“It is a funny thing. A couple of races ago I was observing all the different qualities that the runners represent. If we combine all those qualities we get a perfect runner, with all the divine qualities that we need in the spiritual life.” As Sarvagata tells me this it is still the very early hours of an almost perfect day. There is a fresh breeze drifting coolly across the course from the West. The sun is rising up full and bright and promising, that at least for today, it will not burn and abuse the 12 runners who have lived under its hot gaze for so many days.
Sarvagata has spent the last 2 long summers here and is now into his 42nd day of running here on this his 3rd time. Yesterday on the course just might have been the worst day he has had all summer here. One that also might measure as a new low also when compared to all his previous years as well doing the 3100. He finished the day with just 87 laps and saw the tall Slovak Pranjal shuffle past him and take over his 4th place position. Something that neither probably scarcely noticed or also cared much about either.
Also when you look back at his personal statistics, compared to his results here last year he is more than 200 miles behind where he was then. Yet as we talk, his face bathed in the soft golden light of dawn, it is clear that he is happy with what he has and also where he is. Sarvagata at this moment would not wish any of the above to be different than exactly the way it is. He is at peace and content with all that life has given to him.
It is just so easy to forget what is really happening here. You see them, you listen too them, they tell you from their hearts just exactly what is happening to them here. Everyone in their own way expresses their unique vision of the race. When all of this is combined it describes a world that is completely different than the one most of humanity is stumbling around in. For Sarvagata a bad day and a good day have equal value. Because no matter how many miles he makes what he really wants is to simply grow stronger within. His real destination is to simply get closer to his inner source. He is running, he is praying, he is asking God to lead him only there.
He describes the qualities of the others, “speed, consistency, soulfulness, wisdom, everything that we need in our spiritual life, all the runners represent. This is so incredible. All of them together complete the perfect painting. We can’t take any of them away without breaking the whole picture.”
“I was begging to the Supreme that I would like to have all those qualities in myself. It is probably not possible to have all those qualities without having experiencing them. So this race I noticed that I experienced all those qualities. I noticed that I was even copying their style of running of the different runners. It was incredible.”
If you want to be a perfection-runner,
Then start at the aspiration-start
And run along the progress-road
To the realisation-finish.
Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 118, Agni Press, 1988
The sun somehow looks a little different this morning.
The board shares all that it has.
Sarvagata has the tight tired legs of a man who has run 2574 miles, and still has 526 more to go.
Pranjal works on his toes
Cool enough that some are wearing jackets, at least for now.
Ananda-Lahari mixing up his drink
With the sun reflecting with such an ethereal glow it somehow does not look much like the world we know. At least for now.
All things both big and small look as if they are not part of this earth.
But the worlds either collide or combine depending on how you look. Heaven meets earth or earth reaches up to heaven. Atmavir’s world and his race gradually looks more solid.
He ran a really astonishing 127 laps yesterday. He is more than 100 miles ahead of last year.
Yet a lot can still happen here.
Vasu is only 25 miles behind.
He ran 116 laps yesterday
The destination still far the scenery just the same.
Ashprihanal did 107 laps yesterday.
He is 29 miles behind Vasu
Pranjal ran 111 laps yesterday. A number that does not compare to his average earlier in the race but one he feels is just the reality he has to deal with at this stage of the race.
“I am not fast enough any more. I have lost weight and I have also lost muscles. My legs are not so strong as they were at the beginning of the race. The mileage that I could do before is now almost impossible. You always have to do your best and today this was my best.”
Last night with just 7 minutes before the course closed he had to sprint just to get his last lap completed. It was 6 minutes and 15 seconds. “It was really surprising to me.”
Everything that happens to Sarvagata he feels very strongly that is an invaluable experience. They are all lessons that he believes that the Supreme is showing him in order for him to transcend himself. “If I don’t get it he shows me again. (laughs) And if I still don’t get it he shows me again! So I guess he will show me as many times as I finally get it. So I am very happy. I am enjoying every bit.”
Ananda-Lahari is directly in front of us as we are running. I ask Sarvagata how it is possible that he can remain so cheerful despite all the ups and downs. Then he quickly corrects me. “First of all I would like to say that for Ananda-Lahari there is no such thing as ups and downs. What I see is the highest height. I see a spiritual man walking along the road. It doesn’t matter what kind of speed we see. Because the actual speed of his inner progress we don’t know.”
“I feel that the old people and new people (runners in the race) are all part of the same big picture. They are all pieces of the puzzle. They all fit together perfectly.”
We are now passing the Enthusiasm Awakeners who are setting up for the big 7th anniversary performance. I ask him what they mean to him when they come and sing for the runners every morning. “It is like the course itself. They are part and parcel of the 3100. I couldn’t imagine it without them. I like them very much, simplicity and enthusiasm. It is all I need in my life. In my every day life. Every morning I need this inspiration and aspiration. I am so grateful to them.”
“Today is a perfect morning. I am so happy. And yesterday was a perfect day. Nevertheless I had the lowest mileage that I ever had. I really enjoyed yesterday. I strongly felt that it was the Supreme’s will expressed. It was the Supreme’s grace that I did it exactly like that. Not more and not less. I was on my feet all the time. Maybe in previous years I would have cursed myself, that I was lazy, or something like that.”
“Yesterday I strongly felt that all the energy we have is borrowed. It is all given. If it is given you use it and if it is not, then you have to accept it. You can pray for it or humbly wait for it. You can’t be disappointed because it is not actually yours.”
“Like Sarah said one day. The ego of those who walk in the race is so small. If I didn’t walk for 3 days in a row then I wouldn’t accept it. I wouldn’t realize it. So I am so happy that I had this experience. I don’t have any pain. I don’t have any injury that I see that causes this. I just feel empty in terms of energy. I feel great but I can’t run. It is amazing. It could be funny but it is an uplifting experience. Now I don’t have to worry about anything in my life, because I know that it is all given. If you are given something than you use it. If not then, so what. It is not your fault. It is not anybody’s fault.”
“Now I don’t have to have expectations from other people, from supplements, from food, from the helpers. It is just God’s will. I wish I could keep it with my every day life. In my life after the race. After today, after this moment. But is so easy to forget it. But at least I had a glimpse of it. I am very happy.”
There are some special visitors today.
Some have been here for a long time and will remain while what happens to this visitor is another matter.
Surasa doing so well. She did 108 laps
She has 582 miles to go
Our visitor still enjoying himself.
Some serious things are still going on.
Yuri now doing so well and so consistently
Our friend moving from here to there, but never very far.
Nidhruvi is like she has always been here.
What can you say about this lady
But what she does each day says much more….110 laps
Moving at different speeds or not at all.
Sarah making her way.
A little excitement in camp this morning
Sopan had 81 laps yesterday
Baladev had 92 laps
It is going to be a special morning
Ananda-Lahari had 71 laps
Some more guests this morning
Some so not unexpected
Snehashila kicking it in as she does every Saturday after doing 2 miles here. She says that she would not be surprised if one day there were more girls than boys running here.
Prayer of the day
Recited by Sarvagata
Then a celebration begins with the Enthusiasm Awakeners. It is their 7th anniversary here
There is a performance for them involving a frog.
They salute the runners with their waving roses
And the runners salute them, or at least take off their hats.
There is always the song of the day.
Congratulations on your most special 7th anniversary at the 3100 mile race. We are all so so grateful to you all.
The inner runner
Is always trying to offer
Inspiration and aspiration
To the outer runner.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 16, Agni Press, 1999