This Friday, April 21st, marks the 10-year anniversary of when Swami Kriyananda left the body – his moksha, or freedom in God’s joy.
Although he was in the public eye and achieved outer acclaim for his works, Swamiji truly enjoyed being unimportant. He never claimed credit for any of his accomplishments. In Swamiji we caught a glimpse of what “God is the doer” really means. His attunement to his guru was so perfected that it was hard to tell where, as he said, “Kriyananda ends and Yogananda begins.”
Similarly, Swamiji said Yogananda tried to remind people not of him as an individual but of God’s grace and eternal love that flowed through him. Here is a brief story that Swamiji shared at an informal gathering about an experience with his guru:
“I remember I was sitting at his feet one time. And he was busy working on writing. And I was just thinking how grateful I was to be his disciple. He paid no attention to me; he just kept writing. But he knew what was in my mind. Then, when he finished it, he asked me to help him stand up. He looked at me for just a moment with this deep joy and deep love. And looking into my eyes, he said, ‘Just a bulge of the ocean.’ That’s what he wanted me to see. Not him, Yogananda, but the great ocean of which he was just a part. And this is the example that he set. This is the example I hope to try to set. Never, in any of my writings do I say, oh this is what Kriyananda thinks. I ask myself always, ‘Is this what you want me to say?’ It’s a state of prayer while I write. And it just is amazing to me to see how the thoughts that come to me as I write are thoughts I’ve never had before. But I’m asking him, and there it is! And it’s a wonderful experience of an adventure. I can’t claim credit for anything.”
Perhaps one of Swamiji’s greatest offerings to his guru was when he wrote The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. The “Song of Spirit” and love for God and Guru poured through Swamiji. In truth, his guru wrote it through him. He wrote the 600-page commentary in six weeks! And keep in mind, it was a completely edited and finished manuscript.
I remember one touching “Song of Spirit” moment. After he had written The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, he was signing a special hardcover edition of the book. I had the privilege of bringing books to his office at the Crystal Hermitage for him to sign.
One person gave Swamiji a book, then he signed, and I slid the book away from him so he could move to the next one. He would sign up to a hundred copies at one sitting in between other projects. I knelt at his feet and held silence throughout, trying to do my job but be as invisible as possible so he could focus. There were just two of us with Swamiji in his office.
At one point between signing books, Swamiji turned, looked down at me, and smiled. So much love, wisdom, and bliss flowed through his eyes in that single moment! From that one moment, I know why they say, “One moment in the presence of a saint can be your raft over the ocean of delusion.”
There were no words between us, and yet somehow so much was communicated! I hold onto this as one of the golden memories of my life. In a way, I feel I learned more from Swamiji in that moment than I did in reading all of his books.
He shared the silent song of his soul (another “Essence of the Gita!”) and signed it with letters of perennial joy upon my heart.
May we all be free in God’s joy by following the example of Yogananda and Kriyananda who always point us toward God, saying, “Just a bulge of the ocean.”