July 28: Push Limits

“My first race was a new experience (2011) and I had this child attitude.  Everything was interesting and exciting.  So I was discovering limits and speed, and things like that.  My second race was a little competitive.  I was discovering new athletic sides to my character.  In my third race I was mostly inside myself.  Working it out and figuring out stuff.  Somehow it has all combined.”


“In this race I think I still have this child attitude.  To push limits.  To discover what is beyond my present capacity.  I think I have got a little drop of wisdom.  How to accept my limitations and incapacities. To also understand that even if I have one it is a temporary thing.  And actually it doesn’t depend on me.  And the capacities as well.  It all depends on the one who owns all that.”

“Also it was an interesting game.”

He describes how for the Supreme it must be boring at times if we don’t push and test what we have and who we really are.  If we live a life that doesn’t explore and challenge and transcend then as spiritual people there is no way for the divine in us to appreciate his creation.  “There is no game for him.”

He says that when we really test ourselves, “I feel it is a little more fun for him.”

He describes how it is not enough, at least for him, to remain complacent or take for granted anything about being part of the 3100.  As a runner his first task is to aspire and strive here at the race at all times, and cheerfully accept whatever number of laps that you complete each day.

“Then when we achieve something we are playing with him in his his own game.”


I suggest that he means don’t take anything for granted.. “Yes, fight for that.  It is okay.  Compete it is fine.”

There are many extraordinary things about Sarvagata Ukrainskyi and what he has in fact achieved here over these past 43 days.  Sometime tomorrow he will have completed the great journey and win the race by more than 100 miles.  He has led the field here since day 5 and in the long interval since has not looked back or anywhere else for that matter other than towards the once distant finish line.  When he indeed does cross the line tomorrow he will in his 4th attempt also set a new personal best.  Likely moving as well from 5th to 4th place overall.

There is a tremendous irony in what he has achieved if not excelled at each summer he has come here to run.  Throughout most of the year training is secondary to almost every other part of his busy and dedicated life.   Where I suspect every other runner here has looked at the starting line with some trepidation and concern that they have not trained and prepared enough he does not.

Instead he has learned, and once again proves, that if he listens to his body and more importantly listens to the divine whispers of his heart he will endure and he will succeed.


There is no other runner I have ever seen here who has been able to accomplish so much by preparing so little.  Yet he still knows that the race for him is not just about muscles and strength and determination.  It is also about giving, and being happy and content to receive little or nothing in return.

That surrendering within is to not give up.  It is to accept gratefully whatever experience every part of your being needs to have.  And if there is something else that separates Sarvagata from all the other fine athletes who have been his family for the past 44 days is this unequivocal understanding.  That tomorrow is just one more finish line to cross before reaching all the other timeless goals still ahead, leading to his perfection.

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In 1973 a horse named Secretariat was attempting to complete the triple crown at Belmont race track.  He was a favorite of course but what Secretariat did that day was something we don’t expect to see.  He didn’t just run a great race he also ran into the record books and set a time that has yet to be surpassed.

The records in horse racing have not climbed as they have in human competition because Horses don’t look at records but only try to beat the horse who runs beside it.

In 1973 Secretariat ran with such speed and conviction that everyone who saw that race were thrilled and surprised.  He won by 31 lengths

*Note:  Jockey Ron Turcotte at no time during the race used his whip to encourage the horse to go faster.

“It was a hot day, but it was beautiful. He was the best ride you ever wanted to have. He is the greatest horse that ever lived, and he was so generous and gentle and did everything I asked of him. Whenever he was right, no horse could beat him.”*


Satisfaction is not only
At the finish line
But also
At the starting line.

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


The most laps anyone ran yesterday was the 126 by Vasu.   He is now just 7 miles behind his winning time from last year.


Sarvagata will only need to come one more morning.


Like a few others Pranjal is closing in on a personal best as well.


Start Day 44


It is simply a magnificent day in which to run here.


The roads still wet from the heavy rains that came after the race was over for the night. Sutisheel leads out this morning.


I ask Sarvagata to describe the help his sister Sarvadhara has offered him here this year.

“She is perfect.  That’s it.  She ran with me.  There is nothing to add and there is nothing to take out.  Just perfect.”


The following sequence of pictures is in some way typical of how she helped him.  She holds out a sandwich and tries to convince him to take it.  He resists.


She knows that he needs to eat it and he has accepts that her advice is correct. She in turn is happy that he has done the right thing.


I suggest to Sarvagata this morning that his performance has been so strong that he has pulled people along with him.  He sees no bigger purpose.

“I was just joyful and playful and I wanted to play.  I had a lot of fun.  I was so happy and I am still so happy.”


But obviously there are the not so easy moments.  Getting up from a short break.


The roads not always so clear and easy straight ahead.


I ask him about a personal record that he should achieve tomorrow.  “I am going to do my best.  I am not going to say whatever comes.  I will accept…..no. I will accept it when it is over.  But before it is over I am going to push to the limit.  That is my philosophy for today.”


Tomorrow all will be revealed.


Larisa and friends perform


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If you really want to know what is fun just grab a plastic jug and run with it as fast as you can.


Then pretend to let Philip win and let him take it back.


There is a lot of evidence of the heavy rain from last night.


Yuri had a typical day of 118 laps.


He has 251 more miles to go.


Kodanda trying to capture a beautiful moment.


And then the moments are swallowed up and you have to search for light.


Pranjal did 116 laps yesterday.  He is 96 miles ahead of last year and will also likely do a personal best.  He has 2797 miles.


Having a moment with Baladev.


Checking out the board.


Big legs.


And some very tiny feet


Vasu seems particularly strong the last 2 days.


He has 2787 miles and is close to both his record and to Pranjal.


Stutisheel had 114 laps.


