Originally posted on Yahoo Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group March 2006
by: Arpan DeAngelo
Before explaining what that vision was back in 1976, I would like to
respond to the positive encouragement and the undeserved praise by
Sarah and others concerning my involvement in the World Harmony Run in
all its incarnations. I have to say that I am nothing but gratitude
that I have been healthy enough to partake in these unparalled visions
and manifestations of Sri Chinmoyand what he has called the
‘Supreme’s Own Dream’.
I am and always have been just a small and quite dispensable part in a
project that involves so many people worldwide and so much individual
sacrifice by disciples and non-disciples alike. It is humbling to know
that some people always encourage and inspire me to keep it up. It is
because of them, like so many other disciples who help us along the
way, that I and others can keep our enthusiasm alive.
Our Seattle friends, especially Sarah and her family and all those in
the Sri Chinmoy Centre who welcome us for two days there as well as help us in so
many ways as we head back home, give us something so special to look
forward to as we make our way westward. They also make it possible for
us to head back home as we continue our journey east, in the hot and
hilly climes and climate, tired and sore but never bored.
On a personal note, this is a very special year for me and some other
veterans of the original 50 State Torch relay. Exactly 30 years ago,
in the summer of 1976, about 30 of us headed out on an incredible
voyage called ‘Liberty Torch’. It was the vision of Sri Chinmoy to
honor America in its Bicentennial Year with many projects that he
created, this being only one of them. Nothing like this was ever done
before or even dreamed of. The Olympic Torch relay is not nearly as
extensive or continuous and it is funded by a very large budget and
worldwide participation. No one thought that a small group of runners
alone could or would want to do this kind of thing. It was also a
non-stop, 24 hour a day event for 7 full weeks, covering 9,000 miles.
Nothing like this was ever done before, especially back then when long
distance running was in its infancy.
I hope that some of the veterans of that incredible pioneering event
can share some of the experiences we had back then in the August
celebrations coming up this year. I have some slides, photos and
memorabilia including an original Torch from that epic adventure.
It is too long to describe here, but I do want to share one very deep
and meaningful experience that I had and will always vividly remember:
We had just finished the final leg of our very tiring and unthinkable
journey with a final ceremony at the Washington Monument in D.C. It
was an incredible ceremony that will be described at another time
along with other experiences I would like to collect from other
veterans if there is an interest in such a thing.
But this one short experience took place in the parking lot, or `car
park’, where our big motor home was parked. Sri Chinmoy met with the
runners to offer his gratitude and blessings one last time before we
headed back to New York. As he pointed to the large map of the U.S.
with our running route marked on it, he said in a very serious and
prophetic tone, “This will be done many times in the future.”
That is all I could remember about his talk. It was a total shock to
me and probably everyone there because it seemed impossible that we
actually were able to do it even once. We could not believe our ears,
but Sri Chinmoy’s vision is always clear and as his student and
disciple I knew that this statement could not be taken lightly. But we
were not even recovered from this long and arduous saga and our minds
were reeling at this incredible statement. I knew that I could not use
my mind to try to even imagine what he meant, so I kept it deep in my
heart to hibernate and cultivate seeds of enthusiasm and aspiration
for his amazing vision of manifestations of the future.
Years went by and this vision was still deep in my heart as my mind
could still not understand exactly what he meant by that. He did not
put a date on it as it always depends on humanity’s own aspiration for
the vision of the Supreme to manifest when we are ready. In 1979 some
of us worldwide tried to organize what was to be called `World Peace
Run’ in 1979. The whole thing fell apart in the planning stages and
Sri Chinmoy said that the world was not ready for it yet. The word
`yet’ was the determining factor here that made me realize that he was
still serious about his vision back in 1976.
So years went by with many other events happening, but no relay run
around the U.S. again, ‘yet’. In 1982 some of us did a 50 state
bicycle relay called `America’s Freedom Ride’ which rekindled my faith
in the vision. But I felt he originally meant that we would run many
times around the U.S. and I still had the faith that it would happen,
but when and how I could not imagine still.
Another 5 years went by,so it was now 10 years after that amazing
event and prophetic vision of Sri Chinmoy for 1976. Ten years is a
long time when you think of how much happens in your life, even in one
year. But there we were in the fall of 1986 and Sri Chinmoy finally
told some of us to organize a 50 State, as well as worldwide relay run.
To make a very long story short, we somehow completed the first Peace
Run in 1987 with no hint that it would ever be done again. My mind and
heart remembered that the prophetic vision from 1976 declared that it
would be done many times. For a year I was wondering if it meant that
we would do more Peace Runs and how long it would be before it
happened again. It too was a very difficult and complex project and we
needed time to recover from it. But there was lots of enthusiasm
generated in this country and other countries for such an
internationally inspiring event, so I felt it was bound to happen
again. It was like seeing the first seedlings finally popping up out
of the ground knowing that there would eventually and inevitably be
more to follow. But only God knows when and how.
Well, no one has to be told that since the first one in 1987 we have
had eight more international relay runs, all of which included a 50
state U.S. relay run. Fortunately and gratefully I have been involved
in all nine of them and plan on being involved in the tenth one as
well coming up next month, as the second edition of the World Harmony
I think my participation has been possible for two main reasons:
Because of the support and enthusiasm I derive from others who have
given so much time and effort to these events, and on a deeper
personal level, I feel that allowing this prophetic vision of Sri
Chinmoy’s to reverberate in my heart for these 30 years since the seed
was planted in 1976, has fed and sustained enough aspiration and
enthusiasm for this unparalleled manifestation that only keeps
growing. Every new manifestation of this immortal vision of Sri
Chinmoy is like a new garden which will grow into a huge forest with
the life-energy to feed and inspire humanity for centuries to come.
I do hope some of us can share more of the original inspiration and
manifestation experienced through Liberty Torch 30 years ago with
others this summer when we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of this
prophetic pioneering event. I hope it will also inspire others to help
continue this amazing ‘Dream of the Supreme’ and prophetic and
valuable vision of Sri Chinmoy’s.
Gratefully still relaying the vision,
From: Sri Chinmoy InspirationGroup
— In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sarah_inseattle
> I want to echo Kamalakanta’s admiration of Arpan’s commitment to the
> spiritual life, his dynamism and self-giving. I can think of so
> many examples, too numerous to list here. But one I do want to
> highlight is his incredible commitment to the World Harmony Run. On
> April 15 he will be heading off on… is it run #9?!!! I got to
> thinking, if the USA Run is 11,000 miles, and Arpan will have been
> on it 9 times, that is 99,000 miles!!!!! It wouldn’t surprise me if,
> over the years, he has racked up another 1,000 miles in excess US
> miles or in other countries to make it in excess of 100,000 miles.
> The equivalent of circling the globe 4 times!
> Then there is the time. If Arpan was gone four months, nine times,
> that would be *three solid years* of World Harmony Running.
> Arpan, are you reading? Am I straight on these numbers?
> There is no quitting!
> Only rekindle your enthusiasm.
> Indeed, this is an unparalled gift
> that you can offer
> both to the creation
> and to the Creator.
> —Sri Chinmoy
> We are so grateful to you for this incredibly inspiring selfless-
> In Harmony,