Run and become, become and run, part 5

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Good man, bad man1

What an experience I had in Hawaii with a good man and with a bad man! I will start with the bad man. I had been running every day — three times a day. Of course, my running is really jogging, but there were people there who were worse than I am. I was so happy, so delighted that there were worse runners: their legs were crooked, their muscles were no good. I enjoyed watching them. I wanted to take movies of them so that I would be able to watch them at home and amuse myself.

So I went to a camera store while Savyasachi went into another store. When I talked to the owner, he was so nasty — very bad! O God, I really wanted to say something. How could someone be so mean? He must have been taught by God or the devil. Finally he started writing out the bill. Usually, in a restaurant or store, people get nice at the end. Even if they have been nasty to the customers, they get nice when it is time to get paid. But this man was nasty to the end. When I was about to give him the money, still he was showing such an unkind face. So I said, “You are such a hopeless fellow,” and I didn’t take the camera. I didn’t even feel sorry for him. I just left, without waiting to hear what the man had to say.

There were no other camera stores in that particular mall, so Savyasachi took me to a different place to find another camera shop. Here we had just the opposite experience. The man in the camera shop was so kind — explaining everything on his own. Such a nice man! I decided I would definitely buy something there. And his prices were much cheaper. Then he gave me the bill, and I saw that he had charged me eleven dollars too much. He was not trying to deceive me; he just made a mistake.

Since he was such a nice man, I wanted to give him the extra eleven dollars without saying anything. O God, when he went to the cash register, he found the mistake. He said, “Please excuse me. I have charged you eleven dollars too much.” Then he came over to me and gave me back the eleven dollars. So, if a store owner or anyone is kind and nice, people will want to buy things or give things to him. Just before, in the other camera store, I left without giving any money because the man was so nasty.

Bad luck! The day I wanted to take pictures, my friends were not available. Very few crooked legs I saw. But in general, people usually have very peculiar styles. Out of sixty or seventy runners that I see in a day, only four or five will have a good style. The rest will be all bad, all bad!

RB 236. 11 November 1980

A trip in the sauna2

I was running this afternoon near the tennis court where Malati teaches. I went there while having my sauna in Vinaya’s car. Vinaya takes me here, there and everywhere with the heat turned up to about a hundred and twenty degrees, and it is so hot! We happened to be near Malati’s court when I got out of Vinaya’s sauna-car and started running. I didn’t see Malati, though.

RB 237. — 22 January 1981

Running perils3

Today I rode in Vinaya’s sauna-car for about an hour and a half. Chetana also came with us. When I finally got out of the car to run, some dogs came and frightened me, so Chetana got out to frighten the dogs. She was shouting at the dogs, “Get away!”

Not only dogs, but also children were so bad today, throwing snowballs at me! One snowball just missed my head and fell on my hand instead.

RB 238. 24 January 1981

Early morning drivers4

When I am running early in the morning, I can’t believe the way some people drive. Sometimes they even go up on the sidewalk, and you have to run almost into someone’s house to avoid them!

RB 239. 30 January 1981

Apartments for rent5

The other day at about five in the morning I was running near Flushing Meadow Park. A man stopped his car to ask me if there were any apartments available near there. What do I know about apartments? I said, “I don’t live around here.” He said, “Damn you!” No “Thank you!” or anything. He was so mad at me — absolutely furious. What was he doing at five in the morning looking for an apartment?

RB 240. 30 January 1981

The defeated runner6

I told my sister over the phone that all the girl disciples had defeated me in the Inspiration Marathon. She laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I told my brother the same thing. They both enjoyed my story. They were asking, “Do they know how old you are?”

RB 241. 5 February 1981

Shoes can't run7

I am not a good runner, but I have a very good selection of shoes. Unfortunately, the shoes can’t run for me!

RB 242. 5 February 1981

A morning walk8

What kind of humiliation you go through when you see movies of yourself running! The movie of the Inspiration Marathon shows that at one point while I was running, twenty metres behind me some girl runners were enjoying a morning walk. Yet they were keeping up with me. If they had started running, they would have gone ahead of me. If I had realised they were walking behind me, I would have turned around and barked at them to go ahead of me.

RB 243. 5 February 1981

Running like thieves9

Yesterday morning Lucy the Great, Nilima the Great and I the Great ran eight miles. Savita and Pranika happened to see us and ran behind us secretly. When we turned around to come back after four miles, they hid in the bushes until we passed. Then they came out and ran behind us like thieves. None of us saw them; only later they told us about it.

RB 244. 1 March 1981

Such sympathy10

During the Prevention Marathon I did a thirteen-mile training run. After four or five miles a young boy of seven or eight gave me water. He asked, “Sir, will you be able to make it?” Such sympathy he was showing me after four or five miles!

RB 245. 1 March 1981

Shray Chumchum11

At another point during my thirteen-mile run one man said, “Shray Chumchum!” as I ran by.

RB 246. 1 March 1981


At about seven and a half miles into my run one lady shouted, “You will be able to make it! You will be able to make it!”

RB 247. 1 March 1981

The fidgety number13

My number was jumping up to my chin. Finally I said, “I have enough problems,” and I gave it to Jahnabi, who was standing on the side of the course, cheering on the runners.

RB 248. 1 March 1981

The irate man14

At about eight and a half miles one man was insulting Bhashwar and Guy like anything because they had stopped their car at the end of his driveway so that Bhashwar could take pictures. Fortunately, Guy does not understand English. Sometimes it is better not to understand English.

RB 249. 1 March 1981

The funeral song15

At one point, when some of you were singing running songs to encourage the runners, you were singing so slowly that it sounded like a funeral song. One man asked, “Is that our funeral dirge that is playing?”

I said to myself, “That is what I always say about my disciples’ singing when they sing too slowly.”

I felt sorry that I could not acknowledge you people when you were singing and encouraging me, but I was dying. Sometimes I couldn’t even see your faces.

RB 250. 1 March 1981

God wants us to surrender16

The Prevention Marathon course was very difficult. Some of the hills were 800 metres long. What can you do? You surrender. God wants us to surrender in every way. Just philosophising won’t do. Surrender has to be practised.

RB 251. 1 March 1981

Running friends17

A husband and wife were running together for several miles. Then the wife got permission from the husband to go ahead. I ran with her for a mile and a half. Then I surrendered, and she went ahead of me.

When I went back to watch some of the disciples finish the marathon, I didn’t see any of my running friends that I had met during my thirteen-mile training run.

RB 252. 1 March 1981

Running in the other world18

At one point I saw Bill Flowers running. We were waving at him, but he was in the other world, running with his eyes closed. He was using his third eye to see where he was going.

RB 253. 1 March 1981

Our Indian Pope19

This morning when I was running, I passed three black boys going to school. The tallest was telling the younger ones: “Our Indian Pope is running around the block.”

I said, “Thank you, thank you!”

I am also known for my monkeys. Three or four times I have heard school children talking about them. The children stand in the street and watch them on my porch.

RB 254. 2 March 1981

Lost time20

Databir always loses so much time whenever he sees me during a race. He is usually so far ahead of me that he turns around to come back before I do. Then when he sees me coming from the other direction, he comes to talk to me and encourage me. In this way he loses precious minutes from his own marathon time.

RB 255. 3 March 1981

Meeting up with Joe Henderson21

Before the start of the Chico Marathon I was talking with Joe Henderson, the running author. When they called for the runners who were going to run thirteen miles, he ran to the starting line. He told our boys that he would come and greet me when I finished 26.2 miles.

RB 256. 8 March 1981

The mayonnaise cup22

At the one-mile point in the Chico Marathon I heard the time: 7:46. I said to myself, “It’s too fast.” Then it went on, went on. At every mile when I heard my time, I felt it was too fast.

I had told Sharon and Una to give me water and ERG every second mile, but twice it happened that I didn’t get it from them. At the two-mile mark the cup was very small. It was like the cups with mayonnaise or something that they give in restaurants. Instead of entering into my mouth, the water entered into my nose.

At the fourth mile Sharon didn’t come at all. Finally she came at four and a half miles to give me a tiny cup of water, but it didn’t quench my thirst. At the fifth mile I began screaming that I was dying of thirst. Then they brought the thermos cup, which is bigger. So I was satisfied. From then on I was drinking like anything, but for the first five or six miles I was quite thirsty.

