a true achievement for the whole world.

What is of paramount importance is the individual's attitude. The athlete has to feel that he is establishing a new record not for his own glory, but in order to increase the capacity and improve the standard of the world. The winning athlete has to feel that he is representing all of humanity. Then, with a devoted and soulful heart, if he can soulfully offer his achievement to the Supreme Athlete, his Source, at that time he is doing absolutely the right thing. If this is his attitude, then let him try his utmost to break world records. But if he wants to defeat the rest of the world only to bask in his own glory, then he is making a deplorable mistake.

An athlete should feel that he is a member of the world-family, and his goal should be his own continuous progress. If he can continually transcend his own achievements, he is bound to achieve satisfaction, for progress is nothing short of satisfaction. The two always go together. If he cares only for success, then even if he succeeds, he will not get abiding joy. For in the twinkling of an eye he will look around and see his achievements being shattered here or elsewhere. But his own progress is like a seed that eventually becomes a sapling and then a giant banyan tree which will give him a continuous sense of satisfaction. When he is progressing, at that time he is growing, he is glowing and, like a river, he is constantly flowing to his Vastness-Source, the Sea of Oneness.

Question: Is there a limit to any record?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one limit: how much God wants to reveal Himself through each individual. The only limit is God's Will. God waits and waits and waits. Then, if He sees that somebody is receptive or that somebody has worked very hard, He may do something through that individual.

10.

What gives life its value,
If not its inner cry
For self-transcendence?

Question: You have drawn three million birds; one of your students has just run a thousand miles. This is genuinely inspiring, but it is also quite extreme. Could you explain why you go to such extremes?

Sri Chinmoy: If you use the mind, you will say that we seem to be doing everything to the extreme. You may say that we are greedy persons. We are not satisfied with a little food; we want to eat voraciously —- a larger than the largest quantity. But if you take it in a different way, if you see these things in terms of God's Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, then do my three million birds have any significance? Does someone's running one thousand miles have any significance?

We feel that we are birthless and deathless pilgrims walking along Eternity's Road. We see only our earthly life, but in our Heavenly life, our souls have been running throughout Eternity. Whatever we have in the inner world, the soul's world, is infinite, eternal and immortal, and these inner qualities and capacities we are trying to bring to the fore. When we are in the body, mind or vital, everything is so limited. We are caged in a prison cell. But when we are in the soul, which is the direct representative of God, we are dealing with the limitless.

What the Supreme is trying to do is to let the finite in us, the little brother in us, try to follow the big brother in us, which is the soul. So our outer life is trying to run side by side with our inner life. Our inner life is flowing eternally in and through us, and we are trying to bring to the fore its boundless capacities. When one of my students runs one thousand miles or when I am drawing three million birds, at that time we are trying to enter into the unlimited Source, which we all have within us and which we actually are. We are trying to bring our own limitless capacity to the fore.

The mind is always telling us that we can only reach a certain height, but how do we know that this is the ultimate height? The mind may tell us that we can run only 100 metres, but now you can see that people have already run a thousand miles. Now the mind is saying that perhaps the maximum they can do is two or three thousand miles. But God does not want to bind us. God's Vision is infinitely larger than the outer reality. When God created reality, God the Creator became God the creation. But God is infinitely, infinitely larger than His creation-universe. God the Creator, the One who had the Vision, is infinitely greater that His creation. You are a film producer. You can create films, but what you produce cannot create you.

Question: Yes, this makes very good sense. It's about spirituality and limitlessness. It's a definition. By breaking the barriers down and considering three million birds as something possible to draw, one is asserting spiritual reality. Is that correct?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have to feel that I am not a swimming pool or a lake. God wants me to be a murmuring, running river, flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. I have to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding.

Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations. But He can do so only according to my receptivity. At every moment He is seeing how much purity I have, how much humility I have, how much sincerity I have, how much eagerness I have. According to these, He is able to express Himself in and through me.

11.

A oneness-heart-runner
Is never afraid of any distance,
For he is always ready
To run along Eternity's Road
To realise, reveal and manifest God.

Part VI — Excerpts from conversations with Sudhahota Carl Lewis

Sudhahota Carl Lewis: How should I pray when I am 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 somebody else who may defeat you. There will always be a sense of insecurity or 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. 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—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.

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 of His tomorrow's creation.

1.

Your self-transcendence-goal
Is not something
That you have to achieve.
It was already given to you long ago
By your Beloved Supreme.
You have only to believe it.
You have only to receive it.

Part VII — Notes

Photos in first edition

Don Choi, winner of the first Sri Chinmoy 1,000-Mile Race, 1985.

Sri Chinmoy greets Ted Corbitt at the start of a Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team 7-mile race held in his honour. Ted is known as "the father of long-distance running in America."

Sri Chinmoy with the Director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Rupantar La Russo.

Editor's preface to the first edition

This volume collects together Sri Chinmoy's talks and songs dedicated to ultramarathon running, specially the multi-day races organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, along with talks, answers to questions and poems which will be of inspiration to runners of all types. For those who are unfamiliar with Sri Chinmoy's multi-day races, a brief history is given at the back of this book.

