Run and become, become and run, part 13
A conversation with a seeker1This morning during our 24-hour race at Francis Lewis High School, people were bothering me while I was walking along the track. One man stood in my way and said, “Are you running 24 hours?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “Crazy! They are crazy people!”
Then ten minutes later he came back to me and asked, “This is a meditation group?”
I said, “Yes.”
Then he asked, “Are you connected with the meditation group?”
I said, “Yes.”
I thought the conversation was over, but a few minutes later he came back to me again and asked, “Are you the teacher?”
When I said, “Yes,” he started trembling.
Then he said, “I am going to a class taught by one of your students. His spiritual name I don’t remember, but his American name is Jeremy. He is very tall. I like his teaching very much. But right now I am in trouble. Can you help me?”
I said, “What kind of trouble?”
He said, “Just before I joined his class, I ordered Edgar Cayce’s tapes. Now they have come, but I have not listened to any of them yet. I wonder if I should listen to the tapes or continue with the classes.”
I told him, “Continue with the classes and at the same time listen to the tapes. Then make your choice. If my teachings give you more joy, then continue with the classes. But if Edgar Cayce’s tapes give you more joy, then follow his path.”
The man said, “Such nice advice! Thank you.”
RB 658. 31 October 1982↩
Matter over mind2During the 24-hour race, one runner was telling another runner, “We have to prove that mind can win over matter. But unfortunately, today matter has won.”
RB 659. 31 October 1982↩
Running in front of Susan's house3Three or four important runners have said that in order to increase your stride you have to practise running down a very gradual hill for about 400 metres. We have found a gradual 300-metre hill on Union Turnpike and Baoul has marked the hill with 55-inch stride marks.
I was practising 100-metre intervals there, since Baoul had not yet put the marks for the second and third 100 metres. Baoul said, “Larry and his mother live somewhere near here.” Two minutes later a bus stopped and who came out of the bus? Larry’s mother, Susan! They live on the same side of the street that Baoul had put the stride marks on. She was so happy that I was practising in front of her house, and she stood outside watching me. At one point she was waiting for me to run by, expecting that I would continue. But I was leaving in the car, and we passed by her.
RB 660. 4 November 1982↩
The VIP4While I was running in Flushing Meadow Park, one of the boys on the road crew was driving behind me. Three girls who were visiting from other Centres were in the back seat — Sharon, Hladini and Kritagyata — and Vidhu was asleep in the very back
A middle-aged man came out of his car and said to me, “What do you think you are — a very important person?”
I said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Then I ran 200 metres. When I came back he again came up to me and asked, “Why do you need so many bodyguards, especially girls?” He didn’t see Vidhu because Vidhu was still sleeping. He saw only the three girls. The man was smiling and joking with me.
RB 661. 4 November 1982↩
Keep it up!5The day before yesterday, when I was coming back after having run seven miles, Pranika was running nearby. After running seven miles, I was walking the last 20 or 30 metres. An old man who looked about 70 saw me running, and then he saw me stop. He said to me, “Keep it up, keep it up!”
RB 662. 4 November 1982↩
Two prize winners6Today I ran a three-mile race in Staten Island. They have these races every Saturday.
Alo was so excited; she was first in her age group — over 50. I was also first in the over-50 category. A little boy and three men finished long after I did. Tomorrow the results of the race will come out in the local newspaper.
RB 663. 13 November 1982↩
The honour system7In the three-mile race, a teenage girl with a bandage around her knee was ahead of me. Then she gave up.
The race counted on the honour system. Otherwise, in five or six places you could have taken a short cut.
The first mile, according to Pahar, I did in under eight minutes. But then the second mile was slower because at least twenty times I had to run through puddles.
RB 664. 13 November 1982↩
The steep hill8After the race I was walking up a hill that was at least 300 metres long. It was very, very steep. That will be one of the courses where I will practise running uphill for 300 metres. Even if you walk up, it is good exercise.
RB 665. 13 November 1982↩
The Zurich Marathon9I started running our recent marathon in Zurich before the other runners. Then I stopped during the race for fifteen minutes so that I could watch everyone run and see the styles of the disciples. Haridas had such a funny style! Even though I stopped, I finished before the first man.
