July 27: Summer of Grace

Enthusiasm, enthusiasm,
God’s main food,
He begs me to eat
For my good.

Sri Chinmoy, Enthusiasm, part 1, December 19, 1999

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Photo by Jowan

Their performance lasts less than an hour.  Their audience, if you can call them that, rarely hears more than a snatch from a phrase of any of the perhaps dozen songs they sing each morning.  Occasionally a sleepy teacher on their way into the nearby school will hear something, and awaken just a little.

You often see smiles brighten across tired faces as they pass this group of girls who wear a different colored t shirt each day.  On a good day you might call them a choir but it is such a loose and friendly mix of short English songs the word choir sounds just a little too grand.  But yet the more you listen to these simple sweet songs that are constantly changing every day you sense quite a bigger thing behind this group of girls lined up in front of a brick wall at 6:40 every morning.

There is a beginning to everything if you look hard and close enough at it.  The 14 runners who orbit pass the girls and the school and the big fat block have their own rhyme and reason for doing what they do. They are of course the main audience and reason for just why this little performance happens here.   Just as it has been going on now for 9 long summers.

The arch and trajectory of the runners is a lot more easy to trace and to understand, because just down the block a big yellow plastic board clearly says it all.  They are trying to run 3100 miles.  As of this morning they have been circling for 42 days and today is 43.  The end of it all will come a little quicker for some but for all the rest when day 53 comes the block will be empty of both runners and singers and the great event will come to rest for another year.

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The whys and wherefores of how Sri Chinmoy created so many things we might never really understand.  For how do you combine sport, literature, art, and music after all.  And how does his legacy continue to be perpetuated in events so difficult as this one, running 3100 miles.  Or just what is it that compels a group of girls to come here each day and sing songs to a world that looks as though they barely notice as they pass them by.

But of course they do notice and they do treasure the little jewels of sound and music that the girls so lovingly offer up.  Stutisheel who has been coming here since before the girls began to sing says, “I cannot imagine the 3100 without the Enthusiasm Awakeners.  It would be incomplete.”

“They are the most sincere group.  They are not singing for applause or appreciation.”

Over the years many groups were formed who sang and still continue to sing some of the thousands of songs that Sri Chinmoy wrote.  In December of 1999 he asked a crucial question of Parvati, the groups leader. One that 15 years on still continues to inspire, challenge, and fulfill her like nothing else.  He asked her simply enough, would she like her own singing group.

Knowing that all his other groups sang his Bengali songs she responded directly and honestly to his request with, what sounded like hesitation then, but now sounds like an epiphany.    She confessed that she found it hard to pronounce Bengali.

Sri Chinmoy on Music The Universal Language

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Sometimes it looks like a Spiritual Master throws dice but the outcome of it all was probably exactly what he was trying to subtly encourage to happen in the first place.  That is create this unique musical group that sings only his English songs.  There was no end of material for her and her hastily put together group to sing.  For he was writing songs at such a prodigious rate.  In fact there was more than enough material for all the groups to sing even if they tried to learn a new song each day.

So by 2006 Parvati’s group had amassed 1225 songs.  She thought, let me honor Sri Chinmoy’s 75th birthday that year and come to the race and sing every song.  That would mean singing 75 songs for 17 days.  No joke.

Now when 2007 came Sri Chinmoy asked her if she was not going to come out and do the same thing again. She said, well we already did it, didn’t we?  “What? 76 is not significant?”

She discussed it with her members and they agreed to come out every morning and sing,  it was the right thing to do, she says now as she looks back at it, and all the beautiful summers since.  Self Transcendence comes in many different shapes, dimensions, and colors after all.

Sri Chinmoy over fhs course of that long hot summer composed 65 songs just for her group.  It was an amazing and fulfilling inspiration for her and her group that just continues to shine and grow.  She says of 2007 now, “it was the summer of Grace.”

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On this day now 7 years past, Sri Chinmoy asked them to come down from the stands at a function so that he could teach them a song.  Something he had down hundreds of times by now.  After a while it finally occurred to Parvati that the song he was teaching them was now the name of her group. Enthusiasm Awakeners.

Stutisheel says, “they are singing most sincerely and most soulfully.  Beaming with joy.  Giving everything to the runners, so I can really appreciate them.  Over the years these qualities they have have increased.  Today which is their anniversary they have given me so much joy.  Sincere, soulful, pure, it is just amazing.  And I like the songs they are singing.”

He says he heard one song in particular that was about joy.  “It helps with our outer journey and our inner realization.”

He is also amazed at just how much effort went into their anniversary celebration this morning.  They came long before their performance to put up decorations and set out special treats for the runners.  “We really appreciate them.”

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Sarvagata is entering his final days now.  His 130 laps not just assures him of a victory this year but also a personal best.

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Sarah is on target to have the 2nd best time for a female.  Her average so far is 62.16 miles a day.

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William is looking better each day.

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Teekshanam arrives.

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Yuri had 117 laps yesterday.

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Start Day 43

The morning starts with dark skies and a few spits of rain

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Sometime on Tuesday morning his race will be over for another year.

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He had a kind of theme this year of experiencing happiness in a new way.  This he has not only done for himself, but in this picture he has given a little joy as well to Jaysalini.  The toy she plays with he just gave her.

