Run and become, become and run, part 6

Return to the table of contents

Sri Chinmoy Lauf1

When I was in Switzerland in June 1980, the Olympic gold medalist Emil Zatopek and his wife came to visit us.

On the second day of his visit we had a Sri Chinmoy Run. The disciples had found a very beautiful course around a lake with two or three small loops and one big loop. Zatopek was supposed to start the race. He was so enthusiastic, as if he were running himself. He called out, “Where is the gun?” He was screaming, “No gun? No gun?”

We said, “We don’t use a gun.”

Then his wife said, “You don’t need a gun.”

When his wife said that, Zatopek said, “All right, I will clap.”

The race was to start on a small bridge. There were a little over two hundred people on the bridge. They were standing under a big banner saying “Sri Chinmoy Lauf.” “Lauf” means race. Zatopek was standing on one side. He started the race by saying something in German, ending with a final clap. When he clapped, everybody clapped, and the race started.

All the London disciples — even elderly women — were running. Our very good runners were also there. Among the disciples, Sundar came in first and then Janaka. But they were defeated by local Swiss boys. I was not feeling well and was running last, behind everybody.

When I ran along the small loops, Zatopek was so excited. He was clapping like anything. His wife stood up also and was clapping and clapping, although I was running behind everybody.

Some of the girls who are useless runners kept taking short cuts at the places where the monitors where directing them around the loops. I told them later that they were all rogues. If they were supposed to run around someone who was standing in one place, instead they cut across. They saved fifty or seventy metres on four occasions. I was so disgusted. On one loop, at least two hundred metres they didn’t run. They took a short cut. What were they doing? Just because they were third class runners, they felt nobody would pay any attention.

When it was over, Zatopek gave the prizes. I was so embarrassed. The first, second and third prize trophies were of the same size, with the same figure. Only it was mentioned on the trophy, “first” or “second” or “third.” I said, “How can it be?”

John announced the winner’s name and handed the trophy to Zatopek, who handed it to the person. To each person who came up for a trophy, Zatopek had something encouraging to say. He was very, very nice. There were also health food prizes — honey and other things — for the winners. Zatopek was so happy to see that we had health food for the winners. After he gave each person his trophy, he pointed to the health food so happily and said, “Take this. You select.”

I thanked both Zatopek and his wife, and Zatopek spoke, appreciating us. Then he came up to me and grabbed my hand and said, “Our Guru, this is the best.” That was his comment. The race and the atmosphere — everything — pleased him, so he said, “Our Guru, this is the best.”

The Mayor of Zurich, who comes from Canada, sent his assistant to honour me. He came with a proclamation and he spoke so highly of me for about seven or eight minutes. All of a sudden, his wife, who was very tall — much taller than her husband — came and gave me a huge bouquet. She was smiling at me. The husband said, “She wants to offer you this bouquet.” So I took it and I thanked her.

RB 291. 20 June 1980

The rainy race2

At the Pan American Masters Games in September 1980 I was supposed to join in the 100-metre dash. Just before the race, it started raining. Many others didn’t run because of the rain, but I wanted to show off. At the race they had starting blocks. During my 20 years of competing in India, I had never used starting blocks. I lost my balance at the start and I was last. God wanted me to have this experience.

Once upon a time I was first — for 16 years. But here, there was at least a 50-metre gap between the first runner and me. The audience was enjoying the fact that there was such a gap between us.

On the board it was mentioned, “Sri Chinmoy, Puerto Rico.” The Puerto Rican disciples were so delighted. I had said that I was not going to run the 400-metre dash, but they didn’t listen. My name still appeared on the board: “Sri Chinmoy, Puerto Rico.”

RB 292. September 1980

Old friends3

After the race, a thin, tall black man came up to me and said, “Guru, don’t you remember me? The other day I ran 800 metres with you.”