It was difficult to run in the early morning hours. It was totally dark while I was passing through the woods. Three times I fell and both my knees went down to the ground. After the third time I said, “I am not going to fall again,” and I was especially cautious.
Projjwal and Benny were going before me. Each one had a flashlight. Occasionally Kailash was able to come with the car and shine the headlights on the course.
Several times I was dying for something to drink, but Kailash could not come because the car could not drive on the course. Two or three times Shikha came running 600 metres into the woods to help me.
RB 666. 13 November 1982↩
Running too fast10Last night I was running slowly near my 700-metre mark. There were five or six boys around 17 or 18 years old watching me. They shouted, “Shrai, Shrai, you are running too fast!”
On the other side of the street I saw Saurjya. Saurjya was running much faster than I was, but those teenage boys didn’t say anything to him.
RB 667. 23 November 1982↩
The friendly dog11This morning I ran three and a half miles and then I walked one mile. I started out down 150th Street and turned onto the Grand Central Parkway service road towards Parsons Boulevard. Right from there, a dog started running with me. He would run alongside me for a while, and then he would be inspired to go ahead 200 metres. Then again he would come back and run 30 or 40 metres with me.
The dog had a collar and he was very nice. He would come near me to smell my trousers, but he wouldn’t bark. I didn’t see any ferocious qualities in him, but a dog is a dog. God only knew what would happen next. When I was running down Parsons Boulevard to Union Turnpike, I saw a car going slowly and making a turn. At about my 1100-metre mark I stopped and stood looking at the car. The driver seemed to be very nice, so I said to him, “This dog is bothering me. Can you help me?”
He said, “Oh yes, I have been seeing that he has been following you. But what can I do?”
I said, “Can you please give me a ride for two blocks so that the dog won’t see me?”
He said, “Oh no, I will be stopping in half a block!”
Then the dog went 40 or 50 metres ahead, hoping I would follow. I ran back very fast in the other direction and turned again onto the Grand Central service road. For about 300 or 400 metres I ran on the service road. Then I made a left turn and ran to Union Turnpike again. The dog was not to be seen. I had fooled the dog.
At about my two-mile mark on Union Turnpike, I was on the sidewalk when a car started honking. I said to myself, “What is this? I am doing nothing wrong. Perhaps someone wants to ask me for directions.”
When I turned around, what did I see? The same car and the same man to whom I had spoken earlier. He said to me, “Mister, I feel very sorry that I didn’t give you a ride when you asked me. Please come with me.”
I said, “I thank you for your offer, but no thank you.”
He was a nice-looking man. His conscience was hurting him, so he wanted to compensate. After that I walked half a mile and then turned around and started running back.
So these kinds of experiences I get no matter what hour of the day I go running. Always there will be some obstruction. Most of the time my road crew follows me in the car; but when I go alone, I always have wonderful experiences!
RB 668. 2 December 1982↩
Running or meditation?12When I was coming back, I saw Karabi the Great running. What did I do? I immediately looked at my wristwatch to see what time it was. I wanted to see if Karabi could have run that far if she had started after her six o’clock morning meditation. I wanted to catch her to see if she had missed meditation to go running.
RB 669. 2 December 1982↩
A cold race13During the three-mile race in Canada this morning, the Canadians were very brave to come and run in such cold weather. I was all bundled up, with long trousers and four layers on top. It was so cold!
RB 670. 12 December 1982↩
Pavaka's Quarter Mile14This time when I ran the Jersey Shore Marathon, every quarter mile Pavaka would come running to indicate the mark. After about five and a quarter miles, God knows if the place he indicated was actually the right distance. But at the third quarter of that mile he was at least 40 metres behind the 1200-metre mark. Then, when I was about to complete the mile, he came and stood right on the line.
RB 671. 14 December 1982↩
The wrong turn15This morning in Tokyo I ran for an hour and a half. On the way out I made four turns. I tried to remember two or three landmarks at each turn — the light, the telephone pole and so forth. Then, out of three things if I forgot one, no harm. In that way I wouldn’t get lost.
Coming back, at one point I made a wrong turn. Instead of getting lost, I discovered that that way brought me back to the hotel sooner. If I had followed my planned route, I would have made the turn two or three minutes later.
Even at five o’clock in the morning there were so many people running! People in Japan love to run.
