They assemble on the starting line one last time. Now there are but 3 champions left on this hard but sacred ground. They have covered many thousands of miles these past 53 days. Yet they remain in the exact same spot as where they began. An irony most certainly not lost on those who seek out and crave outer adventure. For a spiritual athlete however the quest is not for victory without, but to try and achieve a self transcendence victory within. Something intangible to most, but no less real than a gleaming trophy sitting in a case.
The journey is not about the number of signposts that you have passed along the way, or who you have left behind. It is more that you have been attentive to your own inner voice and just how many you have inspired and gathered up with your heart’s oneness. In so many areas of life we judge and measure and attempt to balance all the conflicting and self important bits of who we are and who we think we are.
Here the playing field is flattest for those runners who can somehow manage to toss away the nagging conflicts that erupt between a lethargic body, a restless vital, and a mind tainted by doubt and fear. It never becomes effortless and yet the greatest burden a runner here has to bear are those stubborn bits dredged up from the shadowed places we all have within.
Sri Chinmoy created this race. His vision now still as bright, gleaming,and fulfilling as it was 15 years ago. His legacy is not an easy thing to measure. One can try and count up all his accomplishments. Somehow attempt to find a formula to measure all his books, his art, his music, his athletic achievements and then again, so much more.
Yet if all this were swept away something more significant would still be left. What would remain would be a goal he set, not just for his students but perhaps for all humanity as well. One in which he never tired of illumining for us, and constantly demonstrating, and continually proving that it was possible to achieve. Also, if you allowed him to, he would gladly guide and help you to attain your goal. All this he constantly did, until he breathed his last.
This goal of course is not some secret mystery of life, but always visible should you just open your heart and embrace it. It is not impossible, it is instead inevitable that we all one day will and must take our own self transcendence journey. One that is not reached at the end of 3100 miles but one that tirelessly calls us ever onward into the distant shores of our own beyond.
There are many not so glamorous aspects of the race. Climbing out of the car with all your aches and fatigue refusing to ever let you go.
Ananda- Lahari will not finish the race and yet he will continue until the last drop of time is available to him.
Vajra, a tireless saint doing the most unglamorous job of all.
Pradeep finds himself in a bit of a media spotlight this morning. Friends back in Holland have been arranging for various interviews with newspaper, radio, and television back home. When he was younger he was a champion drafts player and traveled to many competitions around the world.
“My main purpose for doing the race was to have a deep spiritual experience. But I know that other runners after the race, try to inspire their communities or countries with what they have achieved with the help of meditation.
When I came here I never dared to imagine that the media in Holland would be so interested. It is really great, because now of course it is really happening. So it is great that my friends back home want to show it now.” For him as well he is inspired and impressed that all his friends back home have so much enthusiasm and oneness with what he has done here. “They are doing their best to share the inspiration of the race with other people.”
“I got a last minute invitation to join the race. I never really showed the capacity that I could even finish the race. Rupantar tried to protect me from myself. He said, take it easy, don’t even try to finish, just try and do 50 miles a day for the first 3 weeks. Learn form the other runners.” He thinks that both he and Rupantar were surprised at how it all turned out.
“I also had no clue how well I had recovered from the earlier 10 day race. I said, let me take this opportunity that they are giving me. Let me learn as much as I can and have a great spiritual experience. Who knows maybe next year I will finish. I really didn’t think that I would be able to finish this year.
Half way through the race I started to glimpse that I could finish. More so, my soul, or something higher, really wanted me to finish. Then suddenly it became a struggle with the part of myself that is insecure. That doesn’t want to give everything. That is afraid of the pain and the effort, and the exhaustion. Part of me didn’t want to open up completely and receive the grace.”
“Basically I was making a good effort, even for the first 3 weeks. I was giving 100% of my own personal capacities and then for the rest, I was also praying for God’s will to be done, in and through me. At one point I realized, that if you really want to open up to a higher force, and let that force run through you that is not good enough. You have to claim God’s will and make it your own. Only then can you make 200%, because then you are not only with your own efforts and your own capacity. If you have that Fearless Dedication than you can also draw the Supreme’s capacities. You are not just running for the Supreme you are running as the Supreme. Then, once I glimpsed that than resistance also came.”
“I don’t think that I ever felt really bad. I can say, that I never had as much pain in my life. But somehow, amidst all that I was still quite happy. I didn’t suffer. I didn’t get depressed. Somehow there was such grace and just such a blessing to be here.”
“With Sri Chinmoy as a force behind this race we realize that we don’t run it for ourselves. And somehow with the Japanese monks and the Tibetan monks, I did get the feeling that it was question of personal transformation. Here, even though our capacities are smaller then them.
I don’t feel that we run for ourselves. Of course we get transformed in the process. This is I think working on a higher level. Of course I don’t have a full understanding of what is going on here, but that is my personal feeling.”
“This is a diamond day in a golden incarnation. It is so special and just to be able to fulfill a kind of dream of the soul within this lifetime. I am sure the Supreme will allow me to do a few things more for him. Personally, I don’t need much more than this. I am quite fulfilled.”
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/pradeep1.mp3|titles=pradeep]
“On May 30 I sent an email to Den Haag. I was trying to find out if he would be interested in running the 3100 mile race. Which he was interested in doing…..next year. I said, this year. Do you still have the dream?
