Seven out of Ten

In the years following Subarata’s departure from this world, Guru often spoke of her comings and goings, her frequent visitations and messages. When I once mentioned to Guru that I missed her still, expecting sympathy, Guru beamed at me and said ‘I don’t miss her, I see her all the time!’ He said she had a free access to him, to us, and could come and go at any time – in itself a remarkable comment given the soul’s usual tendency to sever its links with its human and earthly playmates.

This became evident in many ways, most memorably on those several occasions when from the soul’s world she ‘blew the whistle‚ on me, informing Guru when she felt I was not doing well. Most of us permit a certain latitude in maintaining our personal standards, and our occasional lapses we can hide, forgive and rather easily dismiss – but not so when you have someone breathing down your neck from the other realms of spirit!

My first realisation of being spied upon came less than a year after her departure. Guru sent me a concerned message that Subarata was not that happy with me, referring quite specifically to what she saw as wavering standards, and the unique language of the message left me in no doubt as to it’s authenticity.

At first I was a little annoyed and in my mind I said to her – “Have you forgotten how hard it was on earth? Have you already forgotten how much YOU suffered?„ There we were quarrelling again, one stuck in a human body, the other up in some other non-incarnate world! Then I felt a little bad; a little further on I began to smile at this remarkable situation; then I finally managed to feel grateful to have someone watching out for me.


It was my soul’s day, several years after Subarata’s passing and half a century on from my newborn cries and first startled starings at the world. I was in New York, standing in front of Guru with a large and weighty cake. Against the dark chocolate the loops and swirls of yellow icing spelt out “Happy Soul’s Day.” Guru was smiling and meditating, then looking at me appraisingly with that scrutiny which often preceded a remark or a question or a mild scolding. Guru looked at me for a long time then finally he spoke, very quietly, saying lots of encouraging things. Then there was a long pause, and I knew something further was coming.

“I give you eleven out of ten for all of your dedicated service,” Guru said to me – I had to bend forward to hear – “but”…and now a long, suspenseful silence and I braced myself for what was to come…“but Subarata only gives you seven out of ten.” Now another smiling silence to let this soul’s day chiding sink in. “Subarata feels you can do even more – much, much more!” Guru continued.

Since her departure from this world, Subarata the spy has quite often taken issue with me from the soul’s world, though I knew it was Guru himself who was telling me to work harder – with or without Subarata’s complicity. Yet I was grateful for what I knew was true, and for this birthday’s rekindling of intensity, the reawakening of the inner promise, the sense of urgency and velocity and dedication that Guru always brought forward from our souls.

Love, encouragement, praise – and a gentle birthday rev-up. Guru was masterful at summoning the best in us in the most loving and compelling way, even invoking the complicit and diligent soul of Subarata.


Thirteen years have come and gone since Subarata passed away, yet she remains embedded very deeply in my everyday life, always present as though a part of me and my experience of living. Guru told me, “She is not around you, but inside you.” I don’t really have visitations by her, or dreams – these would imply a separation only bridged by such experiences, an occasional coming together from separate realms. Rather, in some way she has left an imprint of our friendship and our bond in my being, and we somehow remain together. There is no forgetting, because she never really left my life in the first place.

Recently, though, I did have a very human encounter with her. I lay down one afternoon for a nap, feeling suddenly tired. I don’t think that it was she who came to me, but me, my spirit or soul or perhaps only my imagining reaching out to her. I was neither sleeping nor dreaming, when quite suddenly I was travelling very far away. There was a strange impression, as though I was venturing to another, co-existing realm and had passed beyond our human sense of time.

Then I saw her and reached out both of my hands to her – we were each a little awkward after such a long time apart. She seemed quite thin, frail and vulnerable, and I felt rather sad, as though I had neglected her.

Later, wanting to talk with her, I found myself climbing up a very familiar staircase that I knew so well. Subarata lay under a blue quilt and was about to sleep, and I was trying to speak with her, to recapture our old closeness. A little distance had grown between us, though not deeply. I understood that she had been working for Guru, a separate mission far away. I felt again my old promise to Guru to look after her as her human friend, and sitting there, I resolved to move back to be with her. Then I was travelling back to my room and my life here, and resuming wakefulness.

When I returned, I knew the experience had been real. I lay there in wonderment at the great mystery of it all, the parallel worlds, the unremembered realms, the littleness of our human life. It was puzzling to remember this place I had visited. It seemed so familiar – the staircase, the room. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I trawled back through all the places where we had lived together, but I could not find it among the places we had shared and I began to realise it was not in this world. I was remembering somewhere else from a faraway time. I wondered if my decision to go back and join her was perhaps a premonition of my own death, as if I had decided to join her again, wherever she was, after a long absence.