1991: The SRF Lawsuit: Ananda Fights Not Against Anyone, But FOR the Truth

The Expanding Light guest retreat at Ananda Village (www.expandinglight.org). Click to enlarge.

In January, we officially launched the Ananda Church of God-Realization—church, not as a place of worship, but as a group of people who embrace the same spiritual path. No mention was made of the lawsuit, but launching the church was closely related to the battle we were fighting in court. Master’s path is not an institution ruled by a single authority; it is a movement that belongs equally to all who follow it.

The invitation to join the church said, “All mankind longs for peace, inwardly as well as outwardly. The time has come to take practical steps toward finding it. The spiritual life outlined by Paramhansa Yogananda embraces a balance of outward and inward activity. ‘One must be actively calm,’ he said, ‘and calmly active. When, along with meditation you offer your work to God, then meditation helps your work, and work helps your meditation.’

“Meditation is the missing ingredient in most religious practices. Indeed, only when there is inner peace is it possible for peace to be manifested outwardly; only when there is harmony within is it possible for us to have it outwardly, with others.

“Increasing numbers of thoughtful people are coming to realize that the solution to all human problems must be sought, not in the tawdry arena of politics, but on a spiritual level. Unfortunately, those who seek spiritual solutions too often find themselves alone in their search, or else urged to channel their seeking through dogmatism and bigotry.

“It is time to draw together in fellowship and strength those who equate spirituality with inner freedom and true, soul joy.

“Membership in Ananda Church of God-Realization is open to everyone who sincerely wants to find God. By making a commitment to God, you open yourself to His commitment to you. His flow of grace, drawn by your daily practice, has the power to transform and uplift every aspect of your life.

“If you feel called to this path of the masters, know that you share that calling with many thousands. In divine friendship, we welcome you.”


Also in January, the United States went to war with Iraq. The country was divided; many did not agree with our President’s decision. The very idea that we were now at war was disturbing to the community. Swamiji called a meeting to address it. “At this time in history, there is much emotional opposition to war. At the same time, the consciousness of mankind as a whole is not moving toward peace, but toward greater violence. You see it in the movies, you hear it in popular music. Worldwide, there is rioting and unrest. On some deep level it seems to me the human race wants a war, or an explosion of some kind. When such waves of emotion move through the mass consciousness, people eventually get what they want.

“We think of ourselves as free, but we are part of a larger destiny. Our freedom as human beings is only the ability to ride in the front or the back of a moving train. The world is coming into a new age. People must come to grips with it, or find themselves and their habitual ways of thinking plowed under for a new planting. Such changes have occurred before, causing intense conflict for a time, until people adjust to new and broader realities.

“Is love a sufficient power in itself to bring about the needed changes? Yes, if enough people open themselves fully to that power. In the Indian scriptures it says, ‘One moon gives more light than all the stars.’ Even a few saintly men and women balance out the violent tendencies of many thousands, even of millions. In places where people meditate deeply, even worldly people feel a tangible peace. Thus, the importance of personal transformation, as opposed to seeking only political solutions.

“At the same time, as Master once scolded me with wry humor, ‘You must be practical in your idealism.’ Love has the power to conquer all, but few people have developed in themselves the power to love so greatly.

“Naturally we’d like to come to a new plateau of civilization without war. But peace must sometimes be won by hard struggle. Even the scriptures say there is a need at times for righteous war. An example would be our own War of Independence. Out of that sacrifice, look at the great good that has come. Could our freedom have been won by peaceful means? Not likely. People weren’t ready for such a step. Freedom, however, was too vital an issue to be set aside with the excuse that no one wanted to fight.

“We must stand up in practical ways for high principles. To do so, we must use the means available. I haven’t much respect for those who hold peace as a higher value than truth or freedom. Those who have tried to live by that belief lost not only truth and freedom, but peace itself.

Is the present war in Iraq a righteous war? Honestly, I’m not in a position to say. I can see some reasons for it, including our commitment to defend that region. Certainly, governments make mistakes, just as individuals do. There are good and bad people in all countries. No government, moreover, is all good or all bad.

“In a relative world, however, it is ridiculous to say that the mere fact that evil exists everywhere means that its magnitude is the same everywhere. Under communism since 1917, an estimated one hundred and thirty million people have been murdered, as the official policy of the government. To say, ‘We are just as bad,’ is either incredibly naive or willfully disloyal.

