Swami Kriyananda, one of the last living direct disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, left us with a parting gift, the gift of his last word: Anything.
This is an example of the attitude of life which Swami Kriyananda lived by, and which he set as an example for all of us as truthseekers on the path. We must be willing, and to have the courage to face whatever challenges come our way. These two qualities: willingness and courage help us especially now while we face great chaos in the world around us, even inside of us.
In Nayaswami Asha’s book As We Have Known Him, there is a story about a certain year when Swami was faced with his busiest schedule yet: publishing books, tours around the country, major heart surgery, testimony in a court case that questioned his integrity, filled with negativity. How do you think he approached that year? He didn’t back down. He didn’t take time for more bed rest even though his doctor strongly advised that he take a year to let his heart heal. Instead, he ended up putting out more energy than was physically safe or even possible to rise up to meet those challenges head on. He saw those responsibilities and opportunities to serve his Guru’s work, and he knew that by putting out great positivity he would draw the strength to overcome any negativity that could have brought him down.
Swami faced that year with the attitude of courage, with the thought, I will do anything for God, and I will take anything God gives me as an act of love for my spiritual growth. He saw every obstacle as an opportunity.
This too is the attitude of discipleship that Swamiji (ji is added to a name in India to denote respect) left for us as an example of how to be on the spiritual path. It reflects courage to face anything that comes—with great energy and willingness—as a gift from life. That nothing needs to be changed outwardly, only our inward attitude to accept whatever God gives.
Swamiji was an example of someone who saw that life has just one purpose and that purpose is to live for God and to help others do the same by being an example of how to live. Swamiji knew how to get out of the way, putting aside what kind of life he wanted or what kind of obstacles he was willing to face. He realized that God’s will was the only thing that mattered, not his own desires or ideas of fulfillment. Instead, he chose to get himself out of the way so that he could gracefully accept all things that he faced with complete faith in His Guru and in God. He willingly met whatever they placed before him and offered himself completely into doing the best he could do to act in the right way, in attunement with what he felt in his heart was being asked of him.
He cherished the life that was given to him and wanted to do his Guru’s work and align every thought with Yogananda’s, leaving nothing left of his own will or ego to become an obstacle for the ray of light that wanted to come down through Yogananda’s work. He did everything he could to be a pure channel of that light.
We can all learn to live our lives in this way—with the thought that we will accept anything; we are willing to give everything to the path. That Divine Mother knows best what is to come. What love and what childlike trust is implied in this.
There is an affirmation that Paramhansa Yogananda gave us that I have continued to find helpful and meaningful on the path, when I start to doubt that I will make it out of a certain situation, or when worries get a hold of me:
“I will go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent Good to bring me what I need at the time I need it.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
Here is a song written by Swami Kriyananda that goes beautifully with his message: