June 15: Miracles Large and Small

Early this Spring a famous Hollywood actress appeared on a well known American television talk show.   She had been nominated for an Academy award and was thus being interviewed by many different programs in the time leading up to the show.  These kinds of interviews very rarely get too serious because for the most part viewers like to be entertained with jokes and funny stories.  What made this interview unique was that in the very heart of her interview the actress started to talk about her meeting with Sri Chinmoy, one that had taken place probably 8 years earlier.  As you watch the show you can see her very deliberately change the tone of the conversation to something that was for her very real and significant, and also perhaps something that she had never before made public.

                                           Photo by Bhashwar 1979
Photo by Bhashwar 1979

She was not in a hurry and seemed determined to share this experience in its entirety with the host, who for his part was perhaps a little more interested in humor and frivolous topics.   As the actress told about her experience she described at length how she had been first approached and invited to come out to Queens and to be lifted by Sri Chinmoy.

There was no drama in either her words or in her memory.  It was slow, deliberate, and methodical, she wanted to share with the host and no doubt the world that something very significant and miraculous had taken place that day during her meeting.

She did not go into lengthy detail about their private conversation but she indicated that at the time of their private conversation she was having a problem in her life and it seemed as though she specifically asked Sri Chinmoy for his help with this matter.

Now she never said that he indicated in any way that he could or would help her, but in her tone and in the way she recounted her experience she seemed to make clear that indeed Sri Chinmoy did something to make a very private dream of hers come true. One that she had struggled with for a number of years.

The subject of miracles is not one that Sri Chinmoy would often ever speak of.  His path was and is not about swaying people with  spectacular showy phenomena.

Instead he wanted to inspire people from within and was not interested in tricks that would only entertain the mind but briefly.  However for anyone who spent any length of time with him, it was obvious to most that on a regular basis many events took place in and around him that were simply miraculous.   And yet in so many ways we accepted these things so readily because he himself simply did not believe in or accept that anything was  impossible.    And further more, there was no task that was too difficult to accomplish if you simply accepted his philosophy of, not ever giving up.


In 1997 Sri Chinmoy first inaugurated  the 3100 mile race.  From its inception until even today it continues to be an athletic challenge of such staggering immensity and difficulty that it is almost incomprehensible that anyone could even complete the distance little alone attract 12 runners as it has in this its 17th year.  No matter if you have never seen it up close from the sidewalk or on the internet on the other side of the world this race can never be fully experienced or understood unless you are one of the runners.   And even then something new and powerful happens each year the runners come back again.

Self transcendence occurs in each step they take in this seemingly impossible journey of 3100 miles.  Yet for those of us who watch this great miracle unfold we can still allow it to uplift us and inspire our own lives in ways that we could not have dreamt were even possible.

Start 2003

Run not after miracles!
All miracles
Are shockingly fragile.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 82, Agni Press, 1984

Today was the final meeting of the runners and helpers


Baladev is happy to be back


Forms have to be filled out.


Yuri here for the first time.

yuriAtmavir here for the 7th time


Ananda Lahari had his own small miracle just making it back again this year.

ananda-lahariNidruvi fulfilling a dream to come and run for the 1st time.


Surasa returns after being unable to come and run last year.


Sarvagata here for the 3rd time


Vasu returns for the 2nd time.


“Guru basically said that this was his race.  He really really loved the race.  It embodied his philosophy.  He got so much inspiration from the race.” Rupantar


He was asked about help.  “Other than financial, which we always need, is counting.  Counting is very important.  We have pretty good medical this year.  Our cooking crew is quite robust, we have quite a few cooks, so that shouldn’t be a problem.  We could always use more help.  The more people who come out the better the race.”


Sarah 1

“I am definitely happier when I am moving.”  As I am talking with Sarah Barnett from Adelaide it occurs to me that even though we have talked many times during the 6 and 10 day races I cannot recall ever interviewing her while she was sitting.   Her appearance at this years race is one that she has wanted to do for many years and so just being here is something of a dream for her.  Besides the 6 and 10 races here in NY she has as well competed in many other very prestigious multiday races around the world.  She adds to her statement, “And it is also nice to relax at the end of the day too.” (laughs) In this race she hopes to make the most of the 6 hour break in the race.


