Journey of the mind and spirit By Rajiv. M. The Hindu Running, for Ashish Lahiri, is more than an exercise. It is a form of dynamic meditation. This academician, who indulges in the rarest of all pursuits - marathon running even in his forties, is ready with an unpublished book on the subject. DYNAMIC MEDITATION: Ashish Lahiri on the spiritual track. - Photo: K. Ramesh Babu For ashish Lahiri, Professor at Institute of Chartered and Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI), a morning run is more than just exercise: it is a journey of the mind and spirit. At forty-six, his legs eat up the miles with the appetite and single-mindedness of a moon shot. Twice a week, this genial, balding man puts on his running boots and indulges in that rarest of middle-age pursuits: running a marathon. At an age when for most males pushing it means skipping breakfast or forsaking travel in lifts, Ashish Lahiri finds pleasure and spiritual bliss in going beyond the pain barrier that all marathon runners learn to fear, love and finally conquer. "Running is a form of dynamic meditation. After an hour of running, the mind becomes a vehicle of relaxation, spiritual delight and ecstasy. I believe this is better than static meditation or yoga. Running achieves in a couple of hours what yoga takes years to accomplish. The endorphin-rush gives a high that drugs cannot compete with: this high is your own hard-won creation. In myself, at its peak, I feel my ego slipping away. I feel one with nature, with life; differences of birth, status and age vanish. Anger dissolves, empathy reigns supreme." Professor Lahiri feels that age is no barrier to accessing the physical and spiritual gains of marathon running. "I was inspired to take up long distance running after reading about Ms. Klein, an American woman who took it up in middle age. I've run in marathons all over the world - Mexico City, Nairobi, London, Dubai... and I meet septuagenarian marathon-enthusiasts all the time. Dr. Ashish Roy, a 72-year-old New Delhi-based cardiologist has run in over 50 races, and recently won the first prize in his age-group in Montreal!" In fact, Prof. Lahiri feels so strongly about the power and bliss of dynamic meditation that he recently sat down and wrote a book on it: this labour of love currently awaits a sympathetic publisher. Some of his views clash with accepted sports physiology thinking. For example, he believes that one could be ready for a marathon following a few weeks of training. Most experts advise at least nine months of training before attempting this distance. Moreover, his habit of running a couple of marathons every week- something which even Olympic athletes do not do - will give orthopaedists a fit. Most long-distance runners end up with worn out knee cartilages. Prof. Lahiri, who was a middle distance runner in his youth, appears to have escaped these complications. He advocates a few simple precautions: run on soft ground, warm up first and cool down after the run. Unlike most super- obsessed athletes, he isn't big on ideas like `carbo- loading', and he doesn't mind the odd glass of fine whisky. This only makes one wonder what this man can achieve with the help of a sports physiologist and a nutritionist. Olympic athletes probably shudder at the prospect, but they can rest easy: Prof. Lahiri is only running for something that cannot be measured in gold, silver or bronze. - Rajiv. M. Read the complete news at: http://www.hinduonnet.com News Plus http://www.mantra.com/newsplus Jai Maharaj http://www.mantra.com/jai Om Shanti Panchaang for 25 Jyeshtth 5104, Tuesday, June 24, 2003: Shubhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Nartana Ritau Mithun Mase Krishna Pakshe Mangal Vasara Yuktayam Ashvini-Bharani Nakshatr Sukarm Yog Bav-Balav Karan Ekadashi Yam Tithau Hindu Holocaust Museum http://www.mantra.com/holocaust Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy http://www.hindu.org http://www.hindunet.org The truth about Islam and Muslims http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of this post may not have been authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read, considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name, current e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number. o Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by others are not necessarily those of the poster.