Letters from Ananda members, Part 15

Judge the Tree by the Fruit
Jayadev Jaerschky

Some people have made it a point to publicly write quite nasty things about Swami Kriyananda. As one who knows him, it not only offends all sentiments of justice and fairness, it completely puzzles me. Something must be really wrong, because their descriptions are so far off the person I know. All I can do is shake my head in wonderment.

Not only do they insult Swami Kriyananda, but they hurt all those who love, respect and care for him, and are grateful for what he is and what he has done. His life has been one of selfless caring and untiring service to others. If something like the “Golden Book of Life” existed, his life would be a glowing page, written in big, beautiful, shining letters.

By the fruit, Jesus said, the tree is known. Well, the fruit can be experienced easily by anyone who sincerely wants to find out.

I have personally known Swami Kriyananda for many years. Nobody has inspired me as he has. Nobody has brought my Master, Paramhansa Yogananda, closer to me than he has. Nobody has, through his life work, Ananda, blessed me more than he has. For none have I more respect than I have for him. No books, apart from Yogananda’s, have inspired me as his have. From none have I learned as much as from him. None has taught me universal love as he has. He is great — as a man, as a disciple and as a soul.

Swami Kriyananda is extremely respectful and kind. No, he is not a dictator. He told me he doesn’t want us to be “yes-men”. What is so beautiful is that he always holds up to us the beauty of our inner being. He trusts in us. One never feels judged by him. And no, he has never told us that he is the guru. He always directs us to his Master, Yogananda. He is the greatest friend and father.

And he is inspiring, too. Being in his presence I have often felt my upper chakras blooming. Being in his house for some time, for a seclusion, was heavenly bliss. Am I just blinded? Maybe. But what about all the others? Meeting him, everyone feels that they are meeting a noble and beautiful person. All people, worldly or spiritual, who meet him without prejudice, spontaneously like him. Why? He is a lovable man, simply. Seeing his eyes, listening to his voice, listening to his music is statement enough.

He has even defended his enemies. Even now he still expresses his love for those who try to destroy him. He is full of love. And all who know him know that.

And it is not only normal people who have come to Kriyananda’s defense. Various great saints have supported him: Satya Sai Baba said their (the offender’s) actions are “very, very bad… selfishness and jealousy…but your Guru is pleased”. Anandamoyee Ma praised him, loved him, and talked highly about his attitude and blessed his work. Chidananda (main disciple of Swami Shivananda and head of the Divine Life Society) is his friend. Muktananda said Ananda is the best Ashram in the West. Their words must surely mean something.

And what did his guru, Yogananda, say? Yogananda gave him his unconditional love. He accepted him immediately as a disciple and told him he has good karma. He soon made him head of the monks. Already after only 8 months Yogananda had Kriyananda give Kriya initiation in his place. This all is extraordinary. Yogananda made him a minister, told him to write and teach and that he would never fall due to ego. He said, before his passing: “You have pleased me very much.” And when Dr. Lewis died, Swami Kriyananda was put on the board of directors and became the vice-president of his guru’s organization.

These facts can’t just be brushed aside.

I wish people would find out for themselves. Especially those who have never seen or heard him. Please do, especially if you are tempted to believe negative things someone else says. “He even lost a lawsuit and it was proven, etc., etc.,” some might argue heatedly. Swami Kriyananda, in that lawsuit, was not even allowed to defend himself properly. It was not truth and justice that won. It was prejudice and lawyerly cleverness that worked against Ananda’s naiveness. Or was it a simple matter of money? If you think about it, you have to wonder.

Somehow, Yogananda seems very distant from all this. The way SRF has treated Ananda and accuses Swami Kriyananda makes so many devotees sad and bewildered. There are good people in SRF, good devotees, with good intentions. “Why are they doing this?” so many have asked. I, too, ask: “Why?” I know Ananda also is good. I say again, “Why, Lord?” Even if they should succeed in their terrible intention and somehow manage to destroy Ananda, it wouldn’t change what a beautiful, lovable and shining soul Swami Kriyananda is. God, his guru Yogananda and his many friends will always love him deeply.

Yato dharma, tato jaya. “Where there is righteousness, there is victory”. Truth must win in the end.

God bless you.

Jayadev was born and raised near Munich, Germany. He now resides at the Ananda Assisi center in Italy where he serves as a translator for German and English guests, teaches classes, plays music, and cleans and cooks in the Retreat kitchen.