Saturday, July 28, 2012
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matt. 10:39-42
It is a mark of maturity and spiritual refinement to acknowledge, respect, and honor the genuine and useful accomplishments and elevated consciousness of another person. To likewise respect all beings as one’s own and as manifestations of divinity is the characteristic feature of a truly spiritual person.
It is to this honor and acknowledgement that I would like to share some thoughts as we prepare for the coming of Swami Kriyananda to Seattle. He will speak at the Ananda Meditation Temple on September 8 and will attend an outdoor luncheon at the nearby Ananda Community the following day. (See AnandaWashington.org for tickets)
Most readers know that Swami Kriyananda is one of the few living direct disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the renowned classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. Most know, too, that “Swamiji” (as we call him, endearingly and respectfully) is the founder of the worldwide network of Ananda residential communities, temples, and retreat centers.
Around the person of a celebrity or spiritual teacher there always exists a certain level of “buzz,” fuss, and jockeying. People are people, and with a certain degree of fame comes an equally certain level of attention to the person. This can’t be helped.
In Swamiji’s case, it is not something he encourages and not something he welcomes. He accepts these attentions as a regrettable, if necessary, fact of the spiritual work that is his to do. At age 86 and after decades of serving without thought of his own comfort or needs, and while in constant travel around the world under often difficult conditions, he does also need support, care and attention from his staff.
It is not our task, as truthseekers and devotees, to assess the spiritual realization of others, including spiritual teachers like Swamiji. Wiser is it for us to appreciate the opportunity to see and receive such a one mostly for what he symbolizes (dedication to spiritual principles) and for the example he offers to us, than for anything he has done, or is in himself, or has to “give” us in the sense of something we may lack.
A true spiritual teacher comes to reflect to us the light which is our own soul. To honor that intention and the heroic effort behind it, is to affirm that intention and goal in ourselves. Swamiji does not say he is a guru, nor does he claim any specific level of spiritual realization. He will tell us that what he has to offer is that which comes through him from his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda — a true master and avatar.
Swamiji doesn’t claim that his divine attunement is flawless or perfect or that everyone who comes to him will receive some ineffable blessing or life changing transformation. He is not going to hug you, give you shaktipad, or give you anything that you don’t already have within you. He is content if, as a representative of Paramhansa Yogananda and the principles his guru lived by, we receive him in that spirit and find from our time with him, inspiration to carry on our own unique spiritual journey with renewed effort and courage.
It is true that Swamiji’s life has been an instrument of blessing in countless ways to many, many souls. It is true that he has written well over a hundred books, hundreds of pieces of music, founded nine residential communities, and the worldwide spiritual ministry of Ananda, but, for that, he feels little sense of “doer-ship” and feels that it is far more important that he be blessed to experience and share the bliss of our soul’s immortal promise and eternal state.
After all, he might have been born with no special creative or organizational talents. To be blessed with God-consciousness is be the greatest gift any soul can offer to another.
So, I urge you to come to see him; to honor him as you would honor your own, higher Self; to honor him as a living vehicle for conveying the presence and the blessings of Paramhansa Yogananda. It is an interesting fact that as we honor him (or any other such soul), we honor our Self. Thus it is in the words of Jesus that “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward.” That reward is bliss for he who is in bliss is a prophet proclaiming the coming of the kingdom which, as Jesus also put it, “is within you.”
Blessings to you,