Chapter One: My Position in Yogananda’s Work and Legacy

This book will deal with facts. It will be important for the reader, however, to know my credentials for writing it. He can then decide for himself what right I’ve had to make the statements in these pages.

I came to Paramhansa Yogananda late in his life: on September 12, 1948, and was accepted by him as a disciple at that meeting. I was twenty-two at the time. I lived with him for the last three and a half years of his life, and spent many hours with him alone, most notably at his desert retreat in Twentynine Palms. In 1950, he placed me in charge of the other monks. Less than a year after accepting me as a disciple, he made me a minister. He appointed me to give Kriya Yoga initiation only eight months after accepting me as a disciple. He planned to take me with him to India (a plan that was canceled, finally, by his physical death in 1952). Perhaps most important, he spoke to me often, personally and at length, about his deeper teachings and his mission’s future.

He said to me many times, and not only in confidence when we were alone, “You have a great work to do.” That these words were directed to me personally, and were not meant as a general statement concerning the work as a whole, was very clear. Sometimes he would add statements like, “Therefore you must (or must not) do [such and such].” The first time he said those words to me—it was in the presence of certain long-term disciples including Daya Mata—I was standing outside his car with another monk, Herbert Freed. After saying, “You have a great work to do,” he added, significantly: “It’s you I’m talking to, Walter.”

One day Master and I were standing out of doors by the garage at his Twentynine Palms retreat. After a silence of several moments, he suddenly spoke with great earnestness: “Apart from St. Lynn, every man has disappointed me—and YOU MUSTN’T DISAPPOINT ME!!!” This was the only time he ever spoke to me personally with such intensity.

I knew his meaning could not be that all his other male disciples had disappointed him spiritually. Many of them, indeed, were deeply devoted to God. Obviously then, his disappointment had to be due to the fact that, if his world mission was to be spread far and wide, masculine energy was needed for the job. Yet most of the men who had come to him so far had shown themselves interested primarily in their own spiritual progress. Only one of them, St. Lynn (Rajarshi Janakananda), had understood and demonstrated deep and practical interest in the mission itself.

An interesting fact of human nature is that men’s energy is directed more naturally outward, even as the male organ is placed outward in body. Feminine nature, by contrast, is directed more naturally inward, even as the female sexual organ is placed inside. For the Master’s work to be launched with the necessary vigor, male energy was not only desirable, but essential.

In my own case, even as I was crossing the country to meet him in 1948, my constant thought was, “This message is so wonderful, I’d like to share it with everybody in the world!”

He once said to me, “Your duties in this life will be editing, lecturing, and writing.”

Is it not clear, from all of the above, that I have a right—indeed, a Guru-given duty—to present the facts contained in this book? The fact that I came to him late in life is irrelevant. I had to come late, to ensure that I’d live long enough to complete his commission to me. Saint Paul never even met Jesus Christ in the flesh, yet he played a vital role in the completion of that great master’s mission on earth.

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