13. Get Rich Quick

For most of us, meditation or singing or reading Guru’s writings will elevate our consciousness. Subarata, however, was also able to soar very high while shopping. Christmas time was always an occasion to unleash her shopping talents, and to fund this particular interest she would usually launch a series of end-of-year, get-rich-quick initiatives.

She tried a dried fruit sale business, a homemade jewellery business, then a cake and confectionary business. One year she launched a Russian fudge wholesaling initiative and many of us spent long evenings crouched over great vats of this irresistible confection, sleepless from hypoglycaemia. The entire Centre was caught up in a whirlwind of cooking and fudge distribution, many of us pale and trembling from weeks of product sampling.

Subarata could never disguise her excitement when a little money came in – though with her generous heart she would always buy gifts for others.

Once, we had a selling stall at a “Mind, Body and Spirit” festival and we displayed many of Guru’s books and paintings – with, of course, a small array of jewellery and the addictive, diabetic fudge. The festival was like a spiritual supermarket – chakra flushers, extraterrestrial contact groups, past-life regressionists, tarot readers, kundalini yogis, aura re-aligners, a small army of healers. On a television screen we had a beautiful video of Guru meditating, but our footage of an Avatar demonstrating the Transcendental consciousness was lost in the melee of mediums, channelers, numerologists, astral travelers and healers.

Our humble booth was flanked by a shamanic sweat-lodge information stand on one side and on the other by an elderly clairvoyant, whose crystal ball and palm-reading routine seemed reassuringly sensible in this sea of excess. We bonded silently in mutual commiseration at the mayhem all around us. Grey-haired ladies in headscarves and long dresses were everywhere, massaging and aura-cleansing anything not in motion, and every hour a long train of strange people circled the hall, chanting strange mantras.

By midday we had had enough. Besides, it was too difficult dueling with a nearby meditation group which was offering enlightenment in only two weeks for the pitifully small investment of only $500. How can you compete with that? We packed up and quietly slipped away, never to return.