June 24: Deeper Inside

“I am trying to keep it simple.  I am going back to the philosophy of my first race, one day at a time. And I have one addition to it.  Yesterday never happened.  Which means it is always today.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.”

Three years ago when Sarvagata entered the race for the first time he had a phenomenal if not unprecedented entry into this epic journey called the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race.  He not only set the new record for a first timer but also came in first, in 44 hours and 13 days.

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It was a time that ranked him 5th overall amongst all the great champions who have been victorious here.

In this sacred place where the frailties of human life are regularly dismissed and ignored. In this place where champions like Sarvagata instead cry out for the limitless powers within themselves,  that bright portion of our being not encased in flesh, or concealed in thought, or hidden by the boundaries of our finite world. In this place where your own divinity is revealed with each step taken towards the ultimate goal of perfection.

“It was like riding an elevator right to the top.”  His glorious first experience here in 2011 was a thrill not just for Sarvagata but also as well for all who saw in his performance a real miracle unfolding in plain sight of the world.  A hint that perhaps of even greater miracles yet to come.

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But just as it does for everyone who runs here, the race provides experiences and lessons that you might not always exactly want or enjoy.  The challenging and transformative experiences experiences that ultimately you still need to have happen to you.  So in 2012 it was a great race for Sarvagata but he says, “sometimes I used the stairs.”  He came in second in 46 days and 3 hours.

“Last year I was learning the plans of the building.” (laughs) “I was learning different ways to go to the top.”

His time of 50 days and 14 hours placed him in 6th place overall.  A position he neither begrudged or made any sign of complaint of.  He holds too dear the experience of running here.  There can never be criticisms or remorse for this most precious and sacred of experiences in his life.  One that cannot be conveniently categorized in any of the ways that we usually like to organize or  to label experiences with.

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“That is why I have come back for the 4th time.” He says the experience so far this year has been a combination of taking the express elevator at some times and at others having to take the stairs.

“I am looking around more and looking deeper inside.  So everything is increasing.   It is a good feeling I must say.”

Photo by Sradha

Photo by Shradha

No matter where you are,
You do have the hidden capacity
To climb higher and dive deeper,
Even if it is just an inch.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 81, Agni Press, 1983

Stutisheel posted big numbers yesterday.  He had 124 laps or 68 miles.
board.
The board is brought up to date first thing.
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pre-vajra-board..
Stutisheel in a playful mood this morning.
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prestutisheel.
It is Tuesday and because of street cleaning the vehicles are parked on the other side of the road.
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preblock.
Sarah and Jayasalini are planning to perform a short play and have all their costumes and props in place.
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pre-girls.
Nidhruvi will also perform something but just as most do checks out the daily mileage
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pre-nidrhuvi.
Teekshanam’s simple world all contained in a couple of boxes and also a very long race.
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He tells me that his Mom and sister saw his story yesterday.
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For now a shaft of golden light still brightens the early morning table of the Slovaks.
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preboys.
William ran well last night.  Amongst his supplements stands a bottle of the good stuff, olive oil.
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prewilliam.
Taking it easy.
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pre-yuri.
Rupantar trying to keep an eye on everything.
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pre-rupantar.
Start of Day 10
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start.
Another bright and glorious morning.
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Last night I came back to enjoy all the tranquil splendor of the evening  here.
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Teekshanam with still 3 more hours of running.
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Counters who will stay on the job until all the runners leave at midnight.
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Yuri this morning, whose expression often shifts back and forth  from ferocity to that of the sweetness of a child.
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He has been around this same block already more than 1000 times.
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4000 more laps to go.  He did 121 laps yesterday or 66 miles.  He has 602 miles.
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Going forward.
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Vasu’s road is a hard one just now but one that he has found the beauty of.  He did 103 laps yesterday or 56 miles.
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Baladev also had a harder day yesterday.
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He did 105 laps or 57 miles.  He has 581 miles.
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Which is 40 miles more than he had last year.
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The camp counts for everyone.
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camp-wide4.
Pranjal had 114 laps or 62 miles.
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pranjal.
In his element here
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pranjal-wide.
Stutisheel goes out hard this morning.
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flower-stutisheel.
He had the best day of anyone yesterday with 124 laps or 68 miles.  He now has 576 miles.
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stutisheel-good.
Saarah and a stranger passing through camp.
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camp-wide3.
Running so well this year.  She had 117 laps or 64 miles yesterday.  She is smashing what she did last year.  With her 574 miles she is 32 miles ahead of last year.
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At the same time she organized a skit that she performed with Jayasalini.  It brought joy to everyone.
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sarah-play.
We can only hope for only the very best for Sarah here.
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silouhete-sarah.
Sopan still doing very well.
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He has very regular in his mileage.  He did 110 laps again.
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Yesterday he says, “A perfectly warm day. I had a weird morning… My left shin was kind of weak and not fully cooperating… One muscle in my right quadriceps has been very sore and a little swollen for a few days. Somehow both warmed up after about 4 hours of running and felt almost ok.
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I kept an elastic bandage wrapped around it as the muscle would feel stronger and not so painful. After 3 pm started again feeling sick but much less than yesterday… However I had to walk the last 3 hours because of it. 60 miles today. At home I soak my feet in epsom salt, hang up side down and treat my feet with lavender oil and special skin repairing foot cream.
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He is keeping a very careful watch on  things.
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Pati is keeping as well a very close eye on her runner Jayasalini
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“Last night I felt something in my shin.  So last night I could walk only.  I left the track one hour earlier to have some rest.  This morning it is swollen.  I still have some feelings there so I am trying to balance running and walking.”
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Jayasalini who started out so easily and so well has now entered that stage in the race when things have turned in a hard new direction.  But one in which she has prepared long for and most definitely will find the best way possible to overcome and move forward.
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I ask her then about a lighter subject.  The play which she and Sarah have just performed.
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“Sri Chinmoy has always said that humor can get rid of a lot of problems.”  Even though this is her first time here she had followed the race for many years and had seen how some of the runners like Grahak and Ashprihanal had put on skits on in the morning.
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“I said, O, I would love to do this too, if I run this race.  It was fun and it doesn’t matter that something is bothering you in your physical.  As long as you can stay cheerful.  And feel that the Supreme is your own, very own.  And he is experiencing in and through you all the things that you feel.  So I am trying to stay happy and just keep on going.  Moving forward.”
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prayer-jayasalini.
Click to Play Prayer and Interview:

