June 22: The World Within

“When you run this race you open up the world within yourself.  In this race the runner finds out the essence of his place in this world, and you also find out the meaning of your existence for humanity.”

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Each of the 14 runners has their own unique and individual way of describing what running 3100 miles means to them.

From the moment Yuri started the race for the first time last year it was clear that each step he ran here on the course was for him part of a sacred pilgrimage.  One, that despite the obvious grinding familiarity of circling the same half mile block of concrete was also revealing something new to him at almost every moment.


Over the years and as well into this one, many of the runners who have been part of this great odyssey would agree at least in some part with Yuri’s words.  Being part of something so difficult simply has to change you in profound and unpredictable ways.

At the same time when you are drifting out past the very limits of human fatigue, and every little bit of your physical existence is racked with pain and suffering, making a grand claim about entering the glowing infinite realm of reality within yourself.  That most likely would not be the first choice the runner would use in describing what is happening to them.  Even if you have the presence of mind to take note of the experience at the time.


What ever the reason that each runner selects as the inspiration to come here and and be part of this journey it has to be a powerful and a good one.  Once they are out there at 6am each day at the starting line than anything and everything can and will happen to them.

If each runner is prepared, fortunate, receptive, or maybe just a lucky recipient of boundless grace then they will cover the complete 3100 miles before the 52 days are up.  Along the way perhaps as well taking new and profound strides towards their own perfection.


With one Eye open,
God asks the world
To be perfect.
With another Eye open,
God tells the world
That He Himself will do
The work of perfection
For the world.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 39, Agni Press, 1984

 There now have been 7 full days of running.  Those who have 420 miles or more are on pace to complete the distance.


Sarah uses the time before the start to check her messages.


The weather is going to be great today as well it is forecast to be the same for the next few days.


Like a lot of the runners in the morning Yuri has a yogurt before he starts.  They all insist on the high fat variety.


Teekshanam like most of the boys comes on his bike every day. He is eating an apple as he rides here.


It will be a little overcast for parts of the day and very pleasant.


Start Day Eight



The sky is incredibly beautiful this morning.


The long day begins.


It is perhaps an unprecedented start for Sarvagata this year.


For 2 days in a row he has had back to back 70 mile days.


He is 24 miles ahead of his 7 day total last year. He is moving so well that his sister did not notice when he passed the 500 mile mark this morning.


It gave every body a little joy when he stopped to pose briefly by the board for pictures.


After he left Sarvadhara changed the numbers back to 501.  There will be many celebrations along the way for everyone running here.  Bells will be rung, phone cameras will flash, and then the runners will turn back out onto the course and have to keep going.


Vasu is having a hard time just now but I am not sure exactly why.  He tells me he has a bad blister but doesn’t really want to talk about it.  I am certain he is getting help for it but there is a struggle being revealed in his eyes just now.


He did 112 laps yesterday or 61 miles.  He has 466 miles and will also pass 500 miles later this afternoon.


Having the companionship of Volodymyr is helping him on the course.


By chance I caught them together with Yuri for just a moment in camp.


Baladev is now in 4th place and continues to be impressive.


He had 111 laps yesterday or 60 miles and has 32 more miles than he did last year.


The inspiration to run is contagious in a very good way.  Antana has plotted out a potential new place to run this morning with Lyalya.


Some others on the other hand are considering just flying away.  But before they go enjoy the greenery along the course.


Pranjal as usual is incredibly consistent and disciplined.  He had 113 laps yesterday or 62 miles and with 453 miles has 8 more than last year.


Zulma is counting again today.


Sopan also has been steady and consistent.  He did 110 laps or 60 miles and has 446 miles.


Sarah is just doing great.  She is having the kind of race she probably wish she had last year.


She had a terrific 119 laps yesterday or 65 miles.  She has 443 miles, 23 more than last year.


Stutisheel is also having a great race.  He did 124 laps yesterday or 68 miles.


This is the 10th time he has been here.


Tremendously experienced and talented for this event.


Some flags were missing next to the runners names.  Jayasalini gets a small Russian flag next to her name this morning.


She is doing just great, but perhaps you knew this from her smile.  Which is one of the small but powerful cures for many of life’s problems.


She is also incredibly consistent.  She had another day of 110 laps or 60 miles.


And this morning she remembers to wave to her mother in Moscow.


William Sichel also gets an Orkney flag next to his name thanks to Parvati and Wikipedia.


Everyone is very pleased that William is doing so well here.  Not least of them is William himself.


He is so experienced and methodical in everything he does.