Then I recognised him. He was in the Randall’s Island race in New York City. I had told Danny to videotape him. I said, “Yes, you ran extremely well. I was far, far behind.” He is national champion in his age category. He was so happy to see me. He couldn’t believe that I was in Puerto Rico. At Randall’s island he ran a 2:10 and my timing was three minutes. But in India in the 800 metres I had stood first.

In half an hour again he came up to me just to chat. In the Pan American Games he defeated everyone in the 800, but in the 100 he didn’t get a place. So, he said nice things and I said nice things.

RB 293. September 1980

A Puerto Rican runner4

On the plane coming back from Puerto Rico I was sitting in the first seat of the front row. One of the stewardesses said, “Please let me take the bag that is in front of you until the plane is in the air. Then I will bring it back.”

So I gave it to her. Then there was an announcement that the plane would be delayed for twenty minutes. When I went to the stewardess to get some books out of the bag, a tall man came and stood in front of me and said, “Master, Master, why didn’t you run yesterday in the half-marathon?”

I said, “I couldn’t do the 400-metre dash. How could I have done the half-marathon?”

He said, “Your races are so good because they are held early in the morning. I always enter your races. Early in the morning I run.”

There the half-marathon was held at three-thirty in the afternoon, so he didn’t run. And he is Puerto Rican! Puerto Ricans are accustomed to that kind of heat.

So you see, if you start races early in the morning, there will be at least one person who will be happy and grateful.

He said, “Your students, your disciples, are so good.”

Another stewardess happened to be there and she said, “Because the Master is good, the disciples are good.” Then she said, “Master, I have been to your meetings quite a few times, but now it is different. At the meditations you are very distant. It is good, but you are somewhere else. Now you are talking.”

I said, “At that time I meditate.”

She said, “Yes, that’s why you are so distant.”

RB 294. September 1980

The persevering runner5

Yesterday while playing tennis I saw a woman running very slowly. I am sure she was going at a twenty-minute pace, at least. She had to lose about forty pounds, but she was going on, going on. You should have seen how slowly she was running! I was admiring her patience and perseverance.

RB 295. 26 March 1981

How can I complain to God anymore?6

This morning I was running twelve miles down Main Street to Northern Boulevard. Hundreds of people were waiting for the bus on Main Street; I could hardly run. Then I saw two lame men who were walking with canes, one after the other. I said, “God, I can’t blame You anymore. I can’t make complaints to You about my running anymore.” How could I make complaints to God when I was running so many miles and these two men were walking with canes?

RB 296. 27 March 1981

The clever runner7

Today I was playing tennis and Chetana was running at the Jamaica High School track. At times she was so clever. Whenever she came near me, she started running faster. Then, when she was on the other side of the track, she went so slowly that she looked like she was walking. I didn’t envy her speed.

RB 297. 28 March 1981

The blink of an eye8

Two days ago I saw Barada and Karabi running on the same block. When I saw them, they smiled. Then I just turned my head for a moment. When I turned back, they were seventy or eighty metres ahead of me!

RB 298. 28 March 1981

Two-mile races9

Two-mile races are my favourites because I am always able to finish them. I enjoy running a two-mile race but for a one-mile race I don’t have the speed. Out of fifty two-mile races we are having this year, at least thirty I will run.

In the last race, as I was approaching the turnaround point I saw Karabi and Cathy. They were only twenty metres ahead of me. It was tempting to try to catch them! But it’s easy to forget that you have to run another twenty metres before you even reach the turnaround!

Then I was going back on one side and Hashi was coming on the other side. My ego went so high! I also saw Nayana and a few others behind me. Then I saw Chameli very far behind. I said, “You! In the 26-mile New York Marathon, you smiled at me and after 17 miles you went ahead of me.” She was smiling in this race also.

For most of the race I was a little ahead of Gayatri. Because of my fever I never had any energy. When Gayatri went ahead of me, I didn’t have any power left. I made a sincere surrender to her.

