He stands on the starting line this morning with but 30 more miles to go. He is silent and serene and his eyes gaze downwards. He is meditating, he is praying, he is offering up thanks or he may be doing a thousand other things or maybe nothing at all. On the outer plane however, the loud volume of his actions over 46 days are open to all for inspection. His miles carefully annotated and can be scrutinized by all who choose to do so.
But how to understand and appreciate the heart and spirit that carried him through out the long hot summer. Can any of us who have watched the full measure of his heroic deed here really grasp and comprehend any of it at all.
At even our finest moments of pristine clarity and of vision, we can barely glimpse only a fraction of the enormity of the burdens he has borne here. And not just this year but in all the 10 summers he has set off for the impossibly distant finish line. All we can really see for sure are the numbers, and the times pressed by pencil into neat columns on clip boards.
For the past 46 days he has run 3069 miles. He has traveled so far and yet he has gone no where. At least our eyes tell us this, but in our hearts know this is not true. For the power that really moves him also moves us and the world around us as well. For 3100 miles he listened to, and became one with, the power within. Hopefully when our call comes, no matter the deed, we too will be able to answer.
He was given an invitation to take a great and monumental inner journey. He willingly and gratefully accepted, and now he heroically stands on Self-Transcendence’s distant shore.
Galya starts the day with just 61 more miles to go. This will be the 2nd time he has reached the finish line. His time this year will be something like 2 days faster than last year and by any and all computation standards his betterment of his previous time is unequivocally a demonstration of Self-Transcendence.
But the transformation of this 39 year old Ukrainian is much more than just better timing. He started the race as Vladimir, and somehow by the wondrous mysteries of life, he is now known by the spiritual name of Galya. He has a lifetime ahead of himself now to appreciate and identify with this new inner identity. Use it to unlock and reveal much more of the world within him. To fully become the divine being that his heart wants him to be.
At the same time in just a few hours more he will be able to rest and sit still at last. No longer be driven by the relentless pace of his constantly churning legs that never knew true rest for the past 46 days. To at last enjoy and abide in the place within that he has struggled so hard to arrive at. He will be the 2nd champion to arrive at last on Self-Transcendence’s Distant shore.
They tell me that they had never seen their son run before. Yet since this past Sunday, Tom and Rose Lynn have tumbled gladly and wholeheartedly into the 3100 mile race experience. For 4 days now they have seen him do nothing but run. They have enjoyed every second of the time they have spent with Dharbhasana in the whirl wind adventure that he has gone through recently.
“Prior to coming here I just thought it was crazy.” Tom is used to speaking his mind about things. Having no experience with the longest race in the world he just didn’t think it was humanly possible to do it at all. Even after being here for 4 days he says, “I still think it is that. But I am blown away by it all, how it is all unfolding. That these guys are able to do this mileage. I can’t get my head around it. I really can’t.”
Rose says, “I am so inspired by him. Normally I think it is children who should be inspired by their parents. But I have been turned around the other way. I am so inspired by what he is doing. It really is. I want to go home and get into it. Get it into other areas of my life too.”
They came so early this morning because in just a few hours they are returning to New Zealand. They are already making plans on how to keep up with the final few, hopefully not too dramatic days of their son’s journey to 3100 miles. They came at one of the most challenging moments of the race on Sunday when Dharbhasna seemed to find just the right key to make finishing the race even possible. His Dad says, “I never thought he wouldn’t finish. I just didn’t think he would complete the 3100 mileage. Then he had that turn around when he did the 70 miles. He just seems to be going from strength to strength. He has got himself back into it.”
I ask his Mom if there is anything that they may have taught Dharbhasana to be so good as a multi day runner. “Yesterday the guys wonder how he stands on his feet and his feet don’t go through what they are going through. And he said, I am sure it is the Markets. Because we have all done the markets and stood on our feet day after day. For long long periods. He can only put it down to the markets. That is one thing he has got from us.”
I ask them what they will be able to tell folks back in Hamilton New Zealand when they return. “We got so much to say. Where do we start. We didn’t realize it was so huge, the magnitude of it all.”
Start Day 47
Asprihanal says he knew last winter that by coming back and running for the 10th time it would all add up to 31000 total miles on the course. He says that the number 31 was significant to Sri Chinmoy but other than that the other numbers are just zeros. “That is pretty much what it means.” Referring to all the gigantic opportunities to employ elaborate arithmetic in counting up all the numbers. “It just means it is a lot of running.”
“I think every race is different. This one was hotter. But it was a good race. It was tough, mainly mentally.”
His brother, Antaraloy was here as well in 2007 when he finished. “That was my nicest finish ever, of all the 10 times I would say.” It would be the last time that Sri Chinmoy was there at the finish line. He would pass later that same fall. He describes how he came in second that year but that Sri Chinmoy composed a song for him on the spot. “It felt nice sitting there with Guru.”
Talking about his upcoming finish he says, “I am happy. I am also proud of it. This race is not easy. You should always be happy with finishing. It is like a marathon. Some time you have a not the best time. Maybe you had a little higher expectations. You do a marathon and you feel good when it ends.”
“I had some tough times and some easy times……..well not so many easy times.” He describes how at times your body is strong but mentally you can get into a rut by thinking things like, “O it is so hot, or something. Anyway I am definitely happy. And I hope I did a good job, like inwardly. I do feel like I should try to be in a better consciousness. But it is so hard sometimes. It is so hot you know, and you are just going around all the time.”
“This is definitely a nice race. It is a little bit more than just a race.” He says that Sri Chinmoy once said how much he missed the race after it was over once. He also said, “even though we are suffering and suffering, our souls are dancing and dancing.”
He recalls that when he was off for a day and could not run and in fact had to spend time getting an IV that when he was able to come back the next day, “I felt like OY, I am so happy to be here. This is the right place to be. That was when I knew that something in me really wanted to be here.”
“I really do not feel like I have finished, because I have all day to go.” It is still early in the morning and it is true there are still 61 miles yet ahead of Galya. ” I don’t allow myself to think about it.”
He finished last year in 48 days and 2 hours. He will finish in under 47 days and he says, “I never thought that I could run like this. I told you before the race that I was not sure about my condition. “
“I am really very happy and very grateful, that I can do it. I never thought that I could run 46 days.”
The Human in me
Loves to Live.
The Divine in me
Lives to Love.
Poem of the day by Sri Chinmoy
It is a personal best for Galya of 34 hours. His time 46 days, 16 hours, 18 minutes. Sahishnu called it an extraordinary performance. “He runs with grace, he runs with power, and he runs with finesse, and he hardly ever walks.”
of your Lord supreme!
smile at Him
Song of the Day Composed by Sri Chinmoy
July 29 2007
The distant shore
Towards which we sail our life-boat
Is within, and not without.
Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 3 by Sri Chinmoy