In December 1976 I attended my first Ananda Christmas. Six months had passed since the fire that had destroyed all but two homes at Ananda Village in Nevada City and all the possessions of many members.

On Christmas day we were all gathered in the seclusion retreat temple and Kriyananda gave an address and then at least one of two large pieces of furniture were carried in. They were a coffee table and a dining room table. They were gifts he had purchased and was giving to two families who had lost everything in the fire. My first thought was these people must be very special to receive such nice gifts from Swami Kriyananda.

As the days, months, years rolled by I came to see that every soul that came to Kriyananda was and is special and unique. When anyone comes to him sincerely seeking truth and understanding he is there for them totally. One might think that after so many years of working with people at Ananda that it would be very difficult if not impossible as a new person at Ananda to access Kriyananda. Rather I have seen newcomers given positions which closely interface with him not just because they had the right skills but because he wanted to help them if he could.

I have often been amazed but no longer surprised at his ability to reach out to all as a true friend. He can with the greatest ease and relevance address and converse with first-time audiences as well as seasoned truthseekers. In fact, again and again I have heard him say with great enthusiasm how he has felt inspired in yet another way to share and apply universal truths in some new dimension of life.

He is dedicated to helping others to help themselves and has always demonstrated a unique ability to convey timeless truths to so many who come from very diverse backgrounds and life orientations. People come away feeling they have in him a true friend and feel in themselves hope and an uplifted heart. Such friendship is priceless.

Joy to you, Maria McSweeney

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Stories About Swami Kriyananda