August 7: The Inner Source and The Outer Reality

So often we feel that we have innumerable options and opportunities available to us.  That we stand poised before so many open doors.   Each one  leading to greater satisfaction and fulfilling possibilities in our life.  Whenever we hesitate or doubt whatever lies waiting for us just beyond, the doors then simply vanish, an opportunity gone forever.

Whenever one truly and fully enters the spiritual life then the selection of paths in front of us changes.  It becomes more obvious which doors lead to the unsatisfactory basement of our desire and expectation.  A spiritual seeker looks always for the path they hope will lead them upwards to a more divine life.  At the same time asking for the strength and guidance to make the right choices and fulfill and complete all the needed steps to go beyond.

A spiritual journey is not an easy thing.  The material world we live in is lacking in guidance and aspiration for a higher life.  The transformation of mankind is a slow yet inevitable process.  To have a spiritual teacher for many is the ultimate answer in moving forwards towards a more divine and spiritual life.  Yet to accept a teacher is to understand that once this takes place the infinite doorways of opportunity that we thought were in front of us now no longer exist.  The spiritual teacher instead already knows the way and it his job to guide and lead us as quickly and as directly as possible to the goal.

51 days ago a 47 year old Russian named Vasu did not just walk, but ran through a doorway of an incredibly difficult journey.  To ask him if there were any other options he would say no.  To ask him if he had doubts that he had done the wrong thing, despite days of torment and pain he would say no.  He has been acting with unwavering faith, with steadfast  courage, and tireless optimism for the entire length and breadth of his 3100 mile journey.  If any time you asked him, he would say it was his spiritual teacher acting in and through him.  He has said this clearly with his words and even more powerfully with his actions.  This evening he has completed this race and offers the result to his late spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy.

Whenever someone tries to explain just about anything about technology to me my brains starts to ache. I have little interest and cannot understand.   Explaining spirituality and spiritual teachers to anyone who is not a seeker is also usually an exercise in futility.  It is simply something you have to feel and realize within.  For Vasu, and all those who ran here this summer, and over the years of the race, something within  called them here, and in ways great and small, this same bright force acted in and through them.

Just across the road from where Vasu has completed his 3100 mile race, another race was held in August, just about 33 years ago.  The 47 mile race first started the year before, in 1978, and has taken place each August 27th ever since.  What happened on that night in 1979 is that 47 year old Sri Chinmoy (who turned 48 at midnight) would run and complete his own race for the first time.

His path of spirituality was not something theoretical or academic.  He clearly demonstrated this through all his accomplishments, in so many diverse fields.  His was a life  dedicated to serving, inspiring, and illumining all of humanity.   Whatever he attempted he gave his fullest.  Whatever he accomplished he then proceeded to transcend that achievement.  When one became his student they soon realized that they had entered a revolutionary new way of making true spiritual progress.  A way that uniquely combines both the inner and outer life.  It is a path that continues to blossom and reveal itself.  Just as it has done so this past 52 days, in real and trans-formative ways for all those who took part in the longest race in the world.

And for all those who seek out their own Self Transcendence journey, who want only one doorway to their own perfection.  Who want to proceed along a sunlit path of the heart, he continues to be a willing companion, and a guide who inwardly leads the way.

Photo by Bhashwar

God wants me to be a murmuring, running river flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. The main thing is to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding.

Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations.

He says, “Now I want to express Myself in and through your artistic life. I want to express Myself in and through your poetic life, your sports life.” But He can do it only according to my receptivity.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 3, Agni Press, 1995.

This will be my last post for this years race.  Thank you for all your support and encouragement.  It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great experience in this small way. Utpal

Continue reading “August 7: The Inner Source and The Outer Reality”

August 6: A Divine Thing Unfolding

“Self Transcendence is actually a quality that you can experience.

It is not just a concept or a philosophy.

It is a quality of the divine.

Something inwardly that is expanding and growing and you can experience it, and once you experience that then this self transcendent nature starts more spontaneously acting in and through you and you feel more and more that you are just following it.”…..Pradeep

From the very first moment that each runner started on this Self Transcendence 3100 mile  journey they have always been the ones who can best  describe just why it is they have come here.   Occasionally they may also articulate as well where they believe that are going as well but not always.

What speaks most powerfully and most accurately ultimately is their acts and deeds.

On a very deep and inner level something grand and beautiful is taking place within them.  This self transcendence is emerging and touching and transforming not just the runners but in a real way raising the heights of what is possible for the world as well.

It is a bright new force that is entering the world, and one in which our limited mental capacity simply has a difficult time trying to grasp and keep up with. This happens because it comes from the place within us that is above and beyond the limited mind, our own hearts, which truly have limitless capacity.