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William says he is a morning person but had the best part of his day last night.
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So much experience he brings to this race.
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He had 112 laps yesterday or 61 miles.  His total so far is 551 miles.
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camp-wide.
Teekshanam had 110 laps yesterday or 60 miles.
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teekshanam-behind
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He is clearly patient about all that happens here.  He has 546 miles.
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teekshanam.
A different kind of flower greets Nidhruvi along the way.
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flower-nidhruvi.
She had 109 laps yesterday or 59 miles.  She has 545 miles after 9 days.   Her experience shows.
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But then for the second time she tells a joke.  It is funny and everyone laughs.
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nidhruvi-play.
Happiness so important here and everywhere.
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A moment in camp for counters.
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The ginger ale has been revealed to be not the real stuff, but the dreaded low cal kind.
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flower-nidhruvi2.
The Enthusiasm- Awakeners received lots of inspiration today.  By the color of her shirt also perhaps a potential new member.
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parvati-and-friend2.
Ananda-Lahari never stops.
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silouhete-ananda-lahari.
Feet and legs.
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Ray of course keeping it interesting and fun.
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The Ray K fan club always seemingly active out here on the course.
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ray-and-friends.
Sarvagata tells me a philosophy that most of wish we could live, one day at a time.  He feels he can accomplish that here because everything is taken care of.  When asked if it could be used practically in all our day to day lives.
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“It might be, if we use this philosophy, we will be taken care of out there too.  I am going to try my best and bring out to my life after this race.”  He adds that it is of course not something new to realize this, “your whole life brings you to this point.”
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“This kind of race never ends.  It gives you such a big push throughout the rest of the year.”  After finishing the race last August Sarvagata briefly considered taking this summer off.  “Then in a couple of months I felt so much sorrow, that I decided I had to do this race again.  It was painful for me to think that I would have missed this year.  So I reconsidered right away.”
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He then shares with me a very powerful experience he had a short time earlier. “Once I was having one of those effortless moments when I ran.  There was an understanding for me that this was  a moment when it was happening.  When I could feel grace descending in abundant measure.”  He describes that even as this blissful experience was happening he realized that 2 conditions had to be met in order to really experience it to the fullest.
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“My mind had to be convinced that this was actually happening, and my body shouldn’t be afraid, because this is happening. When your mind is quiet and still and you body is not afraid than it can happen and go on so much longer.  I have never had this kind of experience before for 20 straight hours, of effortless running non stop. It was amazing.”
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Most interesting about this experience he says, “it wasn’t my best mileage.”  His running he describes in the beginning as being nothing out of the ordinary.  “Then something happened.  It is a good thing not to be freaked out when it happens.  For your body it is really scary.  Because you can start to feel tension in different parts.  So you have to relax those parts so that flow can go right through you without any interruptions.  Also your mind has to be quiet.  Because it can block it right away.  All the silly things our mind can do.  The first thing being doubt.”
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He has just heard the girls singing the first ‘I am so Fortunate Song,’ that Sri Chinmoy wrote on this day in 2007.  He goes over the words in it, “we have to stand at the gate of our own being, and not allow undivine forces to enter into us, and undivine thoughts.  If we do this then everything is good.”
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The experience that he shares this morning he says was so powerful that as he describes it now, he could have gone home after it and been completely happy.  “It was a very nice and happy feeling.  The whole race is about happiness.  That is what I feel.  I am just trying to be happy.  It is a funny thing for me to feel happiness.  It is so unusual.” (laughs)
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Enthusiasm-Awakeners
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This was the first of the I am so fortunate songs.
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parvati-song.

You feel fear
Only when you doubt yourself
And doubt your own spiritual life.
Just identify yourself
With something higher and deeper.
Lo and behold,
Fear is nowhere to be found.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 232, Agni Press, 1996

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2 Comments to “June 24: Deeper Inside”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    great thank you.

    Daily battles
    Are needed for
    Daily victories.

    Sri Chinmoy, 45549 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 46, Agni Press, 2006

  2. Manoshri says:

    Very inspiring! I hope I can also learn from the experiences that they are having.

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