“Your Work Is Writing and Lecturing”
By an interesting coincidence, one month before Tara summoned me to New York I had already been thinking that a book was needed, one I might even write myself. This would be the first of the books Master had himself told me to write.
The idea was inspired by an article I’d just finished reading in Span , the USIS (United States Information Service) magazine in India, written by the head of the philosophy department at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The author reported on what was, he said, a major trend in modern thinking. Many people, having been exposed to Darwinian evolution, nihilistic materialism, and the construction often placed on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, had come to the conclusion that life is meaningless.
As I studied their reasoning as presented in the article, I saw that what I’d learned from Paramhansa Yogananda and from the ancient teachings of India utterly refuted it. What a service it would be, to combat those delusions thoughtfully-not by calling them ridiculous (which they were), but by following their own line of reasoning carefully and demonstrating in its own terms that it simply didn’t work.
This inspiration, I realize in retrospect, was God’s way of showing me where He wanted me to direct my energies. My Guru had said to me, “Your work is writing and lecturing.” I had remonstrated with him at the time, “Sir, haven’t you yourself done everything already to present the teachings?” His reply had shown a degree of shock at my obtuseness. “Don’t say that! Much more is needed.”
My dismissal from SRF didn’t set me working on that book immediately. I was too flattened out by all that had happened to me. Gradually, however, I realized that dismissal had released me to do what Master had told me to do. Indeed, if I’d remained with SRF I would never have had the freedom to do it. Even if I’d been given such freedom, the organization would never have published my writings. It had quite enough to do in getting out our Guru’s writings.
Thus-as I say, gradually-I rediscovered my true priorities. They had always been to promote the teachings: not to build the organization (which many of my fellow disciples felt I’d done well), but to go deeply into Master’s thoughts, and to inspire others with them. What I’d wanted from the beginning was to share joyfully with as many people as possible his words and ideas, for it inspired me to think how much people everywhere needed them.
Even the organizing work I’d done had been toward this end: Never had I had another one. It was, as I now believe, Tara’s reason for branding me as “insincere.” In fact, I was “insincere” to her way of thinking, for I’d considered it only a regrettable necessity to have to organize the work. Even my way of organizing had always been motivated by the need for “inspired simplicity.” Tara felt, quite rightly, that my real interest was not in the pipeline, so to speak, but in the water that flowed refreshingly through it. Indeed, I’d always imagined that all of us saw the organization as a means to that true end: spreading the teachings. Tara, however, had never shared that aim. Even in 1925, when Master acquired Mt. Washington Estates as the headquarters for his mission, Tara’s only comment (which Master often quoted wryly) had been, “Now your troubles begin!” To Tara, people were a threat to the purity of his teachings, not the very purpose for his teachings.
“What do they need new books for?” she once said to me on the phone, referring to someone who had urged her to finish editing Master’s books. “They have all the reading material they need, to find God.”
Divorce is, or should be, a two-way thing. SRF had tried to divorce me, but their action never had-has never had-either my endorsement or my support. I supported the organization because I thought Master wanted me to do so, and I shall never withdraw the love I feel for it since it is the work he himself founded. I am not anti-SRF, merely because SRF is anti-Kriyananda. I am simply an ardent champion of the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. I support SRF in anything they do to promote his ideals and his message. The point where I withdraw from the field is that, to my mind, SRF is not itself that mission. Its purpose is to promulgate Paramhansa Yogananda’s mission as a way of serving the needs of people.
After my separation from SRF, I cast about for ways to serve Master that would not place me in competition with them. Best of all, it seemed to me, would be to find something SRF didn’t even want to do.
The book I contemplated could, I reflected, be one such service. SRF would never undertake such a labor. The book might be, for all that, a means of drawing people to God, and indirectly to Master’s teachings. It would be for those who wanted to believe but couldn’t, owing to the insidious influence of modern education. Nihilism exerts a strong influence in today’s world, and has brought widespread spiritual confusion.
The book I contemplated writing would be also for those to whom religion seems a barrier to understanding, not the guide it can and should be to higher understanding.
Chapter 19: Seclusion vs. Outward Activity