“I think you and I have been brothers in a past life,” Swami Kriyananda once remarked to me. Indeed, from the day I met him, I always felt a deep spiritual connection with Swamiji. Some years ago, while he was still alive, I wrote this “Tribute to Kriyananda,” and since May 19 is his birthday, I thought you might enjoy reading it.


One can tell much about a person by observing the effect he has on other people. This is certainly true of the extraordinarily positive effect that Swami Kriyananda has on the lives of others. Over the decades that I’ve known him, I think what stands out most strongly for me is his ability to give and attract unconditional friendship.

Swami Kriyananda tribute with Nayaswami Jyotish his spiritual successorDozens of people consider him their best friend. I know of numerous occasions when he was the only one who was willing to extend a hand to someone who had finally succeeded in exasperating everyone else. By standing by them in their time of difficulty, he quietly transformed their lives.

But to me, the most beautiful manifestation of divine friendship has been the love shown to him by God-realized souls. Kriyananda’s relationship with Paramhansa Yogananda—his devotion and discipleship—has been one of the formative influences in my life. He made Yogananda a dynamic, living reality in his own life and, by his example, in mine and in the lives of many other Ananda members.

The many stories I’ve heard and read about the interplay between the guru Yogananda and the disciple Kriyananda have been magnets holding me steadfast on the path. I never had the blessing to be present when Master and Kriyananda were together. I was, however, there one time when he was with the great woman saint, Anandamayee Ma, and I saw the immense love and delight these two souls shared with one another.

In the spring of 1974 a small group went with Swamiji to Hardwar, India, partly to see the Kumbha Mela, but more specifically to see Ma. The first time that our group saw Ma and Kriyananda together was during a private audience with just the four of us and an elderly Indian swami who served as translator. A deep and beautiful love flowed between the two of them, somewhat like the love between a mother and a son, but in many ways much closer.

I have been with Kriyananda and his own mother many times, but his relationship with Anandamayee Ma was even more intimate. Not only was there the added spiritual dimension of two great lovers of God, but there was a palpable intuitive connection between their minds. There were worlds of meaning in the simple glances they exchanged. And when they laughed together, it went far beyond mere merriment, into realms of divine joy.

Seeing them together gave me my first real experience of what it must have been like to be enfolded in Yogananda’s infinite love. Ma answered many of the questions we posed to her by sweetly advising us to “Ask your guru.” It took me quite a long time to realize that she was referring to Kriyananda, since I have always considered Yogananda to be my guru. But Ma was totally natural in suggesting that we treat Swamiji as a divine channel, and go to him with our spiritual questions.

The interview lasted about a half hour and ended with her blessing a large pile of beads, pictures, and other items that we’d brought with us from people at Ananda. As she held her hands over them, she said, “Why do you ask this body to bless these things? Don’t you see that God’s blessings are always flowing down?”

The next day, there was a gathering of twenty or thirty people in a small courtyard for satsang with Ma. She was in a wonderfully childlike mood, laughing and playing. She took a flower garland that had been placed around her neck and tossed it lasso-style right around the neck of Swamiji, who was sitting about fifteen feet away. She then had one of her disciples bring out some yellow handkerchiefs containing prasad (food offered to God and then eaten as a blessing) and threw one to each of the other three of us. She was warm, joyful, and childlike the whole time, and related to Swami in an extraordinarily sweet and kind way.

The two days that we spent in her company are among the most precious memories of my life. The grace to be able to draw the love of great saints like Ma and Master is a blessing that flows through Swamiji to all who know him. Over the years that I’ve been with him, I’ve seen a gradual transformation of Kriyananda into an ever more pure channel of love and friendship. It is as if he is becoming a living example of Master’s saying: “When I am gone, only love can take my place.”

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (6:38):


  1. Used to hear him on His Television than started reading Autobiography OF YOGIJI and life transformed.

  2. I feel I’m blessed when I read such wonderful articles… it’s always so nice to learn about all these great souls…thank you for sharing this ? ??