ERG powder I took many times. It helped, but the best was water. As soon as I drank water, I got energy. Before the race I didn’t have to drink tea or coffee; water was enough.

RB 257. 8 March 1981

Guru, you are doing well23

Around six miles somebody far behind me shouted: “Guru, you are doing well, quite well.”

Now, I had requested the disciples not to run this particular marathon since I was running, so I was wondering who this could be. Finally I saw that it was somebody who had “Reno” written on his T-shirt. His wife is our disciple, and he has been planning for the last three years to become a disciple. Still he is in the planning stage. He is a lawyer.

Another gentleman runner recognised me and said I was doing extremely well. He also called me “Guru.”

RB 258. 8 March 1981

The hand-shaker24

At the seven-mile mark a young man came up to me and grabbed my hands, saying, “My name is Mike. You don’t know me, but I know you.”

He wanted to shake hands.

RB 259. 8 March 1981

Your races are terrific25

Just before thirteen miles an old man was running faster than me. Whether he was encouraging me or discouraging me, God alone knows. Then he recognised me and said: “Sri Chinmoy, all your races are terrific. I am going to run your marathon in Davis, California, next month.”

RB 260. 8 March 1981

Longing for a half-marathon26

After thirteen miles those who were only running a half-marathon were finishing, but the rest had to go two more rounds. At that time my entire being was longing for a half-marathon.

RB 261. 8 March 1981

It is good to be beside you27

Later, there were two or three runners who recognised me and started encouraging me to run faster. Saumitra was taking movies. One of them wanted to be with me in the picture, so he slowed down. He said, “You are a great man. It is good to be beside you.” Saumitra took our picture.

RB 262. 8 March 1981

A chat with Jay Helgerson28

Around fourteen, fifteen or sixteen miles, a young man was running ahead of me. All of a sudden he turned around and asked, “Do you recognise me? Last year I was at your place.”

Immediately I recognised him. It was the great runner Jay Helgerson, who ran a marathon every week for one year in 1979. He was on his last loop, but he stopped to chat with me. At first he didn’t smile, but then he started smiling at me.

RB 263. 8 March 1981

An encounter with Joan Ullyot29

A few minutes after I saw Jay Helgerson, Joan Ullyot passed me. She said, “Keep on going.”

Then she turned around just for a fleeting second, and Una and Sharon recognised her. She is the famous running doctor from California, an excellent runner.

RB 264. 8 March 1981

My friends, cramps30

At around seventeen miles my friends, cramps, came. At the end of seventeen miles my left calf cramped up. Then later my right leg cramped, and then again my left. At least two or three times every mile Nirvik had to massage me. So what kind of time could I expect? Nirvik and Doug were behind me on bicycles. I would run a few hundred metres, and then Nirvik would massage me. When I ran, it was a nine-minute pace, but I would lose three or four minutes each mile when he massaged me.

A little boy ten or eleven years old also had cramp problems. His hamstrings were bothering him. He felt miserable. He finally said to me, “How I wish somebody could massage me.”

Then he and I became good friends. When I ran, he walked. When he ran, I walked. When I was getting massaged, at that time he would run two or three hundred metres ahead of me. Then he would stop and walk. In this way we were together until twenty-three miles. Then my dying spirit got new inspiration and the poor boy fell behind. I didn’t see him anymore.

RB 265. 8 March 1981

The steep hill31

The course was excellent, and the weather was really ideal. Only in two or three places they hadn’t swept the course and there were big stones and pebbles. And there was one extremely steep hill, three or four metres long. It was so difficult after the third loop to go down it.

On the third loop Garima was running ahead of me to inspire me. When she ran down that very steep, short hill, I said, “How am I going to make it?” I didn’t dare to even walk down it, it was so steep. But that was the course. In at least four places it could have been a little more flat.

RB 266. 8 March 1981

The soul returns home32

Altogether there were four loops. It seemed that every time I came near the finish line, they played my flute music over the loudspeaker. When I was finishing, at least three hundred metres before I crossed the finish line, they were playing “Phire Chalo.” It was absolutely the correct song to play: the soul was going back to its heavenly home. The last three hundred metres I ran hearing only my “Phire Chalo” on the flute.

