He is sometimes known as the 14th runner. Swami Paramesh Ananda is a neighbor and friend of the race. He can often be often found running around the course early in the morning, sometimes even before the setup crew has arrived. He was away the last few weeks and seems happy to be back and once again circling the sacred loop. He does not say much and most of the time it appears as though he is deep within his own meditation. Other runners will zip by but he makes a very purposeful point of running only around the loop. His respect for the runners and the course are unmistakable.
He says, “It is very nice here. The atmosphere is good. I like being around the disciples, their minds are peaceful.” He is very much aware of the self discipline all the runners have, which is similar to that of his own organization. He knows that their goals are anything but worldly. He describes it as not looking for outer stimulus but instead they are building inner strength. “I am happy to be here. I look forward to this kind of atmosphere. It seems that in his frequent travels there are few if any places in which the inner ideals are combined so seamlessly with outer dynamism. He says, “This is the right atmosphere, for the upkeep and advancement of my spiritual life. Which is all it is.”
“Everything we do should be for spiritual growth and progress. The world out there is thinking of other things, quarreling and pleasures. Very rarely do you come into contact with people who are thinking of spirituality.” He feels that it is Sri Chinmoy, who is still giving inspiration and strength that allows miracle of the 3100 to take place here. “The whole area is charged around here. I can feel it.”
Today was the first it seems, in 14 long wet ones, that the sun has been there to greet the runners this morning. Ashprhanal will be the first to pierce the 1000 mile ceiling and in every way the day seems perfect. A Goldilocks kind of day. It is not too hot or too cold. It is just right.
“Every day is different. So far it is quite smooth,” says Stutisheel Lebedyev from Kiev, Ukraine. For someone who has completed the 3100 mile race 5 times you would think he had seen it all. Yesterday he had, for the first time, one of the ubiquitous injuries of multi day running, shin splints.
“Yesterday was the start. I had no experience even working with it. I asked others what to do. I started stretching and applying cream.” Most who have tread down this long hard path have been plagued at one time or another by this affliction. It is sometimes like a phantom that comes and goes without rhyme or reason. For Ananda Lahari, last year it dogged his every step for what seemed like weeks.
Stutisheel says that he at first copied stretching exercises shown to him by others and then he attempted a visualization exercise to eradicate it. He said that when one is having a physical problem such as shin splints, they should imagine there are two layers at the spot. The top layer is red and one should imagine that it is like a shield of protection. It is pushing away negative forces that are trying to enter the area. Stutisheel is very focused as he discusses this. He imagines the red layer being bombarded by problems and says, “No, I don’t want that.”
The inner area, which is the affected area he pictures as blue. It’s purpose he says is to heal and try to absorb compassion and grace from the Supreme. “One thing protects you, the other heals.” For him he says the exercise was, “very successful. Right now I have no problem.” Two layers that are without question helping him are his wife and daughter Atandra and Alakanada. “I am grateful for my helpers.”
He tells me that through the marvels of technology his progress through the race is being spread through his web blog and that Alakananda is administering and putting up lots and lots of great pictures. A friend from Kiev, he says, has been following the progress of the race and tells him it has inspired her to run every morning. “Our race inspired her to such an extent she started training.” Others have asked for training tips and he has suggested to them not to use the schedule of the 3100 mile race.
Parvati and her Enthusiasm Awakeners are a corner stone to the early morning life of the race. No matter whether the weather is good or bad they come out. This year the emphasis has been on the damp and they have not been deterred one bit. The teachers and students who flow into the school nearby seem to take little notice of this brightly colored ensemble but the runners, appreciate them very much. Even if they hear the songs for just a few moments as they pass by, they know and feel the significance of their presence here. Each day the girls sing the songs that Sri Chinmoy composed daily at this very spot where they gather every morning.
For many many days over the years, Sri Chinmoy would drive himself around the course in the mornings. After driving a few laps of the course he
would stop in front of the girls and spontaneously compose a new song. There would be a brief moment in which he taught the song and then he would be gone. Over several years the number of songs multiplied and so now they continue to practice through the entire repertoire.