“America, for all her faults, is the spearhead for the Light struggling gamely to come into the world. It may well be that this war is part of the divine plan to destroy fanaticism and other old ways of behavior. That is not a judgment I am in a position to make.

“The struggle today is between overarching concepts such as love, universal tolerance, and understanding on the one hand, and self-limiting attitudes on the other, such as selfish pride, intolerance, and bigotry. The real war is between the forces of light and darkness. War in the Middle East is only symptomatic of this broader struggle. I think we are in the hands of a larger destiny than our little minds can comprehend.”

Much of what Swamiji said about the war in Iraq also applied to our battle with SRF. Devotees are peace-loving by nature; the very idea of a lawsuit was repugnant to many. Even to defend ourselves when attacked was a hard pill for some to swallow. They blamed Swamiji: “Why did he have to change our name?” Or claimed the high moral ground: “Master said, ‘Only love can take my place.’” Or just put their heads in the sand and hoped it would soon blow over.

“Peace comes with overcoming,” Swamiji said, “not with wishful thinking or passivity. To overcome requires an output of energy stronger than the obstacle you are facing. The saint who converts evil-doers with love puts that love out as a powerful, tangible force. He doesn’t win them with friendly smiles. Any motion, once started, continues until it is stopped or deflected by some opposite force. For a powerful force, an equally powerful, opposing force is required to redirect it.”

Almost no one at Ananda had personal experience of Daya Mata; most had never even seen her. We knew her only through Swamiji; in The Path he describes Daya as an ideal disciple, deeply devoted to Master. Some people, unable to reconcile this saintly image with the fierce attack being launched against us, under her leadership, insisted, “Daya Mata doesn’t know what is going on! It is all being done by underlings!”

“When you wrote The Path, you knew Daya Mata had a less admirable side,” I said to Swamiji. “You must have known your words would come back to haunt you.”

“What I wrote about her is also true,” was his simple reply.

At the ministers’ meeting in February, Swamiji said, “It is naive to expect friendship from SRF. The only way to win them is to be strong in who we are without being negative toward them. Any inclination toward anger should be repudiated as a temptation. History shows that sooner or later everyone has to accept reality. Maybe SRF will see who we are in my lifetime, maybe in yours, maybe it will take even longer than that.

“SRF has always imagined that my restraint through these years is because I have been afraid of them. In this they are mistaken. Mine has been the restraint that comes from strength, from one who has the power, but chooses not to use it. Right after the lawsuit was filed, in meditation I felt Master telling me that I had every right to smash SRF if I chose to, and he would give me the power to do it. But he would be more pleased if I didn’t fight against them, but only for the truths I know to be at stake.”


SRF had been able to register a trademark for Self-Realization by claiming it was an original term, coined by Master as the name of his organization. No one at the trademark office had ever heard the term before, so without further research, they accepted SRF’s claim as true.

The fact that the judge granted the preliminary injunction showed that he, too, didn’t understand. To get the injunction lifted, and to prevail in the case as a whole, he needed to know what was really going on. Communication in a lawsuit is hemmed in by countless rules and restrictions. You can’t just sit down with the judge and tell him your side of the story. Filing a counter-claim for defamation would be one way to get the whole history in front of him. We might also win since we had a good case, but the bigger strategy was to help the judge make informed decisions.

In the case itself, we decided to go right to the central issue: the generic nature of the term Self-realization. Having no idea how much evidence would be enough, we launched a massive research project. Volunteers gathered examples of generic use in ten different categories: Paramhansa Yogananda; SRF, including Daya Mata; disciples of Yogananda outside of SRF; other teachers in the United States, whether Indian or American, prior to Yogananda’s arrival in 1920; past and present individuals and organizations in the West; dictionaries and bibliographies, including non-English dictionaries to show international usage; contemporary Indian yogis unrelated to SRF; contemporary American yogis; ancient sources; use and misuse in psychology.

About the charge of Ananda violating SRF’s copyrights, Jon received an inspiration he felt came directly from Master himself. “The idea just appeared in my mind,” Jon said, “to defend Ananda by challenging the validity of SRF’s copyrights.” Research at the copyright office showed that Master had registered almost all his writings in his own name. After he died, SRF simply took over his copyrights, but they had no legal right to do that: Master never transferred them to SRF. In fact, many of the original copyrights lapsed before SRF could assume them. A great deal of Master’s writing had already passed into the public domain.

