Day 40…Enthusiasm Awakeners (July 27)

They sing for 30 minutes a day, which of course when compared to the grand canvas of a runners very long day isn’t a great deal of time.  Yet just to walk by or stand for even a moment while the Enthusiasm Awakeners sing and clap and cheer is a joyous reminder of the importance of enthusiasm in our lives.  And to the runners of course how just more difficult their task would be without it.

The energy and joy of their performance lasts long after they have headed off to jobs and other tasks.  As someone who has heard and seen a great deal of their performances over the years I know and feel deep respect and appreciation for their tireless contribution to this incredible event.

They have been here standing and singing by the low brick wall ever morning of the race for more than 10 years.  Today is a special one though for it is the 10th anniversary of when Sri Chinmoy gave them that name.

This morning the ranks of the pink shirted group of girls has swelled considerably in honor of the occasion.  Parvati has been the leader of this group of girls for 18 years.  Ever since Sri Chinmoy asked her if she would form a group to sing some of his English songs. A task that she has continued to perform, as so many years and runners continue to sweep by.

Parvati has calculated that over the years her group has sung for 44 different runners from 17 countries.  Of the 44 runners 9 were women.  Ananda-Lahari has been the only runner they have seen every year since they have been coming to sing.  She adds that they have learned 1528 songs from of which they routinely sing 227 of.

Parvati tells me that in the last year that Sri Chinmoy came to the race he would drive his car there every morning while they sang and then teach them a new song each day.  That summer he taught them 51 songs.  “We got so much joy and inspiration that it has continued to carry us through all these years. I am so grateful to Sri Chinmoy for his vision of this race.  And to all the participants of the race including all those who help in any way and follow the race each year.”

Nilpushpi tells me that she too would come in the mornings when the group sang and play her keyboard further down the block to encourage the runners.  “Giving and receiving joy always.  I received much more than I could possible give.”

Later she was invited by Parvati to join in with the group.  “I was thrilled.  What joy, oneness, and friendship.  I deeply admire, appreciate, and adore.  The group gives boundless and sweetness, joy, joy, joy.  Amazing magic.”

Paree is the musical director of the group and whose job it was to record in a small book all the songs that Sri Chinmoy composed for them when he pulled his little red car over to the curb.

It is a small book but it includes 2 summers worth of songs each carefully transcribed as they were sung by Sri Chinmoy.  The book is a unique and precious thing and as Paree held it delicately in her hands I could not be aware of its absolute sacredness.

The story of how the whole process began and then developed was based on I guess you might call a series of coincidences.  Parvati asked her group to come in the mornings to the race in 2006 and sing 75 songs from their archive each day.  They came and so I suppose Sri Chinmoy decided to come as well.  A relationship, and a timeless bond then created between the singers and the 3100 mile race.

“He would come every morning and teach us a song,” she says.  A smile lighting her face as she remembers those precious sweet moments.  Now captured in her clear bright penmanship in a little book.

“Many significant songs were written in this time.  Songs that have entered into the disciple culture.”  She tells me a list of many songs which are still very well ingrained in my heart.”

“After the race was over that year Sri Chinmoy continued to come out here.  The dates go way beyond the end of the race, especially in 2007.  Sri Chinmoy used to come out in his car every morning and so his students just continued to come.”  She opens the book to the final song which she recorded on September 23 2007.  It is a birthday song dedicated to Parvati whose birthday had just taken place.”

“I like looking at this, it is like a little time piece.”

Photo by Jowan

Enthusiasm is beautiful,
Enthusiasm is powerful,
Enthusiasm is fruitful
When it is found inside
Our life-breath.

The board at the start of Day 40

Empty camp

Yolanda and her coach Andrea who arrived from Australia last night

Joke

Andrey

Clock

Sergey and Stutisheel

Suhasini rushing because she is a little late

Harita

Yolanda takes her daily picture

Girls

Rupantar

Nidhruvi and Alakananda

Picking shoes

boys

Ananda-Lahari had a big day yesterday

Nearly time

Shoe on

Alakananda with a funny picture of her

Start of Day 40

An incredible day

Vasu ran 62 miles 114 laps

He now has 2571 miles

He is 88 miles ahead of Nirbhasa

A bit of green

Nirbhasa had a good day with 63 miles 115 laps

He has 2483 miles

He is 139 miles ahead of his 2015 pace

14 miles separates him from Kaneenika

Flower

Kaneenika did the most miles accept for Ananda-Lahari

She did 64 miles 118 laps

With Suhasini

She is 76 miles ahead of last year

Some comfort from Tanya

Truly great

Flower

Harita did 59 miles 109 laps

She now has 2324 miles

Telling jokes

She has 776 miles more and needs to just continue her current pace

Flower

Yolanda did 62 miles and this is her 6th straight day of 113 laps

She now has 2293 miles and must continue her current pace

Says goodbye to race veteran Stutisheel who is off to competitively swim Lake Zurich

Flower

Smarana did 44 miles 81 laps

He now has 2145 miles

Still strong

flower

Andrey did 47 miles 87 laps

He now has 2094 miles

His wife came yesterday

Flower

Sergey did 48 miles 89 laps

He now has 2092 miles

flower

Nidhruvi did 52 miles 95 laps

She now has 2021 miles

A great runner

Telling jokes

Flower

It was Ananda-Lahari who was the big surprise yesterday

He more than doubled his mileage from the previous day with 87 miles 160 laps

He now has 1928 miles

No one will clip his silver wings

Flower

At 10 Sahishnu comes

Tanya discusses Kaneenika’s diet with Tanya

Alexy taking a break

 

Alan preparing food for Nirbhasa

Russians

Nirjharini

“O goodness was that a raindrop.  Now where did I put my umbrella?”

Daily Prayer read by Arpan

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Supreme

Alakananda leaves today

Anjali tells a great story about Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Enthusiasm
Is of supreme importance.
Before we embark
On our spiritual journey,
While we are on the journey
And at the end of our journey’s close,
Enthusiasm
Is our constant, sleepless need.

 

5 Comments to “Day 40…Enthusiasm Awakeners (July 27)”

  1. Hridayinee says:

    Utpal thank you so much for this enthusiastic report! I remember the few times I was fortunate to help at the 3100 mile race, the highlight of my day was always singing for the runners with the Enthusiasm Awakeners group. And I remember the grandeur of their anniversary Prasad! Wonderful! Congratulations! Could see it was bringing so much extra joy to the runners too. Gratitude.

  2. Bigalita says:

    Dear Anjali, Thank you for telling us that beautiful story of
    Guru”big surprise. Memories like this stay with us for ever. Thank you.

  3. Ksenia says:

    Beautiful!!!

  4. nada says:

    Everything is just Divine… Supremely special congratulations to “superman impersonation of performance artist”, as Sahishnu called extraordinary humble soul called Ananda-Lahari. And Gratitude, a zillion times Gratitude to Parvati, Paree and all Enthusiasm Awakeners’ girls for daily powerful infusion of good-will and optimism. And gratitude to Anjali for such deeply touching and sweet story … JUST GRATITUDE

  5. Abhinabha says:

    What a wonderful post, Utpal! It’s one of my all time favourites already. Gratitude to all the self-giving souls of Enthusiasm-Awakeners.

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