I know how to count
I had flown from Indore to Mumbai. After deplaning I sought a ride to Juhu’s ISKCON temple. It wasn’t hard to find a cab, actually a motor rickshaw. I asked the driver, “Ketna?” (how much).
“Two fifty!” he said
“Yes! Two fifty! Two fifty!”
“Okay,” I said “let’s go!”
I loaded my travel-light monk’s luggage and took the back seat. We were on our way to Juhu Beach. Midway through, the driver started to speak again.
“Two fifty! Two fifty! Five hundred! It’s okay?”
“Wait a minute! Honesty! You said two hundred fifty rupees.”
“Ah ha! Two fifty and two fifty. Five hundred!” he confirmed.
“I do know how to count. Listen I am a swami. You must be nice. Just get me there and we’ll talk. Be honest!”
Once we arrived at Juhu’s temple I fingered through my rupee notes. I had small denominational notes which didn’t add up to much and then I had a five hundred rupee note. So I gave it to him expecting from him a smile, a gesture, a typical head waggle and then driving off. But he gave back the proper change ‘two fifty.’ I guess repeating the mantra “Be honest” had an effect.
I checked into a room, lay down and reflected on the morning walk with Floridian friend Kalakanta and the talks with guru god brothers on how to better care for our student members. It was good stalk-taking, so was the sleep. I also reflected on one of the obligations of the swami or guru is to teach morality and ethics alongside transcendence.