There have been several times that Ive found myself in disagreement with Kriyananda. He holds strong views on many subjects, and Ive sometimes held equally strong but opposing views. In each case when I have discussed it with him, he has treated my views with respect and reflection, and on several occasions has changed his view as a result. Since he is so strong in his opinions its easy to think that he cant be swayed, but I have found that he responds, as most people do, to a well-thought-out argument, presented reasonably and unemotionally. On several occasions he has also asked my opinion before making a decision.
Sadhana Devi Helin
In the late 60s the womens movement was just beginning to get up some steam. Many of us had read the first books about expanding beyond the wife and mother roles. There werent many role models out there for us, however, and we werent quite sure how to go about expanding our awareness in this way. It took only two years for me to hit the glass ceiling at my work, and I decided to come to Ananda, in part to experience some very different ways of living.
Since Anandas inception, there have been women in roles of responsibility. Our first community manager was a woman, as were the owners or managers of some of the first businesses. Kriyananda once said I would like to see more womens energy here. He felt that, while we needed a lot of masculine energy to build buildings and plow fields at the beginning, feminine energy had not been emphasized enough.
He gave us the example of a monastery he had visited as a young man. He noticed that the altar cloth was upside down, and thought to himself That would never happen in a convent! He has often said that women are the inspirers, perhaps a variation on the adage Behind every successful man theres a woman. He felt that womens energy and perspective needed to be recognized and promoted. Masculine energy drives a project, but feminine energy inspires it. To that end, perhaps, he has made many women ministers and has put them in roles of responsibility. Perhaps half of our ministers are women. In fact, a few women are ministers although their husbands are not.
Sadhana Devi Helin