Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Sitting by the Fire in Swamiji’s Room 1986
“Tree, I do not want you to give any more manuscripts to the Institute. I want you to start another publishing house.”
I was astounded. What? I could not believe that he didn’t want me to work for the publisher that we both had begun. Perhaps I was no longer wanted?
“Why, Swamiji?” I asked timidly.
“Many changes are coming soon and I am not happy with the future. I want our work to continue. You must write and publish. Don’t worry, if you wish I will write a book for your new publishing house. OK?”
“Yes Swamiji, I think I will need one!”
“OK! I promise,” he said as he reached across the rug, his hand out to shake. We shook heartily, while I worried a bit.
I knew I was not good with money, in spite of Swamiji having me collect and count it for the Institute for so many years.
I remembered back to when I was a Girl Scout selling cookies. We were all asked to sell to neighbors and friends, which I did well, thanks to everyone’s generosity. But then our leader suggested breaking up into groups to sell outside some of the large, busy places in town, offices, factories, and stores. I was assigned to Western Electric, where my Dad worked. They were the designers and producers of Bell telephones and had just laid the huge sea cable linking the US and Europe by phone. Good idea, I thought, as Marilyn and Carolyn were put in my group.
The twins’ mother offered to drive us to Western Electric and handed out the huge boxes of cookies. She placed her daughters by the main entrance/exit door, and me down some way in the center of the block, my back to the brick wall of the long building. Sales were going very slowly. As I stood waiting for the next customer, I looked to the end of the block and saw that across the street was a little coffee house. People were going in and out, carrying coffee, smoking, and greeting each other heartily. I thought that would be a much better place to sell cookies for the scouts, so I painfully dragged my large cartons down the half block, crossed the street, and set up right next to the café door. Then I sold cookies! I was down to the last few small boxes when the twins’ mother appeared.
“Why did you move from the place I gave you?” she asked in anger.
“Well, not many people came there and I saw the crowd here so I came. Did I do something wrong? I sold lots of boxes,” I answered.
She did not answer, but grabbed the big now-empty box, threw it in the back of her car and said, “We’re done here. I’m taking you home.”
The whole way home I felt awful. What did I do wrong? Why is she so angry?
I thanked her politely as I got out and ran in to ask Mom. It was then that I was told about parents’ pride and possessiveness. She wanted her daughters to win the prize for the most sold, and I was interfering with her plan. When Mom heard where I was placed to sell, she knew she was right. After that I never wanted to sell anything and offered cookies to family only the next year. It was not worth the pain.
Now how could I be expected to sell books?
Swamiji brought me back to the present. “You’ll do well, Tree. Don’t worry. But what shall we name our new publishing house?”
Yoga Espionage Service. We were all spies in it. Shh! Don’t tell anyone! Just work hard and send the sages’ message to all people who do not even know it is yoga.
After I completed Ransoming the Mind, I brought it to Swamiji as usual, offering it to his feet. He lifted it up, offered it to the divine, and smiled at me. You will make many more books. Do all your work for the sages and they will take care of you.