"A witty documentary satire.... Mehta embraces an enormous variety of life and death. Her style is light without being flip; her skepticism never descends to cynicism. [Karma Cola is] a miracle of rationalism and taste."
Sometime in the 1960s, the West adopted India as its newest spiritual resort. The next anyone knew, the Beatles were squatting at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Expatriate hippies were turning on entire villages to the pleasures of group sex and I.V. drug use. And Indians who were accustomed to earning enlightenment the old-fashioned way were finding that the visitors wanted their Nirvana now -- and that plenty of native gurus were willing to deliver it.
No one has observed the West's invasion of India more astutely than Gita Mehta. In Karma Cola the acclaimed novelist trains an unblinking journalistic eye on jaded sadhus and beatific acid burnouts, the Bhagwan and Allen Ginsberg, guilt-tripping English girls and a guru who teaches gullible tourists how to view their previous incarnations. Brilliantly irreverent, hilarious, sobering, and wise, Mehta's book is the definitive epitaph for the era of spiritual tourism and all its casualties -- both Eastern and Western.
"Evelyn Waugh would have rejoiced."
-- The New York Times Book Review
A wry account, by an Indian, of the quest for spiritual enlightenment that caused many people from the consumer societies of the West to go to India and seek fulfiment in the teachings and practices of Hinduism. Gita Mehta is also the author of 'Raj'. 'The scintillating flurry of anecdotes through which Gita Mehta describes the fools, knaves, wretches and occasional genuine sage she finds on the modern spiritual paths is no less formidable than the old one-two of the Zen masters. Karma Cola is a highly entertaining account of the consumerist West struggling to gobble up Hinduism, and choking itself in the process'. The Listener.
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