Pradeep finishes in 7th place in the 3100 mile race. Becoming the first Nether -lander. A new national record of 53 days, 9 hours, 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Which is an average of 58.096 miles per day. He is now ranked 27th on a list of 31, all time finishers.” Sahishnu
Click to play finish[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/pradeep-finish1.mp3|titles=pradeep finish]
“I was speaking to Mike from ESPN and he said the course is humble and that really struck me. Because it is not about the venue, or the course itself. It is about how the runners react to the race itself. It’s their reaction and how they overcome the obstacles. It’s all about the runners. It’s not like we are climbing up Mount Everest, or running around the world.”
“It is just a very simple humble course. We are just running on this concrete course, a half mile loop, a city block in Queens. The real emphasis of the race is totally on the runners. How they react to the various circumstances that occur during the race. So that is how the self transcendence comes in.”
Click to play interview
“It is a very special day.” No runner this year has had quite the miraculous experience that Surasa has had. Last year injury kept her from reaching the goal and it attempted to offer the same fate one more time. She declined to accept the offer.
I spoke to the chiropractor, Gaurish today, and he says that from his perspective the injury she maintained this year was so severe there was no way she could go on without extensive rest. He says this as one who is reluctant to offer this doomsday scenario. In fact he did not tell her. He simply shared it with the race directors.
When asked if she ever worried about it. Her answer simply, “I did not think so much. When it happened, it just happened.” Very quickly after she was slowed to a walk, the buffer miles she had in the bank, quickly disappeared. “I didn’t worry about all the miles and all this.”
“I just have to try and then see what happens.” What happened clearly is that she simply didn’t indulge in fear or worry. She remained calm and happy, yet at the same time an iron spirit of never giving up pervaded her presence. Also she says, “everything depends on grace.”
Even when in the early stages when she couldn’t even walk back to the camp, and had to be picked up by a car instead was she overly concerned. “There was not much thinking. You just have to wait and let things be uncovered, day after day.”
She has not returned to her previous running speed but still she moves quite quickly. “I am really surprised that I have this pace. But today I know that I have to be careful and to take it easy. That is my feeling for today. No pushing. No looking at the time.”
As for tomorrow. “It will be very boring not to get up at 5 o’clock. I don’t know how I can manage this. Not to come here.” (laughter)
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/surasa.mp3|titles=surasa]
Recited by Salil[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/poem3.mp3|titles=poem]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/parvati2.mp3|titles=parvati]
“Against all odds. This young lady at age 52, has accomplished the impossible. She had this resolve, this steely determination to finish the race. She believed, she had the faith, and she had the grace from above, and the determination from within to reach the goal. So Surasa Mairer, at age 52, becomes the 2nd woman in the history of the race. She is ranked 28th out of 31 runners. She is the 109th performance in the history of the race. She averaged 57.7 miles per day. She is the 2nd oldest finisher in the race. Finishing the race in 53 days, 15 hours, 54 minutes, and 25 seconds. Congratulations, unforgettable.”Sahishnu
click to play finish[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/surasa-finish.mp3|titles=surasa finish]
Surasa remarks[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/surasa-remarks.mp3|titles=surasa remarks]
The body’s food
The soul’s food
Gratitude-heart for God
Is food for the soul.
Is food for the soul.
Is food for the soul.
Sri Chinmoy, Transcendence-Perfection, Agni Press, 1975.
15 responses to “August 4: Fulfill A Dream of the Soul”
Great job over past few weeks. Have enjoyed following this epic race. Congratulations to all involved!
Wow, what a story! Amazing interview with Pradeep, great coverage of Surasa, thank you so much again, Utpal, and congratulations especially to our “iron lady of grace”! 🙂
Utpal you deserve the Gold Medal of all champions beyond measures you are indispensable as editor, writer, photographer…..you are a catalyst to get the whole story going every day. I have shed tears to see Surasa finishing.
Utpal THANK YOU so very very much for going global with this year-after-year coverage of the Event.
Utpal… You are our HERO “putter together”. Just an amazing insight you offer to those around the world who couldn’t be here to witness this glorious wonderment! Grateful that the Supreme called upon you to do this task! Amazing job! Bravo!
Surasa finishing makes me cry!!
Uptal, thanks for brining me along on this journey. Your blog is marvelous.
We are so proud of Pradeep. He is becoming somewhat of a celebrity here in Holland. Thanks Utpal, for your marvellous work. You deserve a trophy and a wreath as well!
We are so proud of Pradeep. He is becoming somewhat of a celebrity here in Holland. Today the country’s most famous talkshow has invited him to come and speak.
Thanks Utpal, for your marvellous work. You deserve a huge gratitude-garland as well!
Also in tears with joy that Surasa reached 3100 this year.
Thank you very much Utpal for your daily posts! 🙂
Utpal, thank you so much for the wonderful documentation of the race with all the beautiful pictures and interviews! Congratulations to all runners who devote all they have to this spiritual journey, especially to Surasa who made the impossible possible!
Utpal thank you so much for sharing your daily observations and keen insight on this year’s 3100 divine runners – so masterfully done. Much appreciated.
Thanks a lot for all the runners, helpers and Utpal for giving us the chance to fill up ourselves with new inspiration every day!
I just loved the above–as a runner I would love it if any of you could tell or guide me on how I could learn how to transcend what seems to me the self-imposed(fears?)limits I have set on my running–I want to experience more!
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