July 9… No Mind No Form

“It is wonderful.  It is so great.  It is such a difference.  It could not be better.”  (Surasa)

For all the runners of the 3100 mile race the weather on this quiet Saturday morning is extraordinarily perfect.  Grey skies, a light breeze, and the temperature will not rise above the mid 70’s (23 C). This of course when compared to the sauna like conditions of the past few days.

It is just possible that today may be the best day to run here all summer.  At the same time when you have to stretch back your perception of what Surasa and all the runners have accomplished and still have yet to do this moment is less than a blink of your eye.

When it was hot Surasa says, “I was slower, especially in the afternoon.  You don’t have so much energy.  It is more difficult.  On the other hand, I could handle the heat quite well.”

“I am happy and I am fine, but I have such respect for this race.  That everything can change so fast.  At the same time it is such a long time to run, until the end.”


When we ran for the first time this morning Surasa later reflected upon what she had said and asked me to come with her once again.

“I don’t want to give the impression that this race is easy.  When I am saying I am happy, when your running is good and you feel well, then everybody feels happy.”

“But if you are having problems then it is such a different story.   This race can be so hard.  Nobody can imagine just how hard it really is to run here, particularly with an injury.”

“I don’t want to give the impression that it is easy.  That it is like drinking water.  That it is nothing.  It is not true.  Running the race is not nothing.”


Surasa says that when she also has a problem then her mind comes forward.  “It can be very strong and strange.”  She feels that when she is happy and content that then her running simply goes well.  From her personal experience she is grateful for it but at the same time feels that she is not doing anything special or out of the ordinary.

“When you are fine then everybody is fine.  Everybody is smiling.”

We come into the camp and Surasa looks up to see Vasuprada waiting for her with a glass of water.  Surasa is touched by this.  It is something that all Surasa’s helpers appreciate.  Her kindness and concern.


Vasuprada describes later just how sweet Surasa is.  She finishes her nights most often around 11:30.  All day she has not paid attention to her mileage.  All she hopes for at the end of the day is at least 109 laps.  Vasuprada says when she gets even one lap more than that then she is delighted.  Last night she got 115.

The three of us now are moving down the sidewalk at a brisk walk.  I ask Vasuprada if Surasa is a tough boss.  “Absolutely no,” she says with a large smile.

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When I ask why, she says, “because she has no mind.”  With this we all laugh.  Then Surasa recites:

No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought.
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am It whom I have sought.

— Sri Chinmoy The Absolute

Sri Chinmoy, Mother India’s Lighthouse: India’s spiritual leaders, Agni Press, 1971

Because of a severe reaction to the extreme weather Shamita has been advised not to continue running the 3100 mile race.


I spoke at length with her this morning.   She explains how the events unfolded and just how well she has accepted this unfortunate experience.

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The board


Sanjay’s film crew is here today.

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Ashprihanal stretches on the curb

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Ananda-Lahari gets a congratulations from Rupantar for doing the most miles yesterday, 71.

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Janos gets treated to a hot coffee

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Of course there are a lot of cameras around beside the film crews


The girls settle in

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Baladev arrives

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Working on shoes

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Start Day 21


First steps

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Vasu did 62 miles yesterday.  His lowest mileage so far in the race.


He has 1417 miles and with the help of Vajra is dealing with some injuries that appear to stem from blisters.  Vajra’s philosophy is that as much as running can cause you problems it can as well cure you at the same time.


Not far away

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Atmavir had 68 miles.


He now has 1391 miles

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End of the 2 mile race

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Some characters here for the Saturday 2 mile race

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Yuri did 63 miles


He now has 1357 miles

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Ashprihanal had 67 miles


He now has 1322 miles


He along with Vasu and Sutisheel somehow coordinated their laps and did a play.


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Fascination with phones

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A little blue


Surasa had 63 miles


She now has 1294 miles

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Service road

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Kaneenika did 64 miles

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She has 1273 miles


With her helpers

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By the school

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“Of course I don’t expect to win the tour de France or get the yellow jersey.  I just want to stay up with the peloton for the entire 21 days.”


Stutisheel did 63 miles


He has 1179 miles


By the fence


“Wait a minute.  Was that a squirrel who just rode by?”

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Baladev did 57 miles.  He has 1146 miles


A little bit


Sopan had his 2nd day in a row with 65 miles.


He now has 1142 miles


By the Grand Central

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Ananda-Lahari did 71 miles.


He now has 1131 miles


Coming into camp

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Jumagul was here at the race helping all last summer. I ask her what has brought her back again.

“When I was here for the first time in 2011 I understood that this was the best place for me.  I also understood that I was able to come and be here every time.”

“I like everything about it.”


“In 2008 when my daughter Akbota was here I started reading Perfection Journey every day.  Since then I haven’t missed one year, reading it all the time.”

“The runners became my dear ones to me.  When I had tough moments in my life I would think about what they were going through.  Like Pranjal.”

“So it was amazing for me to actually come here.  It was a really great experience so I want to come now all the time.”

*Translation by Lyalya*

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Nishta reads the Daily Poem

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Poem Nishta

Enthusiasm Awakeners


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A cheerful heart
Knows no delay.
A fearful mind
Sees no bright day.


4 responses to “July 9… No Mind No Form”

  1. Dear Utpal,
    Thank you so much for the whole July 9th blog but especially for the interview with Shamita. I was hoping you would speak to her and bring us some news. She´s accepted it so well! Thank you.

  2. Love the interviews – and very nice to hear Shamita`s voice, taking it so well. Self-transcencence comes in steps – and sometimes you just have to take smaller steps. It definitely sounds like a wise decision. Running 1139 or so miles 22 years after her best of 1000 miles is an amazing and tremendously inspiring achievement in itself! Just to dare and seriously attempt the 3100 miles is awesome!

    Just found this poem:

    God needs seekers not to win
    In the battlefield of life,
    But to surrender to Him the results
    In the battlefield of life.

    Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants (No 25579)

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