I Have To Do Something

“You have to be careful how you use the word ‘me.’ If you start using the word me you have already lost the game.”

I have always found being around Chandika a refreshing and energizing experience. I had recently heard that a significant disciple anniversary for her was approaching. I was curious as to what she was undertaking in order to celebrate it, and also learn more about the long path she had taken in order to get there.

What I hadn’t expected was that she was not going to take any credit for it. “It is not always about the me, it is always about the ‘NOT’ me.”

“So when my 50th anniversary comes along it is going to be Guru jumping up and down saying, 50 years what shall we do…..and…., we shall do great things.”

“God gave me a particular place to be on earth including a Mother who reached to be a 100 years of perfect health.”   Chandika tells me how proud her Mom was to reach that milestone. That Guru was also very enthusiastic about it as well. He also considered her to be one of his disciples. “She was on Guru’s team,” says Chandika. Her Mom felt it was her soul’s promise to the Supreme to live to be 100.

Chandika’s own first steps on the path she says were largely influenced by her two older brothers. “They were sincerely seeking, so there was much to learn there.” She felt her own aspiration very early on was gradually gaining strength and that her brothers were a positive influence on that.

A critical moment came for Chandika when it came time for her to select a university to attend. She had been accepted on scholarship to a large school but when she returned home after visiting the far off campus, she had doubts. In order to make the right choice she cast the I Ching to confirm whether going to that school was the right choice or not. She was surprised when it told her not to go.

Instead it advised her, she explains, “you don’t need to go far away to find what you need in life. Stay close and you will be fine.” Chandika describes this period of her life as a time when she was influenced by esoteric things, like astrology and the I Ching, particularly when it came to making important decisions.

In the end she went to a smaller school nearby where her brothers had also attended. “I felt very protected.” Then when her brothers, who had become disciples, showed her Guru’s picture she felt completely ready to make the same move herself. “Everyone knew this had to be the next step.”

As she recalls this historic moment she doesn’t hesitate to suggest that this outer connection could have taken place much earlier.   She feels she should have been with her brothers right from the beginning when they had first met Guru and became disciples.

Nonetheless when they had an opportunity and showed Guru her picture he said, “I have already seen her many times in the inner world.” She says that Guru knew that eventually her entire family would become his disciples.

Chandika says that her brother had once cast her astrological chart and it pointed out that she would most likely move forward in her life in a very direct and singular way towards the goal, like a flying arrow. More importantly the goal would be absolutely fulfilling. “That thing was going to be a thing of utter joy.”

“I was desperate to go forward and fulfill the next steps. I couldn’t get to Guru fast enough.”

It would not be until a spring break trip east to New York in a car in which she traveled with a bunch of strangers that she finally got to see Guru for the first time. She saw him arrive home from India at the airport and the next day she meditated with him and with other disciples at his home in Queens. It was on that occasion that he accepted her as his disciple. “That was very very life changing.”

Chandika feels that in the lead up to her first meeting with him, that he had already started preparing and guiding her, long in advance of their first actual meeting. When she returned back home with the others in the car she says they noticed that she had changed. Like a light switch had been turned on and her life now glowed with a more powerful inner light.

After her school year was completed she moved to New York as quickly as possible. She feels that in the late 60’s and early 70’s, particularly in America, that it was a special time. That Guru was attracting the many many young seekers whose destiny it was to become his disciples.

This rapidly growing young community of disciples, all having come to the spiritual life in their own unique way at the same time collectively experiencing spirituality and accepting guidance from a Spiritual Master in ways that they could never have dreamed was possible.

She says, “that after a year or 2 on the path you are then in it for the real thing. You are rooted in your growing. The Supreme doesn’t want you just to play games and do tricks.”

“I take seriously what Guru has given me to do.” She says that over the years it has continually become more clear and in particular after his passing in 2007.”

Chandika says the short version of the meaning of her name is the Goddess of light, power, grace, and luminosity. “It is not what I do it is what I am. There is much more that I need to learn, and this is the time when we are getting closer to our more mature ages. You have to see how you are going to manage the rest of this incarnation. I think the most important thing is to do so with grace.” Ultimately of course trying to please the Supreme in his own way.

Chandika says that some of the most powerful spiritual experiences she has had in her life were when Guru has inspired and instructed her when she wasn’t even in his presence. Lessons learned from within.

She tells the story of how one day she felt as if someone had hurt her and she was feeling sorry for herself. Then she imagined herself as a fragile baby duck and the other person who had inflicted the slight also as being a vulnerable tiny animal. “In this way Guru tricked me out of my difficulty. That the affection was always there, it was simply another reality. All I had to do was find it.”

Chandika speaks confidently about the years that have transpired since Sri Chinmoy’s passing. She feels that the changes that have taken place in her life, and continue to take place, are all placed there in front of her by Guru.

“He wanted everything to expand. I just try to see where he wants me to go next.   Guru is still around everywhere and in everything. He is so huge.   You can see him smiling in the sky. You can feel him all around you.”

“One of my main activities now is working with the brand new disciples.” She describes a project that she did for the 10th anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s Samadhi which involved writing done 10 most significant memories of Guru in her life.

“As I began working on that I started dutifully and then ending up just loving it.   There was an aspect of me that always wanted to be a writer.” She is now working on a book and as she writes she feels as though she is constantly having an inner conversation with Guru as she writes. “I am so happy because I feel we are spending time together.”

Chandika is at this point is tentatively  titling her book, ‘Reminisces drawn from a lifetime with Guru.

She adds that her day, besides including writing for an hour, also includes hatha yoga, playing tabla, and going to the pool to swim. “I feel completely free. No pressure.   Wherever my mind roams.

The actual 50th anniversary she says will take place January 13, 2019. She remembers that when her 13th anniversary happened she was also powerfully inspired to undertake a self transcending project. “It is not just enough to be alive. I have to do something.” That year she set a goal of running 13 marathons and ended up completing 14.

She then refers back to her earlier comment about not being the doer. “It is not me deciding. It is like a compulsion comes that says you can’t let this date go by without doing something.”

Something to do:
Something to love:
Something to look forward to:
Satisfaction in perfection.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 7, Agni Press, 1980

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An Epic Journey….Performing the Sri Aurobindo Play…Installment 3

A great swath of time has passed since the project first began.  A lot of time.  Yet as Kaivalya and his sons and a troop of male actors prepared for the 3rd installment of the Sri Aurobindo play the goal was now almost in sight.  Though at best current estimates the final piece of the puzzle would not be in place place until August of 2018.

Sri Chinmoy standing before Sri Aurobindo samadhi in Pondicherry

Kaivalya was in the midst of some last minute costume preparation as he once again recounted the story of how it all began.   For certain episode 3 of the play was minutes from being performed.  He believes the whole great project was first was set in motion in 1998 when Sri Chinmoy called him and said, “I would like you to do my whole, Descent of the Blue. (his play dedicated to Sri Aurobindo).  Take as long as you like, use as many disciples as you like,  and spend as much money as you like and make it a big job.  So I said fine and started working on it.”

Unfortunately an unforeseen set of circumstances came up and the project was put on hold.  “As you know when something is intended to happen and then it doesn’t happen it never reoccurs for a long long time.”  It was only after many years when he was performing in a small scene from the play that the spark was once again reignited.  “Then it came back to me what Sri Chinmoy had first asked me many many years ago.”

The trajectory of the play from then until now has seen the project influenced by a number of inspirations.  Not the least of course were the crucial contributions of his 2 sons Devashishu and Sahadeva.  They felt that breaking the play into instalments would heighten the overall experience and tell the story better than in just one long 4 hour performance.  Devashishu volunteered to write the scripts and Sahadeva offered to provide musical accompaniment.

Ultimately the first section took place in August 2014 and was followed by part 2 the next year.  After a gap of of one year in 2016 part 3 followed this past August which will hopefully see the 4th and final installment performed in August of 2018.

“We felt the first 2 performances worked well, then last year didn’t happen and we were all quite happy to wait a year.”  Kaivalya then mentioned all the bits of the actual story that will have to be concluded in order for the story to at last be complete.

