July 29: The Last Step

On May 29th 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were on the verge of becoming the first men to summit Mount Everest.  They were already at nearly 29,000 feet and between them and the summit was one last sheer vertical rock face 40 feet high.  It was not something that they had not taken into account as they had negotiated their way up the long South East ridge of the mountain.  It would however be the last major hurdle to cross before they would finally  stand atop the highest mountain on earth.

This morning just before 9 am Grahak ran into the camp of the Self Transcendence race and stood briefly beside the little number board.  His shirt damp with sweat, his body aching with pain, and his face lit up with a 3000 mile smile.  Most spectators like to peck out little milestones as they calculate the progress of the runners over the months and miles.  It give us some small secure points of reference in order to comprehend the colossal enormity of their journey.

For those running though not much matters until you are actually standing astride the summit of the 3100 mile race itself.  Tomorrow this will happen for Grahak.  If all goes, as it surely must, he will be the champion of this years race and also have transcended himself with another personal best.

The Sounds of reaching 3000 miles:

30000 Miles

Hillary and Norgay have been immortalized for their historic accomplishment.  It was a team effort and one impossible to accomplish without the assistance of each other.  Hillary once said:

“There is something about building up a comradeship — that I still believe is the greatest of all feats — and sharing in the dangers with your company of peers. It’s the intense effort, the giving of everything you’ve got. It’s really a very pleasant sensation.

It is an experience that Grahak knows all too well as he is now on the verge of once again completing the race here for the 4th remarkable time,  each run surpassing the previous.  Hillary also said:

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

In 2007 Grahak lined up here on the course in New York for the very first time.  If he had dared to imagine then, just how many times he would challenge and be challenged by the distance what would he have thought then.  Today his thoughts are his own as he plunges into the final miles.  Yet as he draws ever closer to his goal, the magnificence and splendor of his achievement can be shared with all in the world who admire perfection and seek out Self Transcendence.

Question: Can we learn more from failure or success?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual and the way one utilises the experiences. If it is an experience of failure and we use it as an opportunity to perfect our nature, then we are nearing our goal. If it is an experience of success and we use the experience to inspire us toward greater perfection, then we are also nearing our goal. There is no hard and fast rule that says we will learn more from failure or more from success; it is only how we utilise the experience.

Photo by Jowan

Just one more morning here for Grahak

For some there are 9 more long days ahead

Start Day 43

Feet always moving

And sometimes you wonder how

Always moving while most of the world does not

What does a champion look like?

“I always wanted to come and watch him run.”  Grahak’s brother Ian finds himself uniquely poised to witness a major historic moment in his brother’s life as well see a new Australian sporting record set.   He describes that Grahak has never given much notice to his family when he intends to come and run this race.  Ian thinks it may be simply part of his makeup in preparing himself and also not worrying their Mom and Dad.  “He generally only announces 3 or 4 weeks ahead that he is going to do it.”

“It is something that I have always wanted to be part of because I realize what a massive achievement it is.”  When Grahak came this year and he had been running for a week, Ian thought, “Let’s do it.  I spoke to work, jumped on a plane, and got here on pretty short notice.”

“He didn’t know.  It was kind of difficult for me.  I spoke with him a few times on the phone.  It was difficult not to blab.  I spoke to Mum and she also forbade me from telling my Dad, because she didn’t think he could keep a secret at all.  So just a few guys knew which was really nice.”

I am curious what he could have possibly thought about this race when Grahak told him about it for the first time.

“I guess just challenging what you think is possible.  There are always things that, I wouldn’t be able to do that or I can’t do that, and that is cross cutting in life I guess.  This is really challenging that concept.  To me running 3100 miles really sounds impossible.  You wouldn’t think that people would be able to do it.  Yet there are 11 guys that are on the journey.  Still on the way.  Pretty phenomenal I guess.  There is that aspect.”

“The other aspect, which Grahak has spoken about is how you can really do that.  How you actually do that, and the only way you can really do that is being inside and being true to yourself. That is how I perceive the race.”

“We are both into sports.  I think we also both got a misguided concept of how good we were.  (laughs)  When we look back at our younger years.  I think we thought we were a little bit better than we actually were.  Especially living in a small town as well.  But we both loved playing sports, mainly team sports, not individual sports.  Certainly he was never really into running growing up.”

“It is really nice being able to look after him.  That is kind of all I can do or want to do.  It is really a unique opportunity for me to make sure he is fed, and watered, and relaxed.  It is really beautiful just being able to see some of those concepts I was speaking about in action.  Also getting to meet some of the other people involved in the race.  See the heartness they have for each other is really special as well.  Maybe a little bit by osmosis seeing him achieve, and do what he is doing.’

Click to Play Interview


Karibe handing out the poem of the day.

Baladev looking up.

Pradeep bending down

Atmavir between the green

Beauty inside and out

A hooray for Pranjal

“I had for the last couple of days more physical problems.”  Pushkar has had a breakthrough this morning and wanted to share it with me.  “Also I usually get deeper as I get near the end of the 3100 miles.  I know and believe I have a little bit a fragile body.  I know also that the whole thing is Sri Chinmoy’s thing.  So I cam out this morning with the hip problem, which I have had the last 2 days.  It really felt no good.  There is no chiropractor around and I tried to give my best.  Then it somehow came up a kind of prayer.”

“My Lord, may you take back all the problems that are not necessary for my fastest inner progress.

My Lord, please leave all the problems that I make the fastest progress.”……..Pushkar

“I am lucky that through the years running here, and also maybe through my meditation, I could increase my faith in the Absolute Supreme.  So for me this prayer is very strong, a win, win situation.  Because the pain, the problems when they disappear, they disappear for good.  And the problems that stay, they stay for good.”

“Because I know deep in my heart.  I embrace these problems with my faith to the Absolute Supreme.  That they help me to make the fastest inner progress.  So I am absolutely delighted.”  (laughs)

“I hope I will have this knowledge, whatever it is called for ever.”

“For me it is more about a complete and absolute surrender to the Absolute Supreme.  The Absolute Supreme is all love.  Is all compassion.”

“So he does not like to see us suffering.  But I have to be ready to give everything to the highest source.  So essentially what I actually create for myself.  So  I actually get problems because of myself.  If I offer it to the higher power than it can take it back.  For what is meant for me in order to make the fastest progress I wholeheartedly embrace, and keep it as really a treasure.  Happily and cheerfully. ”

Click to Play Interview


Brothers all

Family all

The board changes

Cheers for one

Loud cheers for all from the loudest most enthusiastic cheerleader in Queens.

Pradeep and Ananda Lahari Singing

Pradeep Ananda Lahari singing

Vedisha recites the Poem of the Day

Vedisha Poem of the Day

  Enthusiasm Awakeners….Click to Play….parvati


Aspiration is the first step toward God.

Surrender is the last step toward God.

In between there are only three steps: the mind’s sincerity, the heart’s purity and the life’s humility.

Sri Chinmoy, God’s Hour, Agni Press, 1973.

4 responses to “July 29: The Last Step”

  1. In the beginning – one of the nice no-nonsense guys)) – and now the very face conveys ineffably – That

  2. Very effective prayer, Pushkar! Over 71 miles today! I shared the previous one with the ladies in our meditation centre and they whipped their pens immediately to write it down. I will share this one as well.

    Congratulations G-r-a-h-a-k!!!!!!!

    So nice singing…

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