"Behind the Scenes"
The Story of Crystal Hermitage
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
A best seller in the 1920s had been The Story of San Michele by Axtel Munthe. It gave a simple account of the building of his home on the island of Capri, on Naples Bay off the coast of Italy. His book had been translated into some twenty-eight languages. I fantasized that perhaps a book about the building of my own home, Crystal Hermitage, might be popular also. The thought was premature, because new plants had only just been newly planted on the property. Today, however, the home and grounds areI thinkthe loveliest I have ever seen anywhere.
The way it all happened was after my parents died I came into an inheritance. My father had, unfortunately, never given a dime to Ananda. It seemed to me therefore that his soul would suffer if I gave my whole inheritance to Ananda. On the other hand, I would suffer if I didn't. In fact, I have never wanted to own anything. The inspiration came to me one day to use my inheritance to create a beautiful spiritual center for our community, which would also be my home.
As things turned out, I ran out of money before I could get around to building my own home. The community then announced to me, "You've spent all your inheritance creating a beautiful place for all of us. We'd like now to build a place where you can live." And so Crystal Hermitage was completed.
The Story of Crystal Hermitage is, I think, a fairly good book. Having little money for publication, however, the book was poorly typeset, and was illustrated only by line drawings. Years passed, in fact, before the garden was beautiful enough to be worthy of being photographed. A new edition of this book will be coming out soon, slightly revised and with beautiful color photographs. Visually, now, it will be a treasure.
Pause for Reflection:
Most of my serious writing began with the founding of Crystal Clarity Publishers. I'd been too busy until then with founding Ananda Village and Sangha, and hadn't had the freedom to devote the time necessary to writing books.
Now that I'd founded a new Publishing house, it became important for me to support it with new books. I didn't want to strip Ananda Publications of the books it already had, even though they were my own books. To write many new ones, therefore, was the only logical solution.
Publisher's note: This book was released in October 2005 with 70 color photographs showing the beauty of Crystal Hermitage. The new title is "Space, Light, and Harmony: The Story of Crystal Hermitage"