April 21, 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of Swami Kriyananda leaving his body. Someone asked us recently what this period has been like, both for Ananda and for us personally. The question gave me pause to reflect on what we’ve experienced in these twelve months since his passing.
The legacy Swamiji left behind has both outer and inner aspects. The outer one was expressed in his spiritual leadership, now reflected in the vibrant, expansive growth of Ananda. In the past year, Jyotish and I have had the opportunity to visit virtually all of our communities—in Assisi, India, Mexico, and throughout the United States. Everywhere we’ve seen a growing spirit of dedication to our Guru and commitment to serving others as reflected in many new creative projects.
But there is also an inner aspect of Swamiji’s legacy: his spiritual magnetism. We’ve spoken with many people over the past year, some of whom never met Swamiji, who’ve had dreams of him filled with blessings. Others have told us they’ve felt his loving presence more strongly in their lives now than when he was still in the body.
We recently heard the story of a woman who had met Swamiji only a few times, but had a very strong premonition that he would pass on April 21. A few days after his passing, she had a medical crisis due to an earlier surgery and was in extreme pain for many hours. At one point as she sat in the emergency room in intense suffering, she thought to try to meditate. As soon as she did, Swamiji’s face appeared to her smiling, and the pain immediately went away. There are many such stories to be told.
For us personally, this year has been like the ripening of divine friendship, a deepening appreciation for his constant concern for our spiritual welfare. Our relationship with him has become paradoxically both more impersonal and personal: more impersonal in that I can feel his love for all of us was never on a human level, and more personal for his continuing effort to help each of us through the tangle of our individual karma to find our freedom in God.
A few weeks ago we were giving Sunday Service at our community in Sacramento. On the wall at the back of the church were two large photos—one of Master and one of Swamiji. As I looked at Swamiji’s photo, a beam of light from a window fell on his face, illuminating it. Then the beam moved on and shone brilliantly on the white wall next to his photo. The thought came to me, ”That’s what you’ve become now, Swamiji—pure light.”
It also seemed that Master was voicing the words of one of Swamiji’s songs: “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased. Naught of himself remains, naught but the true light.” That light is with us now and always, and especially when we reach out for it.
May we all be one in that light someday,