My first Kriya Initiation was on December 22, 1967. It was a Friday evening, and Swami Kriyananda felt that those of us who would be attending the all-day Christmas meditation the next day could benefit from having this sacred technique. The ceremony took place in Swamiji’s small San Francisco apartment and was attended by about a dozen people.
I was both eager and anxious as I took my seat, this being my first initiation. I had dressed carefully in white clothing. Earlier in the day I had stopped at a shop to buy flowers, and my eye had immediately been drawn to a bouquet of beautiful yellow chrysanthemums. Flowers are given during the ceremony as a symbolic offering of devotion to God and the Gurus, and I reverently laid mine beside my chair as I waited for the ceremony to begin.
A slightly frazzled man arrived a few minutes late for the ceremony and took the seat next to me. At the point in the initiation when each individual goes to the altar to make their offerings, this fellow, realizing that he had forgotten to bring any flowers, solved his difficulty by taking the ones I had brought. As a result, I had nothing to offer to express my devotion. For others this might have been insignificant, even humorous, but for me it caused tremendous turmoil. Did this mean that I had no devotion? Did it mean that I was an unworthy disciple? Try as I might, I wasn’t able to overcome my self-doubts that night, or the next day during the long meditation, or for many days afterward. These worries continued to eat at me.
About two weeks later I got a phone call from Swamiji. He asked, “Wasn’t it you who brought those beautiful yellow flowers to the initiation?” I hesitantly answered yes, not knowing where this conversation was going. Swamiji then continued, “The blossoms are still as fresh as when you brought them. I’ve never known any to last so long.”
His simple act of kindness healed a hole in my heart and answered my dilemma. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He needs no outer symbols, only our sincerity. He eagerly accepts the devotion we offer Him and, in return, gives us the boundless ocean of His love.
In loving devotion,