From time to time groups of people sometimes get concerned that life on earth is suddenly going to end. They have it on good evidence, it would seem, that our world as we know it is just going to stop being. I have of course no evidence to contradict any of these theories, but certainly as of 6 am on June 12 the world was still functioning more or less as it always does. 10 runners stepped across the starting line, on a cool drizzling morning in Queens NY, to officially take part in the longest race in the world, the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race.
For these runners at least their world has just begun. For from today, until they reach their goal, their lives will inexorably be altered and trans- formed in ways they cannot even begin to imagine. The distance ahead is literally inconceivable and the time allotted to this journey is miniscule and unforgiving. None has the luxury of being able to dawdle or falter at any time along the way. The unique irony of the race is that the more they let go of any preconceived mental plans and formulas and surrender to the silence within, the faster and simpler their progress will become. There will be countless experiences lying ahead of them, both gruelingly mortal and also supremely spiritual. With each new step they take on this sacred loop, they travel ever further into the unknown world of Self Transcendence.
For those of us who gawk and stare and marvel at what they are doing here we all too can receive something from this almost incomprehensible journey. No matter that you are standing so close that you can hear their footsteps as they pass or whether you are far far away and the runners are just pictures on web pages and words that spill across a page. What is happening from today on is never so far away, no mater who you are or where you live, that it cannot intimately touch your heart in ways both great and small.
A webcam was set up to show the start in Germany. “It touches the whole world, with the media now.” Rupantar is overseeing all of the chaotic splendor that is the race. The organizing is endless and few can appreciate how much time is spent by the race directors and others so that 10 people can stand on the starting line and then just keep going for the rest of the summer.
“I remember in the 70’s when we all started running marathons. If you ran a marathon you were an oddball. In the 60’s when I was in high school I used to go running and you never saw anybody running. Sri Chinmoy just blew the boundaries away by creating the 3100. This is extraordinary. You have to challenge the mind, Sri Chinmoy was great at that. This is a sacred place. Good thoughts good deeds create a real positive vibration, and that is certainly here and that is for sure.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Rupantar.mp3|titles=Rupantar interview]
For the new runners it all has to be a bit overwhelming. Sarvagata and Igor are 2 Ukrainian runners here for the first time.
For now it must be a little incomprehensible to be cutting up $100 running shoes before you have even run a step. The miles ahead will make it clear.
First timer Pradeep gets some advice from a familiar face, Pushkar.
Atmavir arrives as most of the runners do by bicycle.
“We are so grateful for your presence. The founder of the race Sri Chinmoy, he felt this was his flagship event, because what else can there be that defines self trans- cendence, than to try and run 60 miles a day for 51 days. To do it cheerfully. Not as a task but as a goal of your life. That is a fantastic thing. We are so grateful for Sri Chinmoy, of course the marathon team is named after him.”
“Kindly remember that this was so special to him. You will find in the years that follow from now, that this race will show the world how amazing, human potential is.”
click to play all of Sahishnu’s opening remarks[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Sahishnu-Intro.mp3|titles=Sahishnu Intro]
Pradeep and Surasa
click to play song[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Parvati-2.mp3|titles=Parvati 2]
O my heart,
Touch and feed the world
With your golden smile.
Lo, the world is advancing
Fast, very fast,
Towards the destined Goal.
Sri Chinmoy, Two God-Amusement-Rivals: My Heart-Song-Beauty And My Life-Dance-Fragrance, Part 7, Agni Press, 1996.