July 19: Someone Who Knows

“I don’t know how and why but I know there is someone who knows.  God knows, so I know this is my way.  I want to love God more.  I want to pray more.  I want to cry more for God.  I want to have more purity, simplicity, and devotion.  To please God in his own way.  I have hope and I have faith in God, and I know that one day I will run.”….Ananda Lahari

Over  last 12 days Ananda Lahari has barely run a step and yet he never stops and continues to walk on, hour after hour.  His chances of completing the full distance flew off long ago and yet his cheerfulness and quiet calm commitment have not.  Where many would become despondent and desperate when confronted by such a fate Ananda Lahari seems to increasingly continue  to gather up inner strength and poise.  Something not so apparent when you see his slight sweet smiling presence glide past.

This is his 8th summer here.  Like very few others he knows all too well the challenges thrown up in front of all those who approach the starting line.  On 5 previous occasions he has felt the ribbon break as he crossed the finish line.  He has been applauded and cheered and had songs sung in his honor.  Some years back he realized that running through a blue ribbon after circling the course 5649 times was not really why he needed to come here.

Not that he wouldn’t want to achieve this honor but perhaps more than most he is also aware of the real rewards and goals that can be experienced when you nudge and shift your focus from the glaring outer realty to the glowing inner one.

There is an obvious intensely difficult athletic competition and then there is the inner journey.  One with no finish line and no obvious reward.

Perhaps if he is still clinging to one tiny desire is that he once again find the strength and energy to be able to lift up his knees and run again.  But if it doesn’t happen it will not be any kind of tragedy at all.  For above and beyond everything else is much larger and all encompassing heartfelt wish,’To please God in his own way.’

If you want God,

open your heart and run.

If God wants you,

open your eyes,

close your ears and run.

Sri Chinmoy, A Hundred Years From Now, Agni Press, 1974.

photo by Jowan

He is one of the great figures of the 20th century and yesterday President Nelson Mandela of South Africa celebrated his 94th birthday.  Through his leadership, actions, and words he personally transformed not only the fate of his country but also in many ways the world as well.   His commitment to finding and moving forward on a real path so that  his people could attain for the first time not just democracy but as well true peace and freedom.

His was a vision that was far above and beyond what most even thought possible and yet he patiently and tirelessly brought his nation to that goal and then beyond.

An eminent statesmen such as he probably would appear to have little in common with 11 runners and yet so much of what he has said and done captures the measure of greatness that is at the very heart of this Self Transcendence race.

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
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It always seems impossible until its done.
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I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
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Sarvagata seems to be still trying get back into his usual strength and rhythm.   He ran 57 miles yesterday
Start Day 33
Sarvagata has 900 more miles to run
“For me when I am in the walking world weather doesn’t matter.”  Yesterday the runners experienced just about all the most dramatic aspects of a New York summer.  There was stifling heat, gooey clinging humidity, and by afternoon a heavy thunderstorm with pyrotechnics that could rival a 4th of July fireworks display.  It was like something put on by the Greek God Zeus, flinging endless thunderbolts into the city,  and then for good measure a deluge of rain was dumped in as well.
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“If it is hot or cold I still have the same speed.  It does not influence me so much.”  He seems not to worry as to when he can run again.  “Maybe in 200 years or in 2 days.  I don’t know.  I have had maybe a few thousand kilometers of walking.  It is definitely a failure because there was a time when I ran fast.  Also now, from time to time I run fast.”
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“I want to learn how not to be attached to success or failure.  But definitely I came here to run.  Now it is a failure but there is someone who knows why and how.  So I want to learn how to listen to him.  Definitely I have more concentration, and more cry, and more love for God.  But how close I am I don’t know.  Because I thought in previous years that I was close also.  But I have come back to the race and I am walking again.  But I feel more confident I can say but definitely I have more concentration.  More cry, more inner cry.”
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“I definitely have more devotion to God.   This I can say.”
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Click to Play Interview

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Tomorrow is Atmavir’s birthday
Enthusiasm always vigilant.
Music in many ways
“I am almost speechless it just the most incredible event.  That is so quiet you wouldn’t even know it was happening.”  Karnayati just like Karibe are just about as full time volunteers as full time can be.  Karibe is here at dawn many mornings of the week sitting calm and focused behind a counting table while Karnayati is working on the food crew.
Karnayati: “There are 11 men running every day between 6 and midnight and are inspiring me to get up every day and watch them start.  I like mornings but I think it is the oneness with the runners.  I don’t even stay up as late as they do at night.  But I feel that by coming out, I am showing a little bit of extra effort.  In fact that they have to get up tired and stumble here in the morning.”
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“They are going way way beyond what anyone thought the human body could do, and they are doing with their inner being, their souls.  Some how they come to the fore.  These boys are doing it through wind and rain, and storms, and every day they are pounding the pavement.  I don’t even know how many hours.  Somehow this inner strength is powering them so they become super beings. inwardly and outwardly.”
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Karibe: “To me it is like all heart when I come out here.  Because they are all heart and all self giving.  Sometimes when I am counting a runner will come by and give me something to drink.  Here they are struggling and yet they have this oneness heart to do this special offering.  For me it is really unique.”
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About counting.  “You have to be attentive.  As innocent as it might be the the least amount of distraction and you could miss a runner.  For me when I make a mistake it really makes me feel horrible.  So I do my best and I pray every day when I come that I don’t miss a runner.  It is so important to them.”
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Whether they will miss the race when it is over.
Karibe: “I sure will but at the same time there is always something to do.  But this is unique in the way that it brings out so much heart power, so much love, so much compassion.  But when it ends okay, it just means something else is happening.  But it is not the end, I can look forward to next year.”
Karnayati: “I think it is complete.  I have done my best in transcending my own self in helping them and being here.
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Can others who are not here understand what it is like.
Karnayati:  “I don’t think so.  I think they can touch it but I think it takes a little longer to be here.  To fully appreciate the beauty of this world
Karibe:  It took me almost a week for some reason this year to get into the flow of the whole thing so you really have to be here physically in order to understand and feel and just get the pulse of the whole event.
Karnayati:  “You get so much oneness with the runners, if they are having a good day or bad day.  You really feel it.
Karibe:  “One day I came and every runner looked like they were suffering.  So I had to force myself to be as cheerful as possible.  I felt that if I wasn’t cheerful, than I am not helping the runners.”
  Click to play interview

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First timer Vasu still is doing well
Nayana recites the Poem of the Day

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Enthusiasm Awakeners….Click to Play…..

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Always think of your life
As only one day,
Today,
And just for this one day
Be truly spiritual.
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 92, Agni Press, 1983.

One Comments to “July 19: Someone Who Knows”

  1. Laura says:

    Happy birthday Atmavir. I secretly think he has the best muscles of the bunch.

    I don’t know why, but every morning I look at this blog and the picture of the runners and make sure they are all still there.

    Maybe tomorrow, I’ll walk like Ananda. The amount of patience to do that is incredible.

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