RB 299. April 1981

Instant recognition10

Today I was watching the Seven-Mile Reversible Race in Central Park. Two middle-aged men were running. I was standing at the side watching when they passed by me. I think their timing was better than my best timing for seven miles. Suddenly, both of them turned around and said, “Sri Chinmoy!” They did not ask me, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?” No! They were saying, “Sri Chinmoy!” They were so surprised to see me. When they first passed by me, they did not recognise me. Then, after three or four steps, they turned around and greeted me.

Then a black woman came up to me and said, “Sri Chinmoy, do you have the time?” I could not tell her the time. I was wearing my yellow stopwatch which does not have the regular time. So she smiled at me.

RB 300. April 1981

An old friend11

After the race a tall, thin gentleman came up to me and said, “Do you remember me, Sri Chinmoy?”

At first I thought, “How am I going to remember who he is, even though I am looking at him?” Then I remembered that his name was John Graham. He was formerly with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. It was he who wrote a letter to the U.S. State Department arranging for my talk there last year, and I thanked him deeply.

He said, “I was glad to be of help to you.” He told me his timing for the seven-mile race. It was about an eight-minute pace. My timing is better for seven miles, but I didn’t tell him.

Before he left the U.S. Mission, I gave him an interview after one of our meetings at the United Nations. During the interview he had asked me how he could bring forward and utilise his power. So I had given him an answer and he had remembered it. He had even memorised some of my words and he quoted them to me.

After he left the U.N. he went to India to give lectures on “How to change the world.” He was at Gandhi’s ashram. For seventeen years he has been in politics. Now he has learned about spirituality and he is a real seeker. Still he is giving lectures. His theme is always “How to change the world.”

RB 301. 4 April 1981

A rare smile12

Tom Curtin did so well in the Seven-Mile Reversible Race. Out of 500 people he stood tenth, and he was sixth in his age category. He never smiles, but today he came up to me smiling and said, “Guru, I stood tenth.”

I said, “I am so proud of you.”

He said, “I am getting a trophy, but I have to wait an hour for it.”

I told him, “You should wait for it.”

RB 302. 4 April 1981

Heartbreak hill13

Tony ran twenty miles in Central Park and then he ran with me for three miles. When we came to the hill, he said, “Guru, this is ‘Heartbreak Hill.’” But he had already run twenty miles. Still, his speed was quite good. I ran five miles altogether.

RB 303. 4 April 1981

The old runner14

The day before yesterday I was running back from a four-mile run. A fat old man stopped me and said, “You are still running! You don’t want to grow old.”

I wish to say that people who aspire will never become old. They will always remain children in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme.

RB 304. 7 April 1981

Two short-striders15

I ran about nine miles of the Boston Marathon. While I was running, I saw three Japanese women runners. The two younger ones were running with the older one for a mile or so. When they went ahead of her I said, “I am the right person to run with the older lady, since her stride is shorter than the shortest.”

Our competition was going on very nicely. After two miles I left the course and about four or five minutes later I came back. I didn’t see the older Japanese lady running. I knew she had gone quite far ahead. I ran and ran very fast and finally I saw her again and started running with her. From time to time she gave me a good smile. She was very old and very short. She was the right person for me to run with! She was drinking after practically every mile, but I didn’t drink at all.

RB 305. 21 April 1981

Encouraging words16

While I was running in Boston two young men were behind me. Then they passed me and said, “Buddy, come on.”

One gentleman said to me, “Friend, my friend, don’t give up!”

At one point I was breathing heavily. A little boy came up to me with a few pieces of orange. Usually I don’t take oranges, but the little boy was so kind, so I took a piece of orange from him. Then he said, “Don’t die, don’t die!”

RB 306. 21 April 1981

The crazy girl17

After four miles I had absolutely the funniest experience. I saw a crazy girl about seventeen or eighteen years old running. She was very tall and had on a fancy dress. She came up to me and said, “I love your gloves.” After four or five steps she added, “But I love you, too.” Then she left the street and entered into the crowd and started dancing. After a while she again came back and started running. Whenever she saw elderly people she would go and shake hands with them or embrace them. She was really crazy, but she had good speed.

