July 5: Closer To God

“We have to come out of our comfort zone.  When we do that we call it austerity.  What it does is moves us closer to God.  The goal of life is God realization and we have to constantly think like that.  We have to have God realization in this lifetime.”  Swami Paramesha Ananda used to be a familiar site in the early morning hours here on the course.

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He once lived just a few blocks away.  Most mornings, for much of the summer,  he would have already started making his speedy circuits of the course before the runners even arrived.  Now he lives in Long Island, and it is no small thing for him to come here and be able to do his laps here as he so often used to do.

“I got up around 3 and then I do my meditation.”  Sometime after that in the predawn hours he then had to find his way to the Long Island railroad.  Travel from the distant suburbs of NY, and then once he arrived in Queens he had to make his way from the station at Sutphin blvd., some 10 to 15 blocks away.

The sum total of his significant effort to just make his way here today was for most of us an undertaking way beyond most of our ideas of what we safely consider our “Comfort Zone.” He will ultimately run about 10 laps here.  Once finished he will collect his orange robes and glasses and go on with the rest of his day.

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“I want to be on this course.  I want to be with the runners, because we are like minded people.  High thinking, simple living, and contentment.”

His presence here on the course in his luminous orange apparel is a striking reminder of just how similar the 12 runners and he are.  Like him they too are devoted and dedicated to a path that is leading them to a divine goal.  One that is way beyond the measurable distance of 1300 miles.  A goal instead not so easily described and yet one we all feel compelled to strive and reach for within ourselves.

Photo by Bhashwar

Photo by Bhashwar

Eternity’s Love
And Infinity’s Joy
Shall come closer to humanity
If and when
Humanity accepts life as a gift of God
And not as a burden of man.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 11, Agni Press, 1981

The mundane matters of the mornings in the camp can sometimes camouflage the greater aspects of what is really happening here.  There is nothing much divine about a bag of dirty laundry.

pre-yuri

Yuri meticulously working on battered feet before a long day. The ugly tell tale signs of a rash that is not easily treated.

pre-yuri-feet

A little camp with tired runners staggering to get going.  A place that could easily be scattered by a strong wind and yet behind it all, just out of view is the truth that this is a dynamic immoveable temple of movement and motion.

precamp

Start

start

Ananda-Lahari goes off to a quick start this morning. His face, even before he starts betrays a mischievous smile of delight.

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He leads the others by an ever increasing distance through the early part of the morning.

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I ask him at a point, when he has about 2 laps more than anyone else what has happened to him this morning.  “I was dying yesterday.  I came home and fell apart.  This morning I was still fallen apart.”

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He describes that when he goes home at night and just before he comes again in the morning he watches short videos of Sri Chinmoy mediating directly into the camera.  “These are like private meditations with you.  I really like this.  This is my only explanation that something happened to me in the morning.”

“It is just 1 morning out of 50.  We will see.”

ananda-lahari

The boys making their first weary laps.

boys

Sometime yesterday Ashprihanal moved into the lead. He ran 125 laps.

ashprihanal3

Atmavir struggling with the weather but enjoying the company

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He ran and walked 91 laps yesterday.

atmavir

Nothing is overlooked in the grand scheme of things

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Baladev did 90 laps yesterday and seems inspired to ask another question of all the runners.

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Over the years I have met and talked with Swami Paramesha Ananda many times.  I usually refer to him as Swamiji a title that seems to suit this dynamic charming ………(fill in the blank) Many descriptions could easily be used to describe who and what he is.  This morning most certainly he can be called a runner.  Yet one who is very specific about his apparel or most certainly the color of it.

swami

I join him and ask if he has run 3 laps and he immediately corrects me and says he has done 5.  I joke with him and tell him that I would certainly never doubt any of the answers of a monk.

He tells me how important it is to make the best use of the lives we currently have.  “You never know if you are going to get a human body again.  There is nothing more important for me than to put my attention to this as a Sanyasi and a Swamiji.  Because I feel that I have God’s grace with me.  So I have to maximize on it.”

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“Lack of contentment is the cause of us having all these desires that are putting us in trouble.  The world is going like that.  But if a few people choose to radiate divine energy, through this austerity, through this marathon then it will affect thousands and thousands of people, here in America and all over the world.”

“Because divine vibrations travels even faster than our thinking.  So when it radiates and hits people, they are affected unknowingly .  Some of us God chooses to do that kind of work.  I think your group here, the Sri Chinmoy group, he was a very great man, he has laid some great guidelines.  Which I think everyone is accepting as the norm for the spiritual life.”