In a very real way a miracle has taken place here each summer.  From a superficial perspective one may only see 12 runners attempting something inconsistent with what we think is humanly possible.  Yet when you observe all that has gone on here these past 51 days, a grander and more uplifting picture emerges.  What one realizes is that just as the world of running is not limited, so too should our belief  for the goals of all of humanity and life in our world.

Negativity and destruction will never be what our world wants and needs.  The moment we divert our attention fully to the divine within, as Pradeep and all the runners do, then what other lofty goals remain beyond our reach.   Perhaps the world is not evolving as we would like.  It is easy to be impatient with so many of the unillumined and misguided forces that are vainly attempting to push the world towards darkness.

Yet the moment we turn to and embrace our own divinity we allow our own inner glow and brightness to emerge.   If we then are not satisfied with the world than we can at least be satisfied with ourselves.  Allow our own precious divinity lead and guide us to our own bright perfection and in so doing offer our own light to the shadows around and about us.

But even on the outer plane our capacity is constantly expanding. Right now 1,300 miles is our longest race. To run 1,300 miles in 18 days is almost beyond our imagination. We feel that is our ultimate capacity. But previously we felt that 1,000 miles was the limit. Who thought of a 1,300-mile race five years ago? At that time people would have thought I was a crazy man if I had suggested that. But now you see that this crazy man was right because people are doing it. Somebody just has to start. We always have to go ahead because life means progress.

The inner runner is always trying to inspire the outer runner. First the inner runner says, “Go forward, go forward, go ahead, go ahead!” Then the outer runner says, “How can I go ahead if you do not give me the aspiration and inner cry?” Then the inner runner gives the outer runner the inner cry to do something and to become something good. In this way the inner runner offers inspiration and aspiration to the outer runner.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 29, Agni Press, 2001.


Continue reading “August 6: A Divine Thing Unfolding”

August 5: Reach Our Highest

“I really believe there are some hidden secrets here, which we just have to reveal.  Each year I try to go more deep.  This is the place where we can really reach our highest.”….Atmavir

For 6 years in a row this place has been Atmavir’s 2nd home, a sacred place in which, through great personal sacrifice, and with tremendous focus and self discipline he has run 3100 miles each time.  Now for a brief time he sits upon a chair while his spiritual family celebrate his victory of once again reaching the summit of this impossible task.

There is of course a glaring irony in his achievement.  For all that he has struggled, and suffered, and sacrificed so much for, the reward for this effort is not visible in any traditional or tangible way.  What ever secret that has been revealed, what celestial height he has set foot upon and  what ever precious inner experience he has realized cannot be seen.

What he does have are the subtle precious jewels of experience within his heart, acquired through his devotion and  his inner faith.  The only thing most certain and definable is the calculable knowledge that he has completed the distance, nothing else is provable.

On this busy Sunday afternoon the course looks very far from being  a sacred place, where inner knowledge and illumination can be discovered and revealed.  The majority of those who are spending time here are busy at playing games and having fun.  The inner life is the last thing from their minds.  Kids are splashing in the fountain, men are swinging for the fences playing baseball and basketball.  A typical raucous afternoon in the park where all the diverse elements of  humanity are drifting here and there around this place in which Atmavir has sought the highest within himself.

What distinguishes him from everyone else is that his absolute faith in his running task here is unshakeable.  His eyes need not see proof of his reward, he feels and experiences his inner achievement in his heart, in a clear and unmistakable fashion.  The key to unlock the divinity in its fullest form and fashion is to simply run here each day all summer long.

For Atmavir there is a great similarity between running here and the story of the Bhagvad Gita.  Just as how Krishna instructs Arjuna before a great battle he feels that his lessons can be learned here by running.

Faith is not a mere emotional feeling to stick to one’s belief . It is a living inner breath to discover, realise and live in the truth . Faith is the exercise taken by a seeker of his own will to force himself to stay in the all-seeing and all-fulfilling Will of God.

Sri Chinmoy, Commentary On The Bhagavad Gita, Agni Press, 1971

Reaching inner perfection is like pressing down on a springboard.

If you stand on a spring and press it down, the harder you press, the higher you will go.

So in the spiritual life also, the deeper you go within, the deeper your focus of concentration, the higher the perfection you reach.

When you go deep, deeper, deepest, you can feel you are reaching high, higher, highest.

If you are sincere, if you are dedicated, if you are devoted, if you are soulful, if you are unconditional, at that time you will jump up like a spring to the highest when you go deep within

Sri Chinmoy, Perfection-World, Agni Press, 1974.

