Addendum: Letter From Swami Kriyananda to the President of Self-Realization Fellowship

A Recent Letter, Hand-Delivered, to the President of Self-Realization Fellowship

Dear Mrinalini Mata:

In a little over a week I will be turning 85. I really would like if possible – indeed, I plead with you to help me – to clear up a few things while I am still in this body. You yourself have just turned – is it 79? Life passes quickly. Soon, it will be gone. And if these things are not resolved a golden opportunity will have been missed – for me, certainly; perhaps also for you. If they must be missed, then I will accept that that is how things are, but my own intense wish is for certain things to be cleared between us before I “shuffle off this mortal coil.” I will try in these pages – which may be long; please forgive me – to be completely truthful and honest with you, and at the same time to express the deep respect I feel for you, at least as a fellow disciple of our great Guru.

I will tell you at the outset that I feel no resentment against you, nor against Daya Mata, nor against Tara Mata. It may have looked to you all as though my actions had been motivated by a spirit of rivalry with you. I can solemnly state before God and Master that such has never been the case.

That I have always been a good and loyal disciple of Master I will not claim, for it is up to him to make that assessment. This much I can claim, however, and I do so sincerely: I have done my humble best to serve him in this lifetime, and to the very best of my capacity. I do not consider that anything I have done is important, except as it has served to promote his message and his mission in the world. When I come before him, after this life passes, the only question I expect him to ask me is, “Have you loved me?” And I earnestly hope to be able to say to him with all my heart, “You are all I have ever loved.”

In New York at the Penta Hotel, when Tara and Daya called me in for their final confrontation with me, I knelt on the floor before them with my arms crossed over my chest, pleading with them from my heart not to reject me. Tara sternly refused. When I said to her, “But none of these things you’ve been saying against me are true!” she answered contemptuously, “I don’t want your opinions!” Will you answer me the same way? If that is what is in your heart, I invite you to do so. I am completely open to anything you say. I may not agree with you. But I want, if possible, to clear the air of any and every misunderstanding between us.

For I must tell you, my separation from SRF has been the one deep, ineradicable hurt in my life. It has never made me angry. It has never made me resentful. It has never awakened in me the thought, “Well, I’ll show you!” I deeply and sincerely loved Daya Mata, and also Tara Mata. I was hurt to my very core by their rejection of me. I wanted to understand whether there had been any truth in the accusations they hurled against me. For many years I suffered deeply on that account, and I suppose the pain will never completely leave me – though I am grateful to say that I also feel increasing bliss in myself. But that persecution – for that is what it has been – has been heartrending, considering that it came from the two people in this world whom I had long considered my best friends and advisors.

Daya seems to have felt almost a compulsion to destroy me. Why? What did I ever do to offend her? I estimate that she spent some fifty million dollars through those lawsuits, only to encompass my destruction – as if what they’d done to me in New York had not been enough to shatter me utterly. I am her brother. I’ve been her brother in other lives also. Why this need to bring about my utter ruin?

You yourself, Mrinalini, wrote in your letter about me to the Board in 1962, “Kriyananda has the greatest ego I’ve ever seen.” What a strange thing for me to hear! I had always thought so very highly of you. Have I such an ego? I myself am not aware of it. I don’t consider that I even matter. Sometimes I’m not so sure I’ve done anything meritorious at all. But I can say this: One time, when Master was speaking to us about the men teachers who had fallen due to ego, I said to him, “That’s why I don’t want to be a teacher, Sir.” He answered me calmly, slowly, and very firmly, “You will never fall due to ego!”

In other ways, too, you have not been square with me. I beg you to be so now. You have tried – I won’t mention the exact circumstances, though I could do so – to silence me by equivocation – you, who are an essentially truthful human being. Always, I have understood what you were doing. But I have remained silent. It just isn’t in my nature to argue; to do so is both foolish and undignified. But please be straight with me. If you are not, I shall understand. And if you try simply to silence me with a true but irrelevant sentence, I shall understand. And if you say nothing at all, I shall understand. I shall understand, yes. But I shall carry the pain to my grave.

The only thing I could not accept was Tara’s firm commandment to me in New York never to do anything again to serve Master. My life was committed wholeheartedly to his service. How could I serve him, then, by doing nothing? She said to me, “Just take any job that comes along.” I would have died rather than work only for my own support. In fact, for many months I prayed for exactly that: to be allowed to die.

