A Precious Gift

Can I Help You?

While I was running 47 miles, one person came up to me and said, “You do such nice things for people. Sir, can I be of any help to you?”

I said, “Thank you, I do not need any help right now.”

-27 August 1982

Sri Chinmoy, Run And Become, Become And Run, Part 11, Agni Press, 1983

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

This little story was first printed 30 years ago in a collection of running stories.  While Sri Chinmoy was still actively running he wrote dozens of stories about many of the experiences that would take place while he practiced his distance running.  Today there are hardly any recorded comments that he made about his own participation in the 47 mile race.

Yet we know, that not just for him, but for all of us who have participated in this most unique and challenging distance, that running those long hilly 47 miles was a golden opportunity.  That here on this dusty track and broken road one could experience and find something within that no other race could offer or compare.

How is it even possible to describe the sweet secrets that are to be experienced when you commit and offer all that you have, to the dark tranquil beauty of running throughout the night on August 27th, Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

For all those who have done so and now continue on this brave grand path, running the 47 mile race is the most precious of gifts.  One that is offered from within the subtle silent realm of the runner’s own heart. Based not on time or place but simply on the gratitude the runner has for their Spiritual teacher, who even now continues to shape and guide us on our marvelous and mystifying divine journeys.  An offering that cannot be packed or wrapped or explained beyond the simple understanding, that gratitude knows no measure and cannot be explained fully by either thoughts or words.   But if perceived simply as a selfless offering of oneself, then only can it be grasped and appreciated instantly and fully.

This act of running, this gift of body and heart is not without some pain, some of the discomfort of asking more of ourselves than we are used to giving.  But the greatest moments are those with a joy you can only experience when you discover that your gift of offering 47 miles to your teacher is in fact instantly returned to you.  Returned in only the way that Spiritual Masters are able to do for those who have taken their guidance and strength as we forge ahead into the twinkling realm of our own self transcendence.

counters-and-track-early

Registration begins in those few anxious minutes leading up to the 12 am start

registration-francesco

Garima has run this race very year since 1978 when it first started.

registration-gaurima

The numbers are around 100

registration-girls

For a few minutes a light cooling rain falls

registration-wide

There is a mixture of nerves and joy and enthusiasm

registration-salil

For just a few runners 47 miles may not be such a hard thing to do.

registration-grahak

And yet each will find their own unique way to follow the course and run the race.

registration-satyamurthi

Pratyaya, the race director starts the race as it always has been done

start-pratayaya

Then it all begins.

start

For Dipali it is also a most significant day.  It is her birthday is well

dipali-smarana-night

The night has it’s own special beauty.

168-st

Light creates special patterns on the road.

annurakta-and-gate

Sometimes it is just a blur of movement but the important things are still clear

blur

The counting never stops

counting

The counting hut a refuge of light and encouragement

counters

The board provides some hints of things to come.

board-garga

Shadows at night

night-shadows

Water cups

water-stop

Uddipan on 168 st.

uddipan-168-st

Sanjaya and counters

sanjaya

Daulot heads up the street.

daulot-and-street

Nitish takes a food break

food-table2

No patients in medical but some discussion instead

medicalThe ever changing board

counters-and-board-early

Dark streets

dark-streets

Small hints of nature

flower-nightLarge plates of food

food-table

Garima late

gaurima-lateThe corners

jamaica-highschool-168st

Counters waiting for runners

counting-wide

Slowing down a bit

annurakta-francesco-night

Dinesh and company making music by Goose pond park

dinesh-band

Making sure there is light

shakti2

Oskar has held the lead the entire night

oskar-trackHe wins in a time of 6:15:24

oskar-finish

“Actually I am surprised that I performed better this year.”  Last year in his first year he was second.  He decided to run then because he himself was 47 years old.  “I had quite a tough time because my Mother passed away.”  Because she had been sick for quite some time he stayed with his Mom and was unable to train.  He feels that this race is for him a gift to both Sri Chinmoy and his late Mother.

oskar-board2

He says that throughout the night he was relaxed.  “More relaxed than other years.  Last year was my first time, but I have been running for quite some time.  For over 10 years so I am used to that.”

oskar-sidelines

He describes the race as being far more spiritual than other that he does.  “You start at midnight which makes everything special.”

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Dipali leading the girls

dipali-track

One girl waiting for her Dad

shakti

One girl not waiting for he Dad…..Kallola

kallola

Uddipan waiting for no one.

uddipan

Satyamurthi will be the next one to take the flag

satyamurthi-takes-flag

After his finish he has some very private time

satyamurthi-fence

Then his Italian friends celebrate.  His time was 6:45:09

satyamurhti-and-italians

Abhinabha and friends making music

abhinabha-music

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The answer to where is Shakti’s dad

annurakta-and-dharbasana

Grahak and Ushika

grahak-and-ushika

Ultra swimmer Vasanti will end up running 31 miles

vasanti

Teekhnata

teeknata

Shamita

shamita

Nitish will be 3rd overall

nitish-finish

Manoshri and some brief support

manoshri

Garima still on the track

gaurima

Francesco

francesco

Palash

palash-antanaThe race director Pratyaya

pratayaya

Dipali Finishes

dipali-finish

“I must say that this incredible 47 mile race is definitely Supremely challenging….but Supremely blissful.  It was quite a race.”

dipali-pranika2

“I started the race and said a prayer on my birthday to offer this to Pranika. I dedicated my 6 day race to her and now I am dedicating the 47 to her because she is Guru’s miracle, and on my birthday what better present could I have.”

Dipali-pranika

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Others will have to run much longer

priyavadin

Most will finish before the time runs out.

Roman-finish

Film of Sri Chinmoy running in 1979:

http://perfectionjourney.org/2012/12/08/progress/

We think that opportunity leads us
To something precious:
God-realisation.
But opportunity not only leads us
To something precious.
Opportunity itself is precious.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 77, Agni Press, 1983

flower

 

3 Comments to “A Precious Gift”

  1. Francesco says:

    Utpal thank you so much for the emotions and the feeling that you made me live again.
    The 47 miles is a unique and special race.
    Your story and your photos are simply fantastic,
    you are a very good reporter, please write more often.
    Gratefully

  2. Kuladhara says:

    Thank you!

  3. Nitish says:

    Utpal,

    thank you for the great report.
    Nice to look back especially with the photos.
    I have always beautiful remembrances about the 47.

    Thanks Nitish

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