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The guru was dead. His body had just been cremated, lain in state, preserved by salts, for fifty days. His disciples were sitting in rows in the orange-pillared shrine hall that he had designed, with its blue and gilt trim and polished hardwood floor. His throne still rested on its vividly painted dais, the seat now occupied by a photograph of the youthful guru wearing a gold-brocade robe. “When the guru dies,” he had once said, “there is still some warmth left behind.”

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