Kaivalya’s role during the play is to act as the narrator and performs in character as the elder Sri Aurobindo.  “I have a very strong feeling of the play.  I feel really strongly connected.  In the play what I do is recall my whole life through all the other actors.  It will be quite nice next year when the 2 Aurobindos meet in heaven. (younger played by Abhinabha)

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Speaking with Abhinabha as he gets into costume in the final minutes before the performance starts it seems almost incomprensible to imagine that earlier in the day he was running a very fast marathon up at Rockland State park.  He says his race plan didn’t work out but he is being incredibly modest about his time for the race.  He was 3rd in a time of 2:39. “I was hoping to do a couple of minutes faster.”

He says that he was not in the least distracted by his role in the play which would follow fast on the heels of his marathon.  “Totally separate chapter.  The marathon was just a marathon and then when I came back this thing started.”  Abhinabha confesses that he had to learn a long and complicated script but that the blocking of the play and in a sense the one and only rehearsal took place only in the afternoon.  “It was the first real rehearsal.” Interestingly he suggests that running a fast marathon is a harder challenge for him then performing in a play.

“The marathon is a good reality check.  You can’t cheat it.”

This is now the 3rd time he has taken on the challenge of performing as the young Aurobindo.  “Every time I play the part something special happens, especially the first time.  It is not so much a mental or learning experience it is a spiritual experience I feel.  You are embodying a spiritual master of a very high caliber.  That does something to your consciousness.  The first time I felt tremendous peace, both after and during the performance.  I always feel so comfortable in that role.   It is a very very special experience.”

“I have always had an affinity for Sri Aurobindo both for his writings and his poetry.  So it was a huge honor for me and so it was a dream come true that I could play the part.” He also appreciates greatly how Devashishu was able to mold the original play into 4 self contained and meaningful portions.  “He knows how to draw a story into it while at the same time doing justice to the original play.”

Despite there being a gap of one year between parts 2 and now part 3 Abhinabha says, “I always had confidence.  I knew Devashsishu was planning for this year.  I was confident that it was going to happen.  I am looking forward to the last part because that is where Sri Chinmoy moves to the ashram with his family.   That is going to be very sweet for us. ”

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“People need humor, especially after running 26 miles.”  Devashishu was speaking just after completing his own theatrical marathon.  One in which he had to overcome a different set of obstacles.   Namely writing a hour plus script and then having a minimal amount of time to rehearse.

A few days earlier he had at least expressed some doubts about the project all coming together but now after a flawless performance he can happily confirm, “yes it has worked.”

He confesses that one of the reasons there had been some doubts was that he had gotten sick shortly after arriving in New York for celebrations.  “I was just a little under the weather.” Having written and directed and performed in many plays over the years he describes the enormous amount of energy needed to make it all happen.  During celebrations in particular many are involved in many different activities.  “Some of these guys are in 2,3, or 4 singing groups.”

When I mention how his lead actor had run a very fast marathon just earlier he says, “I can’t imagine.  A 2:39 marathon, rehearsing for a concert that is tomorrow night, and he is in a singing group that is performing every day.  So to do this is something.  But part of the aspect that makes this all so fun is that people are so busy that they are in a mode that is just all giving.  You just have to give as much as you can when you can.”

“There is something about the dynamism that you pour into each of the events.  But you get on a role here during celebrations.  You are doing this and you are doing that. I think it makes you lighter, I think it makes you brighter.  It makes your mind clearer and it gives you tremendous joy.”

When the play is happening he says the most important thing for him to do is to maintain the feeling  “What I am really concerned about is that Sri Chinmoy’s play the Descent of the Blue has such depth and profundity in it, and how it captures Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness that you want to somehow bring that consciousness over.  That is the main thing.”  From both the audience’s point of view and his own he feels that play on this Warm August evening managed to do that.

“There were moments where you really felt who Sri Aurobindo is and what he gave to the world.  Sri Chinmoy captures that so beautifully in his play.” As for if the final installment will take place next August he is not yet certain.  “When I sit down to write the play sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t  happen straight away.  It can take a while and usually at some point some fire pushes it through.  Some ideas come and it all starts coming together.

