My Mother and Father always made a point to keep Paramhansa Yogananda as part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are hearing stories of his life when they would paraphrase stories from the Autobiography of a Yogi. I also remember informally acting out several scenes from his life when my Mother did an Ananda preschool in our home.
It was important to my parents also that I not have a narrow view of God. I remember beautiful children’s books of the Bible, and of Buddha. Also dear to my heart were the stories of Krishna, the Ramayana, Saint Francis, and other saints of east and west. I learned that throughout all time there have been sincere seekers of God and truth. God was to be seen as something bigger than just our own family and also greater than any one religion. I learned that God has come to this earth in many different forms to help us out of delusion. And so I came to see God as a part of life, one and inseparable.
To this day, however, there remains little in the way of resources to help parents share the life of Yogananda with their children. My parents had worked hard to come up with ways to make him come alive for me. For years my Mother had hoped to create a children’s book of Yogananda’s life, but never had the time to take the project on. We had talked about it in the past, but I now felt inspired to do the writing myself. Chitra Sudhakaran, a friend of mine, and a talented art student at the Ananda Institute of Alternative Living, heard about the project and was inspired to create illustrations for the stories. We wanted to make the dream a reality. The goal was to make a beautiful and magnetic resource for inspiring children.
I have now completed writing a handful of stories drawn from the Autobiography of a Yogi. While I try to simplify the writing for children, I strive always to keep the beauty and inspiration of Master’s own writing. It has been a wonderful exercise in attunement for me.
Chitra has now completed several drawings for this project. They are quite well done and I think she captures the beauty and devotion of the different scenes.
So in the coming weeks I will begin posting the short stories of Yogananda’s life along with the drawings. We may at some point put them together in a book, but I wanted to make them available to share with your children now. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Master said, “To those who think me near, I will be near.” I hope that through this project more children will think him near and feel his presence in their hearts.