Innocent Joy… (World’s Longest Seesaw 2019)

There is only one time
To be happy,
And that time
Is now!

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 22, Agni Press, 2001

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Having innocent joy is something that most of us never grow tired of.   We can for a time be caught up and distracted by our own problems but something within us seems to inevitably draw us back to a place where happiness can be our selfless and tireless companion as long as we don’t allow ourselves to get in the way.

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For Ashrita, who has spent much of his life achieving and setting hundreds of Guinness world records the anniversary of his Spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy’s birthday has for decades been an occasion when the dimensions and scale of his record breaking has shattered the conventions of size in incredible and mind boggling ways.

This year with the help of a team led by Yuyudhan and Papaha the world’s longest seesaw was constructed.  It was 88 foot long to mark what would have been Sri Chinmoy’s 88th birthday.

Ashrita speech:

 

 

Yuyudhan interview:

“This is an 88 foot 2 inch seesaw or the beginnings of it.”  Like all big projects there is always a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make the construction of the world’s longest seesaw possible.

I first spoke with Yuyudhan after he had already spent 5 days working on its construction.  He says that 9 years earlier he had been part of a group constructing a 79 foot seesaw so approached Ashrita this year with the possibility of scaling up the original project by an additional 9 feet.  “I already know how to build that.  So it was not going to be a huge design issue.”

When asked just how long he had been part of constructing projects for August 27th there is some understandable head scratching.  “I think 20 years or so.”  He believes his first was taking part in assembling a 27,000 flower bouquet.

Annurakta

The point of doing them is simple.  He says that the projects built to celebrate August 27th are all about joy. Yuyudhan says that he was happy from the moment the lumber was delivered by a large forklift for this one.  “I have been working here for 5 days now and it is just fun.”

Dohai

“With Sri Chinmoy’s birthday you get to see a gigantic thing being made.  It is just part of you transcending your own self.  When you are building something bigger than the last thing you made…. this is just so cool.  I enjoyed making it last time, this time is giving me even more joy.  I know that it is going to work.”

Bishwas

Yuyudhan vividly recalls that when people of all ages rode the seesaw 9 years earlier they all got joy and could feel themselves reviving their childlike enthusiasm. “You could see them as kids.  They enjoyed it, it was fun.  We had a waiting line of people trying to get on it.  I foresee the same thing here.  People really wanting to get on it.”

Jowan

“This is one of the few records that Ashrita has done that everybody gets to participate in, because they get to ride it.”

Mahasatya

Mark

Papaha interview:

Papaha tells me that he has had previous experience on Mega teeter tooter work.  He was part of the team that worked on the 79 foot seesaw 9 years earlier.  “Everyone loved working on it.”

“I think when you got on it you went up 12 feet into the sky.”  As we are talking most of the main body of the seesaw have been constructed.  “I get the easy job.  I get to pick out the fun colors.  We always go with bright birthday cake type colors.  So we will prime this up and paint this up and tomorrow, once it is all dry.  We will put the vinyl lettering on it.”

“We celebrate Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.  Ashrita, who has the most Guinness records likes to get a bunch of us together and work as a team.”  It is by working collectively Papaha says that they are able to achieve so much more.  The result is that many many more are able to receive innocent joy from their efforts to celebrate Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.

“We are going to do a bluish green along the side, blue along the top.  The fulcrum will be a bright yellow.  The lettering will be a magenta.”

“For me it is fun.”  He then points towards Yuyudhan and says it may be just a little less fun as he has to take care of most of the construction.  Papaha says that there are difficult times but overall, “it is always a joy.”

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“I do look forward to my maiden voyage.”

Measuring:

The crew

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We must accept life’s
Up and down waves
Smilingly and bravely.

 

Todor’s Finish

Todor’s Finish

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Day 52…To Achieve the Goal of Goals (August 6)

With 6 days left in the race Todor was in a place no runner wants to be in at the 3100.  He was off the pace by 32 miles and the finish line and his dream were quickly slipping away.

