He Quietly Pulled Out His Personal Checkbook…
I have wanted to write about my experiences with Swami Kriyananda and the Ananda community for some time now, but so much of my 23year association has been on an interior, spiritual level that I have hesitated to attempt to put it into words: so much is lost in the translation!
Still, the falsehoods that have been perpetrated against Swami and Ananda have been so outrageous that I must at least lift my voice in their defense, and join the chorus of voices that speaks out against the injustice.
One small story may illustrate at least a little. I was working many years ago part time for a new business at Ananda that was being run by someone of, shall we say, questionable character. The people responsible for appointing him to that position were trying to help him to grow, but for those of us working for him, the situation was a real test. Once, I was asked to pick up a job at the printer’s with the understanding that I would pay for it and be reimbursed. When I asked to be paid back, he laughed at me, and said he wasn’t legally bound in any way to reimburse me, and he didn’t intend to pay me back at all!
I was also working for Swami Kriyananda at the time, and happened to mention to him sometime later that this fellow had not kept his word to me about the money. Swami’s response was to quietly ask me how much I was owed. When I replied that it was $400, he got his checkbook out without another word, and paid me the full amount.
It was a gallant and kindly gesture because, although somewhat involved in this new business, he was not in control of its finances, and by paying me back he was essentially making a $400 donation to the business. Or, rather, another in a long series of donations.
I have seen him again and again through the years feed a constant flow of monetary energy into projects and businesses dedicated to helping people spirituallyas this fledgling business was.
To finish that particular story, I can say that this “boss” who so gleefully swindled me did not last long at Ananda, despite much effort on the part of Swami and others to lift him up. In recent years he publicly turned against Ananda, and I have found it ironic that one who was treated with such forgiveness and kindness could have the nerve to speak so disparagingly, biting the hand that fed him.
Kindness has been a hallmark of how people are treated at Ananda, and despite those who have mocked our kindness, it will continue to be one of Ananda’s guiding lights.
In more recent years, I have worked closely with Swami Kriyananda on many artistic projects, among them singing and putting on musical productions, creating multimedia presentations, and designing books and music albums. Though clearly the most creative person I have ever met, he is a joy to work with. Never dictatorial or overbearing, he is masterful at bringing out the best in people, somehow inspiring them to bring out their hidden potentials.
While so many people are intimidated by the creative energy they see in others and think of it as a threat, Swami rejoices in it, encouraging it to grow towards the Divine and flower. It is truly a gift.
Words cannot express my appreciation for Swami and his selflessness in creating Anandaa monumental undertaking to which he has given so much of his energy and life blood. It stands, especially after all it has been through in recent years, as a tribute of love and selfsacrifice to his guru.
Nirmala lives at Ananda Village with her husband Peter. She works as a graphic designer and is also a singer and musician.