I'm not sure whose idea it was originally, but in 1987 the Center sponsored its first Peace Run -- a 50-state Olympic-style torch relay.
Disciples had used running relays and other athletic events to celebrate certain Center causes and events for years. Peace Run '87, however, was on an altogether different scale.
It started in April and would end in August, with the goal of running a flaming peace torch not just back and forth across the United States, but on a course that would wind its way through every individual state as well.
It was a massive undertaking, and the Center had only one disciple capable of carrying it off: Shambhu.
Shambhu is a man of action. Were he associated with the military, he'd be an operator (as opposed to a mere analyst). Shambhu gets things done. He's not only a professional musician, but also a world-class public relations man.
To me, though, he is more than that. He's a friend and would become one of a small group of individuals who, at one time or another, would act as a mentor to me. He took a conscious interest in me and my interests, and would later play an important role in easing my transition from my inward looking world to the wider world of action.
The Peace Run had been underway for a few months or so when Shambhu asked me if I'd like a vacation. "If I can arrange it, would you like to meet up with team in the Southwest for a few weeks," he asked. There was a core group of runners on the relay full-time, which needed to be supplemented with fresh legs. Shambhu offered to send me at no cost -- all I had to do was run.
Just a few days later, I was running in Navajo country. What a great experience. I ran with the team for two weeks, putting in 10 miles a day, from Santa Fe to San Diego. The team captain was none other than Arpan, Giribar's older brother.
As we moved steadily westward towards the Pacific, I regaled the other guys with tales of "The Clam." Appropriately, that's where my vacation ended. The Clam is a cliff side in La Jolla, California, famous among locals as a sweet cliff jumping spot. On my last day on the run, a bunch of the San Diego disciples took us there to jump.
It was the perfect end to an unexpected -- but much needed and appreciated -- vacation, made possible solely by Shambhu's generosity.
Check out Shambhu's great blog here. Photo credit of The Clam, above, here.