Shanti gazed at the distant gleam of sunshine in the garden beyond, from the confines of her small shaggy prison cell. The bars stood between her and freedom—as if separating truth and lies.
It was fourteen years back, when she too was just that many years, that she first saw Gurudev. He visited their family home, her parents being devout followers. Her father hastily asked her to take Gurudev’s blessings as she served him with Kheer.
“Beta, touch his feet and seek blessings. It’s an honour that he is here. . .” he said with folded hands. Gurudev looked with his deep dark eyes in Shanti’s eyes. It was then—with that single intense gaze—that it all started.
“You met him so young?” Nivedita, her jail mate said.
“Those dark eyes were hypnotic. Was it love, or his spiritual glow, I don’t know. . . But I became his ardent follower.”
Shanti’s parents were jubilant as she joined Ashram. Her spiritual inclinations were known and what better way than to be at Gurudev’s service?
Growing up she was involved in the Ashram’s activities. Taking visitors around, mending prayer halls, guiding meditation sessions, doing office work. In few years, she became an indispensable sevak. She gained immense clout with her proximity to Gurudev. She metamorphosed into ‘Maa Shanti.’
Gurudev, himself just twenty-three, was a pious soul. His deep meditative practices, his occult powers and visions, gave him a revered status.
So, it was a shocker for Shanti—who adored him, worshipped him, was in love with him—when he announced his intentions to her.
“Shanti, no one else knows me better than you. Join my life journey as my wife.”
Shanti was blessed and had no reason to refuse!
Nivedita asked her, “Then how did you land up here?”
“Greed and lust for power. The ultimate enemies of man!”
Gurudev was surrounded by sycophants who saw every opportunity in making material gains out of the Ashram’s popularity. Ashram was filled with tourists, foreigners, trippers and truth-seekers. The media and press egged on. His popularity soared.
“His spiritual powers started dwindling. The constant materialist and marketing jamboree distracted him. He was entrapped in a vicious cycle of fakery and deceit. His judgement faltered and he got carried away. Power and fame became more important than spirituality.”
Shanti tried stopping him—confronting him many times. But Gurudev was besot with delusions of grandeur—forgetting the very essence of his true quest.
“Then, what went wrong?” Nivedita asked.
“The Ashram was caught with money-laundering and tax evasion. The media turned hostile. All fake activities were un-earthed. The pack of cards just fell apart.”
Shanti added with moist eyes, “He’s a nice man who was trapped in lies he built around him.”
“You too were involved?”
“I had become part of the deceit, unknowingly. But my love—pure and unadulterated!”
“Oh. He. . . fled the country. . . .”
Photo By: Pixabay
This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
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