RB 307. 21 April 1981

The non-conformist18

Today I watched the Long Island Marathon. Many disciples were running. As soon as the marathon started, after about a quarter-mile, Gayatri came running by on the lawn. Everyone else was running on the street, but she was running on the lawn.

RB 308. 3 May 1981

The dying helper19

Nayana was helping Chetana. Chetana had already run thirteen miles before Nayana started running with her, but Nayana was dying to such an extent that she needed help herself. After eight hundred metres Chetana went ahead of Nayana. I told Nayana to try to catch up with Chetana and help her anyway. Nayana was very obedient. She ran and ran, but she could not catch up with Chetana — even near the finish line.

RB 309. 3 May 1981

The wall of China20

Snigdha said to me at seventeen miles, “I am tired!” I told her to go on. Sunanda was running so well. We saw her at five miles and also at ten miles. She was taking such long strides. Who ever thought that at twenty miles she would see the Wall of China? She lives in America, but still she had to see the Wall of China.

RB 310. 3 May 1981

A familiar old man21

At one point I saw somebody wearing one of our T-shirts. “Who is over sixty years old and running on our team?” I wondered. His whole body was twisted, and I couldn’t recognise him. Then I saw it was Udayan. It seemed he had no hair; he looked practically bald. He was thirty metres away from me, but because of his bald head and totally twisted body, I thought to myself, “How could this old man have our T-shirt on?”

RB 311. 3 May 1981

You make us stronger!22

While I was watching the race, seven or eight runners recognised me. One of them said, “Sri Chinmoy, you make us feel stronger!”

Then Gary Muhrcke, the winner of the first New York Marathon, came up to me and said, “I'm sure many people are running from your club.”

I said, “Yes, many, many.”

Then Norb Sanders came up. I didn’t recognise him; he has grown a beard now. He was asking me about my knee pain.

RB 312. 3 May 1981

Looking for the Ottawa Holiday Inn23

In Ottawa I went out to run early in the morning. I had been running for about an hour and fifteen minutes when I realised that I was lost. I asked a very nice and kind-hearted black lady where the Holiday Inn was. She said, “Oh dear, it is so far! Go straight down for at least twenty blocks and then ask people to show you where it is. You won’t be able to understand how to get there from here, so after twenty blocks you ask someone where it is.”

I ran about twenty blocks to a place that I later found out was only two or three blocks away from the hotel. Unfortunately, when I asked a young boy where the Holiday Inn was, he told me it was in exactly the opposite direction. Instead of telling me it was two blocks in one direction, he turned the other way and said, “Run that way. Go only a couple of blocks — two or three more — and then you will find it.” He even pointed the way with his finger.

I ran two or three, then six or seven blocks and still I didn’t see the hotel. Finally, I approached someone else and said, “Somebody told me that the Holiday Inn was only two blocks in this direction.”

The man said, “Not this direction. It is in the other direction. Turn around and go the other way.”

I said to myself, “Whom to believe?” The first time, when I was following the young boy’s instructions, I was having no doubts. But by this time real doubt had started. O God, what could I do? When one is a stranger, one has to believe in these people. Finally I said, “All right.” So I covered six or seven blocks in the other direction, and finally I found the Holiday Inn.

RB 313. 11 May 1981

Practising what you preach24

In Toronto there was a two-mile race. I had already run a lot early in the morning before the race, so I was very tired and exhausted. Also, I didn’t have any energy because I had not been eating solid food. But I started running anyway.

There were about twenty-five runners in the race. Four girls who were running started to pass me. I said, “I have no more strength to run. I preach all the time ‘surrender, surrender, surrender’ to my disciples. Now God wants me to practise it.” O God, one, two, three, four — the girls all went ahead of me. Then, after one mile, one by one I caught three of them. But one girl was still ahead of me. After a mile and a half, I had absolutely no energy left. I started walking very nicely and the girls whom I had passed went ahead. I said, “Oh, now I am practising and practising. Not only do I preach surrender but I practise it also.”

