July 5… So Much Progress Here

“It is hard.”

Baladev’s description of the race this morning is by far the simplest and most direct response you could possibly ask for.

In their own way, each of the other runners would probably echo this same sentiment.  Even the most astute observer of the race cannot really grasp the dimensions or the supreme challenge of it all.  We can never know or understand just what he and the other runners are up against here on the course of the 3100 mile race.

For even the most experienced distance runner at best can only come to some theoretical understanding of what it must be like running 18 hours a day for weeks on end.

But when it comes down to it, if you have never done it then you cannot ever really understand it.  Bask in all its subtle delights or also suffer through all its crushing agonies.

Baladev now has been running for 17 days and has completed 909 miles.  But looking back over the 7 other years he has been here it doesn’t take long to realize that he has spent more than a year of his life doing what he is doing right now.  Endlessly circling a half mile strip of concrete in Queens New York.

“Every lap is interesting.  Sometimes every step.”

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When I quiz him about the difficulties of running here he says, “I feel as though I am running in a park.  My first year I did not feel that.  But since then I feel this way.”

“Sometimes people ask, how can you run around just one block?  But there are so many trees, grass, and nature.”

“Being here makes me definitely connect with my inner experiences.  Because when you are doing something very intense like this, in the same place, many many times, you can feel connected to this place.”

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“I would like to be here all year.  It is hard for me when I am not here.  It is also definitely hard to be here but it  is even harder for me when I am not here.”

“After a few years whenever I came back here it started to feel like home.  There is no other place around the world where I feel like I do here.”

“I make so much progress here.”

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Baladev describes how in many other difficult sports the athletes keep coming back again and again because of the satisfaction they experience when they continue to do them.

As for the 3100 mile race he says, “Guru created this.  The Supreme created this for people to do it.  There must be something special and there is something special here.”

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Peace means joy;

Joy means peace.

Peace and joy

can never be separated.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 16, Agni Press, 1999

The board

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The van arrives

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A happy Yuri arrives

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The quiet camp

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Rupantar joking with Ashprihanal

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There has been a lot of rain around since last night.  Rupantar checks the radar on his phone.

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The girls

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The Start Day 17

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First steps

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A late Ananda-Lahari dashes up the street on his bike

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Sahishnu will tell me some time later that he ran right up until midnight.  He did the most miles for the day, 70.

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Throughout the city and throughout most of the country for that matter, fireworks were being set off and parties were taking place.  The sounds filled the area until very very late

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A little less exciting

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Vasu did 69 miles and now has 1155 miles

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Higmanshu has been helping repair the runners shoes.  Vasu says it is a big help to him.

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So small

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Atmavir did 68 miles and has 1123 miles

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The light comes

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Yuri did 66 miles

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He now has 1100 miles

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Yuri checking with the counter

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“What do you think is happening over there?”

“I don’t know…. Same thing as here probably.”

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Almost didn’t see

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Ashprihanal did 67 miles

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He now has 1056 miles

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This caterpillar had a hard wet night

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Surasa did 64 miles

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She has 1038 miles

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168st

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Kaneenika did 64 miles

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She has 1018 miles

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Doing a lap with Putrima

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The flags are still up

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Shamita

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The big turn

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Shamita did 60 miles

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A little after 10 this morning Dohai places a bell around her neck and the camp cheers.  She has just completed 1000 miles.

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From now on every step and every mile will take her further in a race than she has ever been before.

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Service road

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Nada counting

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“I ate way too much at the barbecue last night.  After I finish my toast I am going to go exercise in the playground.”

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Service road

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Stutisheel did 64 miles and has 954 miles

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Friends

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Sopan by the basketball courts

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Sopan did 55 miles

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He has 919 miles

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Cups

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Baladev with 53 miles and has 909 miles

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Barely there

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Ananda-Lahari did 70 miles.  The most of all the runners.

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He has 909 miles

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The playground

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Passing swiftly

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volodymyr did 51 miles he has 841 miles

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All a dream

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Nirjarini and the morning snack

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“I like to remember, as probably everyone who has ever experienced the race, how Guru would come so often.  Driving around the course, offering his love.  Offering his encouragement.  And offering his smile that energized everybody.”

Anjali describes as well how Sri Chinmoy used to offer prasad to the runners.  How if he had not brought something with him he would slip money to one of those who wasn’t running in order to buy ice cream or some other treat.  “Go and get prasad for everybody.”

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“With such joy he would offer it to each runner and to each helper and each spectator.”

“In the mornings now when we sing somehow I can imagine him pulling up in his car with a new song to offer to the singers.  Then teaching them the song.  The experience would go so far beyond the teaching of a song because the moment would allow us all to feel his unmatched love for humanity, and for humanity’s progress.”

“The other day I was feeling that the 3100 mile race is a pressure cooker for progress. The runners of course experience the whole array, the whole spectrum of emotions, that we can’t even imagine.”

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“As soon as you arrive at this place.  The place itself has that aura.  That special feel.  I feel that it is not just for those who have been directly involved.  But I think, and you see from the neighbors, and all the people who walk around here that they feel it.”

“That there is some special good energy that enlivens the best part of us.  Makes us feel that we can do better in the world.”

Click to Play:

Anjali

Samahita reads the Daily Prayer

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Click to Play:

Samahita poem

Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Click to Play:

Parvati

Even an iota of progress
In the inner life
Is much more important
Than the so-called success-life.

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2 Comments to “July 5… So Much Progress Here”

  1. Bigalita says:

    Anjali, so much joy, so much love- thank you

  2. Petra says:

    Thank you Utpal. Your blog means so much to me. And thank you for the squirrel :)!

    14,456.
    God´s Compassion-Light
    Every day encourages my heart
    To discover something inspiring,
    Illumining and fulfilling.
    Guru

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