Terry McGilloway to Brahmananda
Swami Kriyananda recently received a letter from you in response to his own letter to Sister Mrinalini. Your personal endorsement and praise of Mr. Flynn is shocking to me and was added incentive to write this letter, for I, too, know something of Mr. Flynn. Your comments are yet another demonstration to me that SRF has lost its way. The soul, Master taught, is never safe from delusion until nirbikalpa samadhi. One of your members wrote recently premising the correctness of the SRF attitude and actions against Ananda on the basis of Daya Mata’s “samadhi.” Presumably this man believes it is so because SRF tells him it is so! Having accepted it, belief in everything else follows easily! Ah, yes, blind belief, followed by blind obedience: the eternal bane of religion.
As to the evil that you suspect in Swami, let me paraphrase the character Forest Gump in the movie of the same name: “Evil is as evil does.” Or, to quote a higher authority: “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”
The real spiritual fruit of Swami Kriyananda’s life of discipleship is, in truth, between him and God. But its effects are easy to see. As far as I am concerned, and I am concerned, if I were the only person on the planet who had left an ordinary, worldly life to follow, and to try to share, the teachings of our guru, it would be enough. Yet there are thousands of people around the world who have received inspiration and practical spiritual guidance from Swami’s life and ministry. Listen, merely, to selections from the oratorio he wrote: Christ Lives in the Holy Land & in You. A lover of God will feel that love present.
I cannot imagine Master treating Swami, or Ananda, the way Daya Mata, the Board, you, and others following their direction and example, have for decades. I won’t bother to give examples because your letter itself reveals the attitudes which would naturally encourage such treatment. Nor will I dwell on the details of the lawsuit you have instigated against Ananda and continued for twelve years. Nor will I do more than mention in passing that some of your members and your esteemed friend Mr. Flynn initiated a second lawsuit against Swami and Ananda, the deceit and viciousness of which could only have been seen to have been believed. Again, I won’t bother to describe it, for you no doubt already know all about it.
Nor would I be so foolish as to imagine I could sway your opinion of us. Only grace can transform the meannesses of the heart, and then only if the soul seeks it “in spirit and in truth.”
Swamiji has taught us when making important decisions to ask ourselves, “What would Master do?” “What did Master do under similar circumstances?” “Is this supported by his teachings? “Is there anything he taught that contradicts this?” This, then, is the question: would Master have attacked Swami? Would he have conducted a ruthless campaign to destroy another person—what to mention a disciple, his very own? Even Judge Garcia noted from the bench that it was obvious SRF was out to destroy Ananda.
We are Master’s disciples who, through the inspiration and guidance of a direct disciple, are trying to serve the guru’s work. This is the pattern of disciples everywhere, East to West. Accepting it would be common sense. Embracing it would be wisdom. No part of Ananda’s ministry, even publishing public domain writings of our guru, in any way diminishes or controls the work of SRF. Eventually, it will ALL be in the public domain anyway.
Swami tried to lie low in the beginning of Ananda’s work: focusing on hatha yoga and communities. But that was already too great a threat. My wife, Padma, was present at the SRF Convocation in 1975 when Ramananda, under the pretense of inviting the Ananda contingent to a “centers meeting,” ranted and raved on the subject of “loyalty.” He launched a diatribe against Swami in an effort to shake the loyalty of the unsuspecting Ananda members towards Swami Kriyananda. What a performance (and revelation) that was! Can you imagine Master speaking like this? Swami used to encourage Ananda members to take the (SRF) lessons. I have heard that, too, was interpreted in the worst possible light. I have never seen Swami Kriyananda behave like Ramananda or others at SRF. Even when he has spoken of your (SRF’s) many unkindnesses (putting it graciously, as he does), there was never a tone of anger; sadness, yes; hurt, sometimes; disappointment, frustration, certainly. You will find an excellent example of his attitude toward you in his book, A Place Called Ananda. You can read it, perhaps secretly if you need to, on the web at www.Ananda.org. It makes great reading, too, and not for the reason you may be imagining (assuming it is merely a critique of SRF). It illustrates right attitude and right action in the face of denunciation and misunderstanding. Certainly persecution is something Jesus, and Master, promise to every true disciple in his service to God and guru. In this case, it is not merely a matter of accepting denunciation without protest. For much more is at stake: Master’s work, the attitudes of some of his erring disciples, and doing the guru’s will regardless of the cost to oneself. Oddly, but in fact, SRF’s attack of Swami and Ananda has been a great spiritual boon to us. Our discipleship and loyalty have been immensely strengthened. I would thank you, but what has it done for you? For SRF?
I came to Ananda in 1977. I’ve been involved in various aspects of Ananda ever since. I’ve seen Swami under many different conditions, not just public settings where he would be expected to “put on a good show,” but as a friend: in my home, as his guest, on vacation, and so on. My love and respect for him have only grown over the years, no less in recent years when, from the outside looking in, one might have thought that his life’s work and his reputation were being destroyed in the harsh glare of public humiliation. Far from it! Like the orange tree that Master speaks of that, when struck with the axe blows of diversity, sheds only sweet, fragrant blossoms upon its attacker, Swamiji’s poise, kindness, love and concern for other people, and indeed even creativity in his work, only grew.
Even if we at Ananda were spiritually incorrect in our legal defense, which we don’t for a moment believe, we are not vicious. We have been forced, reluctantly, to speak in our defense and even to speak out against the wrongs SRF has done. A friend sometimes has to, risking misunderstanding and rejection. But we do not seek power, control, or revenge. Even now, were an opportunity for genuine and mutual harmony and respect to exist between SRF and Ananda, we would pursue it, for certainly our guru would want that. Let me remind you, however, that reconciliation requires admission of error, and correction of wrongs inflicted. I find it difficult to imagine such a change of heart from SRF. Moreover, every past effort at harmony that I have ever known Ananda to seek with SRF has been scorned. Of all the direct disciples of our great guru, I know of only one—Swami Kriyananda—who has served him with the expansiveness of spirit, the depth and breadth of understanding, the intelligence and creativity, and the unceasing public service that our guru’s teachings and work deserve. Master must have realized that it was necessary to get him out of SRF or he, too, like Master’s great writings on the Gita, would have lain buried for fifty years, emerging at last, like your version of the Gita, pale and spent. I must say your endorsement of Mr. Flynn proves, if yet more proof were needed, how far, spiritually, the SRF leadership has fallen. I am saddened. The conviction therefore only grows in me that the mantle of representing Master’s work has already passed to Swami, and to Ananda, for it is only Master’s spirit, not his earthly remains, possessions, or buildings, that can take his place.
In service to Master and in loyalty to a true friend,
Terry McGilloway, Minister