As I write this blog, it’s a few days before the anniversary of Swami Kriyananda’s birth—May 19, 1926. To honor his life, I felt to write him a personal letter of appreciation (that I’m sharing with you as well).
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since you left your body, because your presence in our lives has only increased over time. My appreciation of who you are and the spiritual gifts you gave us has also grown.
Right from the very beginning, when I arrived at Ananda in 1969 and had the privilege of meeting you, I saw how you treated everyone with respect, be he young or old, wise or foolish. You saw the highest potential within each person, a potential that often eluded our own limited awareness at the time. More importantly, you guided and inspired us to realize that potential.
I remember the time in 1979 when you gave a weekend program to nearly a thousand people at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. You were scheduled to give a concluding talk on Sunday morning; on Saturday evening, you asked Jyotish and me if we would speak as well. Jyotish had already been teaching for several years, but I was new to it, and the thought of speaking before a huge crowd terrified me. Yet I trusted that you wouldn’t ask anything of us that we didn’t have it in us to do.
Sunday morning, I sat nervously in the front row waiting for you to call us up on the stage to speak. Despite my attempts to organize my thoughts, my mind was reeling. The only words that kept repeating themselves were, “You can’t do this. You can’t do this.”
Finally the moment of truth arrived, and as you asked us to come up, a miraculous thing happened that shaped the course of my life. I literally felt your hand reaching out to me mentally, assuring me that you would be with me and guide me through the talk. And so it proved. That was the launch of my teaching career, and now, nearly forty years later, I still feel your guiding presence with me whenever I share with others.
You also helped us find the inner strength and courage to deal with the tests life brought us. The examples of your calmness and unwavering faith—during Ananda’s huge financial challenges, strong opposition from local authorities, and a devastating forest fire, to mention only a few—served as beacons of courage, enabling us to deal positively with whatever came our way.
Do you remember your first words to me when you saw me after the forest fire which had left us homeless with an eleven-day-old baby? Without giving me a moment to waver, you said strongly, “How are you, Devi? Well? That’s good.” You then walked briskly away, but left me with an inner fortress of strength that helped me to handle the difficult days ahead.
Weeks later you wrote us a note which I still have in my little box of treasures. Do you remember it? You wrote, “I was so touched by everyone’s spirit. . . . It is admirable, and certainly pleasing to God. I believe many blessings will flow from it, and from this trying experience. I was particularly sad for you, Devi, to be given such a test so soon after having your baby. But then, what God gives, we take. He has His own program for our spiritual growth. If we place ourselves unreservedly in His hands, He proves to us abundantly how unfailing His love is for us.”
Finally, I want to thank you for the dual goals that you embraced in 1948 upon reading Master’s Autobiography of a Yogi for the first time. From that moment onward, you dedicated your life to seeking God and to sharing Him with others. Had it not been for your resolute commitment, I know for certain that I never would have embarked on the spiritual path in this lifetime. Nor, I believe, would have the countless thousands of others who drew and continue to draw inspiration from you.
So, my dear Swamiji, in whatever heavenly realm you are now residing, please accept my eternal love and appreciation. You gave us a life in God, and made it fun and entertaining as well. Till we meet again, I remain forever your grateful follower, your devoted student, your loving daughter in God.
P.S. Please join us online for a celebration of Swami Kriyananda, which will appear live on YouTube here on May 20th.
Listen to Devi as she reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:15):
Dear Nayaswami Devi ji,
I was gifted to read the letter you wrote to Master on the occasion of his birthday.
The beautiful way in which you shared your life experience of joining Swami Kriyananda ji on his mission and keeping faith through all the ordeals that life throwed was so awe inspiring.
We are touched by your love which I consider is an extension of Master’s love for all of us.
Thanks so much to Jyotish ji and you for igniting the light of divinity in my heart forever.
I realize we are one family wherever we are.
Love and Light,
My heartfelt feelings,happy birthday,
Today is 19 th day . Day means letter S . S is a message of salvation . I determine this day should be a peaceful and salvation day which historically signs the Ananda world wide attraction with his name . I respect him and remember .
A very touching and inspiring letter!
Thank you so much for sharing this 🙏🏻
In Loving Light ,
No one whom has ever met you has remained unchanged from the experience. I remember fondly your visit to our home in SC and us all doing our exercises on the front porch in our pajamas and how we all laughed and had so much fun! We treasure your memory and are grateful for your ever-present influence in our lives. Wherever you are in the universe, we know that you are spreading love and light!
