There is some strong anecdotal evidence that suggests that at one time there was a sect of Buddhist monks in Tibet called the Lung-go-pa. Theirs was a life of absolute austerity and spiritual discipline. By practicing meditation and pranic breathing exercises they were able to perform incredible feats. It is said they could run tirelessly, for incredible distances across the barren landscape.
To observers it was so effortless it was almost as though they barely touched the ground. Their faces continually turned up to the sky, focusing on a single celestial object.
In her book, “Magic and Mystery in Tibet,” the author Alexandra David_Neel, wrote
“By that time he had nearly reached us; I could clearly see his perfectly calm impassive face and wide-open eyes with their gaze fixed on some invisible far distant object situated somewhere high up in space. The man did not run. He seemed to lift himself from the ground, proceeding by leaps. It look as if he had been endowed with the elasticity of a ball and rebounded each time his feet touched the ground.”
Less mythical and certainly very real are the marathon monks of Japan called Kaihigyo, a Buddhist sect based in Kyoto Japan. They are recognized as spiritual athletes and train extremely hard both in their exercise regime and in their meditation. Their ultimate goal is to one day complete a 1,000 day challenge. Only 46 men have completed this feat of fasting, chanting, and running in the last 130 years.
There is no simple all encompassing description for anything to do with the self transcendence race, other than the two words that make up its name.
After that the mental world flounders at trying to grasp the enormity and significance of how the runners do what they do, and more significantly just how powerful, peaceful, and transformative it is to be there and identify with it.
*Yesterday the injured Surasa increased her mileage once more and completed 106 laps (58 miles) She has 3 days to complete 168 more miles*
Pradeep the birthday boy arrives. He said that for some days he has felt extra enthusiasm and energy. That his soul day would not just be celebrated on Tuesday, but instead the inspiration could be felt for many more days.
For Ananda Lahari, as much as he would dearly like to see 3100 by his name it is simply not going to take place this year.
As always the birthday song is sung. His comrades rejoice that they have all shared an incredible and unique experience together. His has been a joyful soulful journey. Atmavir and all the rest who have finished will come by.
“I have to say that when I was thinking how it would be like to have my birthday here, I didn’t know what it would be like. I had hopes that I would be super strong and not tired. That kind of didn’t happen. It took me a while to remember it was my birthday. I dragged myself out of the slumber of sleep.”
“Then I feel as though my consciousness is very light and very happy, even though my body is tired and aching.”
As for which of his 33 birthdays has been the happiest.
Well this one isn’t over but it is going to rank very high.”
“Being together for so many days we all get a real inner connection with the other runners. They become friends on a completely different level. It is just very special to me and fulfilling to be together with them on my birthday.”
“it it is the joy I suddenly got from seeing Unmukta on the block.” For the past few days a surprise helper has been almost ceaselessly at his side to aide Pradeep.
Pradeep had called him the best birthday present and for even a casual observer he seems to be helping Pradeep tirelessly and selflessly.
Just his appearance alone gave him the confidence to be able to say, “then I knew I was going to make it when I saw him.”
“I already knew that I was getting so much inner support “ I ask if it it was like the frosting on a birthday cake and he says, “no, this is like the whole birthday cake.”
“We are really good friends but at home we usually don’t have time to do things together. I am just really happy that he is inspired by the race, and we can experience this together. Because it is a really special experience for me. I am happy to share it this way with him.”
“On a physical outer level it is also great. It is just very special.”
click to play interview
“I am just using the opportunity to bask in the soul’s effulgence, on the birthday of Pradeep.” For a period this morning Pradeep runs with Stutisheel. With just 4 runners on the course the opportunity to have a companion does not come too often any more. Pradeep is also running faster. He ran 66 miles to Stutisheels 57 yesterday. But for a while at least their pace and rhythm are in sync.
“I am using the draft of Stutisheel, who has seen the goal, and he will reach it tomorrow evening. He is speeding up because it is getting within reach.”
I ask Stutisheel what he feels Pradeep as a newcomer has brought to the 3100. “I don’t feel that he is a new runner. He told me that for many years he was dreaming of participating in this race. This year when he came it was quite natural. He just immediately became a member of the 3100 mile boat. And I am also pretty amazed that I have never seen him down, he always seems okay. He had physical problems but his consciousness was always quite good. He never complains, always smiling.”
I suggest that this has to be the key for the success of all the runners. “It is not a new thing for me but still it is hard to implement. For example when you have something happen to you on the material level, like a blister, or some other injury. You can do things to fix it, and you know it. But when you have inner problems, you know what to do, but the affects can come or not come. It is just up to a higher force. So we just need to be wise and patient.”
I ask Pradeep now that he has run so far can he imagine doing it like Stutisheel has done. “It is amazing somebody doing this race 8 times. The guys who have done it before have cleared the way for all of us. so many things we learn from them. We don’t have to make the same mistakes.” He says that Stutisheel has been telling him many of the stories from the past history of the race particularly when Sri Chinmoy still came. “We are reliving those moments together. It is great it is amazing.”
Click to play interview
“It is nice. Once you are here you can really see what is involved.” Unmukta started off as a surprise guest of the race but quickly as become an integral part of Pradeep’s running these past few days. But he as well has benefited a lot as well. “I was just realizing it today. It started to sink in how special it is to be here, and also really get the feeling of the race.”
“I am following Pradeep and I realize how intense it is here. He has to keep going. He takes little breaks but immediately he has to get up. Be focused, be disciplined. That is really amazing.”
He has learned many little things that most outside observers cannot see. Like even during his short 15 minute naps, something inner is happening, he gets inner strength. “A powerful recharging. That is how he experiences it.”
He said a lot of factors influenced his decision to come and help out. Ultimately it came down to a feeling, “I should be there, to help out a few days. It is so special. It is so fantastic to be a part of it.”
When asked what has impressed him the most since he came. “I think it is also the oneness. This feeling I already got a little bit at home, how much oneness there is with everybody”
Due to a change of scheduling he is leaving tomorrow, a day before Pradeep’s finish on Thursday night. “I will try and be there inwardly.”
“Just to be in this area, is kind of special.” Unmukta has been a student of Sri Chinmoy for many years. He recalls how so much of Sri Chinmoy’s sporting activities took place in and around this area. He was able to share some of this with a younger friend today who had no idea of the long and powerful history this area represents to the entire group. He describes this block simply, “as where it all started.”
“It is beyond the mind to think that they are running 2 and 1/2 marathons every day, for 52 days. That is unbelievable.”
For pradeep, “today is the important day for him. He said, if it goes well today, then he can finish it probably by walking. It has always been a dream for him.”
Click to play interview
Recited by Satyavrata
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Question: Can we purify our daily actions?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, that is what we are aiming at. If we cannot purify our daily actions, then how are we going to make progress? Again, if we make progress, then only can we purify our life. These things go together. If I become good, only then will I become a good instrument of God. And if I become a chosen instrument of God, then only will I become really divine. They go together. It is like meditation in action. If I meditate well, then only can I think of loving God and serving God. Again, if I serve God devotedly and unconditionally, then only can I think of meditating at my highest. As action and meditation go together, so purity in our day-to-day life and spiritual progress must go together; they are complementary. If we don’t have purity, we cannot make very fast progress. And any progress that we do make does not remain permanently if we do not have purity. So, purity is of paramount importance in the spiritual life.
ri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Speaks, Part 8, Agni Press, 1976.