Sadhana Devi Helin
There have been several times that I’ve found myself in disagreement with Kriyananda. He holds strong views on many subjects, and I’ve sometimes held equally strong but opposing views. In each case when I have discussed it with him, he has treated my views with respect and reflection, and on several occasions has changed his view as a result. Since he is so strong in his opinions it’s easy to think that he can’t be swayed, but I have found that he responds, as most people do, to a well-thought-out argument, presented reasonably and unemotionally. On several occasions he has also asked my opinion before making a decision.
Since Ananda’s inception, there have been women in roles of responsibility. Our first community manager was a woman, as were the owners or managers of some of the first businesses. Kriyananda once said “I would like to see more women’s energy here.” He felt that, while we needed a lot of masculine energy to build buildings and plow fields at the beginning, feminine energy had not been emphasized enough.
He gave us the example of a monastery he had visited as a young man. He noticed that the altar cloth was upside down, and thought to himself “That would never happen in a convent!” He has often said that women are the inspirers, perhaps a variation on the adage “Behind every successful man there’s a woman.” He felt that women’s energy and perspective needed to be recognized and promoted. Masculine energy drives a project, but feminine energy inspires it. To that end, perhaps, he has made many women ministers and has put them in roles of responsibility. Perhaps half of our ministers are women. In fact, a few women are ministers although their husbands are not.
Sadhana Devi is a founding member of Ananda Village where she lives still with her husband Jaya. Over the years she has worked in many different areas area of the community, while also raising a daughter.