In January, 2000, we were on vacation in Brazil, staying in a hotel flanked by a great expanse of parkland in the city of Brasilia. Subarata had been having pain in her stomach area and it was here that we came to learn of her illness. It was here too that we went on our last shopping trip together.
We walked very slowly from the hotel to a nearby shopping centre – she was very tired and bought only a few presents. She bought a small winged angel, cherubic and dusted with silver glitter for a New York friend, some stationery, a race-walkers cap for Sri Chinmoy with Guru Champion Walker custom stitched across the front and then, too, a huge bouquet of flowers for her Guru.
Sri Chinmoy was speed walking at our weekly one and two mile races and surpassing his own recent times and Subarata was responsible for recording his results, the distances and improvements. The flowers and the embossed cap were her devoted salute and her encouragement and a photo was taken of the two of us standing alongside Sri Chinmoy, who sat smiling in his chair.
Guru wanted Subarata to be happy and childlike and unburdened by any worry as the best thing for her progress. She really was like a child. Guru reminded us that God's Grace can descend at any time and that it is the Will of the Supreme that governs such things, whether God will sanction the wishes of the soul to either stay and live or depart the body cage.
Guru taught us many inner lessons during these sad and terrible months, not through counselling and words but inwardly and through his own example and behaviour. Subarata's last shopping trip in Brasilia enabled her to buy last small keepsakes for her friends and the flowers and Champion Walker cap for her Guru – in the photo of her standing by his chair she looks very pale already and there is, now, the pathos of knowing what was to come. Although there really is no death, and reincarnation and the immortality of the soul are such absolute realities for us all, yet how we still grieve and suffer with our broken hearts. Will we ever one day smile and dance at the passing of those we love, rejoice in their freedom or break the bonds of attachment that bind us so painfully to this world?