One new thing that the runners have done for them this year is some spontaneous improvised comedic performances instigated by Grahak. Over a number of days there were several new skits, that each and every time cracked them up and made the girls laugh. They tell me that this gave them a lot of joy. The boys used for props just the simple objects available to them on the course, like a banana, an orange and an egg. They are impressed that the runners would have. not just the inspiration but also the energy to do such a thing. Seeing how they spend so many long hours out here circling the block.
Parvati says,”The inspiration of the runners. If you have an opportunity to come out then you will see real heroes in action.” She feels that they are able to demonstrate in a real way the philosophy and spirit of Self-Transcendence. “It is amazing.”
She admits that in the years before her group was formed and then came daily she didn’t really understand the event. For her it was just so huge that she couldn’t grasp the significance of it. “It is so big, it is hard to conceptualize what is going on.” She felt the immensity of the 3100 was just too much for her to fully comprehend. She describes the race as like, “a million dollars and you understand only one dollar.”
Sri Chinmoy of course had other plans, and knew that they would have their own significant role to play by being here. That in creating songs for them every day, and then they in turn performing them, the experience would be richer and more fulfilling. It would be a project that would have benefits both inwardly and outwardly, for the girls, as well as for the runners. There are now several song books filled with the simple yet evocative collection of English songs. She and the others now unquestionably feel how fortunate they were to be introduced, in such a real and effective manner, into the fabric of the 3100 mile race.
Parvati’s Mom Joey has been with the girls for many days now and she says of the race, “I am just awestruck.” She feels really lucky to be part of the group every morning. She says that she has been unable to really explain the event to her friends who don’t seem to be able to get by the part of getting up at 6am every morning. Instead she finds it much simpler to just direct them to the race website. Watching the runners every day has not grown tiresome at all for her. She calls them all, “Awe inspiring.”
Snigdha says, “If somebody comes in the morning and sees them running they don’t really understand what they are doing.” She marvels at how she and the group see and experience just the briefest glimmers of the immensity of the task facing the runners each and every day. She says that it strikes her with some shock that as her own work day proceeds the runners are always here and always running. She says, as her thoughts turn back to them at different times during the day she begins then to more fully appreciate them. “You get the idea that they are out here from 6 in the morning until midnight. It’s unimaginable”
She says that she has tried in vain to try and explain what is really taking place on this little half mile loop to her colleagues at work. Some have expressed some interest in coming out and seeing it for themselves. She admits that there is a certain futility in this. “By coming for 15 or 20 minutes they can’t possibly understand. It is going on all day for 2 months. It is just one of Sri Chinmoy’s miracles.” She feels that as one begins to identify with what is really taking place here, only then can the miraculousness of it can really take hold within you. With real enthusiasm she describes the impossibility of human beings continuing to run through pain, boredom, and difficulties. She says this just as those same runners continue to pass us close by.
Paree feels that race is one of the most tangible ways that Sri Chinmoy’s vision, of raising the standards of humanity has found an actual practical manner to demonstrate Self-Transcendence. She calls it, “so obvious. This is not something that people do, and by having it every single year. Humanity has to come up to a new level. There is no way of getting round it.”
All the singers marvel at the attitude and consciousness of the runners. Snigdha notes, “I think every single runner has a shining face. They are special souls. They have to be to do this.” Parvati says,”I don’t know how it is during the rest of the day but in the morning their soulfulness is so impressive. I would probably be so grumpy, if I had to get up and be out there. They are able to manifest what Sri Chinmoy really hoped for.”
Never lose enthusiasm!
Never allow your enthusiasm to depart,
Even when disappointment forces you
To your life’s rock bottom.
One response to “June 27 The Whole Area is Charged”
He Utpal, this is Kalanadi and works in Annam Brahma since I know Sri Chinmoy’s Path, the one with the green hat. I think she is transcending herself each time during celebration-time. For me Kalanadi is a sister in the real sense of the word. I mean a none, I only know her in this way, service attitude always.