now in cherry

Gita Mehta is very lyrical, and very clever. From Karma Cola:

Nothing was enough to those who had heard the sirens scream Turn On, Tune In, Expand you Mind.

Alas, the mind can be expanded until it bursts, and when it does there stands an Indian parental type saying, Oh yes, this is a common mind-expansion problem, bursting. It has been going on in our country for about four thousand years. Why not come to my ashram? I will heal your mind if you give me your soul.

The book covers the commodification of the Mythic East, and was written during a time of great “spiritual tourism” in India. You get the sense that she’s a bit of a brat, our Gita, but always on point, getting into trouble just to observe the outcome. The swindler needs a swindlee, to be sure, but without a witness it’s all just exchange. Mehta turns a critical eye on something that even thirty years on still floats in a miasma of unassailable truisms: the promise of enlightenment. It’s a wonder, how much India has changed. The book was written on the cusp of it in 1979, but I question if the West’s concept of the nation has adapted with the times, or if we’ve just settled into poor interpretations of Karma, Dharma, and Tantra, serenely parceled out in yoga class, and somehow think that we are tapping the authentic, rather than just another hollow projection.

The real question in our minds is still the same: how much is it worth?

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~ by A Mundi on October 10, 2009.

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