A young man, a new disciple who still had long hair and a moustache, came up to me near the end of the race and said, “Guru, I want to run with you because I want peace. I am getting so much peace from you.”

I thought, “Oh, he is getting peace and I am dying.”

So, near the finish line, when I started walking, he also started walking. Then about a hundred metres from the end I told him, “Now, please, you go and run. Finish it running.” So he completed the two-mile race running.

RB 314. 11 May 1981

The stranger from Texas25

In Brazil there was a seven-mile or ten-mile race. I was tired, exhausted, since I had run eight or nine miles that morning, so I didn’t join.

I saw a man with a dog near the start of the race and I said to him, “Excuse me, can you tell me how many miles they are going to run? I see there is going to be a race.”

The man said, “I don’t understand your English!” in a very abrupt way.

Immediately I saw that he was an American. I asked, “Where do you come from?”

He answered, “I come from Texas. Where do you come from?”

I said, “I come from New York.”

He said, “Now I understand your English. Ask me again.”

When I asked him, he said, “I am also a stranger, like you.”

RB 315. 1 June 1981

The candy26

The other day we were riding in Databir’s car after I had checked out a running route. I had five or six candies next to me that I was planning to give to the four or five people in the car. But Databir started falling asleep, so he ate all the candy to keep awake. Then, when I started looking for the candy to give to everyone, he said, “Oh, Guru, I finished it!” So the others didn’t get any.

RB 316. 14 June 1981

No more peace!27

The other day I was going down the 150th Street hill very peacefully when I saw Sunanda and Barada running quite fast. I was so jealous of their speed!

RB 317. 20 June 1981

To see Chandika smiling!28

When I saw Chandika during my seven-mile run, she was so happy. To see Chandika smiling is really something! At that point I was walking — for me to run seven miles is no joke! I was running on the street around the track and Chandika was on the track itself. I saw her three times. I thought that secretly I was seeing her, but later she said that she had seen me.

RB 318. 23 June 1981


Peter’s course is by far the most difficult. As soon as you start, it is only up. With greatest difficulty you are running up the hills; you are killing yourself. And who greets you? Always there is a particular dog who greets you!

RB 319. 27 June 1981

The deer30

Before the Westchester Half-Marathon we met with the excellent runner Gary Fanelli, and the singers sang the song that I had dedicated to him. In the song I had mentioned his deer-speed. He thanked me and said that quite often he thinks about a deer while he is running. He said, “It is a very beautiful song. I love you all very much. I hope you all have a good race today.”

I told him, “You should come first, as you did last year. You show your deer-speed!”

“After this song I am charged, plugged in,” he said.

Then I gave him a copy of the song and I returned the pictures of his two daughters, Laura and Celeste, that he had given me. He saw that I had written “Blessings and Love” on their foreheads. He said, “Nothing means more than your blessings in my life.”

I am so happy that he won the half-marathon. Many years ago he had been interested in following our path when he was living in Los Angeles.

RB 320. 28 June 1981

The slow runner31

During the Westchester Half-Marathon I walked eight or nine times. Shame! Sometimes when I was running, people who were walking were going faster than I was. Since they were walking faster than my running speed, I said, “The best thing is to walk.”

Then Cahit Yeter came back after he had finished and ran the last mile and a half of the race with me.

RB 321. 28 June 1981

Screaming for water32

At one point in the Westchester Half-Marathon I came near Edie only to hear her screaming: “Aahhh!” She was screaming and screaming. Later she told me that she had been screaming for water.

RB 322. 28 June 1981

What can one do?33

The other day in the half-marathon, after one mile Sunanda went ahead of me. She was smiling and smiling as she went by. She and Arjava were running together. I said, “What can I do?”

RB 323. 1 July 1981

The first goal34

In yesterday’s two-mile race, Mitali was my first goal. She was ahead of me, but finally I transcended my first goal and passed her.

