Letters from Ananda members, Part 41

I am the Fruit of the Fruit
Patty McCarley

When this opportunity arose to share personal stories of Swami, my first thought was that I don’t know Swami. I’ve greeted him and shaken his hand in a public setting, surrounded by many others anxious to do the same thing. That’s not knowing. Then I realized that, of course I know Swami. I know his writings and his music but far more than that, I know those who have been closest to him through the years. And since it says in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 7, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” I do genuinely know him.

I came to the Ananda Center in Sacramento in the early ’90s. It had been several years since the death of my son and my subsequent divorce. I had spent those years on a downward spiral, systemically closing myself off from friends and family. Even working at night so I wouldn’t have to interact with many people. A co-worker guided me to a class on yoga postures. It was the affirmations that Swami Kriyananda has written to accompany the classic yoga poses that truly changed my life. Those positive little phrases snuck into my brain when I wasn’t looking, under the screen of my intellectual defenses. Slowly, subtly, my self talk began to change. Those little messages infused my mind with positive, uplifting thoughts somehow pushing out all the dark negative ones that had previously occupied my mind. Soon I began to meditate and became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Swami’s words changed my life. But every step along the way I’ve been supported and nurtured and guided by those that he supported and nurtured and guided. I see myself as a product of the next generation, those whom Swami trained to keep spreading the teachings of Master. These wonderful guides and teachers are indeed the fruits of Swami’s actions. And by those fruits, I do indeed know him and am blessed by him.

Patty has lived in the Ananda Sacramento community for nine years. She is a nurse, and also teaches yoga and meditation classes at Ananda.