After Yogananda told Nayaswami Kriyananda that his life’s work was “writing, editing, and lecturing,” Kriyananda asked, “But Sir, haven’t you already written everything that is necessary?”
Yogananda looked shocked. “Don’t say that,” he replied. “Much more is needed.”
Since then, Nayaswami Kriyananda has gone on to write almost 100 books. And even so, I doubt he has covered even a tenth of all the ways of bringing Yogananda’s teachings into every part of life, if that! I expect the number could even be as small as a thousandth.
Kriyananda has said that he writes “seminally” — he wants his writing to inspire other works. I could see these delving more deeply into specific concepts, or into how those concepts apply in new fields. An effect of him writing in this way is that passages in his books often have deep meaning.
A small example: he wrote two plays, The Peace Treaty and The Jewel in the Lotus. But in each, how full of meaning the lines are! A close study of them, as an actor playing one of their parts must make, yields a wealth of insight.
Right now we’re rehearsing The Jewel in the Lotus at Ananda Village, which we’ll perform on March 6. The beginning of the play reveals a conflict between father and his son. The father is trying to get the son, who only wants God, to work for him in his shop. “My dear boy,” he says, “It’s perfectly obvious. Didn’t you yourself just say God is the money that we spend? Well, then — the more you have of money, the more you’ll have of God. Simple!”
I love that argument — the reasoning is perfect on it’s own level of ignorance!
The struggle between the father and his son represents the timeless struggle between material consciousness and soul aspiration. The son says, “I want to find God,” and the father responds by trying to pull him back into the father’s own very material world.
Nayaswami Kriyananda’s and Yogananda’s works reward exploration. In fact, as a “live” experiment, let me open a random page of Swami Kriyananda’s The New Path, and we’ll see where it takes us…
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My eyes fell on this sentence on page 231, in the chapter, “Paramhansa Yogananda”:
Daya Mata [a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and the president of Self-Realization Fellowship] tells a story dating back to when she was a teenager and new on the path. At first, in her association with him, he had treated her lovingly, like a daughter (which indeed she had been to him in a former incarnation). Once her feet were planted firmly on the path, however, he began to teach her the superior merits of impersonal love. To her now, feeling for him as she did the affection of a devoted daughter, he seemed all at once aloof, even stern.
One evening in Encinitas he addressed her that way. She went out onto the bluff above the ocean behind the hermitage, and prayed deeply for understanding. At last she reached a firm resolution. “Divine Mother,” she vowed, “from now on I will love only Thee. In beholding him, I will see Thee alone in him.”
Suddenly she felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her. Later she went indoors and knelt before Master for his blessing, as she always did before retiring for the night. This time he greeted her gently, saying, “Very good!”
From then on he showed himself once more affectionate toward her. Now, however, their relationship was on a deeper level, for the disciple saw him at last in that impersonal light in which he beheld himself.
Nayaswami Devi once told me that, if ever she related to Nayaswami Kriyananda in a personal way, it was like a wall went up between them. I realized later that he didn’t put up that wall; it was the inevitable result of holding a personal attitude towards anyone. We have a choice in how to relate to people: as personalities; or as souls, unique expressions of God.
I’ve noticed this with Devi herself. I often relate to her as a personality, and at these times she can seem distant. But the more impersonally loving I am, and the more I think of God instead of “Devi,” the more expressive her friendship is.
And I’ve sometimes thought, What a gift! She places my spiritual needs above everything else. And she isn’t just doing this for me, she’s doing it for many, many people — maybe everyone. Wouldn’t you call this Divine Friendship?