RB 324. 1 July 1981

Good morning!35

Today Agraha’s sister, Cathy, saw me while I was running down the 150th Street hill. She folded her hands in a very obvious way. Then when I came back up the hill, she still had her hands folded. These things only happen when I run after six o’clock in the morning. When I run at four or five o’clock, I never see any disciples.

The other morning at five o’clock, when I was running up 150th Street, Michael Berens started yelling from his window, “Good morning!” Since he lives in Sal’s house, he could see me from his room. He was yelling, “Good morning, Guru!” out the window, but I was tired and I didn’t have the strength to tell him, “Good morning!”

RB 325. 8 July 1981

Mr. Hill36

I got a new name today. While I was running a middle-aged man was driving by in a small van. He was calling out, “Mr. Hill, Mr. Hill!” and looking at me. It seems that everybody has heard of our race on 150th Street, fifty times up and down the hill.

RB 326. 8 July 1981

Enjoying the hill37

This morning, a little before four o’clock, I went on my first run for the day. The second time I ran it was around five o’clock. At that time two people saw me as I was running up the 150th Street hill. They started making fun of me. They said, “Now it is your turn to enjoy yourself. Before your ‘deesciples’ died, and you watched. Now you are enjoying the hill.” They were referring to our 150th Street races.

So I said, “Yes, now I am enjoying it. You come every morning at five o’clock to enjoy running with me. You people come!”

They were very surprised. They had thought that I would remain like the silent Brahmin and wouldn’t talk to them. I was on my fifth mile of hill work and I was dying. I was panting and making noise and they were mocking me.

After running five miles, I walked two miles up and down the hill. So I did seven miles of hill work. It is a little different when you run alone with nobody to cheer for you.

RB 327. 11 July 1981

Friendly encounters38

Usually I go out running for the third time at about quarter to seven each morning. Starting at four or five o’clock, every hour I go and run. Many times at quarter to seven I see Harry’s son, Bruce, who is so nice to us when we use P.S. 86 for functions. Bruce has a small van. Quite often when he drives by he says, “Guru, Guru! Hello, Guru!”

The bus drivers also are very nice to me. I can be on the other side of the street, but still they will honk and wave. Often I go out to run, so now they recognise me.

RB 328. 11 July 1981

The sign of the cross39

During the five-mile race today a gentleman was ahead of me. All of a sudden he stopped and turned around and said, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?” I was panting and no words were coming out of me. So I gave him a smile.

He said, “You are Sri Chinmoy!” and he made a cross sign on his forehead — not on his chest. He was very happy to see me. Then he ran with me for about two hundred metres. But he felt that he was a better runner so he went ahead of me. I was just behind him.

RB 329. 12 July 1981


At the two-mile point two women were running near me. When I was passing by, one of them was so excited to see me. She said to the other one, “Do you know who that is?”

The other one said, “Who?”

O God, the first woman who saw me wouldn’t answer because I was coming very near them and she didn’t want me to hear. Perhaps she was afraid of the pronunciation, afraid that she would be embarrassed.

Then, when I was about five metres ahead of them, the lady said, “Sri Chinmoy.” But when I was running next to them, she wouldn’t tell her friend who I was.

RB 330. 12 July 1981

The five-mile race41

Mitali completed our five-mile race today. For Mitali to complete five miles is really something! Her better half, Boiragi, was so happy that she had finished. I also was so delighted! I was clapping and clapping. On other days when I smile at her, she smiles, but today she was dying, so she could not smile at the finish.

Mitali was my first competitor when I started running and the second was Nemi. Like that I competed with about ten girls. Pranavananda’s assistant, Susan, gave me a very hard time. I ran and ran trying to pass her. At one point she went to drink water and I was very happy that she had stopped. I didn’t go to take a drink. O God, after drinking water, she got extra energy! So my intuition was totally wrong. I didn’t even dare to think of defeating her after that. But after covering a few hundred metres, she finally slowed down. Then, with Kritagyata, I had to struggle for at least four hundred metres to pass her.

