June 23: Writing A Book

“When I came the first time I had expectations.  I didn’t know what this was all about.  Each year that I have come after that is like creating another book, or adding more pages in this book.  For me it is a process which is continuing in my case.  Once I started I want to finish, to read the book until the very end.”

atmavir2

In 2007 when Atmavir first came to the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race he may have thought the book or experience he was about to embark upon would reach some clear and  logical conclusion within a year or two.  After which he would start something new and different in his life.   But his story, like that of quite a few others here,  seems very far from reaching its ultimate destination in this Self Transcendence race.

Photo by Jowan 2007

Photo by Jowan 2007

Atmavir as he heads into his 7th straight year is still only 35.   On this his 8th day of running he has run more miles so far than anyone else.  Within an hour of starting this morning he will pass 500 miles.

He moves easily with a light efficient stride.  With each new lap he always looks comfortable and well within himself.  He appears as though he has yet to explore the outer limits, of both his physical and spiritual capacity.

So it is not hard to imagine that the 18,000 plus miles that he has already run here could possibly be just the beginning of a great voluminous encyclopedia of experience and illumination.

That quite possibly he is well on his way to creating an epic saga that could possibly match the feat of Suprabha who ran this race 13 times.

But it is not records or winning or simply seeing the big plastic number ‘3100’ beside his name, that brings him back here each day and each summer.  When I watch him run on these soft bright mornings he seems to be intimately connected with not just himself, but also the very boundless dimensions of the race itself.  He moves with lightness and fluidity.  Furthermore he considers all those who run with him, not as competitors but as his spiritual brothers and sisters.

Photo by Jowan 2007

Photo by Jowan 2007

There are times when we spectators can get lost, struggling endlessly down a tangled path made up of numbers and statistics.  That somehow we can decipher all that happens here if we just can stack all the bits and pieces together in a pattern that makes sense of it all. But who of us can ever analyze a true inner call or ever comprehend the deep inner motivation that directs and inspires any of our inner journeys.  Little alone Atmavir and the others who are writing such profound inner and outer stories with their lives of Self Transcendence.

God wants me to write
A very simple and soulful book
So that every day
He can read and appreciate it
And inspire and teach me to write
A better and simpler book.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 27, Agni Press, 1984

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

The lap sheets await the arrival of each of the runners on their tables.  Some decorated a little more than others.

lap-sheets

Vajra one of the crucial members of the crew has returned and starts his job before dawn making the course divine

vsajra2

A notice stuck to the fence suggest something special will be happening a little further up the block.

parvati7

Ashprihanal waking up.

pre-ashprihanal2

Everyone seems to enjoy the lap sheets

pre-jagadata

Sopan working on his feet.

pre-sopan

Ananda Lahari getting on his shoes.

pre-ananda-lahari

The clock

clock

Surasa preparing a drink

surasa-and-drink

Start

start

Yesterday Sarvagata ran more miles than he has run on any day so far.

sarvagata3

Each day as in past years he seems to gather strength

sarvagata-stretch

He does not rush and he does not worry.  He just runs and runs and runs.

sarvagata

Vasu once again ran 127 laps

vasu

He gets a massage in the morning while he briefly sits.

vasu-and-massage2

He keeps ice at the back of the head.  The days are getting hotter.

vasu-cool-head

Surasa is consistent

surasa

No matter how you look at it.

surasa-behind

Nihdruvi has just so much experience

nihdruvi

She has her own special flow and peace

nihdruvi3

Footsteps along the way

feet2

Baladev had a setback yesterday when he had a problem with his knee.

baladev

He has changed shoes to see if it will help.

feet

My first question to Atamavir is asking him if the new runners joining him on the course this year make the race different in any way.  He says of both Sarah and Yuri that they are already very experienced and so it is not a big transition for them to be here.  Of all the runners here, “they all have special qualities which they bring and offer to the course.  So as usual there is a special energy here.”

atmavir

He says that he notices many changes, not just in himself but also in all the people who come by over the 7 years he has been here.  We are approaching the handball court.  “I know many people from that corner, and there are many people who know us.”

atmavir4

He feels that just the fact the race is going on is a good manifestation of Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy.  That people, even if they don’t know exactly what is happening get inspired and they will feel even in some small way that self transcendence is happening here.  “Here everybody gets profit from it.  I am 100% aware of it.  Some people are getting it consciously and some are getting it unconsciously.”

“Here you can do faster progress if you are working on it consciously.”

atmavir-behind

“Here we are removing walls between us.  For me I always feel like I am home here, like inside a family.  Here it is very spontaneous.  It is very pure and very natural.  If I have an idea of a perfect spiritual family it is right here, in this place.  Everybody helps each other.  Here we are brothers and sisters.  Separation always comes from the mind and that is how we usually are in our regular life.  Here we are much more in the heart.  That is why we are happier here, even if we suffer.”

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Ashprihanal putting on sun screen

ashprihanal-and-sunscreen

He ran a very phenomenal 73 miles yesterday

ashprihanal2

Signs of Baladev

baladev-signs

Champ hasn’t found him though

champ

Little girls playing

little-girls

Vinaya playing too

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vinaya

Pranjal

pranjal2

Reflections

reflections

The many sides of Sarah

sarah3

She did 111 laps yesterday

sarah-behind

Sarita counting them this morning

sarita-and-sarah

For 6 days Sopan has run 113 laps

sopan3

Yuri ran 121 laps which the counters noticed but not these little girls

yuri2

Prayer of the day

prayer

Recited by Nipura

nipura-and-prayer

Enthusiasm Awakeners have invited a few friends by

parvati4

A little help for those who don’t know the words

parvati5

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

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Self-giving
Is the only supreme secret
That can help you write
A thick book of God-Victories.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 131, Agni Press, 1990

flower

4 Comments to “June 23: Writing A Book”

  1. Francesco says:

    It seams all perfect, the weather is good, the runners are strong, the helpers are happy,
    it is a joy to watch and read, thank you!

  2. qldrunner says:

    Thank you Utpal for the updates, photos and reflections. This is my 2nd year following the race. Everyday I read your blog and reflect on the poems, prayers and runners’ journeys. Please let all runners and helpers know that what they are doing in New York is helping inspire spiritual growth for at least one other person ( and i’m sure many more) o
    On the other side of the world. And ‘G’day and best wishes’ to Sarah from Australia 🙂

  3. uddipan says:

    Dear Utpal, I am so grateful to you for the inspiration and insight that you offer so tirelessly. Reading and listening to your transformation stories is such a powerful experience – I can feel it transforming me. Checking in on my longest distance running family is always the highlight of my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. Kuladhara says:

    The blog has always been great and now the photos are becoming really good too! Thank you very much for the inspiration.

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