Paramhansa Yogananda once said to a group of disciples: “You must not let the symphony of your life go unfinished.” This phrase perfectly describes the last years of Swami Kriyananda’s life, which were a crescendo of divine love and untiring service to humanity. Who was Swami Kriyananda? What was it like to know this close and direct disciple of the great master, Paramhansa Yogananda? In Swamiji, Miriam Rodgers shares an intimate and up-close look at lessons she learned through her connection as Swami Kriyananda’s nurse for the last eight years of his life. In this profoundly moving biographical account filled with never before heard stories, you’ll glimpse the interior castle of Swami Kriyananda’s consciousness.
“A unique perspective on a great spiritual teacher. Miriam had a front-row seat to the last decade of Swami Kriyananda’s life in a way no one else did. She was his personal nurse, traveling the world with him. On many occasions she literally held his life in her hands, as he had given her final responsibility for his medical care, relying on her perfect balance of heart-open devotee and compassionate but impersonal medical professional. Miriam shares many conversations with Swami about death, not as an abstraction but as an imminent possibility to be accepted or—once more—resisted. Humanity and divinity, dancing together. a beautiful, uplifting, extraordinary story. Highly recommended.”
Asha Nayaswami, co-spiritual director of Ananda Palo Alto, and author of "Swami Kriyananda As We Have Known Him, and her most recent book, "Swami Kriyananda: Lightbearer", published in 2019.
“In this inspiring book, we are given an intimate portrait of Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and a great man of God in his own right. Beautifully written by Miriam Rodgers, his personal nurse for the last fourteen years of his life, this portrayal shows us Kriyananda’s ability to rise above the severe health challenges he faced and continue to serve others. Through his demonstration of courage and determination, Kriyananda shows each of us the way to face and overcome the tests in our own life. A remarkable window onto the life of a true spiritual hero.”
Nayaswami Devi, co-spiritual director of Ananda Worldwide, and author of "Faith Is My Armor: The Life of Swami Kriyananda".
“A brilliant and intimate account of the author’s fourteen years with Swami Kriyananda as his cardiac nurse. Each chapter is so lively and vivid that you feel as if you are in the room as everything takes place. There are marvelous little-known stories that give fresh insight into the life of Swami Kriyananda. This is a gem of a book and highly enjoyable reading.”
Anandi Gray, licensed clinical counselor, forty-year certified teacher of yoga and meditation, and retired adjunct instructor of philosophy and psychology at Southern Oregon University
“ ‘No man is a hero in the eyes of his valet.’ If you ever wondered about the veracity of this rather disillusioning statement, this book will provide you with page after page of evidence that supports the opposite view. The author’s perspective on her subject goes far deeper than how a famous person behaves when they are out of the limelight. For fourteen years, Miriam Rodgers cared for Swami Kriyananda through a series of life-threatening health crises. In her book she gives intimate details of how the high principles that he taught to his audiences around the world were not only lived, but amplified and enhanced by his behavior during the most trying moments of his life. This book provides a source of inspiration for us all.”
Nitai Deranja, President, Education for Life International
“In the historic transmission of India’s spiritual wisdom to the rest of the world, the contribution of Westerners trained by gurus and yoga masters has been vital. None more so than Swami Kriyananda, whose time with the legendary Paramhansa Yogananda prepared him to be an influential teacher in his own right. The stories of such teachers deserve to be told. In that context, this book is an important addition to the literature of modern spirituality. Not just a biography or a tribute, it is an intimate human portrait, crafted well by someone with a unique point of view as nurse to her subject in the final fourteen years of his life, when legacy, further learning, and spiritual realization mix with the bodily concerns of aging, illness, and impending death. All spiritual seekers will find much to learn in these moving pages.”
Philip Goldberg, author of "The Life of Yogananda", "American Veda", and "Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times".