13. A Personal Statement After the Trial, by Swami Kriyananda

February 25, 298 Dwapara [1998]

For some reason, I seem to be a person who awakens strong feelings in people: antipathy in some, friendship in others. I understand the friendship, because that is what I myself project from my heart toward everyone I meet. I don’t understand the antipathy, because hatred is something I’ve never felt.

Even after this lawsuit, which has been monstrously unfair to me and even more so to Ananda, I don’t hate my detractors. Nor am I angry with them. They have acted in keeping with their natures; I and Ananda have acted in keeping with ours. God has used both of us for the fulfillment of His will. If the jury has decided unjustly, as we believe, I cannot call God, therefore, unjust. His plans are long range. Sometimes a temporary setback is necessary for the achievement of some greater victory. This proved true after the forest fire that devastated Ananda in 1976. Perhaps it will prove true this time, too. Whatever happens, I accept it patiently as His will. That, perhaps, was why I seemed uninvolved emotionally during the trial. I wasn’t brainwashed! I simply don’t ask for or want anything but God’s will.

This doesn’t mean I am passive. Nor am I unconcerned. If any of my accusers was really hurt by me, that is a sin for which I myself will pay, and want to pay, that I may cleanse my soul of this stain. I know I have always tried sincerely never to hurt anyone. If, instead, I really did hurt anyone, then the greatest compensation I can offer them is not shame (which they demand of me), but my continued love and friendship, even despite their dedication to my destruction. If I can win them with that, I will be grateful to God, for no good is accomplished without His blessings, and no sin is ever cleansed without His love.

I cannot help feeling that there is a greater drama going on with this case than personal hurts and personal tragedy. It is tempting for me to think, “Lord, WHY?! I’ve dedicated my whole life to serving You and to helping others. Ananda is a wonderful place. Why this colossal humiliation and defeat?” But then I think, What does it matter what happens to this one individual, if through my suffering many can be helped?

Religion is under attack in America today. Countless little groups of sincere truth-seekers are being vilified as “cults.” This very lawsuit has been a “cult” issue more than anything else. When Ananda was first threatened with it, I prayed to God, “May this struggle we face be of help to all those little groups, and especially to the cause to which I’ve dedicated my own life, the yoga movement.”

I couldn’t even remotely imagine that we’d lose this case. I thought we’d have all the jurors on our side. Even now, after three months with them, I think of them as our friends. Anne Marie Bertolucci attacked me because I had held firm to my resolve that she move to another Ananda community rather than remain at Ananda Village and break up Danny and Karin’s marriage, as she had told me she was determined to do. My, and Ananda’s, cause was just. Hers was false. Theatrics, not reason, were what won this case. But I believe in a higher law. In countless episodes of my life I have found it unfailingly beneficent. If it seems to have failed me now, I know it can only be for some higher good.

Meanwhile, the pains and indignities of this life cannot last long, for life itself is short. I myself am an old man now. I confess I’d rather my life were shorter than longer, but that too is in God’s hands. We come into this life empty-handed, and we leave it empty-handed. Our only real treasure is our love for other people and above all for God. I feel joy in loving Him. I’d feel abandoned indeed if I hardened my heart toward Him. My very life may be demanded by Him as a sacrifice, but no one, anywhere, can rob me of my only real treasure: my love for Him.

Years ago, I wrote the words and music to an oratorio, “Christ Lives.” To express Jesus’ feelings on the Via Dolorosa, the following words were for him to sing. They were written not so much for him alone as for Jesus as an example to all of us. In writing them, I wanted to express my own resolution to live my life, as well as this frail human nature permitted, in imitation of his example of divine nobility:

“Thy will, Thy will, Thy will be done!
All that I am is Thine. All that I am!
Nothing of man endures: wonder, or scorn.
Birth, life, and death are one:
Veils of Thy love.
They will, Thy will, Thy will alone!
All that I’ve done is Thine. All that I’ve done!”

J. Donald Walters

Swami Kriyananda