TWO CHYKS RUN THE LONDON MARATHON 2007
On 22nd April 2007, Dr. Neha Tanna and Dr. Deepak Kansagra (members of CHYK UK) ran the London Marathon in true seva spirit to offer their service towards raising funds for Chinmaya Mission UK. This was the 3rd year in a row that the CHYKs have participated in the Marathon. This year, Swami Chidatmananda and Brni.Sumatiji were present to cheer the runners on, together with many Mission members and well-wishers. Presented here is an interview with each of the runners:
INTERVIEW WITH NEHA TANNA
1. Why did you volunteer to take on the mighty challenge of running the London Marathon?

The Chinmaya Mission, the teachings, the Acharyas, the people and what it stands for, is such an integral part of my life that not a day goes by where I am not influenced by it. All I seemed to be doing was taking… it was becoming a one way street.

This in itself goes against the one value taught and instilled in us as spiritual seekers: GIVING! When the opportunity arose to run for the Mission, I saw it as a way for me to give back…. although even this is not enough.
 
It has required great discipline, strength and dedication to train and allowed me to put into practice some of the qualities that I have tried to imbibe from attending study classes. Practicing qualities we learn about is the biggest obstacle on the spiritual path I have had to overcome. Running has enabled me to overcome them and continue to practice them in other areas of my daily life. As Mohandas Gandhi once said 'An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching'.

As an added bonus, raising money for the Mission will enable activities to continue, which we all enjoy and learn so much from, as well as allowing Gurudev's vision to live on and inspire more and more people each day.

 
2. Did you have any doubts after nominating yourself?
Doubts certainly arose in my mind………but I constantly reminded myself of why I was doing this and with this focus I overcame them, continued training and went on to complete the marathon.
3. In what way have you seen a personal change in yourself throughout the training period?
Not only have I proved to myself that I can be disciplined and dedicated to a single cause, but during my long runs it allowed me to contemplate on the ideas and principles taught to us by the Chinmaya Mission. While running through tough conditions such as rain, cold and pain …..my vision began to slowly change….I began to understand the difference between the Known and the Knower. Once the initial understanding came I was able to apply this concept to different activities in my daily life….my perception changed and I began seeing the true impact of spirituality in my life….all I have to do now is to try and constantly remember this….this will be the true test!!
4. What would you say to someone who might be considering taking on the challenge of running the London marathon for Chinmaya Mission next year?
Just do it!!....You will learn and grow beyond your expectations….you will, like myself, wake up one morning thinking…..what have I been doing for so many years?...your vision and perception in life will change…you will know what it means to think ' I can achieve anything I want to do!', and why have I wasted so much time. Surrender…do your best….and leave the rest to Gurudev!!
 
INTERVIEW WITH DEEPAK KANSAGARA
1. Why did you volunteer to take on the mighty challenge of running the London Marathon?

It's hard to give an exact reason, but I knew I wanted to do the marathon for the right reason, and it was a challenge despite the fact that I successfully ran it ten years ago.

I had a knee ligament injury which stopped my long distance training for 3 weeks during training, but I had faith that with the right rehabilitation everything would be fine on the day of the marathon. I also wanted to take on the challenge as a form of spiritual Sadhana.
 
2. Did you have any doubts after nominating yourself?
 
Once I'd committed to the challenge I had no doubts.
3. Why is Chinmaya Mission your chosen charity to raise funds for?
 
CM was my chosen charity because I feel the Mission gives me and many others a lot. Through what I've learnt, I now see the possibility of profound inner transformation; something I have experienced and witnessed in others. Application of the techniques that I have learnt has led me to experience a happier world around me, and I see that in others too. Above all, Chinmaya Mission has helped me face life's greatest challenges with some equanimity. Hence the Chinmaya Mission motto ' To give maximum happiness to the maximum number for the maximum time' holds truth.

Chinmaya Mission is not simply for well-educated city dwellers, it also has overseas centres that contribute to rural development amongst many other diverse projects. To me, Chinmaya Mission is a large family through which I see the world as not just one family but as one.
 
4. In what way have you seen a personal change in yourself throughout the training period?
 
Apart from the improvement of my physical fitness, I have been waking up earlier and I'm able to do some Sadhana (spiritual practice) in morning. I find that I get upset and frustrated much less than before. I have also been able to express my emotions better. I do not watch as much TV as before, and I am able to find time for reflection and contemplation. I have actively started to address my weaknesses as I have become more aware of them.
 
5. What would you say to someone who might be considering taking on the challenge of running the London marathon for Chinmaya Mission next year?
 
I would tell them to put their name down right now for the marathon and not wait until November! They should have no fear about the challenge no matter how young or old, as I would personally help train them up, just as Neeraj (who ran the marathon 2006) helped train me up.
I would also tell them they have access to a fantastic marathon running group that trains every Sunday morning throughout the year and welcomes any person to the extent that the marathon will no longer feel like a challenge but instead a gloriously joyful experience. With the blessings of Swami Chidatmanandaji and Brahmacharini Sumatiji, the support of the entire crowd and the Mission Sevaks , and the fantastic organisation of the London Marathon organizers (who provided gallons of water to drink and four running cold showers on a hot day!) the run was made so much easier.
 
Interviews by Vishva Samani
 
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Chinmaya Mission UK, Chinmaya Kirti, 2 Egerton Gardens, Hendon, London NW4 4BA
Tel: 0208 203 6288
Registered Charity No :1077622
E-mail : info@chinmayauk.org

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