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“This way is not enforced but accepted through experience, and this is what is called realization.  This realization we get a little today and we get a little tomorrow.  That becomes a foundation for a springboard to go higher and higher and higher. This is why I enjoy being here.”

“This opportunity I don’t want to waste it because I know it is going to be over.  So while it is available, I want to be part of it.  To utilize it for the best, of my spiritual quest, and my goal for God realization.”

Swamiji

The trees holding secrets that are easily revealed.

tree

There are no real barriers to what is important

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Vasu continues to collect stories about the life of Sri Chinmoy

vasu-and-vajra3

Stories that make his miles go just a little easier

vasu-and-vajra

It certainly doesn’t seem to slow him down.  He had 124 laps yesterday which is nearly his best in the last 2 weeks

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To look closely at Yuri’s legs is to see just how strong he is.

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We cannot really compare this marvelous runner to anyone else.  Let his 118 laps yesterday say enough

yuri-legs

Somethings aren’t clear but you know just the same.

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We have to find our own perspective

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Sopan had a good day yesterday and did 111 laps, but today is bothered by a blister.

wide-sopan

Sarah making sense out of something so incomprehensible as running 3100 miles.

sarah

Visitors watching this world and making no judgements whatsoever

squirre;

Other visitors getting just close enough to give a little joy. Nidhruvi seems to have gone beyond her earlier problems, doggy medicine beside the point.  She did 111 laps yesterday.

nidhruvi-and-dog

Pranjal and Surasa exchanging a few words. Surasa continues to run so so well.  112 laps yesterday.

pranjal-and-surasa

Pranjal is simply amazing.  Once again he ran 117 laps.  He tells a story about drinking a non alcoholic beer last night while out on the course.  An unmarked police car pulled up beside him and asked him what he was drinking.  It is of course against the law to consume alcohol  in public.  When he showed them he says they looked disappointed and drove off.

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So much life here and there

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So many who come to share and enjoy it all

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“I come every Wednesday and every Friday.”  There are many who come and find ways to help the runners and perhaps in many ways inspire and help themselves.  Bhadr has come out and been part of all the local multi day races for many years. She tells me that at the 6 and 10 day race this Spring in Flushing Meadow she had a very important experience.

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“It was interesting, because I have been counting at all the races for 20 years.”  Without going into details she describes the task as something necessary but not something that she particularly approached with relish.  “It was something that I could do and should do.”

“What happened at the race this year was that I was in the midst of counting and I kind of looked out on the field.”  What she experienced was the sense that an immense wave of peace swept over her.  “It was very very powerful for me.  I was not feeling particularly peaceful before I started the counting shift.”

“It wasn’t me.  It came from the race, and when it happened I decided that when this race happened I would take a regular shift.”

bhadra

She describes that for her the simple act of counting the runners here even now at this race has changed in some subtle way.  The experience from the Springtime has not gone away.  “I still get it.” (laughs)

“It gives me a lot of joy now.  I am happy to see everybody.  I am still so awe in all of the runners.  Those who are running fast and those who are running slow.  Everybody is inspiring.”

bhadra

Things both big and small can inspire and move us.

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What Sarvagata did here yesterday however is almost unbelievable.  He ran 135 laps or a little more than 74 miles.  He is simply getting stronger every day

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Prayer

prayer

Recited by Ananda-lahari

Prayer

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

parvati

How can we be aware of the opportunities that God gives us?

Sri Chinmoy: We can be aware of the opportunities that God gives us by becoming aware of the fact that each opportunity is a conscious help to raise our consciousness and also to bring us closer to our supreme Reality, God.

Sri Chinmoy, At The Doors Of Time And Delight Opportunity Knocks, Agni Press, 1974

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3 Comments to “July 5: Closer To God”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you very much Utpal!
    This Page is Really Really Inspiring for me!
    I read it many times and try to make it go deep into my life.
    Swamyji is a great exemple.

  2. Tirtha says:

    Thank you so much, Utpal, for bringing this world of the 3100 mile race so close to us. I feel so much being part of it, even though I am thousands of miles away… All the joys, the pains, the deep experiences, the glowing faces (thank you for all the pictures!!!) – it is such a treasure!! Your posts are being valued so much! Thank you again and again for putting so much effort into this amazing Journey of progress and light!!

  3. Laura says:

    The Soul….
    Is the heart of the human.
    The core of love.
    The pearl of great price.
    The light on the hill.
    The cross we take with us.
    Entered by the Spirit at baptism.
    Flashing real on the Mount of Transfiguration.
    Never dies.
    The only real thing.

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