Swami Kriyananda responds to a letter critical of certain aspects of Ananda life.

Dear ______________,

When I invited you to come and live at Ananda, my primary concern was to provide you with a happy environment, among devotees who loved you. Your sweet way of speaking had led me to believe that you were a woman of compassionate concern for the welfare of others.

I confess I was quite unprepared for the unsympathetic way you reacted to circumstances of which you disapproved. You quoted Master as your justification, saying what a stern disciplinarian he was. But Master himself said, “I scold only those who listen. I won’t scold those who don’t.” The hallmark of his nature was infinite patience, tolerance, and compassion. He never condemned those who were weak or misguided, any more than Christ did. Wherever Master saw the slightest hope, he encouraged people in the paths of righteousness. He never judged them.

He also said that the tendency to judge others attracts similar judgment to oneself. “Blessed are the merciful,” said Jesus Christ, “for they shall receive mercy.”

I encourage our members to live according to the highest spiritual principles, and to understand that there is no fulfillment possible outside of God. But I encourage, I lead; I never drive. In this way I help people, and that is what Master told me to do. Once, when I myself acted judgmentally toward someone whom I felt not to be acting according to true spiritual principles, Master scolded me saying, “If I were so uncompromising, few would be left here” (at Mt. Washington). It was by love, not judgment, that he won us and inspired us to change.

I don’t consider it my place to advise you, so I’m not going to try, though there is much that I might say. However, for your own spiritual welfare I beg you to consider whether it is not rather the divine way to bless than to condemn. We attract to ourselves what we look for in others. Is it not possible that the rejection and betrayal you have received from others in this life are rooted in deep-seated attitudes in yourself?

In divine friendship,

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