RB 672. 21 December 1982↩
The steps up the mountain16This morning in Okinawa I went out running while it was still dark. At one point I saw a series of steps going up a mountain, and I decided to climb them. After I had walked up hundreds of steps, I found a shrine at the top of the mountain. It was not a good place to go in the dark. Even the trees seemed to talk to you, telling you not to visit their mountain. But it was a very nice shrine.
RB 673. 3 January 1983↩
The morning run17Today I saw at least ten disciples running early in the morning. First I barked at Shephali and Pranika. I was asking them why they were out at that hour, but they didn’t understand what I was asking them.
I also saw more than five Japanese disciples running together.
RB 674. 4 January 1983↩
Seeing the disciples18In my morning run today I averaged under a nine-minute pace. Of course, when I walked the pace was slower, but I ran more than I walked. I would run 200 or 300 metres and then walk 40 or 50 metres.
I saw at least 20 disciples while I was running. I saw some girls — Nayana, Sunanda, Begabati and Khudita — running past the four-and-a-half-mile mark, and I did not see them come back. They must have run at least ten miles, and they were going quite fast — definitely under an eight-minute pace. Runners like Sunanda and Snigdha never run at an eight-minute pace — always under! An eight-minute pace is only for us mortals.
I saw Savita and Chetana and said, “All right, you can run 40 or so metres behind me.”
RB 675. 7 January 1983↩
A boon from the soul of Japan19Most people I saw running in Japan were very short, and their strides were also very short. They were very slow.
After I came back, the soul of Japan came to me and said she was so grateful that I had come to Japan. She said for that she would grant me a boon: “In this incarnation you will be able to run a marathon in under three hours.”
RB 676. 8 January 1983↩
The homeopathic remedy20Last night during my 20-mile training run, I tried some homeopathic medicine. As soon as I take that medicine, my mind gets clear. Then, in my nose, eyes, ears and down to my neck, I feel a flowing sensation. But below the neck — to my legs, chest, heart, stomach, thighs, knees — the medicine does not reach. Each time I take it, almost instantly I feel that my head has become light. But unfortunately my head is not carrying my whole body. My chest, legs, heart — absolutely nothing below my neck works better when I take that medicine. For me, nothing works.
Perhaps if I had taken this homeopathic remedy at around ten miles, it would have helped me. When I took it at 16 miles, it was too late. It is a cream. At that point a cream will not take away my fatigue quickly.
RB 677. 9 January 1983↩
A brave man21It was so cold this morning while I was running that I saw almost nobody outside. Only two men greeted me. One said, “Good morning.” The other said, “Hi!”
I was dying from the cold. Databir told me to take thick gloves, but I took thin ones. Then I had to put my hands in front of my chest to keep my fingers warm. I haven’t run for a few days because I have been afraid of the cold. That means that today I was a brave man.
RB 678. 18 January 1983↩
Late registration22Long live Databir! Registration for the Orange Bowl Marathon was closed on the fifth of January, but Databir talked with the officials over the phone. They said that I could have a number but that they would not give me a T-shirt. In the end they gave me a T-shirt also.
RB 679. 24 January 1983↩
Gloria23Before I left for the marathon, I was waiting with the bags at LaGuardia Airport while Alo was getting the boarding passes. A lady with a dog like Sona came and stood near me. She said to me, “Do you want to have one?”
I said, “No, I have two. Just half an hour ago I was with them. I was thinking of them.”
She said, “You are looking so affectionately at my Gloria.”
The dog’s name was Gloria — like Malati’s name, Gloria.
RB 680. 24 January 1983↩
Meeting with Bill Rodgers24The registration place was the Holiday Inn in Miami. Savyasachi told me that Bill Rodgers was in the hall, so I got out of the car, thinking, “Let me say hello to him.” He was just going out to run and was holding some running shoes.
I said, “Hello. Tomorrow you will be running?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I wish you the best of luck. Someday I wish you to go under two hours. Tomorrow I want you to be first and to go back to your highest glory.”
He looked at me and said, “How I wish I could! “
I said, “Tomorrow you will try to do it. Do you recognise me?”
He said, “Yes.” He was looking into my eyes very intensely and soulfully. He said, “Sri Chinmoy.”
Again I smiled at him and he smiled at me. He thanked me and I thanked him.