“It is definitely way beyond anything I have ever done in the way of miles, and time out on the course.”

She describes how for her that by simply running her mind gets calmer particularly when she gets into a running rhythm.  “Some races are harder than others.  You have little tricks to get through the hard times.  You can listen to music, or chat to another runner out on the course, or go through some prayers or poems in your head.  It is definitely good to vary some things to get through the hard spots.”

Sarah first got introduced to the multi day races in Flushing Meadow about 15 years ago when she came to help a girl run the 1000 mile race.  She laughs, “I wasn’t a very good helper.  I think I am a better runner.”

“I think as soon as you come to one of these races you feel how special it is.  You notice how the runners are getting through the difficult periods and you just sense that it is very spiritually awakening for the runners, and you just want to be part of it.”  Sarah as glad as she is to be here has had an foot injury for some time which she describes as the very first in her long running career.

“This is a new thing for me to see if I can run through pain.  I have never had to do this in the 8 years of running multi days.  I have had x rays and I have a heel spur and a tear in the fascia under the foot, and every step is quite painful.  I am desperately trying to find some shoes that will cushion it enough.  I am just trying to meditate as much as I can, and ask for some help.”


This leads to the obvious question of why Sarah has come here at all with such a glaring physical problem.  “Ultimately I felt I would be more sad sitting at home than actually coming and having a go at it.  At least I can start.  If I get through a few days or even a week.  At least you have tried.  But I think sitting home would be even more depressing.  (Laughs) So I think I am going to try it.”

I am curious of how she sees the race as a whole.   She says it is not just the mileage but that as well you are out there for 2 months.  She mentions how just being here in NY that special things happened to her leading up to the race tomorrow.  “I went into Manhattan last night and suddenly I ran into 2 of the other runners.  Out of the whole city of NY I just ran into Asprihanal and Sopan.  So we went and tried on shoes together for about 2 hours.  It sort of feels like a family.”

For the first time there are 3 girls running the race at the same time.  “I think it helps.  I feel we are representing women.  I think it is really positive and I am sure we will help each other get inspiration.   I am like the little baby.  The other 2 girls are a lot more experienced.  I think it will be awesome actually.”

“My only aim is to finish.  I can’t expect anything more.  If I have to go to midnight each night and walk, this is my only goal.”

Sarah 2



The miracle of miracles – A tiny, feeble man Embodies God-Life. In him has ceased The wild music Of ignorance-life.

Sri Chinmoy, A Soulful Cry Versus A Fruitful Smile, Agni Press, 1977



6 thoughts on “June 15: Miracles Large and Small”

  1. Sweet. I’ve been thinking about tomorrow for a few days. Every year since 2006 I have been peeking in on this race and love seeing the regulars come back and new ones succeed. I can relate to the pain of a heel spur. It limits me to 20 miles. Uptal, I also love your blogs. They get me thru the summer; as I live in Texas now, I need all the help I can get.

  2. Thank you so much Utpal, I am very much looking forward to following the race this year, especially since I am still destroyed from Flushing Meadows… ha, ha, ha and still smiling enjoying the glow of the time we all had together. I promise not to be angry when you go away for a week… all the best in peace and harmony. Let the endless fun begin.

  3. Great post Utpal. Thank you for bringing the race alive online. Surely this is the ultimate race and a living metaphor of the reality that life is an ultramarathon.
    Best wishes to runners, crew and organisers of the 2013 Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race.

  4. There are three main poetical series of poems by Sri Chinmoy, and one can see his own self-transcendence even in them: “Ten Thousand Flower-Flames”, “Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants”, and “Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees”. The last one is unfinished; he passed away in 2007.

    Here is his last poem from that series, #49305:

    There is no distance
    That love and faith
    Cannot cover.

  5. Pingback: Multidays.com
  6. Well, Utpal is back with his great blogs. Now we have something inspiring to read every evening … for two months.

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