This explained an anomaly in SRF’s case. There was no apparent logic to the copyright violations they chose to pursue. In some of our publications, for example, they cited a few paragraphs but ignored long articles. Comparing their choices to the facts we uncovered, it was clear SRF knew before they filed that they had already lost many of their exclusive rights to Master’s writing. If they hadn’t sued us, we might never have found out.


By March, Swamiji felt the need for a complete break. Rosanna was in Italy; he decided to spend time in the desert, and went to Sedona, Arizona. He accepted no mail and for the first week didn’t even turn on his computer. Then he took up a project he had started in 1986, a three-act play called The Peace Treaty. At that time, he had completed only the first act before other work took precedence.

Going back to The Peace Treaty while the war was going on in Iraq, was Swamiji’s way of using “the means available to stand up for high principles,” fulfilling the duty he had urged upon us, “To serve as instruments of the light, to bring faith and hope to others, and a message of God’s abiding love for mankind.” Swamiji had first conceived of the play when he was fifteen years old, and war was raging in Europe, “But the version I wrote then bore little resemblance to what I wrote now.”

The play begins with the victorious conclusion of a righteous war. The evil aggressor has been defeated. There is a chance now for the five clans sharing Crystal Isle to forge a lasting peace. Their hope lies in a treaty, signed by the lord of each clan. But it soon becomes clear that the lords are serving only themselves. The people take matters into their own hands. A few committed individuals gradually inspire others to solve their problem in a new and creative way. The leaders are exiled; the foundation is laid for a true and lasting peace.

“Don’t look to this play,” Swamiji said, “for a workable treaty among nations. Not that it isn’t practicable. Quite possibly it could work—in some age more advanced than our own. Unfortunately today, selfishness is the one insurmountable barrier to world peace.

“There are, however, plenty of examples in history of deep-seated transformations wrought by changes in the general outlook. Human consciousness has changed, but the change hasn’t come from governments. Real transformations in human affairs well up out of the ground. They have never been, nor can they ever be, imposed on mankind from above. Governments cannot set the moral tone for an age. They can only reflect what is already recognized as true by the populace. Individuals must transform themselves. If they want peace on earth, they must attain it first within.”

Swamiji describes The Peace Treaty as “a comedy in the classical sense of a play with a happy ending, not in the more modern sense of a farce.” The theme is serious, but the mood is lighthearted.

“Reality contains a mixture of both darkness and light,” Swamiji said. “From a level of light, however, one experiences more of reality, even as broad vistas can be seen from the mountaintop, but not from the gutters of a city slum. From a level of light, one can observe the darkness in relation to other realities. From a level of darkness, it is difficult to imagine what the light even looks like.”

In the preface, Swamiji repudiates the “modern tendency in the theater to make dialogue reflect as closely as possible the way people actually talk. What this means often is that speech is reduced to grunted monosyllables—‘yep’ ‘nope’ and a few ‘hell no’s’.” In his play, the dialogue is pure poetry.

“Needless to say, people seldom speak in poetry. Nevertheless, poetry manages somehow to capture what they are really thinking and feeling far better than the clumsy terminology with which they so often project their thoughts and feelings to others. Poetry is capable of capturing people’s true, inner state in a way that actual speech almost never does.

“How often people say, ‘I wish I’d thought to say that.’ Drama ought to portray people speaking not as they actually do, but as they would like to, if only they had time to think things through carefully before speaking. To my way of thinking, one of the acid tests of dramatic writing is the ability to go beyond reality to truth.

“I’ve studiously avoided, though, the tendency of many playwrights to make their characters appear more like symbols than real people. The characters here are unaware that their individual roles have any symbolic significance. They are, quite simply, human beings caught up, as most of us are—though few of us realize it—in a drama that takes place on a much broader stage than that of our own little lives.”

When he was writing the play in Sedona, Swamiji said, “I lived on Crystal Isle. Looking out the window at the unfamiliar landscape, it was easy, in the desert light, for the vegetation and the contours of the hills to become the geography of that imagined place.” Later, when it came time to cast the play, Swamiji insisted that one man play a certain role because “He is exactly like the real Baltan!” So vivid had the characters become in his imagination.


By the time the first Visions of the Future conference came in April, Swamiji was well rested and eager to take part. Many of the three thousand people attending had come for the other teachers, and were meeting Swamiji for the first time. The Ananda singers had been invited to provide musical interludes between the talks, so Swamiji’s vibration was felt even before it was his turn to speak. “If you want to get to know me,” he said, “listen to my music. The music was given to me, but I was the filter for it.”