RB 681. 24 January 1983↩
An unexpected meeting25After speaking with Bill Rodgers, I took two steps and who was waiting for me? Fred Lebow. I hadn’t seen him, but he had seen me speaking to Bill Rodgers. He immediately grabbed my hand and introduced me to the race director. While he was introducing me, he was looking at me so lovingly and intensely. He told the race director, “This is Sri Chinmoy. He conducts races, especially marathons, and all his races are excellent. Whenever we need help, Sri Chinmoy’s team always helps us.”
The race director said, “Yes, I have heard about him.”
Then Fred Lebow told me, “You must come to our club on the fifth of March. We are having a special banquet for excellent runners.”
I said to Fred Lebow, “You have to finish tomorrow’s marathon in under 3:30.”
He said, “My best time is 3:40.”
I said, “Isn’t your best 3:30?”
He said, “No. Where did you get 3:30? My best is 3:40.”
While he was talking to me, he was looking at me with such affection and loving concern. That kind of talk we were having!
RB 682. 24 January 1983↩
A second encounter26After speaking to Fred, I went into the rest room and then I went into the stationery store in the hotel to buy The New York Times. Who came up to me? Fred Lebow again!
He said, “I was looking for you. Here, I am giving you this T-shirt.” On the T-shirt was written, “Training for the New York Marathon 1983.”
He said, “I want you to have it.”
I thanked him. Then I asked, “This time, are you going to Russia to run a marathon?”
He said, “No, not to Russia, but I am going to China next month.” In another two weeks he was going to Shanghai to run. He also told me that two weeks earlier he ran a marathon in New Orleans.
I asked him, “Will you run one of our races? Have you ever run in Germany?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “We have a few marathons in Germany. I would be so happy and honoured if you could run in one. I also will go once this year.”
He said, “If you are going to run, then you let me know and I will come to join you.”
He gave me the New York Road Runners Club schedule for the whole year. Then both of us said that we would see each other the next day at the race.
RB 683. 24 January 1983↩
An expensive city27When I went to pay for The New York Times, the funniest thing happened. Somebody had put a New Yorker magazine on top of my New York Times. So for the New York Times the cashier asked me for two dollars. I said, “Oh, in Miami it is so expensive!”
As I was leaving the cashier asked me, “Why are you not taking the New Yorker?”
I said, “I didn’t buy it.”
Then I saw Fred Lebow coming right behind me with a chocolate bar. He was trying to get his money out of his running shorts. I said, “I am paying for him.” It was $1.58 or something. Everything is so expensive in those Holiday Inns. It is better not to buy anything there.
Fred Lebow grabbed my arm and thanked me. Then he said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. You have to come tonight. I have got a videotape of the New York Marathon that I am showing here.”
I said, “Three days ago I saw it in my house. First there were short, short races. Later you were waving your arms in circles. You were so happy and delighted when Salazar and the other big runners were finishing.”
He asked me, “Where did you get it?” I said, “One of my students got it.” He said, “Very few are released, and I have come here to show it.” Then we departed.
RB 684. 24 January 1983↩
The start28The next morning before the race they were making announcements. Mr. Marathon was Bill Rodgers. Then they were saying that some great runners had come from Scotland and Ireland. They also said they were happy to have Fred Lebow running. I was happy that Fred Lebow’s name was mentioned. While this was going on, five or six helpers were making such noise!
Three thousand people were running. This is the sixth year they have had this marathon. Five minutes before the race began, the wheelchair racers started. One fellow didn’t have legs even. He was lying on his stomach, moving the wheels with his hands.
RB 685. 24 January 1983↩
Running with Fred Lebow29After two miles I felt as if I had run a whole marathon. The humidity was so bad, and also it was drizzling. I didn’t mind the rain, but the humidity was so bad that after two miles I wanted to give up. With greatest difficulty I continued.
After four miles I started running and walking. After nine and a half miles, I was absolutely walking for four or five hundred metres at a time. Then whom did I see? Fred Lebow! He came from behind me. When I saw him, I said, “Oh, you were behind me?”
He started running with me. He asked me how many marathons I had run. I said, “This is my twentieth.”
He said, “I am fifty years old and this is my fiftieth marathon.”
I said, “I am congratulating you! For each year of your life you have run one marathon.”
Then he said, “Look behind me. The man there has run a hundred and one marathons.”