He had a really good day yesterday of 118 laps or 65 miles.  He now has 429 miles.

The good news for William, as well as all the runners, is that there is no hot weather in the forecast for any time soon.


He is also meticulous with his diet.  He tells me he eats a lot of ice cream.  In fact he says he has about 4,500 calories of ice cream a day.  He says that ice cream is perfect for him and his digestion.  Half o it is carbohydrates and half of it is fat.  If you are curious of what flavor he likes the answer is vanilla.


Roxy the wonder dog showed up to help today.


Roxy demonstrated a previous unknown capacity to fix bicycles.  She guides Misha in the always tricky maneuver of reattaching a chain.


Teekshanam is doing very well.


He has wanted to come here for a long time.  His 110 laps yesterday is a sign that he is well prepared.


He tells me he is a little shocked at just how hard it is.  Yet still he has 424 miles for 7 days.


Everyone has to find ways to just keep moving.


Nidhruvi also has 424 miles and she did 111 laps yesterday.


Her many years of experience at multi day running is crucial now.


How close the soft and beautiful is next to the hard and unmoving.


Ananda-lahari has 365 miles after 7 days.  For now he mostly walks.  Yesterday he did 83 laps or 45 miles.


Today parvati made an American flag to go next to Ray’s name on the board.


Ray has 307 miles after 7 days.  He did 57 laps yesterday or 31 miles.  He is enjoying himself in Ray’s own way.


Always cheerful, always engaging, always Ray being Ray.


“Inside myself I have noticed amazing qualities.  There is an ocean of happiness in joy inside me.  And I want to share it with everyone.  I feel that this race is a gift from Sri Chinmoy to the world.”

“Those qualities that the runners are developing here they are eventually going to belong to all of humanity.”

“These are the qualities of the heart of people that will help them live better using these qualities.  That is wonderful.  That is inspiring.  It gives strength.  It makes you unstoppable.”


I ask Yuri if he is more prepared for the race this year.  He is very experienced and was well trained but encountered some new challenges last year that he had never faced before, particularly New York heat and humidity.


“The main obstacles I had last year were inside me.  My main obstacle was in my head.  I think last year passed not in vain.  I understood a lot.  I felt a lot, and I grew up a little bit during that time.  I became a little bit stronger inwardly.”

“Also I began to feel more oneness with all the runners.  The inner runner in us is really helping and supporting everyone else.  I have to learn how to use that.  The race is going to show.”


Clearly he has a very strong sense that the race is not just happening on this little city block with 14 runners but has a larger purpose as well.  “The race is happening in the heart of each person.”


“Inside each person’s heart is a limitless ocean.  Every person has that inside of them, that ocean.  For that ocean there is no problem to unite with everyone.  If each runner here develops those qualities, than those same qualities will penetrate into everyone on earth.”


Asked what his goal is he answers, “happiness.”

*translation gratefully provided by Lyalya*

Click to Play Interview:


Yuri is currently in 2nd place with 470 miles, 5 more miles than last year this time.


Vajra reads today’s prayer.


Click to Play:




Click to Play:


Question: Most of us, I guess, at one time or another are so much more concerned with the things that are around us than with the things that are within us.  Maybe that’s where most of the confusion is.

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, we look around most of the time instead of looking deep within. If we can dive deep within, then we will get the answers. The world around us is full of temptation. The world within us is full of illumination. If we can bring to the fore our inner illumination, then the outer world of temptation will be transformed into the world of illumination.

Sri Chinmoy, Aspiration-Body, Illumination-Soul Part 2, Agni Press, 1993


3 Comments to “June 22: The World Within”

  1. padyatra says:

    Hi Utpal, greeting from Peace Run. I am reading this blog every morning. You are doing a very good job, as alway.

  2. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal,
    I am very gatefull to you for the Inspiration I receive from this blog.

    Unlike the outer journeys,
    The inner pilgrimages
    Are always bountiful.

    Sri Chinmoy, 7029 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 8, Agni Press, 1998

  3. Sarita says:

    Thank you Utpal. The runners are amazing and we are all grateful to them for being the instruments of the Supreme in the way only they are chosen to be. They are helping all of us make progress.

    It is so beautiful to see their faces – and all your beautiful photos and descriptions.
    And we would never have the opportunity to hear their direct experiences which are so inspiring and illumining and encouraging.

    So, to all the runners and helpers, gratitude from the heart of Nova Scotia.

    Note: we know where you were born and raised! And Medur!
    Note 2: The Click to Play is not connecting. Any suggestions? Pranjal’s Blog connected.

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