RB 267. 8 March 1981

Nice of you to run33

The race directors were very nice people. After I finished, one of the officials came up to me and said, “It was very nice of you to run.”

RB 268. 8 March 1981

Mutual faith34

I have the same fate as my disciples. Once my disciples descend in their aspiration, they find it very difficult to ascend. Similarly, since I have descended in my running, I haven’t been able to ascend again. Still I am staying at the foot of the tree.

As I have not given up hope that any disciples who have descended will once again go up in their spiritual life, my disciples should not give up faith that I will again go up in my running. There has to be mutual faith.

RB 269. 8 March 1981

A race for the military35

In California we held a race especially for the military. Unfortunately, they heard about it only at the eleventh hour, so there were hardly ten runners. Our runners joined them.

The race began at seven o’clock in the morning. Around five-thirty I got inspiration to compose a song on the military. I didn’t know that there were women in the military. Later I saw that four or five women soldiers were there.

One of the high-ranking officers came over to me and said, “This time we have very few people, but next time it won’t be like this. We deeply admire your races.” He took off his jacket and showed me one of our T-shirts. He said, “I run all of your races.”

RB 270. 8 March 1981

Restaurant experiences36

The first night in Fort Lauderdale I went out to run around ten o’clock. After I had run about two and a half miles, I became quite hungry. I had some money, so I went into a restaurant. But they said to me, “No, you can’t eat here. You are not properly dressed.” I was wearing tennis shorts which came right to my knees. They were quite modest — not the thin, Bill Rodgers running shorts.

So I left and went to another place. There was a guard sitting at the door. He said to me, “Do you want to eat?”

I said, “Yes, I am very hungry.”

He said, “You can go inside and eat.”

I went in, but here also, one of the waiters saw how I was dressed and said to me, “This is not the place for you. Here you can’t eat.” They also asked me to leave.

There was a place beside the main restaurant, like an adjacent dining hall. Nobody was there. I asked, “Can I not eat there?”

They said, “No, you are not properly dressed. You have no tie, no suit, nothing.”

Two places had thrown me out. Now it was like a challenge to find a restaurant. Otherwise, I wouldn’t care. But since I live in America, American blood has entered into me, and Americans love challenges. So I was running and running. Finally, around eleven o’clock, I came to an Italian restaurant. I saw a menu on the window, and I was reading it with the hope that I would be able to go inside. Somebody came out and looked at me. I said to that person, “I want to speak to the manager.”

The man said, “I'm the manager.”

I asked, “Can I go inside and eat?”

The manager asked, “What is wrong with you? You have no money?”

I said, “I have money, but I am not properly dressed.”

So I went inside. Except for one table, all the tables were occupied. I ordered eggplant, as usual. Beside me there was a group of people at a big table: an airline pilot and his wife, the co-pilot and his wife and their parents. The wives were sitting on the right side of the husbands and next to them were the parents. It was one of the fathers’ birthday and they were all very happy. They had ordered a cake, which one of the waiters brought, and they were about to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Quite unexpectedly, a middle-aged couple came over to them. The couple had been sitting at another table. The co-pilot stood up and shook hands with the man and kissed the woman. O God, the co-pilot’s wife became furious. She stood up and walked out of the restaurant. Her husband’s father and some others went to bring her back. At the table, some were laughing, some were serious, some were shocked. Even people from other tables came over to see what the commotion was. But the co-pilot just said, “Let us sing ‘Happy Birthday’.”

My bill was for seven dollars and something. So I put a ten-dollar bill on the table and left. I was not enjoying my eggplant. “Next,” I thought, “will come a fight. Before bottles fly in the air — bottle-bullets — let me leave this place.”

RB 271. 21 March 1981

The police chase37

It was around midnight and I was going back home. There were some grocery stores that were open twenty-four hours, so I went into one and bought a Tab, some fruit and juice — no candy at that hour. Two or three other people were also inside the store.

A middle-aged lady was behind the counter. Each time a person wanted to come in, she would open the door from the inside and then bolt it again. She was very nice.