I was running with Fred Lebow for some time. I often complain about my stride. His stride is also short, but very quick. He was complaining about the humidity. Finally, he went ahead of me.
RB 686. 24 January 1983↩
The crazy lady30There were four or five middle-aged men and women running together. One of the middle-aged ladies, a crazy lady, came from behind me and pushed my elbow. She said, “Sweetheart, don’t walk. You can make it. Run!” Then she and her friends went away.
I continued walking and jogging. When I ran, I ran fast, so at some point I must have passed that lady, although at the time I didn’t know it. After eleven and a half miles, again she saw me walking. She came and stood in front of me. She was very mad at me and said, “Don’t do that! I told you to run!” Her friends were all laughing at her while she was barking at me.
After thirteen and a half miles, I saw the same lady coming in my direction from the other side of the road. She had already made the turn at fourteen or fifteen miles, and she was coming back in the other direction. When she saw me she said, “Honey, I am so glad you are running. Keep running!” Again her friends were laughing, but I could see that she herself was also tired. Although she was telling me to run, she was absolutely dead. When I looked at her face, she looked like she would collapse. God knows how many miles she kept running.
RB 687. 24 January 1983↩
Fred Lebow's encouragement31After I saw the crazy lady for the last time, I went about four hundred metres farther, and whom did I see? Fred Lebow. He was practically a mile and a half ahead of me. He said, “Oh, Sri!” His face was so tired. I was not tired because I was walking.
After sixteen miles Saraswati saw him walking, but when I saw him, he was still running.
The humidity was unbearable, but Fred Lebow was encouraging me.
RB 688. 24 January 1983↩
The perfect gentleman32When I was at nine and a half miles, it started raining so heavily! Everybody was miserable. After I had made the turn and was coming back — at around sixteen miles — I saw a middle-aged man coming from the other direction. He had only run thirteen and a half miles and had not yet made the turn.
He was a perfect gentleman, cleanly shaven and nice looking. He said to me, “You are a gentleman and I am a gentleman. So you don’t mind.” Then he turned around and joined me. He had only run thirteen and a half miles, but now he was running with me at sixteen miles. I said, “Wonderful!”
At first he was running with me, but after fifty metres he started walking.
RB 689. 24 January 1983↩
The five grandmothers33One fellow who was running near me had five grandmothers. At one point he went off the course and kissed an old lady who was giving out water and oranges. He said to her, “I am okay, Grandmother.” The “grandmother” was so happy. Like that, five times during the race he went out and kissed a grandmother. Then the grandmother would be so happy.
RB 690. 24 January 1983↩
Learning from the elite34One runner who was doing his first marathon had been told never to stop while drinking water. This is what he learned from the elite runners. When he took a cup of ERG, half went into his eyes and half into his mouth and ears. Then he was apologising to the people who were around him. It came out in an article afterwards.
RB 691. 24 January 1983↩
My friend Mark35Every mile Savyasachi would come to give me something to drink. He would come either at the end of the mile or somewhere in the middle of it — wherever he could bring the car.
Many people were running on the sidewalk, so that the trees would protect them from the heavy rain. But I didn’t like the leaves on the sidewalk and also I was afraid I would step in a puddle. At least on the street I could see where I was running.
At seventeen miles I found a friend. A young man, about thirty years old, was driving by in a car. He said to me, “I want to drive with you.”
I said, “Fine!”
Whenever I would walk, he would stop the car and wait for me. He was following me and encouraging me, saying, “Yes, you can make it.”
After driving with me for one mile, the man said to me, “My name is Mark. What is your name?”
I said, “Chinmoy.”
Mark said, “Come into the car. I will take you secretly a few miles ahead and nobody will know.”
I said, “I can’t do that.”
He said, “You are a nice gentleman. Good luck.”
RB 692. 24 January 1983↩
Old ladies36When old ladies go ahead of you, you say, “O Lord, You have destroyed my pride. What else will You do?”
Then later, when a sixty-year-old lady starts passing you, you say, “O Lord, You have left some competitive spirit in me still.”
I was trying to keep up with a sixty-year-old lady who was passing me, but her strides were so short that I couldn’t run with her. Finally, after five hundred metres, I stopped, and she went away with her shorter than the shortest strides.