Continue reading “August 5: Reach Our Highest”

August 4: The Inner Cry

“This 3100 mile race is an inner thing.  There are small and bigger inner things that happen here that you can compare to a meditation experience.  The deeper experiences, this I will of course take with me.  The outer thing I don’t know.”…..Pushkar

As each runner approaches the finish line of the 3100 their faces radiate an almost transcendent glow of satisfaction and happiness.  They shine with a pure beauty that comes not from their physical but from the divine qualities that they have drawn closer to each day and with each step that they have taken.  With each new mile they moved further and further away from the  predictable clutch and grasp of our material world.

It may not be heaven, this place to which they have arrived, but from my perspective, as I am now so clearly caught up in the world.  They, at least for a moment, have slipped beyond its reach to a realm that appears divine.  The price of this kind of sacrifice is not to be measured by mortal hands but only to be praised purely by heaven’s heart.  There is a prize as well, but it can only partly be seen by us.   We may perceive the glimmer of their transcendent victory while they themselves bask in its full radiant glow.

Of course Pushkar struggled mightily for the last few days with a catalog of injury and pain.  The heat and humidity today, will torment and mock him and all the others in its own perverse way.  The daily cat and mouse game with obstacles big and small never disappears.   For once you have climbed a mountain here it will simply be replace by another and then still another.  The race offers it own unique inner joy but this is combined with an extensive legacy of suffering that can never be really avoided.

There is no road map and no manual to figure out and plan routes that will safetly evade all the pitfalls of extreme weather and of course extreme life.  The only coach and guide is the little voice within.  That one that always speaks and offers guidance.   It is with our own indifference that we do not take sufficient time and listen well.

Some days ago Pushkar jettisoned the burden of expectation, and so he is unhindered by so much of what captures us and makes it difficult for most of us to even move from beyond our chairs.  Today his journey will be complete in so many ways.   What we see, and what all can congratulate him for, is that he has transcended himself by almost 14 hours setting a new Swiss record as well.

When we walk along the road of name and fame, there comes a time when frustration makes friends with us.

This frustration-friend takes us to destruction and there our journey ends.

When we walk along the road of Truth and Light, perfection becomes our friend and perfection leads us to satisfaction.

But there our journey does not end; on the contrary, there a new and unprecedented journey starts.

For this satisfaction is nothing but the ever-transcending Reality.

Each time we are satisfied, a new reality inspires us to transcend ourselves.



Sri Chinmoy, My Rose Petals, Part 6, Agni Press, 1976.

Continue reading “August 4: The Inner Cry”

August 3: The Way To The Goal

“The way to the goal is more important than the goal itself.  At least I feel it like that.  I am always happier with the experiences I get while I am here than at the finish.”….Pranjal

This morning Pranjal started running here with just 42 more miles to go.  By early evening he will reach the finish line and there will be a small celebration in his honor.  He will be happy and he will smile and he will be polite to the little boisterous gathering of supporters as they throw confetti, ring bells, and sing songs.

But in that instant that he breaks the ribbon and reaches the goal of 3100 miles, one part of him will gratefully sit down,  to cheers and applause while another part of him continues on, though we cannot see this taking place.  His physical being has gone as far and as hard as it could possibly run here.  He is tired and he has sacrificed and given up all that he could possibly do.

Within however is quite a different reality.  His inner being does not need rest, or acknowledgement, or aide.  At least not any kind our physical universe has to offer.  On the inner journey he takes there is no hesitation, rest, or detour, not until the true inner goal is one day reached and realized.  His commitment to this journey is remarkable in many ways.  For proof you only need be here tomorrow when he will once again show up and run a few more miles.  It is an unshakeable pattern that he has maintained now for years.  To run every day, no matter what, a streak that he has strictly maintained for years.

Then if you simply add up all the miles he has run here over 8 summers it would just about take you all the way around the world.  How far he has  inwardly traveled is not up for discussion.  It is an experience that he shares only with the inner pilot who does not cease to call out and inspire him, just as Pranjal does not ever hesitate to answer by moving ever onward.

Life and sports cannot be separated; they are one. As a matter of fact, life itself is a game. This game can be played extremely well, provided the player develops consciously or unconsciously the capacity to invoke the transcendental energy which is always manifested in action.

In the life-game, each soul is running consciously or unconsciously toward the goal of inner perfection. There is not a single individual who has not left the starting point. Now, one individual may be behind another in the Godward race, but all are making progress and running toward the same goal.

ri Chinmoy, The Outer Running And The Inner Running, Agni Press, 1974.

