The Man Behind the Camera
I first came to Ananda Village in the fall of 1979 for a vacation. I had been practicing hatha yoga for about 6 years, and I really wanted to learn how to meditate.
I had a great longing for “something more” in my life, and I knew I could find it within myself somehow. At the time I owned and operated a cabinet-making shop in Davis, California. I loved my work, but I was not happy.
I began attending Sunday Services at Ananda’s first colony outside of Ananda Village in Sacramento. At that time, the services were held in the “Garage Of Eternal Religion,” to paraphrase the Sanskrit term, Sanatan Dharma (Eternal Religion).
The garage was attached to a 3-bedroom house, which served as Ananda’s ashram (house for devotees). I moved there just before Christmas 1980, and lived in the ashram for the next 11 years.
During the mid-80’s I sold my business and started a software company. By 1990 I knew that God had other plans for me, so I moved to Ananda Village within a year. Right after coming to the Village, I began helping with the fledgling video department founded by Swami Kriyananda.
At that time we were videotaping 52 television shows with Swamiji for cable TV. He was speaking on a variety of spiritual subjects. It was amazing to watch him move from topic to topic, giving as many as six different talks in a row.
Swami Kriyananda shared with us his vision for the video department: to record his slide shows on video and broadcast his TV shows on satellite TV.
During his ceaseless travels around the world, Swamiji took thousands of photographs, which were compiled into slideshows. Each slideshow highlighted an aspect of the Divine found in Nature, human consciousness, or lives of saints.
The satellite TV idea looked like pie in the sky in the early 90’s. But then, in 2003-2004, Swamiji recorded 365 satellite TV shows, which now air to millions of souls in India.
The concept of putting Swamiji’s slide shows on video seemed like a nice idea, but hardly practical. I felt that such a product would never sell well, and a part of me dismissed the idea in favor of “more practical” yoga videos. Those would make money, I thought.
During that time, I happened to be in a car with Swamiji. We were discussing the slideshows on video concept. He knew I thought poorly of it, so he gave me a clue. He said, “The moving images on video take one outward, while still images in a slideshow take one inward.” I was beginning to understand his idea!
At about the same time, my friend Nirmala Schuppe was working with Swamiji’s photos. She suggested we put together a few slide shows on video, accompanied with music, as a present for Swami’s birthday. He loved the presentation!
I thank God to this day that Nirmala stirred me to action. Soon I was creating one slide show after another. You can watch them online: Hawaiian Magic, Different Worlds, The Autobiography of a Yogi, Saint Francis, The Land of Mystery, and others.
An interesting change happened within me during this process. I was becoming more attuned to Master (Paramhansa Yogananda) and to Swamiji. I soon realized that this was the point of the whole exercise. It got me out of my pragmatic head and attuned to higher guidance.
At Swamiji’s request, my wife Barbara and I made a trip to India in 2004. A gathering of 2 thousand souls was planned by Ananda in one of the largest auditoriums in New Delhi, The Siri Fort.
To convey the spirit and scope of Ananda, I was asked to prepare a DVD to be shown at the event. At first I thought to use video footage, but my intuition drew me to use still images instead. My previous “training” with Swamiji’s slideshows showed me how to create the DVD drawing on Master’s grace.
The DVD came out beautifully. It is called “Ananda Worldwide.” I really enjoyed watching something that Master had created through me. Thank you Swamiji, for always pointing me in the right direction.
It has been my joy to accompany Swami Kriyananda on his travels around the United States during the past 15 years, recording his talks on video.
Sometimes, people prefer to listen to Swamiji’s voice while driving or doing tasks around the home. I would like to encourage you to watch Swamiji on video, when you are not distracted by other tasks.
Watch his eyes especially. It can be a wonderful experience. To me, watching Swami on video comes close to being in his presence. Because of that, I had long ago decided to produce videos of Swamiji’s talks , even if no one will ever watch them!
[Editor’s note: Thousands of truth seekers watch Swami Kriyananda’s videos every month on Ananda’s website and Google Video.]
Listening or watching, one can experience the same sense of upliftment, love and joy that Swamiji projects. I know. I have felt it. And so have many, many others, through his talks on the web.