August 4 Proud of You

d at startDiganta starts his final day at the 3100 with just 51 miles to go.  For this young man from Austria, who is just 29, it will be his 4th finish of the worlds longest race.

When he arrived this morning he showed not a hint of excitement or anticipation, it appeared for all intents and purposes like just another day at the office. Not one he has been working so hard to reach for the past 51 plus days.

In his first few laps of the day he moves slowly and easily.  He says it will not be until he has 10 miles to go that, “I will have the feeling that it is really going to end.” For now he says it is just like any other day.  The major difference today being he says,”except that it is very quiet, because most of the people have finished,” and with this remark  he laughs.

He has received lots of encouraging messages from friends and family back home in Austria and from Italy where he lived much of the past year.  He tells me with real amusement about a fax he received from his two brothers.  One wrote simply, ‘greetings,’ and the other wrote, ‘Who ever runs the fastest finishes first.” He finds this amusing and I ask him if he thinks people understand what he is really doing here and has done over 4 summers and he says, “I don’t think so.”

A few days ago, a story was printed in the New York Times, written by a journalist who was describing what it was like standing in one gallery of the Louvre for two hours.  He just wanted to observe how the visitors reacted to the display of magnificent artworks that were notable, but were certainly not as prestigious as, lets say, the Mona Lisa.

dHe realized that most people moved quickly through the gallery rarely even pausing for even one minute in front of any of the priceless pieces of art.  If they did even stop, a precious amount of time was spent just looking at the label and not on the art. Some just snapped photos and moved swiftly through.  Perhaps trying to take in the whole museum in a single day.

Of course Diganta is not on display here at the race, nor are any of the runners who have finished their tasks or have yet to complete their journey.  He moves slowly so he can be easily seen, but our minds eye will never really catch the transcendent beauty and magnificence of what he or any of others have done here.

Later in the early evening at his finish Sahishnu will say of Diganta, “You are soulful, you are thoughtful, you care for all the other runners, you have always been an asset to the race, and you still know how to run.  People don’t realize that if you don’t run 41 or 42 days that you are not any good.  You run with such grace and poise, that Sri Chinmoy would be proud of you, and we are all proud of you.  Four times here, no joke.”

By Shraddha April 1979
By Shraddha April 1979

I tell you once and for all:

Simplify your life-pilgrimage.

God will be proud of you.

Intensify your heart-pilgrimage.

God will be proud of you.

Purify your mind-journey.

God will be proud of you.

Cancel your vital-journey.

God will be proud of you.

Expel your body-journey.

God will be proud of you.

Excerpt from The Wings Of Light, Part 18 by Sri Chinmoy.

diganta bikesup looks at d

He arrives this morning no earlier and certainly no later than he has ever done over almost the past 2 months.  He usually does little preparation when he arrives and this, which is his last morning, is no exception.  At one point Suprabha turns to ask him when he will finish.  He tells her around 8 in the evening.  Her own finish is still 431 miles away which is in about 10 days at her current pace.

start 1SCAN0098

start plusAnd so his final day begins.  There are few voices left now to cheer and whistle but the small group does its best.  Diganta will be missed by the other change shoes 6runners even more than when the others finished.  For each fresh departure means you are less and less likely to see another runner on the path in front of you.  It is just one half mile long but when you are traveling slowly many minutes can pass before you see someone.  Also it becomes less likely to find someone traveling at your own speed so that you can exchange a few words or jokes.

After just one lap Diganta pulls off the course momentarily to change his shoes.  He is wearing the same ones he wore yesterday and the heels are worn from making left hand turns.  Today he will be just be making right hand turns.

d4I ask Diganta what he can tell his Mother and brothers about his time here in New York he simply jokes at the absurdity of my question.  “I will tell them it was long, very long.”  He says he will be able to show his friends and family pictures, but he tells me that he learned from last year that it is just too difficult for most people to understand.  He says when he tries to tell them about his 51 days here, “they get bored after 2 minutes.”

We pass Suprabha at one point who because of her injury is still waking.  He is all admiration for her being here for 13 straight years and continuing with her present problem.  He says, “I think it is a big achievement to be able to do what she does and still be happy.”  He has had remarkably good luck when it comes to not getting injuries.  He has never had any blisters but has had a rash on his feet which seems to return with each race.  This was the first year he describes it as going out of control.  He says, “it was extremely itchy, and stinging, and burning.  It was driving me crazy. If you have a blister or something there is some pain.  It is not so uncomfortable as this.”  This condition went on for 3 weeks.  It had gotten gradually worse and then when he took some antibiotics the condition improved.   “Now it is fine actually.”

d11He describes how empty the course now feels.  He says, “on one hand it is more peaceful.  Somehow you are even focused more on yourself.  But I think it is quite a big difference if you have 4 runners at the end of the race, or if you would be 4 runners the whole race.”  Here he is referring to the early days when often just a handful would run the race.  For him at the beginning it is helpful to have as many as possible, so that each can inspire and be inspired by the others.

He tells me how much help and inspiration he has received from Smarana, a fellow Austrian who ran the race 7 times but did not return this year.  He says, “I think he would be very proud of me.  He did the race for the 4th time when I did it for the 1st time.  He did a lot of coaching and advising me.  So far he has done it 3 times more than me.”

d24He has joked a lot over the weeks about the talking books that he has listened to.  He may easily have set a record for the number of times he has listened to the books.  He tells me however, “I am not here because of Harry Potter.  I can listen to him at home.  He says that most of the time the conversation between runners is anything but serious.  It is a spontaneous way apparently of really just trying to stay in the heart.  He says, ‘in this race you don’t have to think of making progress, or thinking of spirituality.  It just happens.”

He also says that there is one certain reality that many might not understand but for all the runners here is very real to them.  He tells me that none here may be thinking of their late teacher all the time but each knows and feels that he is inspiring and caring for them at all times.  He says, “we know this and we feel this.” For himself at this moment he admits that he has only the energy and strength to just focus on completing his final few miles.  “I know that after the race it will be a different story.”

d17He says that at the beginning of last years race, which was the first one that Sri Chinmoy was no longer present, there was some anxiety amongst the runners.  Most wondered how the race could still go on without him.  He says this quickly settled down for everybody.  He says, “People could see that it was just going on as it was.”  He says that last year was significant in that the runners felt they had to show a real commitment to this race which was created and inspired by Sri Chinmoy.  He says that they felt like their presence here then was like holding up a banner for him. He says this year, “the banner is flying in the wind.”

He says that Sri Chinmoy cared so much and came so often to the race that if the race can still continue without his outer presence than as far as he is concerned almost anything is still possible. “If we can do this race only with his inner support and without the outer support than we can do anything.”

abDiganta completes the race for the 4th time in 51 days, 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 22 seconds.

Diganta finish

flower 2

Your soul wants to be proud of you

At every moment.

Therefore, sleeplessly your soul

Encourages you,

Inspires you

And energises you

To become a most perfect instrument

Of your Beloved Supreme.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 89 by Sri Chinmoy.

4 thoughts on “August 4 Proud of You”

  1. Thank you so much for those beautiful pictures (apart from the words). People may not understand now, people may not understand much, but I am sure, there is a lot that filters through. I just hope these reports will be kept available.

  2. And Suprabha – absolutely amazing! Increasing her mileage again! Guru must be so proud of you! You are living His Spirit!

  3. Diganta completes the race for the 4th time in 51 days, 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 22 seconds.

    Three times the sun comes to him absolutely bright. The cosmos perfection is there in all its perfection. The heart-sun enjoys his surrender to the soul. It is so beautiful to see.
    Bravo Diganta.

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