Thanks, Devi. You’ve spoken eloquently & heartfully for our own eternal gratitude to Swamiji. 🙏
Thank you Devi ji 💐
Blessed Swamiji’s Birthday 😇
Thanks a lot Deviji for sharing your letter to Swamiji. It has a message for all of us and immensified our belief in Swamiji teachings to be on our spiritual path.
Happy birthday Swamiji.
Thank you for sharing your letter to Swamiji. So touching and inspiring. Your love and devotion to Swamiji and God is an example I hope to follow. Thank you and Ananda for touching my life . With humble regards
Your feelings are true for many of us.
Thanks Devi ji!🙏
Such beautiful words.
Thank you Devi Ji for sharing your love with swami ji. Love and connection is flowing through your words. So inspiring!
Dear Devi ji:
What a beautiful letter you’ve written to Swamiji. It seems as if you are sitting in front of him, speaking to him and conveying your deep gratitude and love for all that he did to nurture your spiritual growth. I’m sure he’s around, with his inimitable and radiant smile, overseeing and guiding the work at Ananda.
I was indeed fortunate to have had him in my life and inspire me on the Path. I vividly recall ‘accidentally’ meeting him on the road near my house and how, in that “chance meeting”, he sowed the seed of inquiry in my heart. I cherish all the time spent in his presence as some of the most uplifting moments in my life.
My deepest gratitude to Swamiji on this special day.
Thank you, dear N Devi, for bringing Swamiji to those of us who never met him in the body. Your loving letter brings him so close. An inspired tribute.
Thank you, Devi, for your truly inspiring letter to Swamiji. I especially love one of the lines from your note:
“If we place ourselves unreservedly in His hands, He proves to us abundantly how unfailing His love is for us.”
Much Love to you🙏
Thank you Devi.
This is beautiful, Devi. I was fortunate to have experienced Kriyananda many times, but have only been tangentially involved with Ananda. I’m in awe at how his prolific life work continues to expand and grow even after his physical death. As such, he is really an extension of Yogananda, who is an extension of his lineage of gurus. We were all so fortunate to have been in his orbit.
Happy Birthday, Swamiji!
Once again, Devi, you have me tearing up as my heart fills with love for Swamiji and gratitude for his transformative presence in my life.
Ever since Swamiji ascended, both Jyotish and you have stepped up to never let us feel his lack, and your blogs- this one in particular!- bring him every more deeply into our lives and help us tune in ever more closely with his consciousness.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Happy birthday, Swamiji. Thank you, Devi for such a heartfelt tribute. Blessings, Julian.
Thank you, Devi ji, for sharing with us your personal letter to Swamiji. What a privilege to have read these beautiful words of gratitude and love you have for Swamiji in honoring his birthday today.
With heartfelt gratitude for Swamiji and Guru.
Thank you, Swamiji. Happy Birthday!
Thank you, Devi! Such a touching letter to Swamiji. Thank you for sharing it with us!
Yesterday I watched the movie on Ananda and was really moved beyond words and as I saw you I remembered that I get messages from you in my email and made a promise that if there was one from you I would write to say how special Ananda is and the beautiful harmony that comes from just watching
You and your husband are such beautiful souls. And now reading this wonderful letter I know my feeling was correct
Om shanti shanti shanti
That is nice, thank you for sharing it with us.
What a beautiful letter of appreciation from you to Swami Kriyananda. Thank you for sharing it with us.
An inspiration for me to look into the encouragement by the master in my life, those who show me the way, perhaps for an instant only, for one year or year.
I have known the teachings of Swami Kriyananda for few years only, but his teachings and the way he passed to newer generations the teachings of Paramahansa yogananda are not only profound but very enjoyable to listen.