The conference was in San Francisco on a Saturday. The next day, Swamiji gave two Sunday services at the Palo Alto center, in order to accommodate all who wanted to come. The Seattle conference was equally well-attended. Some three thousand people listened in hushed silence when Swamiji spoke; then, with great devotion, joined him in singing Master’s chant, Door of My Heart. Dallas was the same. After Swamiji’s talk there, people mobbed the book table, and in one hour bought almost $10,000 worth of books and recordings. The last two conferences were set for November, in New York and Vancouver.


In addition to preparing various legal motions, we were engaged in the discovery part of litigation where interrogatories are exchanged, document requests submitted, and depositions taken. In discovery, when questions arise, the lawyers on opposite sides usually work together to resolve them. It saves them time and saves their clients money. Discovery is also a way, though, to drag out the process and drive up the costs. It soon became obvious that this was SRF’s intention. Even the simplest matters took multiple phone calls, letters, and even return trips to court.

We wanted to start by taking Daya Mata’s deposition. Swamiji couldn’t imagine she would submit to interrogation under oath; her refusal could end the lawsuit. The SRF lawyers delayed for many months, before finally agreeing to a date in the middle of June. Swamiji spent many days working on a series of questions that would not only bring out the facts of the case, but also help Daya Mata see the whole situation in a new light—or so he hoped.

In a deposition, the opposing client can attend, but only the lawyer can ask questions. So Swamiji included many notes for Jon, indicating the true answers, in case Daya Mata chose to prevaricate. He suggested alternate lines of questioning if she tried to avoid facing certain issues, like the discrepancy between Master’s way of doing things and how she was running SRF; the true facts of Swamiji’s dismissal; or the folly of expecting a secular court to resolve a theological dispute.

Jon was dismayed by the confrontational tone of Swamiji’s questions. Jon could be a zealous advocate, but he had a gentle nature; confrontation was not his style. Usually he could get more information, he felt, by befriending a witness, rather than challenging him. And, quite apart from his personal preference, the line of questioning Swamiji proposed was so different from the way a deposition was usually conducted that Jon expected Daya Mata’s lawyer would order her not to answer. They might even walk out in protest. Still, he told Swamiji he would try.

At the deposition, Jon tried to follow the script Swamiji had laid out for him, but it was immediately apparent that none of it could be used. Her lawyer wouldn’t allow it, and Jon didn’t feel he had grounds to insist.

He did the deposition his way, and got a great deal of helpful information, even though Daya Mata’s frequent answer was, “I don’t remember, it was a long time ago.” Then a moment later, when it served her purpose, she had total recall of events from the same period of time—except her version bore no resemblance to what Swamiji knew had happened.

Swamiji was heartsick that under oath, right in front of him, Daya Mata had so little regard for the truth. Nothing of what he hoped for was going to happen; he didn’t even come back for the afternoon session.

You have got to get these people out of your life!” I declared emphatically to Swamiji.

“I can’t,” he said, “because of Master.”

“You mean, because they are gurubhais?”

Of course!” he said, surprised that I could be so obtuse as not to know that.

I did know, but at the moment, I didn’t care!

“Even with your mother, father, brother, or sister, you can’t just give up on them,” Swamiji said. “The bond with gurubhais is far deeper than mere family. Inwardly, I’m not attached, but I owe it to Master to keep trying. I am heartsick at the state of Master’s work, and deeply concerned that Daya’s treatment of me is hurting her, spiritually. Who else could help her? She surrounds herself only with people who think as she does.”

“How do you think Master feels about this?” I asked, hoping the Guru would side with me!

“He is pleased by my loyalty,” Swamiji said.

A decade earlier, when Swamiji’s blood pressure was so high that the doctors warned he could die at any moment, he said, “My life belongs to Master. Whether I live or die is in his hands. I would like to hold onto my body, though, because what will become of SRF if I die now?”


Soon after Daya Mata’s deposition, Swamiji went to Assisi. Ananda’s work in America was going well. Except for the conferences, Swamiji hadn’t done any outside teaching, but others were picking up the slack. The lawsuit was having a salutary effect on our commitment to serve Master. In twelve months there were three hundred Ananda programs in over sixty locations.

The idea of Ananda as a church had proved popular. We now had forty-five meditation groups meeting in seventeen different American states, plus two in Canada, and one each in six other countries. None were large; they ranged in size from two to twenty members. Following the lead of Palo Alto—converting an apartment complex into a community—communities were starting in Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle.

