In 1976, after many years of work, Swami Kriyananda finished writing his autobiography, The New Path – My life with Paramhansa Yogananda.
It was a tremendous project. At the end, we drove an exhausted Swamiji to the airport for a well-deserved period of rest and seclusion in the Himalayas.
As our car made the final turn into the airport, Swamiji was still jotting a few final changes in the manuscript.
After Swamiji was gone, we began to prepare the book for publication. There was a woman on our team who had a strange kind of magnetism. She was very talented, but nobody wanted to work with her. She just wasn’t fun to work with, and people tried hard to avoid including her in their work flow.
She finally came to me to complain. She expressed her frustration, and she asked me to order people to consult her before they did anything.
I told her that I could make all the rules in the world, but if she didn’t make herself welcome to people – if she didn’t have the right kind of magnetism that would make them want her help them – they would continue to find ways to go around her.
She had a great deal to contribute, but she didn’t have the right attunement. We were working hard, and there was no sense that this woman wanted to help us, even though she could do good work.
Her basic problem was that she was too self-concerned. She was very annoyed that people wouldn’t give her the proper respect, and pay attention to her talents. But she wasn’t willing to think of what they needed. She was only thinking of how she wanted the work to go. She wasn’t willing to stand back and ask the other people about the pressures they were facing, and how she could help them.
Paramhansa Yogananda had tremendous magnetism. As a spiritual leader, he drew people effortlessly. The secret of his magnetism is that he was concerned for others’ welfare.
He had long ago drowned the little ego-self in God. When he asked someone to do a particular service, it was because, despite any challenges they might face, he knew that it would bring them, in the end, into deeper attunement with God and greater happiness.
How can you develop the kind of magnetism that will attract friendship and success to you?
Kriya Yoga is a tremendous aid. It enables us to align our energy so that we are drawn into God’s magnetic power of love and joy.
A friend of mine had a marvelous kind of magnetism. He had a lightning-quick wit, and a talent for turning any situation in a positive, light-hearted direction.
After Yogananda left his body, the disciples who took over his work fell into a spirit of narrow institutional control. In the early 1990s, they sued Ananda, claiming exclusive ownership of Yogananda’s name, image, and teachings.
At the time when were having so much conflict with that organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, my friend went to an open house at the SRF Lake Shrine in Los Angeles. He was a stranger there, and someone came up to him and said, “I’m from the hospitality committee. I see you’re new here – are you with one of the SRF centers?”
He said, “I live at Ananda.”
“Ananda…” she muttered dismissively and turned her back and began to walk away.
Most people would be intimidated by such a negative response, but my friend wasn’t. He trotted after her and said, “Miss… Miss…!” He tapped her on the shoulder and said, “If you’re going to be rude, better not say you’re from the hospitality committee.” She had the good grace to apologize.
When we’re treated unfairly, or in ways we don’t understand, it’s a good idea to pull back and ask, “What is God trying to teach me?”
I remember a day, years ago, when I was Swami Kriyananda’s secretary, and he asked me to call someone and speak to them on his behalf.
When I called, Swamiji was in the room. When I delivered the message, the person completely shut me down. I felt annoyed and frustrated that they wouldn’t listen.
When I told Swami about it, he said, “Are you ever critical of them?”
I said, “Well…yes.”
He just shrugged his shoulders. Fortunately, I understood – I hadn’t created the proper magnetism of wanting to be helpful.
When your magnetism is right, everything tends to go well. If you’re feeling frustrated because people aren’t listening, it’s a good idea to go within and offer the situation to God until you can feel the right way to proceed.
It’s supremely helpful to meditate and pray until you feel God giving you the right direction. If you make a habit of this, you’ll discover that the spiritual path is the most practical way to live.