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2017 Sri Chinmoy Swim-Run Trio



Heading out to first buoy

First turn

First out of the water

*Click On Link Below to See Rest of Post*

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Sri Chinmoy’s 47 Mile Race 2017

It has taken me a lot longer than I hoped to gather up all the bits and pieces of the 47 mile race this year and I apologize to all those who have patiently waited to see pictures and listen to the voices of those who took part that wonderful night.

For me the race holds so many precious memories, particularly of course in the years when Sri Chinmoy not only came to watch and inspire the runners but also on those 2 historic occasions when he actually ran himself.

In 1980 Sri Chinmoy ran the race for the 2nd time with a time of 11:27, which transcended his time from the previous year.   I also ran the race that night for the 3rd time.  I was able to complete the race in 6:19 and then get out my film camera to record this footage.

New generations of runners have come and found their own love and inspiration for an event that is like no other.

They are building upon their own memories and yet the core of inspiration that compelled us to stand on the dusty track for the first time, to head off into the unknown 39 years ago remains intact and continually transcendent.  To honor our beloved spiritual teacher on his birthday in a profound and tangible way.

To take part means one sets off running at midnight.  To complete those sacred 47 miles means for most the necessity of  calling forth all of who you are and all that you have within.  To uncover and reveal all of your heart’s dedication and perhaps step up even one tiny rung on our timeless self transcendence journey.

Pratyaya and Mantrita

It is a perfect night

Tarit directing traffic

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Yolanda’s Finish…51 Days 17 Hours

Yolanda’s Finish Video

Final Laps

Empty chair

Smile Baby Smile

Nirbhasa getting a foot massage from his sister

“We can’t wait”

At long last

The smile


Daughter Tiffany

World Record



World class supporters Cathy Troisi and Kent Moore

Eddie and Valerie

The 10 Magnificent Runners

Harita’s Finish…51 Days 12 Hours 48 Minutes



Dear Friends of Yolanda


Last Lap

photo by Jowan


At Last to sit




My Own Gratitude Heart

A great story

Day 52…My Inspiration (August 8)

Her story is a miraculous one.  Late in the race reaching the finish line for Yolanda seemed it would be an impossible task.  One, that up until not too long ago,  was receding further and further beyond her grasp.

Yet today, on Day 52 it is just 60 miles away.  Something, that as she confidently walks this morning, the last day of the race, knows is an achievable goal.  One she has worked unbelievably hard for.

Her run this summer has not just given her impressive running resume a grand new prize, but also has rewarded her with transformative experiences and shown her surprising strengths that she had known that she had within herself.  Qualities that all of us have but are seemingly only brought to the fore when we are confronted by true challenge and adversity.

“This is my last day and if I get emotional it is only because of all the love and support that I have gotten over the past 52 days.  Everyone has been so amazing.  They welcomed me in.”

“Most of all they believed in me.  Even when I was 44 miles behind.  I did a great come back.  It is going to be a long emotional day.”

I remind Yolanda that in our first interview she had hoped at some point to have a powerful emotional experience.  When asked if this is what she hoped for. “YES!  I said I wanted to cry.  I wanted to feel something special.”

“I have done over 540 marathons and ultras and I have never cried at any of them.  Now I haven’t even finished. I am only on mile 3 and I am already crying.  It is beautiful.”

Yolanda was incredibly confident when she started this years race but I am curious if when she was behind she had doubts about reaching the finish line.  “Yes, when I got sick the 3rd time.  I prayed and I talked to God.  I asked him why was this happening to me.  I know you never give me any more than I can handle.  But I can’t handle being 44 miles in the hole.  When I also have to keep doing 60 miles every day.”

“I was crying.  I was really upset and I actually said that I quit.  So I went to my aid station and got my phone and I was calling my husband and all the notifications just kept beeping and beeping.”

“They said, Yolanda you are my inspiration.  Yolanda I walked today because of you.  Yolanda you motivate me.  That was God saying to me……these people need you.  You can’t quit.”

“Then I just took off walking and kept doing the 62 miles every day and here I am.”

“I see a new me.  I see a growth.  A strength that I never ever had and I see a lot of love.  It is just overwhelming all the love and joy.”

To all those who have worked hard to fulfill Yolanda’s 52 day challenge she says, “Thank you and I am so proud of everyone of you who have taken the 52 day challenge.  The main thing is that you did it.  We did it.”

“I did my 60 plus miles a day and you all did many miles a day and you stuck with it.  52 days of working out is amazing.  You did it and I am proud of you.”

He who has inspiration

Soulful inspiration

is constantly running towards

and crying for

The Beyond

Sri Chinmoy, The outer running and the inner running, Agni Press, 1974

* This will be the last of my Daily Posts.  I am very grateful to all those who have wandered over to this blog every day and even if just from time to time.  The Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race is impossible without the contributions, both inner and outer of so many people.  But of course the primary inspiration is Sri Chinmoy himself.  Who’s light and love continues to make miracles like this happen*

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Day 51…The Race Of Life (August 7)

“I guess I am starting to.” This is how Harita answered my question about whether or not she can now see the finish line.  It is now day 51 and Harita has just 108 miles more to run.  When she soon reaches 3000 miles she will be on what Suprabha once called, the bell lap.

“It seems pretty definite now, by the way the past 50 days have gone that I am going to finish, but every lap is a miracle.  I am still really praying that nothing goes wrong.  I definitely feel that I can see the finish line.”

“Each day is completely different.  Every day has so many ups and downs in it.  Some days over all are a little easier than others.  But most days are pretty tough in many different ways.  Physically, mentally, or emotionally, so I definitely don’t think it gets easier.”

“In a way having the finish line coming closer is challenging because you keep thinking of finishing but you find every lap is full of new surprises, new challenges, and new experiences.”

“In a way the race is just one big blur.  Because there is so much intensity the whole time.  You are so focused in the moment and then you move on to the next moment.  The past moment is in the background.”

photo Jowan

“Overall there have been a lot of experiences.  Overall for me is the spiritual experience.  And really the opportunity to really see the power of the inner life and the power of our souls, of prayer and meditation.  The more that we can make that a reality in our lives then everything else flows from there.”

“Never in my life have I ever been able to just pray to God and God is right there for me.  Sri Chinmoy always talks about crying and having your heart’s cry and I have always seen that as a theory.  But in this race I can just cry like a child.  You really feel that the Supreme is really right there for you.  That is a precious and powerful experience that I have had.”

“The real experience I have had of the true oneness of our world family.  This is my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul doing this but everybody is helping in so many ways.  The people who write messages or who have supported us or who have come out to the race, and the other runners.  It is such a significant part of my whole experience.”

“That is the way that life is.  We may think we are running the Race of Life by ourselves but we are not.  We depend on each other and we need each other, and we influence each other, inspire each other and give each other encouragement.  We would never be able to do anything by ourselves. That for me has been a really beautiful experience.”

Photo Jowan

“One of the things I wanted to say on the practical reality is that out here on the course there are people from all different religions and all different walks of life.”

“Tough, rough, swearing people and spiritual people, and a lot of sports people and just regular people who come and walk around.”

“There is a lot of Muslim women who come out and walk around and lot of them are wearing the full burka.  A few of us have noticed that over the course of te race that a significant number of women who were in the beginning who were coming out walking.  The would always wave and smile and some of them have gradually become more friendly over time.”

“We have noticed that a significant number of these women have started to run.  Which is really amazing because it is not htat common to see.  You really feel that they must be getting something from this race.”

Photo Jowan

“This one little woman who may be in here 60’s or 70’s has been out here every single day.  She as been here for many years.  She always looks so serious so I took it upon myself as a challenge to make here smile.”

“After about 2 weeks she stared smiling at me and waving.  Then yesterday I saw her in front of me.  She was wearing sandals and is tiny and she was kind of running.  I thought, O my God, you are running, and I told her…you are running!”

“I said, please, please, run with me.  So she did it and ran with me for about 30 seconds.  I felt that was such a sweet experience.  Of how we are altogether in this world and we can go beyond so many barriers and experience this oneness with each other in this race in so many sweet ways.”

A most exquisite sweetness
I feel and become
When I think of my own
High, higher and highest experiences.

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Nirbhasa’s Finish 48 Days 16 hours 47 Minutes

The wait

Running with Mom

photo by Jowan

The waiting cake

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Kaneenika’s World Record Finish 48 Days 14 hours 24 minutes


Waiting crowd


Nearly there

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