July 8: Deep In My Heart

“Sometimes I have problems in my knee or maybe in my mind……mostly in my mind.” (laughs)

“I try to dive deep in my heart and take some happiness energy from it.  It helps me so much.”


Today is the 25th day of the race and from his results over the past 2 weeks Vasu has been finding all the energy and happiness that he needs.  Yesterday he ran his 3rd consecutive day of 70 plus mile.

The 1660 miles he has run in the first 24 days of the race would take him from his home in St Petersburg to Omsk.  For a man so inspired to transcend himself he has a lot to be grateful for.  As of today he is 140 miles ahead of last years pace.

Vasu is in 3rd place.  He is 79 miles behind Galya and 14 miles ahead of Yuri.


“I have gotten many  letters and my disciple friends have written aphorisms for me written by Sri Chinmoy.  Also I have received an article on concentration and meditation.  I have tried to use it and it helped me so much.” Vasu says that his meditations have been bringing him much, aspiration and energy.

“After that I can easily run.”


Nicolai has been a very attentive helper for Vasu throughout the day.  “Usually things are very very good.  He does many jobs and this lets me be more relaxed and not think about many different things.  I am very grateful to have Nicolai.”  Vasu also has another Russian helper who comes later in the day.

sun-vasu copy

We somehow run up behind Ashprihanal as we run into camp.  “He inspires me so much.  He gives jokes and says push, push,  push.  His mantra is push, push, push.”


Click to Play Interview:


Continue reading “July 8: Deep In My Heart”

July 7: An Inner Lesson

“What a great day. I am having a soul’s name anniversary.”

5 years ago today, on July 7 2010, both Atmavir and Baladev received their spiritual names.  For spiritual seekers receiving a name is perhaps their most precious possession.  A way of defining themselves in the outer world with a tangible reminder of an inner identity trying always to come to the fore.


“It was on a day when I was also having some problems like this.  I had to stop the race and they took me to see Dr. Kumar and than I came back.”

When he arrived one of the race directors handed him an envelop and told him, “you have received a spiritual name.” He stopped for a while to meditate and says, “I was so happy.  That I got my name here at the race.  For us runners it is a privilege to get it here.  Atmavir means hero’s soul.  It is he who has a mighty soul and will attain the absolute.”

He says that he chants his name often when he runs.  “It helps me a lot.”


For nearly a week now Atmavir has seen his big mileage days vanish and his strong subtle stride diminish into a walk.  Almost over night his world shifted.  The ease of his relentless pace that he once seemed to have so readily mastered was reduced to another kind of more pedestrian experience.

But he did not give up and instead simply kept moving.  But with the prospects of 2000 km yet to go still inevitably laying in his way it had to have been hard for this 37 year Czech runner. He has already completed the distance 7 times before.

flower-atmavir 2

Atmavir says that he feels that the difficulties he has been experiencing of late have been a spiritual test.  “An inner lesson which I had to go through.  I really suffered physically.  I was walking 7 days straight.  It went so fast.”  But as of last night something shifted and he was once again able to run.  For the last 2 hours of the day he ran, “it gave me so much joy.”

Looking back at this period he feels that he was supposed to have a real experience of surrender. “Very often it is forced.  It is not spontaneous.  Or it is not cheerful.  But this time I felt during those 7 short days, that my soul was very pleased and very happy.  It was the first time that I overcame it with a sincere cheerfulness.”


He says though that from the beginning of the race he has felt his soul intensely within him.

Click to Play Interview:


Continue reading “July 7: An Inner Lesson”

July 4: America The Beautiful

21 days ago 12 runners set off on a magnificent journey here.  They came from countries scattered around the world, from a total of 8 different nations.  None of them are American, and yet like the millions who have made their way to the great welcoming shores of this land for nearly 4 centuries, they are seeking an opportunity which their own countries cannot provide.


What these explorers seek is of course what we all seek, an opportunity to transcend.  Yet this golden opportunity of running 3100 miles, is one that precious few on earth are ready or willing to take up the challenge.

Still all of us have this beacon inside us, that wants to awaken and illumine us.  One, that some of us are conscious of, and who for others, their earthly slumber does not allow them to awaken yet and strive for their own certain perfection.

On this July 4th holiday Americans awake from shore to shore with the great promise of what America could and should be safe within their hearts.  Yes there will be fireworks and music and a time for silly things true.  But within each person, on this day, and in this country America, a bright promise still burns.

Some may have lost hope that the dream has long vanished, obscured by events and actions that seem so contrary to the vision laid down on parchment in Philadelphia 239 years ago.  But what the founding fathers dreamed for this country the 12 runners pursue in both a tangible way, and in their divine pure journey.

So far they all have completed 20 days of the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race.

Photo by Bhashwar 1976
Photo by Bhashwar 1976

Tomorrow is a very significant day for the American soul, American heart, American consciousness and American life. Let us all try to be in a very, very high consciousness the entire day.

Those who sing very, very well “America the Beautiful” will sing the song tomorrow. That is my most favourite American song. That song is very, very significant.