The Assisi teachers were always on the road. Two had even gone to Africa—the first time any representative of Master had been to that continent. There were now twenty-one editions of various of Swamiji’s books published outside the United States, including Essence of SelfRealization in four European languages. Sales for Crystal Clarity were up almost fifty percent.

When Swamiji spoke at The Expanding Light, attendance increased, but not as dramatically as when he spoke at Ananda Assisi. For Swamiji’s weekends there, at least a hundred guests would come, sometimes from a dozen different countries. “My presence in America is helpful, but in Europe, it will make all the difference.” He had already given a great deal of input to the lawyers; whatever else was needed could be done by phone or fax. Rosanna was already in Italy, and they could spend the summer together at Assisi.


Essential to SRF’s case was the claim that, even though Ananda had been in existence since 1968, only recently had they found out what we were doing. We knew this was preposterous. Swamiji himself had kept SRF informed of everything he did after he was expelled. He thought if Daya Mata saw that he was still serving Master it would soften her attitude toward him.

When Ananda started, it was standard policy to send SRF all our mailings and copies of each book as it was published, often personally to Daya Mata and other members of the Board. SRF also had their own contacts—mostly ex-Ananda members who lived near us—who sent regular reports.

If SRF had, in fact, “slept on their rights,” as it is quaintly phrased in the legal profession, it was too late to claim damages. Ananda had “come to rely” on their tacit approval, and they couldn’t now cry foul.

We learned from the interrogatories that all information about Ananda and Swamiji was kept in a locked drawer in the office of the president. Legally we had a right to see what they called the “K File,” as it was evidence for their claim not to have known. To our surprise, SRF agreed to send it. But months passed and the file never came. When we inquired, the SRF lawyers blamed the shop where they had sent it to be duplicated.

Finally Latika called, not the lawyer, but the lawyer’s secretary. Sister to sister, she asked about this box that was supposedly sent but never arrived. The secretary traced it to the copy shop and offered to call and have it shipped right away.

“No need,” Latika said. “Just give me the name of the shop. I’ll call them.”

The clerk at the shop was equally cooperative. “It’s right here,” he said, “addressed and ready to send, but we got word not to ship it.” Apparently someone at SRF, not realizing the implications, had sent the papers to be copied, but the lawyers intervened before it was sent on to us. Knowing nothing of this, the clerk said, “I can put it on a truck this afternoon.”

“Let me save you the trouble,” Latika said. “I’ll be nearby and can pick it up.” She was calling from Ananda Village, 450 miles away, but by the afternoon she was in Los Angeles with the box in the trunk of her rented car.

When we reviewed the documents, it was obvious why the lawyers didn’t want us to see them. The K File was decades of internal correspondence—Board members talking to each other, and letters from some of the monks. Self-Realization Fellowship had kept track of everything from 1962 to the present. It was the “smoking gun” that would undermine their whole case.

Never expecting that the papers would be seen by anyone else, they wrote without a trace of kindness about what they deemed Swamiji’s fall from grace and his betrayal of Master. We wanted to protect Swamiji from the contents of the K File, but, of course, he had to see it. Swamiji was in Italy so the box was sent to Assisi, then brought to him in Florence where he was vacationing for the weekend with Rosanna and a few friends. He read most of it in his hotel room that evening.

Swamiji appeared to take it calmly, but the next day, while sitting in a restaurant having lunch, his heart began to race, then fell to a mere flutter. His blood pressure plummeted; he collapsed unconscious on the floor. Swamiji was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, where, for three hours, the doctors labored to save his life. His heartbeat had gone up to 170 beats per minute; his blood pressure was so low, that for a long time, they couldn’t even get a reading.

A call went out to Ananda members around the world: “Swamiji is in the hospital in Florence, near death. Pray for him.”

“While everyone around me was frantically trying to get my blood pressure up,” Swamiji said later, “I was completely relaxed and utterly joyful. I knew I could easily die and was ready to go if that was what Master wanted.”

He admitted, “I was stunned on reading SRF’s internal papers to realize the sheer force of their contempt for me. I never imagined that their antipathy went so deep, nor that their scorn for me was so sweeping.”

 But lying in the hospital, while the doctors worked to save his life, “When my mind turned to what I had just read, I thought ‘What does it matter? Whatever they think of me and do against me is between them and our common Father, God, not between them and me. I only know that I love them.’ For a long time I’ve had to will myself to love, because I felt happier when I did. There in the hospital, no effort was required. I just loved them. I prayed, ‘If I’ve made mistakes in my life, You, my Beloved, will forever help me to rectify them.’ I’ve always done my best. Who can do more than that?”

After he recovered, Swamiji wrote Thoughts on the SRF Papers. “In some ways I feel better for having read them. It clearly shows how remote the chances are that we will ever be able to deal with SRF on rational grounds. They simply aren’t open on this subject. Their premise is, to them, absolute. Equally absolute is their commitment to proving me, and by extension, Ananda, completely wrong.

“There is no point in complaining about it. It would be like complaining that we live on Earth instead of some other planet!

“It is not that the SRF leaders are irrational; their reason follows logically from an absolute commitment to their basic premises. Their weakness is their refusal to re-examine their basic premises, and to let prejudice blind them to objective realities. They allow what they consider organizational convenience to take precedence over their natural charity, and worse still, over the divine charity that Master enjoined upon his disciples when he told Daya Mata, ‘Only love can take my place.’

“Their first premise is that Self-Realization Fellowship is the sole repository of the teachings of Master, and that Master himself gave them that exclusive right.

“Their second premise is that they have a duty to protect SRF from infringement on this monopoly by any other party.

“Their third, though minor, premise is that they can, with impunity, obscure truth to justify themselves in the name of serving a higher truth.

“This last assumption is based on a teaching of Master’s that truth and fact are not always synonymous. Truth is always beneficial, whereas a fact, if emphasized, can be damaging. To tell an unwell person how terrible he looks, for example, could make it more difficult for him to heal.

“This teaching is meant to serve the cause of charity. SRF has turned it into a loophole to justify themselves when they deny facts in the name of what they consider a higher truth—in this case, the welfare (as they define it) of the spiritual work they serve.

“Self-Realization Fellowship, by its actions, may be said to have embraced the time- dishonored teaching, ‘The end justifies the means.’ Indeed, they come perilously close to the nefarious communist doctrine that a truth is anything that furthers the cause of communism, whereas a lie is anything that threatens that cause.

“One of us, evidently—either they or I—is terribly mistaken. It is in my favor, perhaps, that I am willing for them to be in the right. For I am completely certain that truth, not anyone’s personal opinion, is the only thing that matters, and the only thing that will prevail in the end. If, for example, by some irony of fate I could be shown that all these years of devoted service have been against Master’s will, I would renounce that error in a moment, and would strive for the few remaining years of my life to set matters right in my attunement with him.

“It is—again, perhaps—in SRF’s disfavor that they seem to be totally committed to defending the action they took against me nearly thirty years ago in dismissing me, committed to the point of actually lying about that action in order to protect their position.

“I don’t believe the SRF leaders are trying to justify themselves, personally, but to protect the organization in which they sincerely believe, and to which they have dedicated their lives.

“It has made for an uneven struggle. For I, too, want to protect that organization, since I believe in it and its mission as sincerely, I think, as they do.”

Lest we misunderstand, though, Swamiji said emphatically, “This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight them! We must fight, and fight hard. Too much is at stake!”


In late September, Swamiji and Rosanna returned to the Village. He continued to be plagued by an irregular heartbeat. The pain in his hips was almost as bad as it had been before he had them replaced. He decided to withdraw from the upcoming conferences and instead go into seclusion. Rosanna stayed for a while, then went back to Italy to be with her family.

Just before Christmas, he sent, as a gift to the community, a short article. “Just twenty-six years ago this month, I wrote a very special song. I still recall repeatedly wiping away the tears that I might see to write. It was a carol, and I gave it the name, The Christmas Mystery. The refrain went:

Who’ll tell to me this mystery:

How a tiny babe in a manger laid

Could so many hearts to love persuade?—

This holy son of Mary!

He urged us to look beyond the superficial self-definitions with which we bind ourselves, “when, in truth, our eternal—indeed, our only—mission in life is, through the lessons we learn here on earth, to unite our souls with the Infinite Source of all life.

“Theologians have attempted to define the eternal truths with the power of reason, but no verbal statement could possibly replace the actual experience of those truths in the soul.

“Human beings achieve greatness only to the extent that they manifest high principles. Always, it is principle that counts, not the countless forms in which truth has, at various times through the ages, been decked.

“Let the birth of Divine Love two thousand years ago in that little form inspire us to conceive, and give birth to, divine love within ourselves, through the virgin purity of our hearts’ devotion to God.”

The day after Christmas, Swamiji sent a letter to all the members of the SRF Board of Directors, once again expressing his love for them, and pleading with them to stop the litigation.


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