Soon after he moved to India in 2004, Swami Kriyananda spoke to a gathering at the Ananda ashram in Gurgaon.
Afterwards, those present asked him questions.
One woman said, “Why did you settle in Gurgaon?”
“I didn’t,” Swamiji said. “Friends came ahead, and they decided this was the place to be.”
“Good!” she said. “I live very near, and I believe you came to Gurgaon for me!”
Her response was endearing and everyone laughed, including Swami.
When Swamiji was in India forty years earlier, he spent much time with a great woman saint, Sri Anandamayee Ma.
From the moment he met her, Ma showed a special affection for him, inviting him to spend long hours with her. It was most unusual for her to give so much time to any single person.
(Photo: Sri Anandamayee Ma, the “Bliss-Permeated Mother.” Yogananda devotes a chapter in his famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi, to a visit with her.)
She told him, “Many thousands have come to this body. None have attracted me as you have. There are people who have been with me for twenty-five years and more, but they haven’t taken from me what you have.”
To others, she explained, “Here is a lotus in a pond. Many frogs sit under the lotus, croaking. Then the bee flies in, takes the honey, and flies away. Kriyananda is that bee.”
Later, Swamiji said to her, “I feel selfish taking so much of your time.”
She answered, “There is no selfishness in that which destroys the ego.”
Paramhansa Yogananda’s most advanced woman disciple was an elderly woman who was known for her great wisdom. Sister Gyanamata would meditate on the blissful thought, “Master came for me.”
She knew he had come for countless other disciples, and to create a world-changing work. He came to set religion on a practical, scientific basis. But none of it diminished his love for her.
This is the mystery of the omnipresence of a liberated soul. The master’s consciousness is not only infinite – it is also infinitesimal – not only infinitely large, but also infinitely small.
Every speck of creation, including every human heart, contains a tiny piece of that great ocean of divinity.
(Photo: Sister Gyanamata, foremost woman disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.)
In the life of Krishna, we learn of the Rasa Lila. A group of women, the gopis, accompany Krishna to the forest on the night of the full moon. They dance together, and even though Krishna is only one and the gopis are many, in the Rasa Lila — the “Sweet Dance” — each gopi feels that he is dancing with her. In paintings that celebrate the event, we see a circle of gopis, and next to each is the image of Krishna.
God is both infinite and infinitesimal. He dwells not only in the distant stars, but in the innermost heart of each of us. His presence is constantly with us. What varies is our awareness of Him.
Let us not be like the frogs that croak beneath the lotus. Let us be the ones who drink the honey of God’s presence within.