July 12: Nothing Frightens Me

“I can’t stay away.  These people are like divinities brought down on earth for these few weeks.  Each time I come I get stronger and stronger.  I can’t tell you the name for it, but I can tell you that it makes me very very happy.”

Snehashila has come by the race this morning as she does on most days throughout the summer.  In fact on mornings nearly all year long she leaves her house, which is about 7 or 8 blocks away and circles around and about the neighborhood in order to get some exercise.

snehashila2

On Saturday mornings she is usually at the 2 mile race which takes place just across the street. Today is an extra special one for her though, as today is her 88th birthday.

Snehashila-2008

2009

I don’t how a lots of things work, or why things happen the way they do.  For example by this point in the race I just take it for granted that the runners are simply going to show up every day here and then run all day.  Then by some miraculous fashion it all continues on like this for 52 straight days.

Today marks the half way point.   After 26 days of everything happening with such regularity my mind has simply adapted to a kind of logical pattern.  I have become locked into this little daily routine just as a lot of others have as well.  All of this seems somehow just so normal and natural until you step back and take a closer look.

 

snehashila-50-years-ago

1979

The arrival of the birthday girl however forces me to marvel at just how remarkable she really is.  Once I look just a little past Snehashila’s ageless effervescent beaming smile, I feel a little shock of reality fly up into my thoughts.  It is then that I wonder to myself,  ‘how is she still doing this at 88 years of age?”

A few years ago I made a film about running which she had a not insignificant role in it.  I just happened to be there when she was sprinting towards the finish line of the 2 mile race.  She said then, “I am kicking it in at 83.”

 

Click Link to Film:      Sri Chinmoy’s Love Of Running

 

She used to also run the marathon every August in Rockland State Park.  When I ask her about that, “NOTHING, frightens me.  I would have done this (3100) myself if I had joined the Marathon team when I was younger.”

She doesn’t stay long however.  She visits the race this morning  just long enough to greet and cheer the runners.  Then she goes off at a fast pace down the block and then on towards her home.  Moving along at a speed not unlike some of the runners out here on the course.

snehasila and poem

My Earth Activities

I respect greatness.

I love goodness.

I champion the right cause.

I listen to a pure heart.

I frighten the animal in me.

I enlighten the human in me.

I strengthen the divine in me.

Sri Chinmoy, Silver Thought-Waves, Part 2, Agni Press, 1992

Start of 50 mile race 1981 Photo by Bhashwar

Start of 50 mile race 1981
Photo by Bhashwar

Baladev arrives with dirty laundry

pre-baladev

Sarah checking out the required reading for most.  The lap sheets

pre-sarah

Vasu arrives and then simply looks towards the board.

pre-vasu

Yuri had a better day yesterday with 112 laps

pre-yuri

Start

start

For part of the morning I will ask various runners why 2 days ago was so hard and why yesterday every single one improved.

wide-nidhruvi

Sopan had a tough day but still managed to make 100 laps yesterday, which is more than he did the previous day.  He says simply, “it just happens.”

sopan3

It is a big day for Nidhruvi

flower4

She did a very good 113 laps yesterday

nidhruvi2

Then 8 miles into the morning she too makes the half way point.

nidhruvi-board2

Has the briefest of celebrations.  Remember every mile past 1300 is entering a new world

nidhruvi 1550

nidhruvi-board

Then celebrates with Surasa whose life is so similar to her own.

nidhruvi-surassa2

Surasa also ran well yesterday.  She also completed 113 laps.  There is a moment this moment when I see her getting frustrated with her ipod as she approaches the camp.  She says, “That is it.  No more Ipod.”

surasa3

The little garden with Sarah passing by.

flower

Sarah got 93 laps yesterday

sarah2

Ashprihanal had by quite a lot the most laps yesterday 128.

ashprihanal

Ananda-Lahari taking a beverage break

ananda-lahari

He got his laps up to 108 yesterday.

ananda-lahari4

Atmavir increased his laps to 121 yesterday

flower8

He is something like 120 miles ahead of his pace here last year.

