The Land of Golden Sunshine is a poetic treasure, cherished by thousands of readers over many years.
In this intensely affecting parable, Lisa, a young girl, is asked to choose between two eternally contrasting worlds: that of material pursuits, and that of endless happiness and love—a spiritual “land of golden sunshine.” Like Lisa, all those who sincerely seek truth will sooner or later hear in their soul the call to a higher life. How, if you hear the call, will you respond?
Swami Kriyananda was known throughout the world as a spiritual teacher, lecturer, and author. He was widely known also as a singer, composer, poet, and playwright.
He first wrote The Land of Golden Sunshine when he was eighteen years old, following an inner experience that he described at the time as revelation. Although the story has undergone extensive poetic revision, including many changes for this edition, in its essential details it remains unchanged.
Letter Enclosed at Christmas, 2002
This little story, more than anything else I’ve ever written in words—more deeply even than my autobiography, The Path—is
an expression of who I am, inside. My music does it also—much of it—but no other literary work.
I don’t know how many are interested in gaining this insight. I’ve never liked to intrude myself on others, for I realize that
I’m not of any real importance in this world. No one is! I do know, of course, that I’ve done a few things in my life. A few
people have kindly expressed appreciation for some of them. Inside me, however, I’ve never felt defined by any of them. One has
no choice but to be active in this life, and I’ve tried to be of some help to others. Inside myself, however, those activities
haven’t touched me. They’ve never expressed who I really am.
I’ve traveled far and wide in this world. When meeting strangers, my principal perception of us has been that we are fellow
seekers of truths for which we all hunger, behind all the "busyness" of our lives. My own self-definition has always been in
terms of this inner aspiration.
The "mood" of this book was mine at five and six years of age. It was mine at the age of eighteen, when I wrote it. Nearly
sixty years have passed since then; I’m what people call an "old man" now, though I don’t feel it. Nor did I ever feel young.
I’m like Lisa, the simple girl in this story. Her "mood" today is still mine.
We are all strangers in this world. We may try to make it our own, but it can never be ours. Alone we came into it. And alone
we must leave it. And all we can take with us when we leave is the longing in our hearts to embrace LIFE with deeper understanding.
In divine friendship,
Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
The November wind-hordes camped
Outside the tensely waiting city.
For a few days their scouts—
Dark, lowering giants from the north—
Roamed the skies restlessly overhead,
Searching out every weakness
In the city’s defenses.
Shrill-laughing eddies of wind
Reveled riotously through the forest,
Toasting their coming victory
With back-slapping gusts,
While drunken flurries of dust
Caroused through the coarse meadow grasses,
Chanting wildly of warfare
And of cruel conquest.
At last, worked up
Into a destructive fury,
The invaders swept,
Shouting, through the city,
Swinging sharp, icy blades that bit deep
Into the flesh of the inhabitants.
These helpless unfortunates
Huddles in little groups
On street corners.
Through chattering teeth
They passed comments fearfully
On the days ahead—
Words which the wind-hordes took up
And tossed mockingly from group to group.
Then, suddenly, the invaders were gone.
The city dwellers glanced up in relief
At a cloudless sky, and prayed
That they might enjoy yet a few more days
Of the fast-dwindling warmth.
A week passed.
Then a fresh host appeared from the north—
Wilder, more savage than the first.
Drunk with the lust for conquest
(Though the city cowered already
In abject submission)
The new wave of barbarians swept howling
Through the unresisting streets,
Then, quite as suddenly—
They, too, were gone.
And so the month of November passed.
And the city’s inhabitants knew
That every fresh wave from the north
Brought them closer and closer
To the triumphal entry of
And they were afraid.
After writing a succession of deeply serious books, I sought respite in something that, although serious also, appeals more directly to the heart. This book is a rewritten story that I first wrote when I was eighteen. It was my Christmas gift to Ananda members in a recent year. In a very real sense, it is the intimate story of my own life.
The girl in this story, Lisa, is myself. Her simple yearning for perfect love and happiness is my own true longing in life-not the many things I’ve done, but one thing only: to know my Infinite Beloved. I have worked so hard-harder, perhaps, than many-with only one motive: to help others also to know and to love our one Beloved. Nothing else in life has any meaning for me.