After four miles I thought that all the worthless runners were behind me, so I didn’t have to worry. My ego was quite satisfied. Then all of a sudden I saw Sarama. I couldn’t lose to Sarama, so I was praying to my ego to come forward. Then my ego listened to my prayer and I defeated Sarama. It is a great achievement to beat Sarama. I didn’t know she was so far ahead of me, but I passed her at the four-mile mark.

After four hundred metres, whom did I see? Ilona! She was making noises: “Eee, Eee!” I said to myself, “Wait, wait.” Then during the fifth mile I ran so fast that I went two or three hundred metres ahead of her. She was nowhere near me at the finish.

RB 331. 12 July 1981

If you don't eat42

Last night in Puerto Rico, Kamalakanta and I were running in the heavy rain. The streets were in very bad condition, and we passed two or three bars where the people were very undivine. But the rain gave us extra energy. Even though I hadn’t eaten in days, we walked and ran over four miles. So if you don’t eat, perhaps you get extra energy.

RB 332. 18 July 1981

Running at random43

This morning in Puerto Rico I ran randomly. When I run randomly, God knows where I go. My aim was to run for one hour. Nowadays I only care for the time, not the miles. So I ran by Shubhra’s house. In thirty-five minutes I was there.

O God, suddenly a police car came up quite fast and stopped abruptly. Two policemen came out of the car. They slammed the doors and entered into a small house nearby. A lady and her husband were in a panic about something. Something had happened. In ten minutes’ time I followed the same route home. I said to myself, “Let me see what is happening.” But there was no police car. There was absolutely nobody around.

RB 333. 18 July 1981

The little dogs44

Once I was running in Puerto Rico and six dogs started barking at me. Fortunately, they were in a yard behind a gate. They were not out on the street. I counted. There were six little, little dogs!

RB 334. 18 July 1981

The spectacular runner45

In the first one-mile race in Puerto Rico, Chetana went ahead of me and ahead of all the girls. After four hundred metres she screamed, “Eee!” Chetana’s running was very spectacular — the way she screamed! Then she slowed down.

RB 335. 20 July 1981

My best disciple46

Pratyaya is my best disciple. She stays behind me in all distances. When I collapsed after a few miles in the thirteen-mile race in Puerto Rico, she was still following me. So I gave her a ride in the car. But it seems that in the one-mile race I ran faster than she could run, so she could not run near me.

RB 336. 20 July 1981

The hundred-metre challenge47

Ten years ago how fast I used to run the 100-metre dash! I used to challenge the three musketeers — Ranjana, Chetana and one other. I used to whistle and then go way ahead of them. In ten years how slow I have become!

RB 337. 21 July 1981

Race organisers48

Many of the people who organise races have given up running themselves. Only in the evening they walk. They have all developed nice stomachs.

I am the only spiritual Master who runs. Others just hold meditations and become fat. I will definitely defeat all the spiritual Masters in running.

RB 338. 21 July 1981

The dangerous intersection49

One of my running routes, my hilly course, was marked off by Vinaya. This course is where Sanatan had the bicycle accident several years ago. Each time I run on the hilly course and reach that particular intersection, automatically I think of Sanatan and his accident. Either I think of Sanatan or Sanatan’s soul thinks of me. Then, after that I continue. I have run there so many times. It is a very dangerous intersection!

RB 339. 1 August 1981

How can they be ahead of me?50

In our two-mile race in Flushing Meadow Park, after a mile and a quarter I saw Madhuri. I got really puzzled. How could Madhuri be ahead of me? Then I said to myself, “Perhaps she is still completing one mile.” Then a little farther on I saw Tanima and Mitali, so I knew they were all still completing one mile.

RB 340. 1 August 1981

To drink or not to drink51

Pragati was ahead of me in the two-mile race when we passed the water station. Somebody came to give her water. She didn’t want it and waved the person away. Then she herself went to the table to take water. Perhaps she did not like that person.

When we run, at that time we forget everything. I will say I don’t need water. Then one second later I realise that I am so thirsty!

RB 341. 1 August 1981

Editor's preface to the first edition

Sri 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.