You wrote me once, several years later, as if to hold up Binay Dubey as an example for me, telling me that he had served Master up to his dying breath. You’ve no idea how deeply that wounded me – when I myself had been debarred from serving him at all.

Tara’s statement to me in New York was, “From now on, we want to forget that you ever lived!” But I am your brother­ – the same to all of you! Ah! the pains I have gone through over this rejection by my own dearest ones on this earth!

No, I have never tried to rival you. But I have always been sitting as if on a volcano of creativity. I can’t help it. That’s how I am made. It would take much more effort to suppress this volcano than simply to let it erupt.

Brother Bhaktananda used to be a bit jealous of me (I think so, anyway) for my creativity, but I myself, though I loved him for his devotion and humility, was also a bit envious of him for what I perceived as his lack of creativity! I used to think, “Maybe, if I were more like him, I could devote myself to a more meditative life.”

But Master himself urged me in my own natural direction. He said to me, “Your life will be one of intense activity, and meditation.” But he put meditation second. You all used to wish I were different. I myself wished I were different! But I simply was who I was. I wasn’t trying to prove anything. Tara called me a megalomaniac. I’ve never considered myself at all important. But Master’s message has always been, for me, one of world-uplifting importance. I am completely dedicated to making the world know – not him; that would be ego on my part; but the truths and the enormously vital message he brought to mankind. I have tried humbly – yes, I feel I may claim that – and very sincerely to make that message known in the world. That I have succeeded to some extent in that effort, and – indeed – far more so than SRF has done, I don’t see as a matter for pride. I have simply thrown myself into my service to him. In many ways, I must admit, it has been a great help to be able to do these things on my own, without the need for committee approval.

Master was about to go out one day by car. Herbert Freed and I were standing nearby. Master was giving him some last-minute advice for his new appointment as minister of the Phoenix church. At a certain point, he paused a moment, then said, “You have a great work to do.” I naturally turned to Herbert with a gaze of felicitation. But Master corrected me. “It’s you I’m talking to, Walter,” he said. Weren’t you in the car then?

From then on he often said such things to me. “You have a great work to do, therefore . . .” Or, “Because you have a great work to do, you mustn’t . . .” Usually, when he said such things, we were alone together.

I once mentioned to Daya Mata that he had told me I had a great work to do. “Yes,” she replied, “we all have a great work to do.” But that wasn’t how he had spoken those words to me.

One time we were alone outdoors at his desert retreat. Suddenly, as if out of the blue, he said, “Apart from Saint Lynn, every man has disappointed me.” Then, with deep intensity, he said almost fiercely, “AND YOU MUSTN’T DISAPPOINT ME!”

I knew his meaning couldn’t have been that all the men had disappointed him spiritually, for some of them were deeply devout. What he had meant was that he saw in me a deep zeal to make his message known to the world. Masculine energy is more outward; feminine, more inward. Masculine energy was what his work needed, to become widely known.

Mrinalini, I don’t know whether any point can be served by my saying more. There is infinitely more I could write, and I would love to do so. But I do want, from my deepest heart, to resolve any misunderstanding that exists between me and you. I love all of you deeply, and consider you my own. I am not interested in any organizational reconciliation or justification. I know what I have done for Master. I feel his satisfaction with me in my heart. I am willing to be scolded by him for anything I’ve done wrong. I’m willing to accept his judgment, should he care to deliver it, that my whole life has been wasted. I hope it has not, but the judgment is his to make. I would just like to feel that these deep hurts I hold in my heart can be resolved. I have nothing to defend. All I feel is the desire to be open to you – and, yes, to let you stab it again and again, if that be your desire, even as Tara and Daya did. Cut me to ribbons, if you like. I am willing, in other words, to sustain any hurt, if necessary, in my effort to bring about some reconciliation between us – even a slight reconciliation, but on a heart-to-heart level. I have not written this letter in a spirit of repentance, for I feel I have lived my life honorably as Master’s disciple. I have done my very best always, through all tempests and storms, to please him.

You have never answered any of my letters in the past. I hope you will answer this one.

With deep, humble, and self-effacing love for Master,

swami kriyananda

May 10, 2011

(Author’s note: This letter has never been either answered or acknowledged.)


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