Blessings to you,
A beautiful and priceless letter. Thank you for sharing, Devi. Happy Birthday, Swamiji 🌷
Dear Devi, I add my gratitude and love to your loving, heartfelt letter. I got to know Swamiji a little. Three things about him I will never forget and treasure always. The first was when Swamiji blessed me at a gathering at Lotus Lake Amphitheater.after a program. You blessed Julie. I asked Swamiji for his blessing to marry Julie and I felt him give it. I don’t remember if it was verbal or mental but he gave his heart to our union. During the Oratorio Tour in Italy, I met Swami during a lunch break . I asked him how best to respond to the praises we singers were receiving from the audience members han evduring our tour. His answer was pure Swamiji…tell them: “Et tuto per Dio”, it is all for God. Finally?, I connected with Swamiji as he was leaving the EL after lunch. He looked into my eyes with great love and put his hand on my cheek. It was a deep blessing to remind me to never stop, and always keep moving forward in God. He is more with me now than ever, especially when I sing the music he’s written, and I feel his joy and love. Namaste
Thank you for sharing the heartfelt & uplifting letter you wrote to Swamiji…
I feel enriched.
Happy Birthday, Swamiji.
Wonderful blog, thank you for sharing this beautiful, heartful letter.
As I write this, I am watching Live streaming of the beautiful celebration of Swamiji Birthday with Music at the Temple of Light., (still 19 May, Friday night for you all) . Such a blessing, thank you so much Swamiji 🙏💖
Love and Gratitude
O Mother Divine
Thou art Guru
Thou art Mother
Reveal thy presence
Tears came as I read your story and your memories of Swamijis kindness, compassion, guidance and wisdom.
Although its been many years…a lifetime or three!! Since I lived there in the 1980s? My gratitude and tenderness for the community that literally saved my life….has never waivered.
My niece even got married in Swamijis Garden in 2018….to make certain I came to her wedding, from where I have lived in Kerala India, for the past 22 years!
Arati took me to Swamijis memorial chapel. As I sat in meditation, I clearly sensed Swamiji in the front right corner, dancing and holding out his hand as an invitation to join him!
A burst of laughter and recognition in response startled Arati!!
You are so right….he is still among us.
Certainly will see you again….! Both Master Yogananda and our dear Donald Walters shine through both you and Jyotish.
May we all ever be blessed in the LIGHT and LOVE of the Great Ones!
Veena aka Therese
Quote from 1981….”We have never HAD a stewardess here, before!!” Ha!!
Much love to you.
Thank you so much dear Devi, this a gem for us to add to our treasure boxes and re-inspire our devotion & dedication! Thank you both for your example and giving us all Swamiji’s strength & light to keep going. Happy Swamiji’s birthday, thank you for everything 😊💕🙏
Recounting your experience evokes love, faith, devotion, joy, and inspires me to embody the Spirit of our Master in every moment of our lives. Shanti Shanti Shanti.
Thank you for the divine share . god’s blessings and grace 💗🙏🏿
Grazie Devi per aver condiviso la tua lettera a Swamiji, è toccante per l’anima e piena di insegnamenti. Grazie Grazie a Swamiji perché posso vedere un luogo chiamato Ananda.
What an awe inspiring letter. It would have been such a blessing to be around Swami ji to received his unconditional love and strength in times of testing. May we all keep remain steadfast in our devotion to God to feel the love of God and Gurus and Swami ji even now
As always you go right to the heart of all it means to be a disciple on this great path toward Self-Realiztion. Your words and the True Love in them inspire me to keep going deeper toward that point of intuitive perception in my own heart.
Thank you Devi, thank you Swamiji, for the gift of your love shared with all.
Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
So beautiful! Thanks for sharing this letter.
It Inspiring and encouraging. As most of us I also thank Swamiji for His dual goal 🙏
Thank you for sharing. Very inspirational…..
How beautifuly expressed. It is the people we meet in live that give us “the spine” to go through life with all its ups and downs. I bealive that God sends us “these” kind of people – and it is up to us if we can truly see what that “have” for us… I can say that I have been blessed by my grandfather early in me teens.
Thank you on this great letter of respect and appriciation. Blessings to all on the path of kriya, Jaka
Respected Devi Ji,
This is the reason for which I eagerly wait for Friday. Your writing is as magnificent as you are Deviji.
May Babaji, Yogiraj, Paramhansha Yoganandaji and Kriyanandaji’s blessings be bestowed upon you and all the kriyabans as well.
Dearest Devi Ji what a sweet beautiful loving grateful precious letter to beloved Swamiji you have written. Thank you for sharing it with us. I loved the note from Swami to you after the fire. Thank you thank you deeply from the heart (and eternally) for your life with Him.For those of us who never met Swami in person, we are blessed to see Him thru you both.