Perhaps if one had the ability to truly listen then you could always somehow hear the sands of time as they slipped away forever. But how does one soberly comprehend this, when you are caught up in those precious moments of glorious celebration, such as when the race began here 50 days ago. Each day that followed a turbulent mix of hope and pain and yes, progress.
Runners, helpers, well wishers all caught up in a dizzy swirl of anticipation. Who dares or wants to see that an inevitable stone faced conclusion was going to simply march forward to end it all. Perhaps not to mortal ears but certainly to some, the distinct discordant note of finality could always be heard, even when the calender made it all seem so so distant and so endless.
Back then certainly I could not peer forward into the murky mists of time. Now of course you don’t need any telepathy, or crystal ball, or conjuring spell. An ever increasing weight of quietness, and a sobering lack of energy is tangible and real here now. The great fat luxury of what appeared to be endless time has now been reduced to just 5 stick thin days.
Four runners have retired victoriously from the course and one was felled by injury. The math is clear, that leaves but 5 gallant souls to continue the great odyssey on their own. The board is static with victory banners, a few are still creeping their way up there as well. But 5 less bodies means 5 less footfalls, 5 less smiles and cheers, and all who are left are more alone on the half mile loop than ever.
Then you have the incomprehensible saga of Surasa. The luxurious reservoir she had in order to reach the goal has been reduced to vapors. 2 days ago she completed just 12 miles and yesterday 27. In front of her is 261 more unflinching miles and 5 hot days in which to do it.
And yet today she begins to tentatively run once more, if even for a few steps here and there. To push and prod her way back from the brink of disaster. How this story will conclude I cannot yet see or hear. It is only on the tablet of her heart that it is etched clear. Eventually time will be forced to share it with us all.
There is none of the runners who seem to take as much delight in what they do here as does Ananda Lahari. He never displays even a hint of agitation or worry. Rather he just seems to beam constantly with light and joy.
He is now 5 days away from the end of the race and has an impossible task of trying to complete 5oo miles in that time. I ask him if nobody made him stop after 54 days would he simply keep coming back and keep running.
He says, “maybe like Forest Gump. Go, go, go, go on, and a certain point you say, I am tired. I am going home.”
“Here everything is intense. So it is a great opportunity to make progress, and to serve. When I am at home it is intense but not as intense as here. I go as fast as possible. I can’t really push more.”
“Now I don’t have strength. When you are strong you can push for 2 laps. Now I can’t go any faster.”
“It doesn’t affect me that people have left. It affects me that it is so long.(laughter) But it is hard. You may see the end of the race coming closer but it is tricky. Now it is like 5 days to go, but every day is so long. It can somehow catch you if you are impatient, or that you cannot get there.”
“I am looking forward to it. (the end) I would say that it is clear that I am not going to complete 3100 miles. I like to run but I am just walking, walking. So it is quite hard. It is harder to walk then to run. It will make it easier for me when it ends.”
“I am on my gratitude schedule, but I know that I can do much more. I feel much more gratitude than previous years. But I know it is not infinite gratitude yet. You have to try and do you best. To think of the Supreme as much as possible. It takes time to get to perfection, perfect perfection. I don’t worry that I am not doing so well for a few years. Everything is okay. It is a journey, and we don’t know what we get.”
Click to Play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ananda-lahari2.mp3|titles=ananda lahari]
Pradeep, whose birthday is on Tuesday looks upon his arrival as a real birthday present.
Last night Nikhad was at the race to shut down as he usually does. You have to put away all the tables and stuff, and then you have to park the vehicles, so it was probably quite a bit past midnight when he was finished with his duties. What he did next is not what he usually does. For then he got on his bike and road almost non stop for the next 5 hours. He had completed 70 miles. The only reason he stopped then was because he then had to set up the camp again for this morning.
“In the pitch dark, I made loops around the 3100 mile course. It was nice. Terrific. I was full of energy.” After 9 this morning he says he will continue his cycling journey. He tells me that once he biked for 66 hours without sleeping and without stopping. So I can do much more than 5 hours.”
When he continues to ride he hopes to go an additional 55 or 60 more miles. Other bikers are also involved in Nikhad’s project, which he is doing to celebrate what would have been Sri Chinmoy’s 80th birthday. “I hope a few more people will participate.”
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nikhad1.mp3|titles=nikhad]
Last year the Doctor told me I had gained a lot of weight. My Doctor said, that if you don’t start running or walking you are going to have a problem.” In May of last year Taposh started and hasn’t stopped. He immediately chose the 3100 mile course as his running route and goes to the gym only when the weather is bad.
He works for NYPD traffic control directing traffic. It is standing he says but not really movement. When he first came here he ran really fast and couldn’t even make one lap. “They asked me, why do you run so fast? So they gave me tips and they gave me inspiration. I really appreciate them and am grateful to them. They taught me how to run especially this guy Atmavir.”
He now is up to running about 5 miles a day. Of the course he too finds that it is a spiritual place. He says that last year Dharbhasana and Pushkar told him that being here is not just about the physical. “I realize that, so I am grateful to them and appreciate them.”
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Taposh.mp3|titles=Taposh]
Recited by Unmukta[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/poem17.mp3|titles=poem]
Click to Play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/parvati17.mp3|titles=parvati]
I make progress fast
When my mind
Cheerfully loves God.
I make progress faster
When my heart
Soulfully serves God.
I make progress fastest
When my life
Unconditionally obeys God.
Sri Chinmoy, Fast, Faster, Fastest Progress, Agni Press, 1994.