At the end of its life the Phoenix bird would go to its nest, and once there, be consumed by flames. It is a mythological bird and its story seems to exist in many cultures with some variations.
What is similar throughout all the variations of the tale is how, once it is reduced to ashes, it rises up again to take flight. It somehow lives again as it did before.
Surasa has amazingly reappeared on the course again this morning. Maybe not rising out of the ashes, and certainly not immortal, but just perhaps maybe unstoppable, as she refuses to give up her flight of self transcendence.
“I am just trying to see if I can walk properly. I like to be here and to be out, and not to lie down. I just came and I will try and see if it gets better.
The first Doctor said that it was a very deep muscle inside my calf and it was injured, and I have to rest for 3 days. Then I should see her and she would tell me if I can walk or run.
After this I thought, I have to try everything.” Then she visited a local auyervedic Doctor who gave her some pills and a massage oil. “Ahh, in 3 or 4 hours you can run.” (Laughter) “And I was looking at him, hunnh? He was absolutely sure, yes. Of course. In 3 or 4 hours you will run.”
After this she went home and applied the oil, took the pills, and came back to the race. So she continued. Not flying, not running, but at least she is walking. “What can I do? You have to take it and accept it. That’s life.”
Click to play Surasa interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/surasa3.mp3|titles=surasa]
Pranjal patches himself up so that he can once again enter into the battlefield of life. He does not wear beautiful armor, he has no charioteer to speed his way into the fray. No sacred weapons or magic spells to subdue all the enemies he surely must face. No army marches at his side for he goes out alone to face the day.
Yet he does hear a General’s call that beckons him to come forth. One that he can scarce resist and one that is so strong he hears it resonate within every part of his being.
Not just one mighty roar but instead a comforting and consistent command. It is one that gives him strength and courage when the outcome of the battle seems most in doubt, and gives him extra speed when the way is clear.
His trust so complete he holds back nothing to its call. For how can he resist. How dare he fail his one and only sacred task. To not go forth at all is to die a thousand times.
Now there are just 10 miles more to go. Soon it all will be done. Done but not yet over.
On a practical level Surasa has to be taped up this morning to make even walking possible. The only certain thing is her will and wish to continue.
After Pranjal finishes today the next to finish will be Atmavir, sometime on Monday. More and more will take up places on the sidelines.
It is while having a discussion with Pranjal that the topic of being forced to stop running comes up. He snaps his fingers and says, it can be over like that. If it were to happen to him he says, “in this case it is really hard. I don’t know if it were to happen to me if it would be so easy to accept it. I mean I would have to, but it is not easy.”
“In my first year I had this ankle injury. It was like the 4th to 7th day. I was thinking that it was over actually. I could not even walk properly. I did 50 laps in 12 hours, then 8 laps in another 3 hours or more. I couldn’t even step on it. I was thinking. That’s it. It’s over.”
“The next day I went to see the Doctor. He looked at my feet and said for 2 weeks you have to stay in bed. With the leg up. Your joints are overloaded. So I looked at him, aw come on. I knew what it was, but what I wanted was to know how to run with it. He said, I cannot run.”
“So I said okay. I will put a bandage around it and run as hard as I can. I will either destroy the ankle completely or get healed. So in 7 laps it was okay. It disappeared. It was over.”
“It was a kind of miracle. I was suffering for 3 days and couldn’t even step on the ankle. Then I just pushed through it and it disappeared. (He completed the race in 59 days and some hours) He has completed the race every year he has entered.
It was a dream of his to run the race for a long time. “I couldn’t imagine me running the race because it was just too expensive. While visiting China in 2004 he decided, “I am just going to run it. I will not think about the money I will just apply.” In that year both Pranb, Ananda Lahari, and he were accepted. “Then the money came after that.”
I ask if he ever wonders if there are others who get the inspiration to come and then simply don’t apply. “The main thing is our doubts. People doubt that they are able to do it. That it is too hard or they are not fit enough. Or they will suffer too much. You just have to look at Sarvagata. The best he has done till now was 60 miles a day for 10 days. Now he has done almost 70 miles a day for, I don’t know how many days.”
“Here on this course something special is happening here. Some kind of special energy. I don’t know what it is but it helps them to do better. But you have to want to do it. You have to feel that you want to do it. Nobody can really push you.”
“This race will change you. Once you go through this race something inside you will change forever. You learn something about yourself. You will find capacity within yourself that you hadn’t even dreamed about before.”
“You have no idea how hard this race is. You can’t even think or imagine how hard it is. Only after you have done it can you realize how hard it is. It is really really hard to even imagine. What you have to go through.”
“I mean in my case, I was given the capacity to do it. So from my point of view it is my duty to use this capacity.” He the suggests that because of this he has to simply go on until the capacity is then taken away.
“Any capacity that you have been given by God you have to use it. It doesn’t matter what the capacity is. Otherwise it will be taken away. It is some kind of grace. This capacity which we get here is a kind of grace. So we have to use it. Otherwise it is just wasted. I don’t think that it is my capacity I feel that it came from somewhere above.”
“It is not that I want or don’t want to run. I will do it as long as I have the capacity to do it.”
“I am giving my best only here. The rest of the year is just preparation for next year. I feel this race is so intense and you have so many experiences inside that it can really feed you all year. I am not as focused the rest of the year like I am right here. Because here I am just focused on what I am supposed to do. Here is only one thing that you have to do. Just to run as much as possible. So it is kind of easy. Out there in the world are so many distractions that can take away your concentration. It is much harder in the outside world.”
For him crossing the finish line is not what it is all about. “For me it is just a number, 3100. What is really important is what you experience throughout the whole race.”
The cake and the bells and all the celebration at the finish line, “is just the top of the iceberg. The main thing is under the water. The race is going somewhere in between the start and the end. For me the goal is not important it is the way to the goal.”
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/pranjal.mp3|titles=pranjal]
Recited by Sasha[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/poem16.mp3|titles=poem]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/parvati16.mp3|titles=parvati]
“Can you imagine. A guy as big as him going around this course 5649 times times 7.
The 7th finish for our 4th place finisher this year. In 48 days, 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 5 seconds. It is less than a day behind his record setting pace for himself last year. And when you consider that he lost a whole day because of the heat. He is right there.”
“He is always the first one in the morning and the last one to leave. He averaged 64.44 miles. He is still ranked 12 all time out of 29 finishers.”
“His consistency is remarkable. He is our hero.” Sahishnu
Click to play finish[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/pranjal-finish2.mp3|titles=pranjal finish2]
THE GOAL OF THE BEYOND
Obey and trust,
Trust and obey.
Indeed, this is the short way
To the Goal of the Beyond.
Love and serve,
Serve and love.
Indeed, this is the shorter way
To the Goal of the Beyond.
Surrender and offer,
Offer and surrender.
Indeed, this is the shortest way
To the Goal of the Beyond.
Sri Chinmoy, The Dance Of Life, Part 20, Agni Press, 1973.
One response to “July 30: The Way To The Goal”
I read this blog about 7 am. I was wondering how Surasa was. I was inspired by her determination. So I became determined to go out and run at least some, even though it is already too hot here. I cheated a little and drove to a park 25 miles away that has a shady path; but got 18 miles done
Surasa, you are inspiring to me even with your heart break.