O God, suddenly three young men tried to open the door forcefully, but the lady would not let them in. The three young men were being chased by the police. While the other two were still banging on the door, trying to escape, one fellow hid under a car. There were three or four cars in front of the grocery store. The police were having such trouble getting this man, because they were too fat to get under the car. They were screaming at the fellow, but he continued to stay under the car. The other two had already been arrested, and they were laughing at the police. I said, “O God, O God, I don’t want to know the remainder of this story.” So I bought four or five dollars’ worth of things and I left.

RB 272. 21 March 1981

Looking for Sally38

I was coming back home around twelve-thirty. About three hundred metres from my apartment was a small hospital, with windows facing the street. One fellow was standing on the street drinking and calling for his girl-friend: “Sally! Open the window. I want to see you. I have not seen you for a long time.” He was screaming up to the second or third floor for the patient, Sally, to open the window and talk to him.

But she was not opening the window. Another man from upstairs started screaming at the drunk fellow: “What are you doing at this hour?” He used all American slang, screaming at him from the third floor.

RB 273. 21 March 1981

A young running companion39

Another time in Fort Lauderdale I was out running. A beautiful six or seven-year-old child, wearing a necklace, came up to me and asked, “Master, can I run with you?”

I said, “Why not?”

I had been running at an eight or eight and a half minute pace. Now, very slowly I ran with her. We covered three blocks, and then she stopped near her house. She came from a respectable family. She was so happy and proud that I ran with her. She thanked me and gave me a broad smile.

RB 274. 21 March 1981

Mister, will you help me?40

Two days later, a little child, even younger than the other little girl, was on her way to school when I ran by quite fast. All of a sudden she said, “Mister!” There were no cars, but she wanted me to help her cross the street. So very slowly I walked across the street with her. I didn’t even need to hold her hand, because there was no traffic. As soon as we had crossed the street, she thanked me and entered into a little school.

RB 275. 21 March 1981

Lost and found41

Another day I went out to run for two hours. After I ran for about an hour and forty minutes, I got totally lost. It was raining. I said, “O God, where do I go? I don’t have any money.” Luckily, I remembered the apartment number and, with greatest difficulty, I even remembered the name of the street — Las Olas. I said, “This is the time for me to look for a taxi.”

I asked a lady where Las Olas Street was. I had to listen for at least five minutes while she explained which road to take and where I should turn. I didn’t understand her in spite of her five-minute explanation. I said, “All right, let me take this street.”

Then whom did I see running down the street? Savyasachi! I said, “How can it be?” I had run six or seven miles. He was staying only one mile away from where I had stopped running. He had just gone out for a short run, and he got great joy when he saw me. Then we ran together.

When I play tennis with Savyasachi, his standard always makes me laugh — not only inwardly but also outwardly. But when he runs with me, I feel that inwardly he is laughing at my standard.

RB 276. 21 March 1981

The braggart42

As I was running the next day, a young man went ahead of me. Four men saw him run past. They said to me, “He is bragging. Don’t pay any attention.” The runner went four or five hundred metres ahead, while I continued slowly running. Then he stopped and began to walk. His bragging was over. I passed him. When I was returning from my run, he was still walking.

RB 277. 21 March 1981

Competition-blood will never leave me43

Another day I saw an old man running. I said, “If my speed has really increased, I will be able to pass him.” I came nearer, only to discover that the runner was a lady. I said, “Let me run according to my speed.” After two hundred metres, I turned around. O God, she was so far behind! I tell the disciples to have no competitive feeling, to compete only with themselves. Here I was competing with an old lady! Competition-blood will never leave me.

RB 278. 21 March 1981

Dog problems44

While running in Fort Lauderdale, as usual, I had dog problems. A dog started barking at me and didn’t allow me to go by. When I returned home, I told Alo about the dog.

The following day she went to look for it, so that she could insult the owner. As it turned out, she found a different dog, so everything went peacefully.

RB 279. 21 March 1981

The lost running companion45

Another day I was running about seven miles. At one point I was about to make a right turn, but something within told me to make a left turn. Alo was there looking for me!

Another day I was running and she was following me. I would go ahead two hundred metres and then come back, go ahead and come back. Once, after running two hundred metres and coming back, she was not there. I said, “Where can she be?” But she was not to be found.

