June 28: Happiness Beyond That

We are now almost about to crest into the apex of summer.  It is the classic time in which there is a convergence of all kinds of world class sporting events, which are going on now or are soon about to.   From my vantage point behind the counter of a certain food establishment I daily hear endless comments from passionate sport fans about their favorite teams or individual athletes.  Speculation and predictions ramp up to stratospheric levels as the events imminently approach.  Later after the competition is over there is either tears or cheering and always a detailed analysis about what went right and or what went wrong.

Not all of us love or identify with every sport but in general, top level athletic competition of any sort has a way of connecting with us on one level or another.  We intrinsically realize that we can never become smarter, or prettier than we already are.  Yet  deep inside the tantalizing but illusive possibility always exists, that if we try even just a little bit we can always raise up our fitness and athletic ability. That this tiny improvement in our physical body will also in many ways uplift our own life experience and our perception of ourselves.

The Self Transcendence 3100 mile race however will never and can never be broken down into hard digestible bits.

There are no winners and losers and for those who get real inspiration from what is happening here it has little or nothing to do with the plastic numbers tallied up in a neat row beside each name.

So precious few have the capacity to even take part here and yet its blazing inspirational value can brighten  the lives of countless people.  And not just those who dash over to the course for a few minutes now and then and happen to live in Queens NY.

Many as well around the world feel their hearts respond in a deep and uplifting way whenever their thoughts turn even momentarily to what is taking place here.

It happens because Sri Chinmoy created this event not jut to challenge a handful of gifted runner athletes by setting an almost impossible goal but also to inspire all of humanity with the eternal message of self transcendence.

One that all of us must eventually listen to no matter how deaf or tired we think we might be today.  For within, we are all one with all those who run here.  We are not gifted with its pain or its glory, but how can we for long resist  the immortal goal that they are reaching and rising up to become.  One that calls not just to them alone but to each and all of crying and struggling humanity.

We are all seekers who wish to transcend our present realities.

Why do we want to transcend? We want to transcend because the life of ignorance, bondage, imperfection and death cannot satisfy us.

We want to achieve something. We want to grow into something which is eternal; we want to grow into the very image of Immortality.

 Right in front of us there are two worlds: the world of desire and the world of aspiration.

When our life belongs to the desire-world, we feel that satisfaction is always a far cry.

When our life belongs to the aspiration-world, we feel that satisfaction is our birthright. The life of desire is a life of self-chosen bondage.

The life of aspiration is a life of God-chosen transcendence.


Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats To One Golden Shore, Part 3, Agni Press, 1974.

How Grahak looks after running 75 miles yesterday

Slovaks in the morning

Start Day 12

“Today is a little easier than usual.  I think that we are making some progress.”  Last night just before midnight with 30 seconds to spare Arpan completed his 124th lap of the day.  Which may not mean much to most of the world but for Arpan at least is pretty significant.  For over the past 11 days it is his second best total and now as he runs so strongly on this bright promising morning he seems to have pushed back  any doubts that he not only belongs in this field of younger runners but that he is going to do it as well.

What he sees taking place here is, “an adaptation to this wonderful life style.  I think with the physical body you just have to understand what is happening realistically and have some compassion with the body.  I try and run intuitively.  Push when I feel like it and I don’t hold back when I have to.  Also I try very carefully not to get injured.  So the first 3 days are kind of like a shock to the system, and the 3rd day I had to take it real easy and go home early and then I started to slowly climb back up.  I feel like you have to go in small increments in order not to fall apart, and it is working, but it is not just the physical side, there is more to it than that.”

“Spiritually and psychologically you get used to it the point where you really enjoy it.  If your body cooperates, especially your feet, then of course you are going to be happier.  Then you have to find happiness beyond that.  I did it once and I was injured(2004), pretty serious injuries.  For 9 days I was walking.  Sri Chinmoy told me to be happy, that was the main thing.  So you have to find how to be happy.  Which is like an art, when things aren’t going well.  It is easy to be happy when everything feels good and you have everything you want.  When things are not going well in life in general you have to learn how to be happy.  That is like a spiritual art.”