A brief history of the Sri Chinmoy ultramarathons

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team was formed in the fall of 1977. Its first public race was a 10-mile race held in Greenwich, Connecticut. From the beginning, Sri Chinmoy set the highest race standards, requesting that split times, water and refreshments be given after every mile along with enthusiastic encouragement and music. Later he introduced the flat, one-mile loop course in order to provide maximum support to the runners.

The Team's first ultramarathon was a 47-mile invitational race, held on Sri Chinmoy's 47th birthday in August 1978. This event has been held annually ever since.

In 1980, the Team organised its first 24-hour race, again in Greenwich, Connecticut. In that race, Marcy Schwam set women's world track records for 50 miles, 100 km and 100 miles. Kirit Makita, a last-minute entry with no ultramarathon experience, won the race with 111+ miles. The following year, in the same race, Cahit Yeter set a North American 24-hour best of 155+ miles, and Sue Medaglia set a women's 24-hour world record of over 126 miles.

1984 saw the appearance of the Greek legend Yiannis Kouros at the New York Road Runners Six-Day Race, in which he set a new standard for 48 hours and broke a 100-year-old record by running 635 miles in six days. A few months later, Yiannis came back to New York to run in a 24-hour race organised by the Marathon Team, in which he established a new road best for 100 miles in 11 hours 46 minutes and smashed the 24-hour absolute best with 177 miles. (Sri Chinmoy's remarks following that race are given on page 17.) A year later, in the same race, but running in the teeth of high winds from Hurricane Gloria, Yiannis broke his own record with 178 miles.

Since that time, many ultras have been organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, not only in New York, but in various cities around the world. Distances have included 50 km, 50 miles, 100 km, 70 miles, 100 miles, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours. These races have yielded numerous national and regional records and a few striking world records, such as a world 100- mile women's record set by Ann Trason in New York at the 1989 Sri Chinmoy USA/TAC 24-Hour Championship; a world record of 300 km (188 miles) in 24 hours on a track set by Yiannis Kouros in Adelaide, Australia, in October 1997; and another world best of 290 km in 24 hours on the road set by Yiannis Kouros in Basel, Switzerland, in May 1998.

The first super-long ultramarathon organised by the Team was the Sri Chinmoy 1,000-Mile Race held in May 1985 in Flushing Meadow Park, the first race of its kind in this hemisphere in this century. Three out of fifteen runners completed the distance in the allowed time-frame: American Don Choi (finishing in 15 days 6 hours), Canadian 6-day record-holder Trishul Cherns and Emile Laharraque of France.

In November 1985, the first Sri Chinmoy 5-Day Race was held. The race was held annually for three years.

In June 1985 Sri Chinmoy took up weightlifting, working his way up from being able to lift only 40 pounds to eventual massive numbers of pounds with his special one-arm lift, along with many other unusual feats of strength. His lifting of 200 pounds with one arm on 6 March 1986 was the inspiration behind a special 200-mile race held in Flushing Meadow Park from 16 to 20 March that year. Twenty-seven of Sri Chinmoy's students participated. This was the first multi-day experience for the women's winner, Suprabha Beckjord, who came in second overall behind men's winner Trishul Cherns. (Sri Chinmoy's remarks after that race are given on page 14.)

The second Sri Chinmoy 1,000-Mile Race, held in May of 1986, featured five finishers under 15 days, with New Yorker Stu Mittleman setting a new world record of 11 days 20 hours, followed by Siegfried Bauer of Germany (the previous world record-holder), Trishul Cherns, Alan Fairbrother and Dan Coffey. At the closing ceremony of that race, Sri Chinmoy announced that the Marathon Team would expand the race the following year to include two new distances: 700 miles and 1,300 miles.

No one completed any of the distances within the allotted time at the first Ultimate Ultra-Trio, held in June 1987. Marty Sprengelmeyer of the USA led the way with 1,250 miles, setting a world record for 2,000 km. Izumi Yamamoto set a women's 1,000 km world record and Sulochana Kallai broke her own 1,000 km world record for women over 50.

During the 1988 Ultimate Ultra-Trio, which was the I.A.U. (International Association of Ultrarunners) World Championship, Yiannis Kouros ran an astounding 1,000 miles in 10 days 10 hours, averaging 97 miles per day and breaking the previous record by one and a half days. Sandra Barwick of New Zealand established the world standard for women at 1,000 miles in 14 days 20 hours.

In the fall of that year, the 5-day race was increased to 7 days. Marty Sprengelmeyer narrowly beat women's winner Suprabha Beckjord by 527 miles to 521 miles. The 7-day race was held for eight consecutive years, and Suprabha Beckjord was the women's winner five times.

In the 1989 Ultra-Trio, Al Howie of Scotland became the first person to complete the 1,300-mile distance in a certified race (17 days 8 hours). He was followed by two other finishers: Ian Javes of Australia and Stefan Schlett of Germany. The women's world best for 1,000 miles was claimed by Suprabha Beckjord as she broke Sandra Barwick's record by a mere 27 minutes.

