Yogananda to Kriyananda: “Much More Remains to Be Written.”
In his book Cities of Light Swami Kriyananda writes about Paramhansa Yogananda:
“Yogananda’s mission originated in India. What he taught, however, was not sectarian religion, but the Crystal Clarity of divine insight, which he radiated downward into the needs of modern man on every level.
“He didn’t separate spiritual realities from social or material or scientific realities. The high dedication to which he called people did not call for withdrawal into a cave or to a remote monastery. Rather, he sought to demonstrate divine solutions to the normal, human problems of everyday life.
“In India, he founded a highly successful school. In this country, he created several successful businesses. He composed music, wrote poetry, was a keen sponsor of the arts.
“He developed an organic farm, and taught the principles of right diet (which he called “Proper-eatarianism,” to remove from it any implication of faddishness).”
“A few of his friends were prominent scientists. He even demonstrated his interest in a spiritual approach to the sciences by dedicating his magnum opus, the well-known spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, to Luther Burbank, the famous botanist, whom he termed “an American saint.”
“He was greatly interested in the advancement of human welfare through practical inventions (even suggesting a few of his own) and through social development of all kinds.
“He was deeply interested in politics as they affected the well-being of society. Unlike those mystics who remove themselves from worldly realities, he was deeply concerned over certain of the directions that have been taken by modern society—for example, toward excessive centralization of government; toward inflation, which, speaking in the 1940s, he said would eventually destroy our economy; and toward social welfare programs, which he said enslaved the wills of the recipients.
“Onto each of these mundane-seeming issues he brought to bear the Crystal Clarity of higher, spiritual vision, in order to show people that the time has come for mankind to integrate spirituality into the heart of its life, and not relegate it to an hour in church on Sundays, and to occasional readings from the Bible.”
Through his disciples
Yogananda gave lessons on how to be a successful marriage partner, how to be a good employee, how to be a good employer, how to get along with other people. He addressed such down-to-earth subjects in his writings such as The Law of Success and Scientific Healing Affirmations. But he needed to focus on more central works such as his Bhagavad Gita and Bible commentaries. And so, like Lahiri Mahasaya before him, Yogananda was to do much of his writing through his disciples. When he told Kriyananda that his work would be “lecturing and writing,” Kriyananda responded with surprise that any books in addition to Yogananda’s could be needed. Yogananda, however, appeared shocked. “Much yet remains to be written,” he said.
It has fallen primarily to Kriyananda, among Yogananda’s direct disciples, to carry out this aspect of the Master’s work. Not long after his ouster from SRF, Kriyananda writes:
Many rays, one center
“It occurred to me that I might be able to reach out, through writing, in the same way that I had been reaching out to people in my lectures, by listening psychically, as it were, to their needs. I could show them how even the worldly fulfillments they were seeking could be achieved, in the fullest sense, only by including spiritual values in their lives. Master himself, I reflected, had touched on numerous fields of human interest. Perhaps I could expand on what, from him, had often amounted to no more than a hint. Taking his teachings, metaphorically, as the hub of a wheel, I would try to show that many spokes led inward to that same hub.”
Kriyananda’s writings reach out from that hub of central awareness to offer original insights in numerous fields: from psychology, scriptural commentary, philosophy, meditation, and practical mysticism, to leadership, education, the arts, architecture, a new look at history, marriage, friendship, self-development, intentional communities, emotional well-being, yoga postures, radiant physical health, business, money, salesmanship, success—even astrology. To date, Kriyananda has written some 73 books (with a 74th, naturally, in progress: Communities and The Hope For Utopia). His books have been widely published internationally, in some 182 editions in 23 languages.
By or about Yogananda
In 1950 Yogananda asked Kriyananda to work on editing his writings, beginning with Yogananda’s commentaries on the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. In the book’s preface he wrote, “This work is, I believe, one of the greatest spiritual books ever written. And my humble efforts, as its editor, comprise, for me thus far, the single most important labor of my life.” (For those, incidentally, who wonder why a Master’s words could ever require editing, this preface makes interesting reading.)
Sayings of Yogananda
Shortly after Kriyananda came to Mt. Washington, Yogananda asked him to start writing down the things he said. If Kriyananda fell behind, Yogananda would speak more slowly to allow him to catch up. In 1990, Kriyananda made good on Yogananda’s implied charge to him: He published many of those sayings, organized as a guide to the spiritual life, in The Essence of Self-Realization: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Of special interest to students of Yogananda may be another book that he indicated he wished Kriyananda to write. In Kriyananda’s autobiography, The Path, he tells hundreds of previously unpublished stories of time spent and lessons learned at the feet of the Master.
Kriyananda’s writing has several hallmarks. The first is its crystal clarity of thought and expression. Kriyananda is of the school which holds that you haven’t truly understood a thing until you can express it simply. He edits his own work; and he has gone back over the same chapter as many as fifty times, ‘till it gets to the point where readers comment, “How easily writing comes to you!” (Kriyananda just smiles.) One reader of Kriyananda’s autobiography, The Path, said, “Reading this book is like skipping along the mountain peaks, drinking in the vast panorama, without any appreciation for all the hard work it took the author to get both of us to the top.”
Another feature of Kriyananda’s books is particularly noteworthy: He writes seminally. Rather than trying—in the style of the nineteenth-century German philosophers—to lay to rest once and for all the matters under discussion, Kriyananda is ever opening up new areas for consideration. His books are an invitation to others—and to Yogananda’s devotees in particular—to draw on Yogananda’s grace and continue the work that he began. For Yogananda’s instructions to Kriyananda were not personal only. Yogananda’s teaching is one of infinite expansion: inwardly, into the realms of superconscious awareness, and outwardly into every aspect of our daily lives. How could any one person—or any one organization—ever begin to exhaust the possibilities? It is the devotee’s duty and great blessing to serve the Guru’s work on both these levels. Thus is the Master’s living vibration passed down from one generation to the next. And thus is each disciple blessed, as Yogananda put it, “by what flows through him.”
Most of Kriyananda’s books are published by Crystal Clarity Publishers.