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.

Yellow ChrysanthemumsI 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,
Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Dear Jyotish,
    It is so gratifying to read your story. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
    With devotion to Gurus,

  2. That was a wonderful share …Thanks a lot. Yes, so often we are filled with such confusions & it is helps a great deal when we read or hear such acts of Divine Grace.
    Joy & Love

  3. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish ,
    Thank you sharing the story, God accepts our love and devotion more than the gifts :)

  4. Dear Jyotish,
    Thank you for sharing this story. It reminded me of a similar incident from 30 yrs ago that I experienced … it also reminded me of the deeper lessons learned then … a worthwhile memory! Thank you, Jyotish ~ hope to see you & Devi soon.

  5. Namaste Great Souls!
    Thank you for your wonderful insights and sharing! Your Touch of Light has brought a “great light” into my life!
    In Divine Joy, Gail La Mar

  6. The sweetness of Swamiji’s gesture brings tears. Thank you so much.

  7. Whatever thou does to the least of my brethren thou dost unto me, especially when ‘my brethren snatches it from you’. If we could understand just this then there would be no judgement, no lawsuits, no need of courts, no…. Thank you so much for the touch of Light.

  8. How did you know I needed these words today? Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Dearest Nayaswami Jyotish,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!
    Masters blessings, Belinda

  10. God knows. Thank you for the reminder and for the lovely story. What a friend is Swami Kriyananda!

  11. what a beautiful story, it was so sweet and tender, I could feel it in my heart.

    1. A beautiful memory, Jyotish. I still have my rose pedals from my initiation several decades ago.

  12. Such sweetness! And it helped me feel that when I gave a rose that I had brought for a ceremony to Nidruva on an impulse about an hour before. Was acceptable to God and Guru.
    Thank you Jyotish!

  13. Yes, my way of conceptualizing this incident was that you did offer the flowers to God–through the other man. By letting the man take the flowers and not making a fuss about it, you also made a devotional offering to that man. In doing so, you doubled the offering of devotion that you would have made if you had simply brought the flowers to the altar yourself!

  14. Dear Jyotish,
    Thank you, doesn’t even begin to touch on how vital and important your sharing of this story is for me. I have of late been feeling very similarly to how you felt in 1967 (the year I was born, funny enough). I’m questioning my devotion, and have been “fighting on the battlefield” daily.
    I was getting tired of “fighting” and yesterday almost lost.
    You and Devi sharing “A Touch of Light” is just that… A Touch of Light into the darkness…reminding me of the “Light” within me and within us all.
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  15. Thank you for your continued wonderful messages
    God Bless

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