He describes that it was in 2003 that Sri Chinmoy first asked him to do the race.  At that time he feels that Sri Chinmoy had faith in him that he could do it.  For his part at the beginning, “I just didn’t have faith in myself that I could do it.  I had too much fear although I loved the race so much, and I was qualified in terms of experience to do it.”  It was not until the following year that he felt ready and prepared to try.  “I was just excited to be able to do something that he felt that I could do.  So I just went to the starting line and let it happen.”

“I had shin splints for 9 days and wanted to drop out.  Again Sri Chinmoy felt that I didn’t have to.  He said, don’t worry about your miles, just be happy.  Obviously I had to walk.  That taught me a really amazing lesson.  That race for the first time especially.  Don’t feel like it is a huge impossible task.  Just go around and enjoy yourself.  Be happy you have the capacity.  If you don’t worry about the miles, what it means is that just enjoy it and allow your own body’s capacities to come to the fore through your happiness.  Your soul will eventually help your body.  Which it did and I healed and I felt like a little child.  After that when I was able to run for the first time I was so happy.  All the stress went away.”

He feels strongly that the true and rich experience that is the race is not just taking place in those few who run here.  Anyone with empathy and a certain oneness can have it as well.  “The race is not only an experience for the runners.  Everybody has a different experience.  The race as a whole wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for those who are helping and watching.  I think on the inner plane we are all having the same experience.  There is certain undefinable joy, power, and dimension of reality which attracts certain people, and there are other people who look at it and think we are crazy.  This happens to those who just don’t want to even try and understand.”

“As soon as you help or try and understand than you are part of it.  For the runners though if they are in shape and enjoy it physically than they do get a special treat.  Because it is an unbelievable feeling to be able to cover all those miles and then slowly get stronger, and enjoy it more and more.  Yesterday I did my highest mileage since day one, and I ran really hard at night because I felt good, and I thought I was going to be a wreck in the morning and I felt instead like it is my best morning.  You know waking up and not feeling any aches or pains.  So I am really learning myself how amazing some of the secrets are that are hidden in this race.  You uncover them just by being here and being part of it.”

Click to play interview


Click to playPoem of the Day:poem
 Enthusiasm AwakenersClick to Play:parvati



When I go beyond myself
I see everything in God,
Everything for God
And, finally,
Everything as God. 


Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 12, Agni Press, 1981.

5 Comments to “June 28: Happiness Beyond That”

  1. Great interview with Arpan! That is exactly what it feels like in the Race. He looks very fit and trimmed now! Godspeed to Him!

  2. Doris says:

    Hi Utpal, it seems you are using a golden feather when you write these reports. I wish I had the ability to reflect on my daily life conditions as precisely as you do. In the beginning I was surprised to see Arpan at the starting line, even worse, I thought, who will take all the many pictures that help to better comprehend what is going on there at the race as many of us are watching from a far distance. I am very grateful for Arpan’s shared thoughts and view on the race. He is not only an experienced runner but also a wise long time student of Sri Chinmoy.

  3. Harikanta says:

    Thank you Arpan for sharing with us your experiences and your understanding! Than is a good reminder for all of us – to learn every day the wonderful art of how to be happy. My gratitude to all the runners. May you be inspired, dermined and HAPPY every day of the Race!

  4. Jagadhata says:

    Wonderful and inspiring journalism! It’s a joy to read these daily blogs. Good luck and strength to all the runners, helpers and all! Peace

  5. Bigalita says:

    What an incredible team we all are – Guru’s beautiful children!! The incredible runners, all the helpers (seen and unseen), Utpal with his wonderful photography and ability to inspire and allow the runners to go deep within and share their innermost feelings. Like Arpan’s thoughts – they seem so very appropriate and probably touch all of us so far away who watch, listen and smile in agreement. May your bodies fly on the wings of your soul. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

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