RB 693. 24 January 1983↩
People at the end37From eleven to thirteen miles, I practically walked the whole way because I saw that walking was far better than running. At twenty miles I said, “I am not going on. I am not running one more mile!”
Then Saraswati came, and for the last six miles she walked in front of me. While I was walking, I saw that people who were running were going slower than I was. I was walking, but I was passing people who were running! Some of them looked like real athletes — very strong. Some were getting cramps, and some were lying under the trees, giving up.
After nine miles, at least four or five hundred people went ahead of me. But after twenty-two or twenty-three miles, I was doing the passing. I passed at least twenty people that way. I knew that I was not going to get a cramp if I ran, but my speed was so bad that it was faster to walk.
RB 694. 24 January 1983↩
Reaching the stadium38The last three hundred metres of the marathon were in the stadium. You did not even have to run around the whole track — just three hundred metres. I said, “For God’s sake, let me run.”
But when I tried to take one step running, there was no power inside my lungs. I had no strength. Walking was far better.
RB 695. 24 January 1983↩
"Super" finisher39When I finished the marathon, the person who took off my number said to me, “Super!” He was saying that because we were so brave to finish.
Afterwards, we drove three miles back along the course to see the people who were still running. We saw at least twenty people still running! I had walked quite a lot, so what kind of speed could they have had?
At the end some people collapsed from the heat. Bill Rodgers saw one person at the finish and said, “Major dehydration!”
RB 696. 24 January 1983↩
Marathon difficulties40There was such humidity, plus pouring rain, during the marathon. Bill Rodgers had wanted to give up twice. He said that he never suffered so much because of the humidity. If anybody had come near him around twenty-three miles, he would have given up. It was all in the newspaper. He ran a 2:15 marathon.
Alo ran seven and a half miles. She was so happy that there were people behind her. Then, after seven and a half miles, she stopped. God knows how many other people also stopped and didn’t finish the marathon.
There were big puddles, and in some places there were cars on the course. The mile markers were only very small numbers on the ground. So many times I did not see them. I had to ask Savyasachi how many miles I had covered. Sometimes there would be a small marker on a pole. They gave water at intervals of about three miles. It was mostly water, with some Gatorade.
My time was 5:33:33. It is not that my capacity is decreasing. I am doing cycling on my machine and practising running like anything. Just recently in Japan, and also in Switzerland and New Jersey, I finished around 4:30. Even in Puerto Rico my time was under five hours. So it is not that my capacity is decreasing. It was just circumstances.
RB 697. 24 January 1983↩
Suffering41In some ways the Orange Bowl Marathon was worse than the Greek marathon. In Greece I didn’t suffer until after seven or eight miles. Here I began suffering after two miles. Then for six or seven miles it was drizzling, and for six or seven miles it was raining heavily. The newspaper said it was raining cats and dogs. Sometimes you could not even see anything in front of you because of the rain. The first two miles I wore a hat. Then it was so hot that I took it off and gave it to Savyasachi. “I will manage without it,” I said. Then when it started raining so heavily, I didn’t have the heart to put it back on.
Once while I was walking, an old man who was helping at one of the water stations put a sponge on my head and then brought it down along my spinal column. Such relief! He didn’t say a word. He just moved the sponge from my head down my spine. He knew how much we were suffering. Everybody looked so pitiful.
RB 698. 24 January 1983↩
The future of the marathon42Often people say they will never run a marathon again. During or after the race they say that this is their last marathon. Then after four days they start thinking about their next marathon.
In ten or twenty years, people will regard the marathon the way we regard a ten-mile race today. People will consider forty miles or seventy miles or a hundred miles as long distance. Long distances will be as popular as the marathon is today. People will pay more attention to fifty-milers and hundred-milers.
Now people are doing so well in the marathon. In four or five years the best runners will run the marathon in under two hours. In twenty or thirty years people will run at a five-minute pace for fifty or a hundred miles. The children of people who are running the marathon now will run at the present marathon pace for thirty or forty miles, and then even farther. They will have such stamina. Sports are like that. Roger Bannister’s four-minute-mile record lasted for years. Then the hundred-metre record stayed for years. Jesse Owens’ long-jump record stayed for twenty years before it was broken by Bob Beamon. But ultimately all records are broken.