What happened was that she had gone across the street to look at a clothing store. I didn’t see her standing across the street, so I kept going up and down the block — three or four times.

When I came back home, she was there, worrying about what had happened to me. She had gone out two times to look for me. But she didn’t find me because she just went in front of the building, and I was somewhere else.

RB 280. 21 March 1981

Psychological competition46

In the beginning of the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I was competing with three old ladies. At two miles one surrendered and the other two were still running with me. I saw how hard they were breathing, how much noise they were making through their mouths. So I didn’t make any noise, even though I was tired. Psychologically, they felt that they were more tired than I was. But they didn’t know what was going on inside me — how tired I was. Then, at five miles, I went ahead of them.

RB 281. 22 March 1981

Competition without animosity47

The kind of competition that I tell about in my running stories is not serious; there is no animosity in it. For example, there was one girl with whom I was having this kind of joking competition during the half-marathon, and at around nine miles she was four or five metres ahead of me. At one point she started going straight ahead, following Ashrita and somebody else on the road crew who were running back to the car. She didn’t see the long white mark on the road indicating the correct course. I screamed at her to make a left turn. So she came back to the course and was very happy that I had told her. Otherwise, she would have gone another two hundred metres out of her way. If I had really been competing with her, I would have kept silent and just tried to go as far ahead of her as possible.

RB 282. 22 March 1981

The road crew48

I was running on the right side of the street all the time and my road crew was also stationed on the right side. At the second mile mark I was shouting at my road crew that I was coming, but Sudhir was not seeing me. Peter and Databir were looking right at me. I even passed by them, but still they didn’t see me.

After I had crossed the ten-mile mark and had run hardly three hundred metres, Databir was saying, “Almost eleven miles!” It was false encouragement.

RB 283. 22 March 1981

Canada bows to India49

During the Brooklyn Half-Marathon one Canadian boy, a new Quebec disciple, ran with me. Then after five miles he slowed down.

RB 284. 22 March 1981

The fun run50

Around me, people who were running were enjoying the half-marathon like anything. They would go over to shake hands with people standing on the sidewalk. Or if their parents had come to watch, children would say hello to their parents as they ran by. One girl shouted, “I am running thirteen miles, Mom, Dad! What are you going to give me to eat, Mom?” The mother was telling the daughter what she was going to make for her to eat, and the father was begging her to run faster.

So many people were talking as they ran. Somebody said that once he had run five miles in Central Park and afterwards he lay down and wouldn’t get up. His girl-friend said, “Yes, it took you five hours to get up.”

There were young people who started walking; they didn’t run all the way. After seven miles, during each and every mile I walked for several metres. I could have managed without walking, but walking was a great relief.

RB 285. 22 March 1981

Don't lose to the girls!51

One black policeman was encouraging me like anything, telling me, “Don’t lose to all the girls!”

RB 286. 22 March 1981

False illusion52

While running, when I look at others who are ahead of me, it doesn’t seem that their legs are going faster than mine. I am not at all impressed with their speed. Their leg speed seems absolutely slow. I feel that my legs are going faster, yet they are ahead of me. I have created an absolutely false illusion. Because I am making noise with my breathing, I make myself believe that I am going faster.

RB 287. 22 March 1981

Downhill troubles53

Towards the end of the race I saw a man who was having trouble going downhill. When he was running uphill, he was doing well, but while going downhill he was absolutely in trouble. This meant that he was using all his energy going uphill.

RB 288. 22 March 1981

Last-minute victory54

During the last mile and a half a very tall man was competing with me — running about a metre away from me. When we neared thirteen miles, I said, “All right, let him go ahead,” and I started walking. The man was so happy that I had started walking, and he went thirty or forty metres ahead of me.

Then Databir, Gayatri and a few others started screaming and cheering, and I got such joy. I said, “Now is the time for me to go ahead of him.” I got inspiration to run fast and I defeated him by six or eight metres.

RB 289. 22 March 1981

The announcer-friend55

The announcer at the finish line was one of the officials of the New York Road Runners Club who likes me so much. He always comes and shakes hands with me. When I was two hundred metres from the finish line, he announced over the loudspeaker, “Sri Chinmoy is coming.”

RB 290. 22 March 1981