The 1991 Ultra-Trio had a field of over 60 runners for all three races—unheard of, considering the great distances being attempted. Al Howie came back to break his own record for 1,300 miles by 13 hours, and Sandra Barwick became the first woman to complete 1,300 miles in a certified race. After smashing the 1,000-mile standard by two days, Sandy walked the last 300 miles, finishing in 17 days 22 hours. Antana Locs of Canada and Marty Sprengelmeyer also joined the elite group that have conquered the 1,300, each setting new national standards. At the end of that race. Sri Chinmoy shared his vision of organising a 2,700-mile race sometime in the future. (Sri Chinmoy's remarks are given on page 9.)

Istvan Sipos of Hungary claimed the 1,300-mile world record in 1993 with a brilliant run of 16 days 17 hours. That victory was followed by his first-place win in the Trans-America race during the summer of 1994.

In 1994, Antana Locs of Canada won the 1,300-mile race overall, becoming the only person to finish the distance within the time limit three times.

In 1995, at age 52, Georgs Jermolajevs of Latvia set a course record of 578 miles in what was to be the last of the 7-day races and then, just a few months later, reduced the world mark for 1,300 miles to 16 days 14 hours. On the way, Georgs set a new world 1,000-mile record for men over 50.

In 1996 the Marathon Team increased the 7-day race to a 10-day race. Again it was Georgs Jermolajevs who won, but only by a very slim margin, over Dipali Cunningham of Australia. 725 miles to 723 miles.

In June 1996, after nearly five years spent working out the logistics, the 2,700-mile race which Sri Chinmoy had envisioned took place. Six outstanding runners toed the line on a flat, paved course around a park and a school in the neighbourhood of Jamaica, Queens to compete in what was then the world's longest race. Five out of six starters finished. Again Georgs Jermolajevs prevailed, just weeks after his victory in the 10-day race, setting new world marks for 3,000 km and 4,000 km as well as 2,700 miles, in 40 days 11 hours. He was followed by Ed Kelly of Sacramento, California, Suprabha Beckjord, Antana Locs and Trishul Cherns. At the awards ceremony of the 2,700-Mile Race, Sri Chinmoy announced that in 1997 the distance would increase to 3,100 miles.

The first Sri Chinmoy 3,100-Mile Race was held in the summer of 1997. Ed Kelly came back to become the only male finisher in 47 days 15 hours, even running an additional 13 laps to reach the magical 5,000 km mark. Suprabha Beckjord followed two days later to become the only woman to run that great distance in a certified race. Although they were unable to complete the race, both Georgs Jermolajevs and Aleksandar Arsic of Yugoslavia covered more than 2,700 miles. (Sri Chinmoy's remarks following the 3,100-Mile Race are given on page 11.)

1998 saw the addition of a 6-day race, held simultaneously with the 10-day race. In spite of heavy rain every day of the race, Dipali Cunningham established a new women's world record for 6 days on the road with 504 miles.

Istvan Sipos won the second annual Sri Chinmoy 3,100-Mile Race in a world best time of 46 days 17 hours. Ed Kelly and Suprabha Beckjord both finished for the second time, transcending their previous year's achievements. Wolfgang Schwerk of Germany finished fourth and Aleksandar Arsic transcended his own personal best by running 2,831 miles.

About Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy is a noted author, musician, artist, athlete and spiritual teacher. Above all, he is known as a man of peace. In his tireless efforts to find and explore new avenues for inner peace and outer harmony, he has touched countless lives. Since coming to America in 1964 from his native India, Sri Chinmoy has dedicated his life to the creative expression of the limitless potential of the human spirit. He says: "There are no limits to our capacity because we have the infinite Divine within us."

In keeping with his philosophy of continual self-transcendence, Sri Chinmoy has embarked on numerous creative endeavours and sports activities. He is the author of over 1,200 books of poetry, plays, essays, stories, lectures and answers to questions. He has composed over 14,000 devotional songs, which he has performed on a wide variety of instruments in a series of over 500 free Peace Concerts offered around the world. In a recent art project, he completed drawings of over nine million birds —- symbols of peace and freedom.

Sports, particularly running, play an integral role in Sri Chinmoy's teachings. He feels that running is an outer expression of the aspiration to achieve inner perfection. Sri Chinmoy himself regularly practises rigorous exercise programmes. His weightlifting achievements in the one-arm lift, calf raise and novelty lifts of people and objects have been recorded as age group records and garnered world record status.

Sri Chinmoy has been invited to open several global sporting events with meditations, including the Pan American Track and Field Masters Championships in Puerto Rico, 1980; the World Masters Games in Puerto Rico, 1983; the World Veteran Games in Melbourne, Australia, 1987; the Senior National Olympics in the USA, 1992; the New York Games, 1991-1995; and the Rome City Marathon, 1997, where he received the Fred Lebow Award for his contribution to the world of running.