GodMen Chronicles Part 1 (of 4)

The Restless Sanyasi
(Fictional, continuing the GodMen series)

Deva Ananda Mishtiqiya was distraught. Late January in southern India is as pleasant a time as you can get on the plateau. Nights are nippy, slightly cold, and the days smell of Valentine roses. Deva Ananda had been sleeping fitfully for the last three nights, and had been restless and sweaty all day. He couldn't think of anything specific that was causing this. Like an unexplained itch that scratching won't relieve, this restlessness was gnawing away at the serenity that had become his cloak at the ashram.

(Originally posted on http://rustus.blogspot.com)

His sanyasi's (one who has renounced the world) quarters at the ashram were spartan. Bare ochre walls, adorned only with 3x8' photos of Swamiji (smiling in one, blessing pose in another), a small television perpetually tuned into Swami Mishtick's MishTV channel, a single bed, small desk fan, a dark blue BeeTel phone, and a wooden chair. Deva Ananda mindlessly turned the TV on. He didn't feel like listening to the "Shal-Aum to You" program that was on MishTV. Out of habit, and not really hoping to see anything more interesting, Deva Ananda changed the channel. Business news on CNBC. "...Every attempt made to eliminate the gap failed. As the promoters held a small percentage of equity, the concern was that poor performance would result in the takeover, thereby exposing the gap. It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten...". They were discussing another depressing financial scandal, this time in the Indian IT services industry. Nothing Deva Ananda could relate to. Never ridden tigers before.

He turned off the TV and picked up an old magazine...“It’s all just one big lie,” Madoff told his employees on Dec. 10, according to a statement by prosecutors. The firm, Madoff allegedly said, is “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme.” "That's great! More crummy news..." Deva Ananda muttered to himself, "all the world needs is more crummy news about cheats and swindlers". He decided to go out for a walk in the ashram.

The ashram was set in a 67-acre area, surrounded by trees and giant granite boulders, and 15 kilometers away from the busy industrial city nearby. Kept clean by an army of workers and resident sanyasis, the ashram was a modern day architectural wonder. Looking as-if dreamed-up by yogi on a soma-induced high, the ashram had all the trappings of a modern corporate campus. The "Himalayan Retreat" was designed like the lofty mountains that Swamiji was said to have spent 12 years of his youth meditating in. There was a super-specialty hospital on the ashram, as were the living quarters for the 500 or so sanyasis who lived and worked at the ashram. This was paradise. And where there's paradise, often comes trouble.

There had been rumors about Swamiji in the past too. The usual chin-wagging by self-righteous left wing types complaining about the "luxury" ashram, the expensive hospitals built on donations, and the "excesses" of the $6000 retreat that Swamiji held for the new initiates. No. These new rumors were far more sinister. New allegations were swirling around like dry leaves on a hot summer day. A redux of rumors of an unexplained series of disappearances and deaths in the ashram. Some new stuff had come up about Swamiji's sexual escapades and Swiss bank accounts. Don't they know, Swamiji's inner circle said, Swamiji is God incarnate! He doesn't need their money- he's here to show us all the way to heaven!

Deva Ananda reached back to his room, and picked up the phone to call his mother at her Jewish old age home in Parsippany, NJ. Please leave a message for Mrs. Freeman... "Mom! It's me- David. It's been years since we spoke. I'm fine. Just wanted to hear your voice. Love Deva A...er...it's David. Bye!"

Continued here...

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