RB 699. 24 January 1983↩
Two jokers43The morning after the marathon, I ran seven miles. That shows what kind of marathon I ran! I hardly had to walk forty metres. There was no humidity, and I didn’t even have to drink. During the marathon sometimes I drank every eight hundred metres!
After five and a half miles I started walking. At that time a man ran by me and said to me, “No walking, no walking!”
Then I started running again, and after half a mile, I saw the same gentleman, walking. I said to him, “It is not good to walk.”
He said to me, “But while I was running, I was running faster than you are running!”
So we were two jokers.
RB 700. 24 January 1983↩
Visit from a soul44While I was in Florida for the marathon, I went into a bookstore with Savyasachi. When I opened up a sports book, what did I see? The face of the little girl who lives next door to me in New York. Her soul appeared right in front of the page, looking at me. I said, “What is she doing here?”
Then when I came back to New York, as we were driving up to my house, she came out of her house and stood looking at me, not saying anything.
In Florida her soul came for my blessings, although outwardly I never talk to her.
RB 701. 24 January 1983↩
Let it be known!45Today, Databir ran with me for three miles. He had no trouble keeping up with me while we were running. But the fourth mile we race-walked, and let it be known that then he had trouble.
RB 702. 27 January 1983↩
The police search46This morning I was running on Hillside Avenue at about ten o’clock. Just before I reached Parsons Boulevard, I saw several policemen with guns and walkie-talkies. Somebody had told them that a man on the street had a gun. For one man who was reported seen near that place, how many policemen were there!
As soon as I ran by, a black man who was smoking said to me, “Shrai, Shrai, you are here? You invited me to come to a concert of yours, but I could not come. Can I have an interview with you?” He even wanted to shake hands with me. Four or five Puerto Rican children nearby started saying, “Sri, Sri.” Then one of the policemen looked at me and gave me a big smile.
RB 703. 31 January 1983↩
Singing my songs47During my solo marathon in Flushing Meadow Park, each hundred metres I would hear a different one of my songs.
At one point Robin was singing, I am a member of the New York Road Runners Club. Fred Lebow’s name was there in the song.
Sometimes the Canadians were singing my songs in French. At one point they were singing O Good Canada’s Oneness-Heart. Then my America songs I heard. One group was singing songs from Transcendence-Perfection. One group only sang Phule phule. It went on and on. Their repertoire was very limited.
Some groups had songbooks and were singing the old songs that we never sing nowadays. O God, some songs I knew were mine, but they were so unfamiliar to me. Some of them were songs I had composed eight or ten years ago for the first group of non-singers, Eternity’s Patience-Pride. I wrote those songs for the absolute beginners. The people singing them as I ran had not even been my disciples at that time. They were singing songs like Milbena bhai milbena. When I heard that song, I couldn’t believe that someone was singing it after so many years.
RB 704. 31 January 1983↩
The running Master48People who don’t run marathons feel sad that they don’t run them, and people who run marathons feel sad that they do run them. So many problems human beings have! Why do they have to create additional problems by entering into the world of marathoning? By running a marathon has anybody realised God? I don’t think any spiritual Master other than me has ever run a marathon. Perhaps they were wise people. Perhaps it is because I am not wise that I run marathons.
RB 705. 31 January 1983↩
Mutual appreciation49Carla is going to run tomorrow’s Inspiration Marathon. Several years ago she finished last in the New York Marathon, but now she has improved her time by over two hours. With utmost sincerity we appreciate her present speed. She should also try to appreciate the patience we had in the past while we waited for her to finish.
RB 706. 5 February 1983↩
Praying for speed50Many, many years ago, before my disciples were even born, I gave up praying and started meditating. Once you enter meditation, you don’t get joy from praying any more. But now I shall have to start praying again. I have to pray to God for speed and stamina and also not to get cramps in tomorrow’s marathon.
RB 707. 5 February 1983↩
A tremendous success51I was very happy with this year’s Inspiration Marathon. I am very grateful to Bipin and Pulin, to all those who helped them and also to those who ran. To me it was a tremendous success, plus improvement. Improvement is what we need. I am very proud of my disciples’ excellent performance!
RB 708. 6 February 1983↩
Do you want to get run over?52One morning when I was running in Fort Lauderdale, Savyasachi was following me. Since he was following right behind me in the car, I was running practically in the middle of the street. I wanted to run seven miles.