July 3, 2002

Continue reading “July 4: America The Beautiful”

July 3: Running With Your Heart

As Nirbhasa runs into the thick middle of his 20th day at the 3100 mile race.  He has now been running twice as long as he has ever run before.  When I point this rather obvious observation out to him he responds with his characteristic wit and accompanying giggle , “it certainly feels like it.”


“I never thought the human body could get this tired.  At the same time I am still quite cheerful, still quite happy.  The race is really all about running with your heart, and with your soul.  You have to run the race from within.  Because if you think of how tired you are, and all the other things going on.  There is really no end to it.  So you just keep going and the miles accumulate.”

Nirbhasa ran 58 miles yesterday, which was better than the 49 miles from the previous day.  He started the day with 1174 miles.


It was exactly 10 years ago that Nirbhasa was finishing up his Doctoral program in Nuclear physics.  Clearly he is one of those very smart people who once upon a time, in joking we could safely have used the term rocket scientist.  But long before he started the race Nirbhasa refocused his intellect in a direction that did not coincide with academia or Cape Canaveral.  I am curious what he thinks about hour after hour on the course.

“It really depends on the day.  Sometimes you get a nice meditation instruction.  For example yesterday, and I am doing it today, I am breaking up each lap into little sprinting sections.  I am focusing on an imaginary finish line at the end of each section.  So all I have to do is go to the finish line.  That gave me a lot of joy yesterday.  Not thinking too much about what laps are ahead.  Just thinking about that particular little sprint.  I call them sprints.”


His sprinting of course does not resemble anything you would likely similarly witness in any Olympic competition.  I can easily keep pace with Nirbhasa as he does this in a very comfortable jog.  But I also understand that he has already circled the block 2141 times.  But all the while we….sprint together… Nirbhasa, is incredibly content and happy.

His strategy is the simplest and probably the most useful to all the runners on the course.  “To take it one lap at a time or even one section at a time.”

“From what people tell me, that up until the half way point, it is just hard, physically hard.  That is not too far away now.  That is only a week away.  So I think up until than you are basically trying to be as cheerful and happy as possible.  Sometimes you have these really nice meditation experiences.  Where you sometimes manage to get the mind to go along.  Other times you listen to music, audio books, you just keep going.  Whatever keeps you going forward.  The main thing is to stay happy.”


“I had a nice experience on my 2nd day.  I was coming into the evening.  All of a sudden some inner voice came.” Nirbhasa says usually at that time he would be wondering how many more laps he had to do.  There were only a few hours left and it was getting dark.  He describes the typical mental traps popping up.  The kind of distractions that usually ensnare all of us during our waking hours.

“Then the inner voice came and said, you would get so much joy if you just let this sink in here.” At which point Nirbhasa lifts his hand to touch his head and than let it drops to his heart. It also said he should not worry about the hours or laps to go, or the hot shower that would come soon enough.

“That was very very nice experience.  You definitely get experiences.  You still have to go through tough sections and than at the end there is sometimes a nice realization.  A nice little moment when you say…wow! Okay good.  Now I able to run the race a little bit better.”

Click to Play Interview:


Continue reading “July 3: Running With Your Heart”

July 2: More Than Enough

They have run so many laps and miles together over the past 18 days that is literally impossible to know just how many.  Whatever the number may be it is a lot.

Galya completed 1309 miles last night.  He suspects that many hundreds of them have been completed with Stutisheel, running at his side.  The scuffing of their feet along the dusty sidewalk creates a pleasing hypnotic cadence. They have both placed a great dent in the tremendous goal they are both trying to conquer.

Stutisheel says, “usually long distance races are quite lonely.  It is good to have a running friend.”


I ask Galya if he missed not running with Stutisheel a few days ago when he was having some problems.  “I was sad the he was suffering. But I stopped almost each lap to talk with him.”

Stutisheel: “He was asking me all the time how I was suffering.  By the way, every time I feel that I am limiting his speed, I just let him go.  He is faster and more powerful right now.”

Galya: “We have the same speed when we run together.”  He than jokes that the only reason he ran the race this year was because Stutisheel promised to run 70 mile days.

Stutisheel: “Second half.  We have time.”


Galya has passed Atmavir to take over 2nd place.  He says he is just trying to maintain his same orderly pace everyday of doing 70 mile days.  In fact he has not dipped below that amount for the entire race so far.

“I am trying to do 70 miles a day.  What is happening on the board (place) is not so important.  Atmavir is my friend too.  He will start running soon and he can take his place back again.” Atmavir is 43 miles behind.


Galya says he is not comparing his mileage to his previous races.  He does know that his 10 day marks, and both his 1000 mile and 1300 mile personal bests he has broken.

Talking about Ashprihanal, “he is trying to stay ahead of Madhupran (current record holder 2006). I am sad that I cannot help Ashprihanal because I am not so fast.” He says that even though Ashprihanal has not said as much they can see that he has been trying since the start to break the record.  “He can do it.”


Galya says that for several days during the race he had an experience in which he was almost oblivious to the hard sidewalk and all the construction going on around him.  “It was transformed.  It was like I was in heaven.  I was just running and I felt connected to heaven.  I think if I only have this experience this race. This is enough….more than enough.”

Click to Play Interview:


Continue reading “July 2: More Than Enough”