“It is so far that you can’t even think about it. It is like 3 weeks. If you start to think about it now it will kill you. I am only thinking about today.” I had just asked Pranjal about what it might mean to him when he passes the 2000 mile mark today, and if he would then be able to just to have a little better perspective of the finish line.
His answer and his tone delivering it were no surprise. Over 9 years of his doing the self transcendence race his words never surprise me while what he does with his feet is another matter. His relentless drive and determination never ceases to astonish me.
Yet just the same in about 9 hours from now, in the very pit of another hot dank NY afternoon Pranjal will indeed cross the 2/3’s mark and without stopping continue on with what he has been doing every day for the last 31.
Now with just 21 days of running time left for everyone it becomes much easier to calculate and to see how some runners here will likely do extraordinarily well, while a few others will simply run out of time in tying to make it to the finish line.
For all those who love the race and would enjoy taking over God’s job, should he for some reason voluntarily choose to relinquish it for the next 3 weeks. The world, at least here would quickly become a much different place. Instantly all potential Supreme Beings in waiting, would quickly alter the weather, by shifting in a cool front from Canada. Injuries would vanish, pain would disappear, and all the tiredness and fatigue would be a thing of the past.
Of course most of us by standers assume we could surpass the Supreme’s decisions on a few very specific matters. Assuming that maybe this time the cosmic plan is actually somehow a mistake. That on this occasion perhaps the Lord of the Universe is being distracted by wars or other events in far off lands. The folly of this reasoning is that should any of us actually have this power and should we then alter what is happening, even just here on this block, we would be making the worst possible mistake.
For the subtle transformations that happen here to each runner are most certainly beyond our grasp and understanding. None of them are asking for any of their suffering, the pain, or fatigue. Yet they each and everyone knows the strength of the inner command that brought them to this task. At times they may even doubt their decisions and feel abandoned by the very power that is indeed still working in and through each of them.
For any of us trying to analyze how this will still yet play out is a fool’s errand, and asking for God’s job even more so. For as Pranjal correctly said, all we have is today.
Do not plan your life in advance. It is not fair to take away God’s job.
Sri Chinmoy, To-Morrow’s Dawn, Agni Press, 1982
Yesterday Ashprihanal developed a problem with his knee. It is still too early to know just how serious it is. Dr. Kumar is coming today and he is anxious to hear what he has to say about it.
Everyone can see on the board that 31 days have passed. 3 weeks, 21 days of running time are all that is left.
Nidhruvi starts the day with 1251 miles to go. She simply has to continue what she is currently doing and she will make it.
The day will be hot and only hotter tomorrow and the following
Ananda-Lahari always cheerful finds meaning in each of these steps he takes here.
He knows that he belongs here. “I have the feeling I should start running but still it doesn’t work. I am not able to really describe what is going on. I have energy but it seems to me that everything goes to the ground. But today Dr. Kumar is coming and I think today he will be the instrument that will help me to start running.”
“I feel much better than yesterday. (83 laps) Like I ran already 3 meters. (laughs) There is still hope.”
For Ashprihanal the morning is certainly a struggle. One that he is not used to. To not see him flying is hard for everyone.
The Swami joins the runners this morning.
For Atmavir his race has been nothing less than spectacular. He had the best day by far yesterday with 121 laps.
Nidhruvi again had 113 laps
She radiates confidence and peace
Surasa moves in so much the same way.
Her 111 lap days are exactly what she needs
No lap comes easily here
Pedro works on helping Ashprihanal with his shoes. Getting them just right.
Sarvagata still searching for the right mix.
He passed 2000 miles yesterday but ran 102 laps
Vasu is not without problems
He gets some help from Nicolay in the van.
Yet just the same he ran 116 laps and is 150 miles ahead of last year
Everything seems so long and hard when you look closely
It is always shady in the camp
Baladev can see what is in front of him
Water, water and more water
Nidhruvi shares with me a hand written poem that she has just received.
Time is passing so quickly the flowers turn to seed
Kodananda arrives to play upon his flute
Sarah continues on
Inspiration here and there along the way.
Yuri did 108 laps enough to keep him there
Pranjal will complete 2000 miles today
“It is hot and humid and is going to be even worse today, and tomorrow even worse.” Pranjal’s humor always borders a little on the dark side. He makes jokes about all kinds of things but when you watch him closely here, you see something else. You realize just how much he puts into his unrelenting effort here each day, each lap, and each step. It expresses much more than he could possibly say.
We discuss how much different the 3100 would be if it were put on at a different time of the year. He says that he likes the cold and wouldn’t mind, as long as it didn’t rain. He says in Bratislava it does get this hot but there they do not have the same humidity.
He was telling me earlier that he was happy that his shoes were lasting 6 days. “But now that I have a blister I changed my style and somehow my shoes now only last 4 days.” On the tape you can hear the heavy shuffle sound of his steps on the hard concrete. “I will see, now that I don’t have any blisters. I mean I always have something on my toes. But it is nothing serious. It is luck.”
He takes only one 15 minute break a day. He jokes, “I am too slow to take more breaks. I am one of the slowest on the track actually.” The break he takes at 3 in the afternoon. With the changing of shoes and cleaning up it stretches he said out to about 25 minutes. “It is 15 minutes of sleeping.”
“In my first race I started with 3 breaks. Then I had to cut it to 2 and then in the end to 1 break, because I was just too slow.”
Every night on his blog he talks about all the runners who share the track with him. I ask him what he thinks about those who are not going to finish. “In this race I think it doesn’t matter that you finish it. The thing is that you are here and you are doing your best. It doesn’t matter if it is 50 miles or 70 miles. Sometimes you have a bad year and you can’t make it. It doesn’t matter as long as you do your best. That is what counts.”
Prayer of the Day
Recited by Ananda-Lahari
You want to change the world.
Do you not realise
That you are taking away God’s job?
What has He done
To deserve this kind of punishment from you?
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 34, Agni Press, 1982