After four and a half miles, a young man saw me. He looked as if he hadn’t gone to sleep the night before, and he had a bottle in his hand. He said, “Hey! Do you want to get run over? Why are you running in the middle of the street?” He didn’t know it was Savyasachi’s car following me.
RB 709. 12 February 1983↩
Olympic runner53While I was running my solo marathon in Long Island this morning, so many times I had to run over bridges. Each bridge meant a very bad hill.
At one point Niriha and Chetana told a man that they were videotaping a famous marathoner. The man asked if I was in the Olympics. Indeed, I can go to the Olympics. I can be a spectator.
RB 709. 20 February 1983↩
The disciples' aspiration54During my marathon in Long Island the Canadian boys were inspired to sing O Good Canada’s Oneness-Heart so many times! Chandika’s group was the best. Then came the Canadian boys and then Viresh’s group and Hladini’s group.
I may be the world’s most absolutely useless runner, but God is so kind to me. He has given me the world’s most encouraging disciples. They have such enthusiasm, inspiration and aspiration! It was all their aspiration that was carrying me from the first to the last mile.
My road crew plus the singers and others who helped me in various capacities in today’s marathon did me a very signal service. They were not my helpers; they were my saviours. I don’t have enough gratitude to offer them, but my Beloved Supreme will definitely, definitely give them something very special in the inner world.
How hard it is to remain outside for five and a half hours cheerfully, soulfully, unreservedly and even unconditionally — helping me in my own way!
As I said before, my Beloved Supreme, my Inner Pilot, will definitely give them something very special in the inner world. My marathon assistants kept me alive.
RB 710. 20 February 1983↩
Editor's preface to the first editionSri Chinmoy’s interest in running dates back to his youth. At the ashram, or spiritual community, where he lived from the ages of 12 to 32, he was the top-ranked sprinter and, for two consecutive years, decathlon champion. It wasn’t until the fall of 1978, however, that he first became interested in long-distance running. Since then, he has pursued the sport with the same one-pointed intensity that he has brought to his various literary, artistic and musical pursuits. For Sri Chinmoy, running — like writing, painting and composing — is nothing but an expression of his inner cry for ever-greater perfection: perfection in the inner world and perfection in the outer world. “Our goal is always to go beyond, beyond, beyond,” he says. “There are no limits to our capacity, because we have the infinite Divine within us, and the Supreme is always transcending His own Reality.”
Sri Chinmoy regards running as a perfect spiritual metaphor. “Try to be a runner and go beyond all that is bothering you and standing in your way,” he tells his students. “Be a real runner so that ignorance, limitations and imperfections will all drop far behind you in the race.” In this spirit he has inspired countless individuals to “run” — both literally and figuratively.
“Who is the winner?” he writes in one of his aphorisms. “Not he who wins the race, but he who loves to run sleeplessly and breathlessly with God the Supreme Runner.” As a fully God-realised spiritual Master, Sri Chinmoy has consecrated his life to this divinely soulful and supremely fruitful task. At the same time, on an entirely different level, he has made some significant contributions to the sport of running. He was the inspiration behind several long-distance relays, including a recent 300-mile run in Connecticut and the 9,000-mile Liberty-Torch run through all the states held during the 1976 Bicentennial. He has composed several running songs, which his students have performed at a number of races. His students have sponsored Sri Chinmoy Runs throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia as an offering to the running community. Moreover, Sri Chinmoy has encouraged his followers around the world to take up running as a means of overcoming lethargy and increasing their spiritual aspiration on the physical plane. Two hundred of his disciples, for example — most of whom were novice runners — completed last years’s New York City Marathon.
In the year he has been running, Sri Chinmoy himself has completed seven marathons. He averages about seventy to ninety miles a week, with most of his running done late at night or in the early hours of the morning. During his runs he has been chased by dogs, accosted by hooligans, greeted by admirers and cheered on by children. Sometimes he has had significant inner experiences; other times he has suffered deplorable outer experiences. As a spiritual Master of the highest order, Sri Chinmoy views these experiences — both the divine ones and the undivine ones — with a unique perspective. The running world is nothing but the human world in microcosm, and Sri Chinmoy’s reminiscences stand as a remarkable commentary on the whimsical, poignant, funny, outrageous and, above all, supremely significant experience we call life.