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And if there is something he has given others that is not so easy to see, it is his magnificent performance on the course each day.  One that will be the best that he has ever done and one that offered inspiration to others to share his joy along with him.

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Yuri is also fast approaching his goal.  He did 117 laps yesterday.

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Yuri goes out hard

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He has just 315 miles more to go.

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Pranjal like both Yuri and Sarvagata is approaching his own personal best.

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Pranjal is 100 miles better than last year

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Vasu now though is on his shoulder just 16 miles behind.

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Sometimes the beauty here is surprising.

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Vasu had 119 laps.

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“I am grateful to the Enthusiasm Awakeners.  They inspire us very much.”  He describes that even since his first race he has had difficulty running first thing.  “I walk near them, I hear their voices, their singing, and their smiles.  I am inspired and after that I can then move, and I can run.  I am so so grateful.”

He says he was treated by Dr. Kausal who adjusted him and inspired him to run faster.

“Yesterday Nirjarini (the cook) made for me salt cabbage.  I was very happy.  I have asked from the beginning.  I asked last year and they could not do it.  But this year Nirjarini did it, and I was the happiest man in the world.  I told her she is a real cook and a real chef.”

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I ask when he will finish and he says he doesn’t know.  “It is God’s will.  I will try and do my best.”

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Stutisheel with his 123 laps had the 2nd most.

flower-legsHe is just 436 miles from the finish

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He enjoys the companionship when it comes.

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The days now passing no faster than they did before but feeling gone so much more.

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Sarah did 116 laps yesterday.

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She has 500 miles more.

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Sarah has been such an inspiration.

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Jayasalini had another good day.  She did 109 laps.  She speaks for quite awhile with her friends in Moscow.

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Her Mom came yesterday and is keeping a close watch on her.

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I ask her about the Enthusiasm Awakeners anniversary.  “I love this party.  I was actually looking forward to this day.  I heard so much about this day.  To be honest I wanted so much to have a t shirt with my name on it.”

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“Their singing is such a big part of the race.  I am personally looking forward to this part of the day.  Every morning I try and pick up one song.  Then I sing it during the day.”

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My Mom came yesterday and this morning she also joined the Enthusiasm Awakeners group.

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Nidhruvi is a happy runner.

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She ran 104 laps yesterday and has 2493 miles.

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Nidhruvi has run a courageous race.

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Who will see these little bits of beauty when we go.

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Tony and his friend who are working in the area come by to see the board this morning.  He cannot believe how many miles Sarvagata has done since when he was last here on Tuesday.  He took a picture of the board then and wants to compare. He heard about the race a few years ago and just loves.  He has even brought his wife here to show her.

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Larisa performs with her group this morning.

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Darius Kaufman came by to play his bagpipes this morning.

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Alan and William were the prime recipients of the performance

photo by Parvati

photo by Parvati

But all the runners enjoyed the full hour that he played

Photo by Alakananda

Photo by Alakananda

William of course is focused on other things than the either the Highlands or the Orkneys for that matter.

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William had 119 laps yesterday.

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He has not lost his drive or his focus.

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William has just 580 miles more.

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Baladev had 106 laps yesterday.

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You can easily see just how much he loves it here.

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Birds of a feather.

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Teekshanam has learned so much.  He has 2203 miles.

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The big celebration already has begun

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Ananda-lahari has……..(not sure of the caption here?)

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The skies may be grey but there is always light.

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Sopan doing his very best.

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Prayer of the day

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Recites in English:

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Recites in Russian:

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Ray in particular enjoys the Anniversary of the Enthusiasm Awakeners

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There is a special poem

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A song with Ananda-Lahari

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Also a Poem for the Cooks

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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The Enthusiasm Awakeners Song

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Song of the Day

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Inner awareness
Brings enthusiasm
And enthusiasm
Brings more inner awareness.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 80, Agni Press, 1983

 

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5 Comments to “July 27: Summer of Grace”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

    Progress
    Is happiness.
    Happiness
    Is willingness.

    Sri Chinmoy, 15537 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 16, Agni Press, 1999

  2. nirmala says:

    more more more ever more nourishing and awakening
    congratulation for all these super inspiring entries
    I strongly feel it is all God’s Grace

  3. Sarita says:

    Happy Birthday, Enthusiasm Awakeners! Congratulations! So much joy you give!

  4. Purnakama says:

    Hi Utpal,

    I will be leaving tomorrow to go to the West Coast to help with another race, the Victoria Triathlon. I don’t know if I will have an opportunity to read the blog everyday while I’m there, and in case I don’t, I wanted to thank you once again for this wonderful, inspiring daily blog. I am able to feel everyday that I am actually at the race, especially with the interviews, songs and prayers that we can listen to.

    Congrats to all of the runners, helpers, singers and bloggers!

    Thank you again!

    Purnakama

  5. Bigalita says:

    Soo much joy – thank you, thank you. I needed it this morning and loved every minute of it. From the songs, to the poems and the enthusiastic appreciation for the Enthusiasm Awakeners, to seeing all the incredible mileage that flies by every day – it certainly made my day. All gratitude – from a couch-potatoe (young at heart, but not so young in the body)

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