GodMen Chronicles Part 3 (of 4)
(Fictional, continuing the GodMen Chronicles)
Next morning, Deva Ananda set out for the hospital for his daily duties at 6am. As Deva Ananda walked the ashram, he was in the habit of looking at the granite paved pathway and silently reciting Swamiji's "heart calming mantra". Today, he heard someone call him from behind. Shal-Aum, Deva Anandaji! Folding his hands, he replied back instinctively "Shal-Aum to you brother! Swamiji's blessings on us!". He turned around to look for the source of this greeting, his greeter was walking towards him. It was the white-robed Swami Andaracharya, the head trustee of Swamiji's public service organizations.
(Originally posted at http://rustus.blogspot.com)
Thinking that he might get a few answers from Andaracharyaji, Deva Ananda waited for him to catch up. Swamiji's blessings on you, Deva Anandaji. You look unusually worried today. What is on your mind?
"Andaracharyaji, with Swamiji's blessing I live a contented life. However, I have been troubled by the mischief that some outsiders are making, and their slanderous accusations about Swamiji. How could it be true that Swamiji has crores of Dollars in Swiss bank accounts? Swamiji has renounced the world, and he doesn't even own more than one robe."
Andaracharyaji looked calmly at Deva Ananda, as if to size him up. After a long pause and a sigh, he said with a studied and measured tone, "Deva Anandaji, this is all part of Swamiji's leela. He had said many years ago that he will create such a situation, where the true belief of his followers will be tested. He is trying to test us. The truth is what it is. We have to pray to Swamiji that we have the courage and belief to ride through this. He had said that only his true followers will find the path to eternal heaven. Do you want to pass this test, Deva Anandaji?"
"Of course, with Swamiji's blessings, I have been with him for many lives," Deva Ananda said, "but I worry about so many of our brothers and sisters who have left the ashram after falling pray to these vile and vicious rumors. Before she left, Sister Prema Carol had told me that she met some people who Swamiji had met...er...intimately." Deva Ananda hesitated as he said the last few words, not sure if even repeating these things would be proof of his lack of belief.
What he didn't tell Andaracharyaji was that Sister Prema Carol had told him many other things about Swamiji. She told him that Swamiji's real estate empire was now worth $1.2 bn, and that the hefty donations from international and rich devotees to the hospitals far outpaced the value of the medical service the specialty hospitals were giving out. She also said that the rumors of murders on campus were true, and that some ex-Swami followers had set up a website to expose the truths about Swamiji's business and carnal affairs.
She had also told him that Swamiji had hand-selected him to be initiated into the ashram because he was looking for a free cardio-surgeon! Deva Ananda could not believe this at all. "I am cardiologist, not a surgeon!", is what he said at the time. The connection he felt to Swamiji was real, and there was no doubt in his mind that he had known Swamiji for many lives. This must all be a pack of lies, he had thought to himself as he waved goodbye to Sister Prema Carol at the golden gate on the south side of the ashram. That was 2 months ago.
"Deva Anandaji, this world is Swamiji's leela! We mustn't give in to these temptations. Let us pray to Swamiji for courage." Andaracharyaji smiled benignly as he said this. Now he put his right arm on Deva Ananda's shoulder and leaned forward- "Swamiji has blessed you with a new mission. Please come into the ashram office today afternoon".
Not sure of whom to believe, Deva Ananda walked on to the hospital. "I should call Sister Prema Carol and seek her counsel as well. Maybe in the evening when it's morning on the east coast". He had cut his connection with his past life, and his new, invented life seemed to be moored next to fictional buoys. Exit was not much of a choice.