  3. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Wow! I was in awe reading the blog :) Thank you for sharing this.
    How blessed are we to have Swamiji in our life guiding us with Master’s teachings and making Master Real to us. Helping us on our way Home


  4. “One can tell much about a person by observing the effect he has on other people. “… so very true of what you and Devi Ji and Ananda as a whole is doing to change and uplift our lives. How blessed we are to have been drawn to Master thru our beloved Swamiji.. a Saint and Guru indeed. Thank you Ji for this beautiful blog.

  5. Very beautifully expressed, jyotishji. Thanks a lot for sharing memories that are filled with Divine love & joy.
    sumitra (Delhi)

  6. Thank you Jyotish for sharing this blessed experience! It really brings the teachings to life.
    Aum, Kyle

  7. mm

    What a gift this sharing is.
    Inspiring, heart opening, filled with divine possibility.
    Thank you so much for allowing us to experience these moments of true love.
    AUM and Prem, Shanti

  8. Dear Jyotishji,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful blog near to Swamiji birthday celebration!

    Deeply touching, and memorable experiences and wisdom of Ma.

    Your wonderful words “One can tell much about a person by observing the effect he has on other people. “ echoes the age old phrase, ‘.. the quality of the disciple speaks for the greatness of the Guru..” We see the greatness of Swamiji through you all.

    Pranams to Swamiji and Master.

    With deep gratitude,

  9. I like very much Master Ji Kriyananda, and present office bearers. Thank you for your letter

  10. Blessings!!
    Thank You for sharing your special memory
    Yogi Tim, RYT , Ananda Certified Yoga & Meditation Teacher

  11. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. We are so blessed!

  12. Wow, my favorite message yet, Jyotish. I feel like just letting the divine-like waves wash over me.

  13. Dear jyothishji,

    Always your divine words are blessing me . Swamiji has created a greatest spiritual community in the world, like
    Adi shankaracharya Advaita siddantha. Swamiji has transformed millions of lifes to true nature.
    I bow to swamiji lotus feet.
    Swamiji and Master Blessings to entire humanity.
    praveen kumar
    jai guru

  14. What words are possible to express the Divine ardor shared in these reminiscences. Swamiji has touched me and opened my heart in a way I never thought possible. He found his Answer with his Guru as we all can. It is clear to me that we are together, again, in no way by accident. Thank you Divine Mother, Swamiji and beloved Guru for JOY unending. Namaste

  15. Thank you Jyotish.
    Sending you and Deviji our love and appreciation for your great Guru Seva!
    Thank you Swamiji and Master for showing us the way.

    Bhima Bhakti Ezra

  16. Thank you for sharing the inspiring message about Swami Kriyananda. How fortunate to have been his disciple and to undertake Kriya Yoga while Paramahansa Yogananda was still in the body walking this earth. Om Tat Sat!

  17. Oh my! Jyotishji, you said it rightly… “He made Yogananda a dynamic, living reality in his own life and, by his example, in mine and in the lives of many other Ananda members.”
    How grateful and blessed we all are for Swamiji’s discipleship. He truly is an inspiring example for us all. I cherish the very special experiences of being in Swamiji’s presence…he radiated so much to us and so freely.

  18. Thank you for the wonderful blog Jyotishji. I look forward to it every Friday. My words would fall short in expressing the gratitude I feel and have for Swami Kriyananda, you, Deviji and Ananda as a whole. I can only say Thank You, Thank You and Thank You Very Much ???..
    With lot of Gratitude and Respect

  19. Thank you dear Jyotishji, it was wonderful and uplifting to read.
    Though I did not meet Swami Kriyanandaji in this life in person, I am getting to know him not only through his videos, music and books, but also through you and his living representatives and guides at Ananda, thank you for this wonderful blessing.

  20. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen you and Swamiji together, and thought you were brothers. What a beautiful thing to be, and for him to say. Thanks for sharing this beautiful remembrance of Swamiji with Anandamayee Ma. It’s hard to imagine how powerful it must have been to see them interacting, and feel what must have been happening for them inside.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

    A heartfelt Happy Birthday to you Swami Kriyananda.
    Sending love and blessings to my Ananda Family

  22. Thank you jyotish ji , for sharing this beautiful story with Ma and Swamiji. Its true blessing!Loved it.

  23. La più toccante di recente fra le vostre sempre toccanti. Grazie
    Bianca Silvia

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