Someday, I aspire to hold a Guinness World Record. Not sure which one yet, or when I’d like to attempt this, but it has been a goal of mine for a while.
Once I do that, I’ll only have to break another 471 records to catch up to one Ashrita Furman, the subject of today’s post. (And that’s assuming he never breaks another record after reading this post and feeling sympathy for me).
Ashrita was born Keith Furman, and then changed his name to Ashrita (meaning “Protected by God”) after becoming a devout follower of spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy (who himself was born Chinmoy Kumar Ghose). Furman had read the Guinness Book of Records as a child, but thought he wouldn’t break a record himself because he was nonathletic.
However, inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s teachings, he decided at age 24 to sign up for a 24-hour bicycle race and ended up making it 405 miles during that span, recounting:
“It was one of the most profound moments of my life. As I climbed off my bicycle, I realized that it wasn’t my body that had cycled for 24 hours, but my inner Spirit. By using meditation I was able to connect with an inexhaustible energy which we all have but rarely use. At that moment I decided to attempt breaking Guinness records to inspire others to connect with their own indomitable inner strength.”
He’s done pretty well so far, with 472 record breaking performances, and 163 records currently held.
That’s pretty awesome. It’s not too often you can have unequivocal proof that you’re the best at something in the entire world!
It’s a pretty remarkable set of feats, and they are all made possible due to Ashrita’s philosophy of self-transcendence – doing things that you would have thought impossible. Not too long ago, Ashrita held 22 records (itself the high mark for records held), and in the past few years, has raised his tally to 163. And you can’t say the guy ain’t versatile either! He’s broken records in all 7 continents, and in numerous categories. Aside from the aforementioned popcorn sculpture, he has made the world’s largest flower arrangement, somersaulted 12 consecutive miles, peeled and eaten 6 boiled eggs in a minute, held 26 baseballs in a baseball glove for 10 seconds, jump roped 1608 times in an hour… while underwater(!!!), and all sorts of other cool stuff.
He has twice held the record for longest pencil, making a 20-footer, then seeing his record beaten by the Faber-Castell company. Ashrita responded by making a 76 foot pencil. Then the Staedtler company responded by building a 738 foot long one. Seems like that record will be safe for a while.
Here’s a list of the records Ashrita currently holds. Let me know if you see one you think I should undertake… I’d love to be a world record holder, so it’s simply a matter of what’s doable, and whether I can achieve a level of self-transcendence anywhere near the level reached by Ashrita.
Enjoy your Labor Day, folks!