Next week I will celebrate two important milestones. December 22 will be the fiftieth anniversary of my first Kriya Initiation. The next day will be another fiftieth anniversary: of my first eight-hour Christmas meditation. Both of these events took place in Swami Kriyananda’s little apartment in San Francisco in 1967. I had been with him for about eight months when he told me, “I think you should take Kriya initiation.”

lifelong meditator disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and student of Swami Kriyananda

“Holy Night,” by Nayaswami Jyotish

“Do you think I’m ready?” I asked.

“Yes, I think it will be good for you. And also, you will be able to practice Kriya during the long meditation the next day.”

So that evening fifty years ago, a newborn disciple took his first Kriya breath. I have been practicing it daily all these many years. I suppose that somewhere in the Akashic records there might be a counting of all the meditations and all the Kriya breaths that have transpired since that first evening. But numbers, either of years or of breaths offered, fade away in the remembrance of a lifetime of grace that has been showered upon this humble devotee.

Over time, Swamiji’s little apartment in San Francisco has grown to hundreds of centers and communities around the world. And that handful of meditators has grown to hundreds of thousands who now draw inspiration from Ananda and our great gurus. Though there has been extraordinary growth, the enduring qualities that filled Swamiji’s apartment are with us still: devotion, meditation, Kriya Yoga, satsang, and service.

As far as I know, out of those present at that first Kriya Initiation, only I remain a devotee. A few have been taken by the angel of death; others have been blown from the path by the storms of karma. So, what does it take to get to the fifty-year mark?

First, it takes the grace of God. Paramhansa Yogananda said that fifty percent of our progress is due to God’s grace. This grace is eternally present and free for the taking; we must for our part simply be willing to let it fill our hearts and lives.

Secondly, Master said that the guru’s blessings account for another twenty-five percent. Our great line of gurus have given us not only techniques and teachings but, more importantly, their love and magnetism. Again, it is given freely. You have but to hold out your hands to receive.

The last twenty-five percent is supplied by our own efforts: by our sadhana and our service. These efforts must be applied diligently and persistently. It takes a certain amount of grit, of stubborn determination, to stay faithful to our higher aspirations. There are good days and bad, times when meditation is easy and other times when the path seems as dry as desert sands. You must learn to brush aside outer conditions: to fly when you can, but, when your tests come, to plod along undeterred.

It is immensely helpful to have the support and magnetism of gurubhais. I remember a quote by Ratan Tata, the great Indian industrialist: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others.” The best trekking companions, those who will walk by your side to the very end, are God, Gurus, and your devotee friends.

This morning during meditation, as I remembered those long-ago events, my eyes filled with tears of gratitude. What a wonderful life we have been given.

In God’s love,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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  1. Dear Jyotish ji,
    Congatulations on completing your 50 years of being KRIYA Yogi & Disciple. Blessed get this opportunity who dare to offer their lives to God through Guru.
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hari Om tatsat jai guru datta.
    Wonderful is God’s grace and Guru’s blessings, guidance and support in your life. Thanks for the details babaji. Hope to hear lots and lots of your personal experiences. Thanks once again.
    With lots of regards and pranam

  3. Thank you for your reminders of how blessed those of us who came to Ananda and stayed and were given the practices of
    Kriya Yoga. It seems a short time for me but finding this path in 1993 was no accident. I had searched a long time. In 1993
    was my first time to come to the Village. I bought the newly printed book of the AY and Swami was sitting on the deck of the
    Expanding Light. I took my book to be signed. No one else was there. I handed him the book to be signed and said “I have wanted to meet you for a long time” I thought where did that come from?? He looked me in the eyes and said “Is that right?”
    I said “Yes it is” and he “Alright then” I still have that book but it is worn and tattered but still blessed.
    Thank you and Devi for carrying on for Swami, God and our Master.
    Have a very Blessed Christmas, Yvonne

  4. Blessed to receive emails from you. Blessed to have you as a channel to Guruji and Swamiji. Thank you.

  5. It is wonderful to know how you became Master’s disciple and Swami’s faithful friend. Time passes but the guru remains timeless!
    It was 25 years ago in November that I was given Kriya initiation….the greatest gift! It is as fresh today as it was them. Merry Christmas and may you always live in joy. Mary Jo

  6. Tears of gratitude fill my eyes as well as I read your inspiring words, Jyotish. Thank you…for all you have done in service to God and Gurus in helping to bring this path to so many. In Master’s love, Bhagavati

  7. Tears of gratitude fill my eyes as well as I read your inspiring words, Jyotish. Thank you…for all you have done in service to God and Gurus in helping to bring this path to so many. In Master’s love, Bhagavati

  8. Dear Jyotish,
    Congratulations on a remarkable 50 years. May the next 50 be More and Better!
    Thank you for this beautiful blog.

  9. Congratulations, Jyotish! I’d say, “Well done!”, but it is not done — will it ever be??

    You say, “What a wonderful life we’ve been given.” All I can say to that is “AMEN”!

    Sending you and Devi love and joy for your Holiday Season!

    Byasa and janakidevi

  10. Dear Jyotish, Our loving blessings and deep gratitude for your joy and grit of the past 50 years. Your inspiring Light on this Path of Kriya Yoga helps so many of us find our way. In Divine friendship, Lalaan and Nityananda

  11. Dear Jyotish, Thank you for being our inspiration, our guide, and our friend. Much love and gratitude. Nityananda

  12. AUM AUM AUM Jyotishji, AUM AUM AUM 🙏🏽

    Thank you for sharing about your inspiring journey. You, Deviji and Ananda Worldwide are in my daily prayers. May God keep you ever soaring in mind and spirit. Thank you for bringing us along. 🙏🏽

  13. Thanks Jyotish for sharing your sweet memorie with us
    As well as how we keep faith on God, Gurus, Gurubhais
    N determination about practice.

  14. Thank you Nayaswami ji for sharing your life’s most valuable are under constant grace of God which is coming through the great lineage of gurus who realized the ultimate truth. Accept my heartiest greetings for the coming christmas.May your love for the gurus grow with every passing day.
    Your in a divine relation

  15. So deep this offering of yours is going, Jyotish. Thank you and Devi always for helping our connections with
    God , Guru, and Swamiji go deeper and deeper. A most divine Christmas to you and Devi.

  16. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish, Thank you for this awesome article, and again one of the most beautiful, humbling reminders and as always, time wise. You are indeed a most blessed devotee and thank you for yours and Devi’s and all Acharyas at Ananda. (and I also have my own precious Swamiji I am eternally grateful for and your article fills me with even more for her). Thank you, Bless you and Devi and all. Namaste

  17. Thank you very much for this uplifting and inspiring writeup Jyotishji.
    It is a great blessing to be on this path with you and other beloved Acharyas, blessed by Swamiji and our great line of Gurus.
    Om Guru.

  18. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this lovely blog 🙂 We are so blessed to have Ananda in Chennai and to receive the sacred Kriya.
    Very encouraging and with Master’s & Divine blessings we would be steadfast on this path.

    In Master’s Love

  19. Dearest Jyotish, your inspiring words bring tears to my eyes. Thank you! Last week marked 40 years since Master reeled me in from Vermont to a bluff next to his Hermitage in Encinitas (living in a VW camper), and a few weeks later meeting beloved Swamiji in Santa Barbara. Every day I am eternally grateful for the gifts of true teachers and Masters, the divine friendship of gurubhais, and the extraordinary life we live at Ananda. We are blessed beyond comprehension!

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