When I first came to Ananda in 1977, Swami Kriyananda was in India. I didnt get to meet him for several months, but my immediate response on meeting the people at Ananda was, ‘Whatever these people have, I want it!’ They radiated a joy and warmth that I had never seen before. And they were obviously committed disciples of my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.
I finally met Kriyananda, and I saw where the inner attitudes and sense of discipleship of Ananda people had originated. His commitment to God and Guru, and his absolute selfless generosity in sharing their grace, have been the ideal for my own life of discipleship ever since.
Somehow, when I add up all the individual experiences with Kriyananda, they dont come close to the sum total of his impact on my life. I dont think the math is wrong- I just think that when one is an instrument for Yogananda, as Kriyananda has been, miracles can happen.
I spent seven years working on Kriyanandas staff, doing mostly gardening and maintenance, along with handling some of his correspondence. I saw him nearly every day for seven years, in nearly every circumstance imaginable. For one of those years my wife and I lived with Kriyananda at the Crystal Hermitage, his home at the time.
Knowing that Ive had a chance to see him in so many everyday situations, some people have asked me, ‘whats he REALLY like?’
Heres my reply:
-Ive never seen him anything but totally generous.
-Ive seen him bedridden while recovering from major surgery, and his only thought was, ‘how can I serve my Guru?’
-Ive seen him in extraordinary pain, and the peace in his eyes was just the same as always.
-Ive seen friends betray him, and while hurt, his concern was with their well-being, not his own.
-Ive seen him sued by his fellow disciples, and while hurt, he expressed only love and compassion for their well-being.
-Ive failed as a disciple and as an employee, and seen him continue to be understanding, generous and kind toward me.
-Ive experienced his infinite patience and respect at those times, wishing now that he was more forthcoming in his advice and discipline (and that I were more receptive).
-Ive seen him change the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people- and Im talking only of those Ive seen first hand.
Finally, hes continuously showing me how to be a disciple of Yogananda. How to love. How to serve. How to deal with success. How to deal with failure. How to respond to fame. How to respond to defamation.
The answer hes shown me is always, and simply, love.