There were only a few occasions when Swami Kriyananda corrected me strongly. At the time, I thought he was “upset” with me, but later I realized that wasn’t really true. It was rather that I needed something strong enough to break through any resistance I might have had. Here is a story about one of those times.
Swami Kriyananda invited us over for tea one afternoon to discuss a change he had in mind for Ananda. When he asked our thoughts, I responded with some emotion, because I felt that a principle was at stake. Swamiji looked at me steadily and said, “You may be right, but when you speak so emotionally, it’s hard to accept what you’re saying.”
It was in the fall of 1966 that I found Autobiography of a Yogi, although in truth I think it found me. It was a time of great transition in my life. I had graduated from college and moved to San Francisco a few months earlier, and was just starting out as an independent adult. I was looking for a direction, having felt that my major in college, psychology, was simply not capable of answering the questions I had long been asking. I was interested in awareness, in the scope of human consciousness, and in happiness. More schooling was not going to give me what I was seeking. And yet, where was I to turn? I had long abandoned religion, at least the formalized “Churchianity” I was given in my youth.
“Doctor, please help me. I think that I’m really sick,” the worried patient said. “My body hurts all over: when I touch my arm, it hurts; when I touch my chest, it hurts; when I touch my head, it hurts.”
September 12th is the anniversary of the day in 1948 when Swami Kriyananda first met Paramhansa Yogananda. Those of us who are members of Ananda consider this day as our collective “Spiritual Birthday.” Devi and I are in Italy and will celebrate this sacred occasion by giving a talk to several hundred people at a Yoga Festival in Rome.
“Would any of you like to join me on a camping trip to Mt. Shasta?” With his characteristic enthusiasm and joy, Swami Kriyananda extended this invitation to a small group of us one morning. Swamiji had been asked to give a talk in nearby Shasta City and decided to combine this with a short vacation.
Swami Kriyananda wrote an affirmation for positive thinking: “My outer life is a reflection of my inner thoughts. Filled with the joy of God, I express His joy and harmony in everything I do.” This affirmation is so powerful that Devi and I repeat it daily, and have suggested that others from Ananda use it as a “theme” for the remainder of the year.
During the recent Dedication Weekend, May 15–17, we were meditating in Swami Kriyananda’s newly completed Moksha Mandir, the final resting place for his body. His living reality was so tangible to everyone that it was hard to imagine he was no longer physically present with us. The difference now, perhaps, was that his consciousness felt even more powerful, accessible, and vast than before.
“Swami Kriyananda’s influence will expand greatly now that he is no longer confined to a body. I have seen this happen with many other great souls.” We were speaking with Sri D. R. Kaarthikeyan, one of the dignitaries who attended the dedication of the Moksha Mandir at Ananda Village this weekend. He speaks from experience, being an advisor to many spiritual works in India and throughout the world, as well as a dear friend of Swami Kriyananda. It seems that his prediction is already coming true.