I have talked to Sahishnu and in the past there are runners who have fallen back and managed to struggle miraculously to the finish line.  But he says not so late and with not so many miles.

Pick a sport and picture the miraculous goal, stepping to the plate in the 9th inning with 2 outs, or whatever nearly impossible scenario and that is exactly what Todor pulled off here over the past few days.

“It is a pretty good morning.  Day 52 and I am in the mood to finish.”

Todor suggests that the hole he had been in was created purely by outer circumstances.  A combination of digestion problems and other things.  “It caused me trouble and reduced my speed.  That is why I said to myself that no way is this going to stop me.  I just have to proceed.”

What has happened has happened but he says, “what is in front of me is still the goal.  So I should proceed.”

He says his solution was to change his diet to simpler foods. “The helped me to recover and have more energy.  If you have good legs and good mood but do not have energy then it is not possible.  It is difficult to run.”

Gradually his condition improved and he started to run faster.  “Today I feel good and I hope I will finish.”

“I have had tremendous support from my friends in Bulgaria, and even from many people that I don’t know, from all over the world.”  He even heard from a school teacher in Japan who was teaching the fundamentals of not giving up by using Todor as an example.

“Very interesting and very touching and that support also helped with my recovery.  Just to proceed and not give up.”

“When I finish I hope I will realize all that has happened.”  He feels that he has gone through a whole spectrum of life experiences.

“Now I just want to go over to the corner and do 100 more laps and we will see what will happen tonight.  Keep your fingers crossed.”

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Harita’s Finish

Harita’s Finish

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Smarana Finish

Smarana finish

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Day 51…Never Give Up (August 5)

The beauty of navigation devices or applications is that they, by their very technical nature, can calculate with precision which is the best way to get you to where you want to go.  They make choices sometimes you might not agree with at the time but ultimately later realize that they had grabbed some information from some other remote mysterious electronic source in order to calculate the best solution.

To my knowledge no one has ever gotten lost running the 3100 mile race but I suspect each and every soul who has stepped up to the starting line has longed to reach the finish line in the easiest fastest way possible.  There are unfortunately never any shortcuts other than dialing up your persistence and dedication.  Something that a smartphone can not help you with at all.

Ushika did something yesterday that probably most people didn’t notice.  He ran 71 miles, the most mileage he is done since his very first day at the race which was now 50 days ago.  Will it help him reach the finish line?  Not at all.  When midnight comes tomorrow night he will still be hundreds of miles short, but his inner motivations are not definable.  For there is someplace he is going that is not on any map.

photo by Dipali

When I meet Ushika this morning he and his helper Max have just performed a short comedy skit for the Enthusiasm Awakeners.  “It is a good start.”

When describing Max’s help, “he is not just good he is essential.”

Max describes his role here as being part of a beautiful event.  He says he made progress on many fronts.  “We did a lot of plays and a lot of jokes and it helped me in a lot of ways to improve.” Meaning being more comfortable at public speaking.

Ushika says there are too many adjectives to describe his experience here this year.  “Surprise, miracle.  In the end, you always run out of words.  It is always difficult to describe.”

“At this stage of the race you go so far out of your mind, that it is difficult to think through answers.  Life becomes very simple, especially the mind.  It is not the usual way to function.  But instead in a very cheerful and simple frame of mind.

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Day 50…Accomplish Everything (August 4)

Sahishnu’s final weekly wrap up

Poem of the Day

When
My heart cries,
God’s Heart-Door
Opens up immediately.

Sri Chinmoy

Aug. 4th, 2006

Enthusiasm Awakeners

Daring enthusiasm and abiding cheerfulness
Can accomplish everything on earth
Without fail.

Ananda-Lahari Finish

Ananda-Lahari finish

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Vasu Finish

Vasu Interview

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Nirbhasa Finish

A short interview

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