Continue reading “August 3: The Way To The Goal”

August 2: You Just Have To Try

What is very good about this race, you don’t have to understand what is going on.   You just have to try, and try, and try, and cry.”…..Sarvagata

Early this morning when Sarvagata arrived at the start he appeared to be fresh and full of life.  He did not look at all like a man who had just run 3 thousand miles. The great burden that he seemed to bear upon his back for so long and so far had finally been lifted.  A weight, that on some days seemed as though it was on the verge of crushing him had vanished.  The task remaining left to him now was a small one, 17 more miles.  Just a single heart beat when compared to the lifetime he had already sacrificed on this sometimes endless alter of suffering.

A year ago he had made this event almost look easy as he galloped over great chunks of earth each day.   He churned out a long string of jaw dropping big mileage days and when you thought he couldn’t repeat it he came back and did even more.  This year though he arrives at the finish line almost 2 days slower than he did before, and instead of being the race champion he has been declared simply the 2nd place finisher.  To most sportsmen and competitive athletes this might appear to be a great blow if not a humbling defeat, especially when cast in the glare of the unrivaled success of the previous year.

If your world is simply defined by winning and loosing than nothing at all about the 3100 can be appreciated.  There is a rainbow spectrum of colors to be enjoyed and admired here, but there is no obvious black, and and its opposite and eternal rival white.  What drew Sarvagata, and all the rest to the starting line was not the temptation of a possible victory but rather the undeniable experience of real transformation and transcendence.  On this wide bare concrete stage they lived each day confronting all the negative shadowed parts of their beings. Nothing could be hidden, either from themselves or the rest of the world that drifted in and out of their lives each day.

But as much as they each battled with their personal demons they also forged deeper and more meaningful  bonds with all that was divine and illumining about themselves as well. Their own highest qualities that do not shirk or evade challenge when they are Supremely called to face it.  Who see in all their divine humble efforts, in their trying and in their crying, not success or failure.  Instead it is all simply forward progress on the long long path to their own transformation and illumination.

“This is the most fascinating thing at this point for me about this very race.  I am sure I have got rid of some really nasty things.  When you get rid of the nasty things than the divine things have some place to come to.”….Sarvagata

2007 Photo by Jowan

Try and try, stop not!
God-realisation is indeed
A perpetual possibility.
Cry within, cry without!
God-realisation is indeed
An immediate inevitability.

Sri Chinmoy, The Wings Of Light, Part 15, Agni Press, 1974.

August 1: Food For The Soul

“You can help them tremendously by putting love and devotion into the food.”…Nirjharini

The little kitchen is tucked away, nestled in a quiet nook, safe and secure from all the buzz and bustle of the busy streets of Queens.  To get there you have to climb some steep steps leading up from the cracked sidewalk and then open a big wide gate.  Once you step through the entrance it will swing shut behind you with a big thump.  But once inside, once you are within the quiet confines of the high white fence.  It is only then that you will realize you have entered a secret and sacred little garden.

Summer flowers are bursting with beauty everywhere and because of a lot of rain the past few weeks all the vegetation is lush and green. But the scent of flowers is not what stirs the senses here or touches the heart.  In this spot delicious aromas silently drift out and across the neighborhood for much of the long long day, and continue to tempt and entice well into the night.  Causing no doubt the many hungry stomachs of not just a few nearby pedestrians to jump with anticipation as they are momentarily greeted by these enchantments.  Then the desire will quickly fade as the usual smells of a city street invade and push away that tasty sense of delight and wonder.

The source of these tempting aromas are just a few steps more.   Cross over the meandering stone path and push open the plain white door and there before your eyes, calling out to all the cares and wishes of even the most temperamental and finicky of hungry stomach, is a celestial abode of food preparation.  It is the kitchen for the runners of the 3100 and it is a veritable temple of purity and sacrifice while at the same time being a non stop assembly line of food preparation.  Churning out millions of calories of high quality nourishment to keep their now finely tuned engines roaring with determined speed and energy for 18 hours a day.  Keeping legs and hearts moving for the complete distance of the 3100 mile race.

Since 2004 Nirjharini has been the leading light of this selfless band of cooks.  Who work on not just regular meals but also snacks and treats from before dawn and into the late night.  The Self Transcendence race needs the care and sacrifice of many people but none may be more crucial than its cooks.  Of them Sri Chinmoy once said, “I admire them like anything.”  He request of them, “Cook for my golden children.”





The body’s food
Is matter-made.

The soul’s food
Is spirit-made.

Gratitude-heart for God
Is food for the soul.

Is food for the soul.

Heart’s awakening
Is food for the soul.





Sri Chinmoy, Transcendence-Perfection, Agni Press, 1975.

Continue reading “August 1: Food For The Soul”