atmavir

Hanging around

toy

Sarvagata had a good day as well yesterday.  He did 125 laps yesterday.  More than 20 better than the previous day.  He also cannot explain why it happened.

sarvagata3

A part goes missing during Silvy’s bike repair

silvy's-bike

Pedro gets a shopping list from Baladev

pedro-baladev

Irena keeping her cool

Irena

A flower break

flower5

There is a tide of kids that sweeps regularly down the course each morning

kids2

 

Pranjal had a good day with 117 laps

flower6

When asked what was the reason for the numbers going down one day and then up the next.  “It could be anything.  It could be the weather.  Yesterday it was cloudy all day.”  As for the day before that, “it was so long ago I forget.”

pranjal4

No gate is closed.

wide-pranjal

“Every day is different.  Every lap is different.”  Baladev increased his laps yesterday from 94 to 103.

“Every second is not the same second here.  Everything here is infinite.”

Baladev

“Yesterday was very good energy here.  The evening a boys group came and many people visited.  It was energy for us.”

“I believe that one year here many more people will come.  They will be walking, running, watching, or something.”  He says that the more people who come and visit will also raise the standard of the runners.  “It will be progress, slowly and steadily.”

“It is not only about the runners.  It is not only about us.”

baladev7

“I don’t know what day it was.  But it was in the morning and it happened in front of the school.  I was walking and 3 or 4 very young boys were coming towards me.  One of them, who was maybe 10 or 11 told me.  I am proud of you.”

“What is it?  It is a miracle.  It was something.”  He suggests that it is through little experiences like this.  How the race reaches out and inspires people and then in turn those who have become inspired offer something unique and special of their own back to the race.

“Everything here is a miracle.  This is not about just this world about the whole universe.”

baladev

Surasa on a quick break

surasa-and-helper

Long, longer, longest.

wide-surasa

Vasu got 116 laps yesterday

vasu5

Yesterday Yuri got his laps up to 112 from 107.  He is doing very well, but this morning as Misha came by he shares a very private moment.

yuriM

Prayer of the day

prayer

Read by Snehashila

snehashila

prayer

“It all started on the anniversary of Enthusiasm Awakeners when they invited anyone who wanted to come and sing with them.  So I was honored and happy every day to come back and sing with them.”  Sarita has also acquired the daily job recently of writing out the words to the song of the day.

“I am here for the whole 3100 mile race and am grateful to help in my own little way.”

sarita

She then reads the lyrics to the song.  “It is so truthful.  Life is transitory, and you realize that at any moment it could be over.  It is quite powerful really.  And to complete my Lord’s compassion story that seems like an eternal journey.”

sarita

Enthusiasm Awakeners

song-of-the-day

parvati

BE NOT AFRAID

Be not afraid of greatness.
Greatness cannot devour you.

Be not puzzled by earth-achievements.
They do not mark Immortality’s Life.

Be not afraid of anything.
Love everything.
But grow into one thing only:
God-Delight.

Sri Chinmoy, Transcendence-Perfection, Agni Press, 1975

flower9

3 Comments to “July 12: Nothing Frightens Me”

  1. Snehashila says:

    Today was my 88th Birthday!
    I felt a very special glow inside of me when I awakened. It’s another beautiful day and I can feel it as a blessing that it is so lovely and without too much humidity. After meditating at my shrine, I hastened over to Aspiration Ground. There was so much peace in the air, it was a glorious way to begin my day. After meditating for a half hour, I hastened over to the 3100 Mile Race. I wanted to spend as much time as possible here. A perfect way to thank God for keeping me here on earth. I want to do His Will. Whatever He needs or wants from me, I pray I have the capacity and willingness to carry out. Thank you my Beloved Supreme.

  2. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal,
    and thank you Snehashila for share your inspiration!

  3. Chanakhya says:

    OK I know it’s a little late, but I want to extend my Best Birthday wishes to Snehashila. You gave me much joy here in Sarajevo 🙂

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