He has 2737 miles.


He is obviously focusing on his personal best from 2009 which was 63.82.  He is currently averaging 63.66 miles per day.


Daughter Alakananda gets a drink ready for him.


The sun rising the steps moving forward.


Her face at times cannot mask the might effort that she puts in


She did 104 laps yesterday and has 2667 miles.


I ask Sarah to explain if she can just how Sarvagata does so well here.  “He says that most of his preparation is spiritual.  Like Meditation.”

“I don’t understand it.  He doesn’t seem to run very much during the year.  If at all.  Some people get all the luck.  I guess it is just God’s grace.  He works very very hard I think.  Right from the very beginning of the morning.  Then he speeds up in the evening.”


“Everyone seems to lose energy in the afternoon.  In the mornings it looks sometimes like he has put in a real hard day the day before.  Everyone is kind of different in the morning.”

“To watch him in the evenings it is like he is running a 5km race.  It has been really enjoyable really.  One of the highlights of the race.”

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Now let me get this straight.  You want me to go upstairs and get you a nut and not to get you a pickle.


Now what did he say……hmmmm I forget.  Maybe if I eat a nut I will remember.


Seems to be a lot of squirrels on the course today.


Jayasalini had 106 laps yesterday.


It helps when she runs with others.  Manoshri leaves for Canada today.


Most of the time she is on her own.


Mom will help her now until she finishes. She has 2594 miles.


On a road that so many walk upon and yet how so few run.


William did 111 laps yesterday.


He now has 2582 miles.


William and Alan an incredible team.


Nidhruvi had a good day yesterday of 108 laps.  But just not quite enough.


Sarvagata has helped her a lot this race and this morning she offers him some cream that she believes will help in his last day.


A poem Nidhruvi has put up by her table to inspire her.


We talk quite a bit this morning and you know how hard she is trying.   Keeping the ball in the air.


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Wait a minute.  Today we are supposed to go counter clockwise aren’t we?


Look I am not sure what happened but I think I broke it.  You won’t get mad will you?


Baladev had a really great day with 110 laps.


He has 2480 miles.  111 more than last year.


For a while he runs with Ananda-Lahari.


Teekshanam is finishing his race strongly.


He has 2263 miles and is doing really well.


Ananda-Lahari did 80 laps yesterday.


He has 1985 miles so far.


There is a big gathering across the street to mark the end of Ramadan


Taking the necessary steps.


Petra is heading back to London.  She tells me how much the other cooks liked Ray’s poem yesterday.



“It is so touching when people appreciate you in that way.  Ray is so special.  It is so touching and so beautiful.”

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Some dogs get appreciation just by being so cute.


Gosh, I wish I had remembered to bring my chopsticks.


Ray has 1666 miles


Who is simply so amazing in so many ways.


One more glimpse of nature


Prayer of the day recited by Harikanta and Sarvadhara


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Enthusiasm Awakeners


Song of the Day


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My evening descends
And most compassionately tells me
That if I want to win the inner race,
Every day without fail,
I must push beyond my limitations.

Sri Chinmoy, My Evening Descends, Agni Press, 1996



9 Comments to “July 28: Push Limits”

  1. chanakhya says:

    Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.
    – Mahatma Gandhi

  2. nirmala says:

    -In 1973 Secretariat ran with such speed and conviction that everyone who saw that race were thrilled and surprised. He won by 31 lengths.-

    31 is the number here also

  3. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

    No rest, no rest,
    If you want to remain always
    Your very best!

    Sri Chinmoy,19279 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 20, Agni Press, 2001

  4. nirmala says:

    I forgot to say is that the length and strength of 31 horses in between the first and the second, if you image 31 horses that is immense and huge..

  5. Doris says:

    Thank you for another very interesting interview with Sarvagata. It reminded me of something I had just read a few days ago in Sri Chinmoy’s writings.

    “When the race started, the human runner took the lead. For the first twenty metres, the divine runner was behind the human runner. Then the divine runner, while running, put his right palm on the human runner and said, “Bless you.” The divine runner went so fast! By the time the human runner had gone another ten metres, the divine runner had finished the race. Then the divine runner came back and blessed the human runner.”

    I have been watching several movies on horses. Here in the video one can only imagine the story behind such close friendship between rider and horse that makes him fly so fast.

    Sri Chinmoy also suggest to imagine to ride a horse in order to increase one’s childlike joy.

    There is also an exercise for runners to imagine oneself as runner and horse at the same time.

  6. pasi says:

    Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
    -T.S. Eliot

    Let the Force be with You.

  7. Jadranka says:

    Hi Utpal, thanks for all these interviews. From day to day we can see how runners are progressing and how their determination and strength increases. They all have already transcended themselves so much.
    A few days ago there was a comment how Guru said so little about the inner significance of the race, and my feeling is that at that time we were not ready to understand it. Sarvagata this year showed us and himself what this race is all about – the Supreme”s Game. His comment about how less he was prepared outwardly, not having enough time to run, confirmed that it is all about inner awareness, high consciousness, focus, determination and so many other divine qualities, and that it is more important to meditate and gain inner strength than to do outer, physical running. Guru did everything from his inner strength and his realization, showing the world the significance of spiritual life and awareness and oneness with his Inner Pilot.
    Gratitude, Jadranka

  8. nirmala says:

    after reading all these excellent comments I cannot overcome the feeling that the number 31 has something to do with unicorns, perhaps Secretariat was a unicorn in disguise that powerfully showed it-self, thank you Doris and Jadranka with Love and Peace, Nirmala

  9. nirmala says:

    a quote from Mother Teresa
    “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives: Be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies: Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank people will try to cheat you: Be honest anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight: Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous of you: Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten by tomorrow: Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: Give your best anyway.”
    ~ Mother Teresa

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