At age fifteen, Ananda cooperative village is a thriving northern California community with more than 150 full-time residents — quite a feat considering that the average life expectancy of such ventures is less than 30 days. While its founder, Swami Kriyananda, credits much of Ananda’s success to the blessing of his guru, Paramahansa Yogananda — around whose vision of a “self-sustaining world brotherhood community” Ananda is built — his own strong leadership and practical know-how have been important guiding factors.
At 57, Kriyananda is a soft-spoken, dynamic man with thinning gray hair and extremely bright eyes, who is treated with reverence by many of his followers. “In the true sense I’m not a guru,” he shrugs, “but a lot of people want me to be one. So in some respects I am.” When we spoke in his room at Ananda’s San Francisco center he seemed to wear the role lightly and graciously, with genuine modesty. Still, with two disciples in attendance, and the certainty that this interview would be read by others, he chose his words carefully.
His ambiguous relationship with his followers was thrown into turmoil last year when Kriyananda shocked the community by getting married to a woman named Parmeshwari whom he met while visiting Hawaii. The marriage, which began with the lofty aim of “setting the example of an ideal couple being spiritual partners,” soon dissolved, and Parmeshwari left Ananda. Looking back, Kriyananda seems relieved that it ended but obviously still smarts when he discusses it. After the initial shock, he feels, the experience helped others to see him as human and fallible.
Though in many ways a spiritual maverick, the aspect of Kriyananda that stands out most clearly is his unfailing devotion to God and his guru. He was born in America (as Donald Walters) but spent much of his youth in England, Switzerland, and Rumania. A budding writer at the age of 22, he read Yogananda’s classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, and was so moved that he immediately left home for a cross-country bus trip to Yogananda’s California ashram. While pleading with the great master to accept him as a disciple, he was asked what he thought of Yogananda’s book. “It was wonderful,” he exclaimed, and looking for a way to prove his worthiness added, “Sir, I found several split infinitives.” Yogananda smiled and after a few minutes of nerve-racking silence accepted his vows as a yogic monk. For the next fourteen years he served Yogananda and his organization, the Self-Realization Fellowship, as a teacher, lecturer, writer and community director, traveling the world many times as its official spokesman.
After Yogananda’s death, Kriyananda repeatedly butted against the more staid leadership of the Self-Realization Fellowship — “eccentric” was what one of the other leader’s called him. Feeling that the key to his salvation depended on serving Yogananda within the framework of his organization, he tried to compromise — towing the official line while privately holding to his convictions. Then in 1962 he was booted out. To Kriyananda the ouster was devastating. He felt rejected not only by the organization but by Yogananda himself. Dazed and despairing, he tried to go into seclusion but events seemed to conspire to bring him back into the public eye. When Haridas Chaudhuri, a friend who ran a local ashram, had a heart attack, Kriyananda agreed to temporarily take his place. Slowly he began to develop a following, and bit by bit resumed his lecturing and writing.
In later years, Kriyananda went on to found Ananda and write a number of inspirational books, including The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi, Cooperative Communities: How to Start Them and Why, and a spiritual home-study textbook called Fourteen Steps to Perfect Joy. Sales of these books, as well as fees from his workshops and retreats held at Ananda, have helped Ananda become virtually self-sufficient.
Attending one of his talks the evening after our interview, I found his words to be powerfully straightforward and convincing. “I’m a practical man,” he says, “and I’ve found that the most practical thing is faith and that the way to have true faith is to love.”
(For information about programs at Ananda, write Ananda, 14618 Tyler Foote Road, Nevada City, California, 95959.)
SUN: Yogananda often spoke of bringing together different religions through the essential unity beneath them. Do you see this happening?
KRIYANANDA: The various religions agree on very little — even the existence of God. The only point of similarity is the teaching of the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would be done by.” All religions share one basic purpose — to raise the consciousness of man. Whether we believe we go to heaven after we die, or whether there’s a God, that purpose creates a bond. I often say in my lectures, “I’m not trying to convert you to anything except your own higher self.” I think that is the essence of religion. That was what Yogananda emphasized. He was not trying to get religious leaders to unite their organizations but to get people to understand that the inner essence of religion isn’t the institution. It isn’t even a body of beliefs. It’s what you can experience of life. Anything that will help to expand and raise your consciousness can be called religion. Other things do it too. Art may do it, a good run may do it, though perhaps not as well. One disciple of Yogananda said, “Will I ever fall from the spiritual path?” Yogananda answered, “How can you? Everyone in the world is on the spiritual path.”
SUN: But in your writing you refer to people falling from the spiritual path.
KRIYANANDA: In a broad sense you can’t say that someone is on the path or not on the path. In a more narrow sense you can say that some people are rejecting the path that they themselves are on, at least as far as the conscious mind goes. They tell themselves, “No, my goal in life is not an expansion of consciousness. My goal is to try to escape my suffering by getting drunk. My goal in life is to think about number one and the heck with this expansion stuff. I want these things for myself.” Such people would define themselves as not being on the path but they are. They’re maybe going backwards for a while, or in a little cul-de-sac, but you can’t get off it because the path is life itself.
SUN: In your years of lecturing, what do people seem to be asking most? What unspoken questions bring them to see you?
KRIYANANDA: The deeper questions don’t vary. How do I find peace of mind? How do I find my mission in life? How do I understand what I’m supposed to do with my life? How can I find happiness? How can I overcome pain? How is it possible that God can love us when there’s so much suffering in this world? Do I really have free will? How can I develop devotion?
People who reject leaders find one anyway; they follow someone and just don’t call him a leader. We have to be honest enough with ourselves to say that someone with experience may have something to give us. Without that we don’t grow.
SUN: All good questions but let’s take one at a time. In The Path, you quoted a man asking you, “How can you sing such happy songs if you’ve never known pain?” and you replied, “It’s because I’ve known pain that I’ve earned the right to write happy songs.” What is happiness to you? What is the way toward it?
KRIYANANDA: The French philosopher Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” It’s a fallacy. We can be conscious of being without thinking. In deep meditation you can’t think even if you want to; the very act of thinking takes you out of deeper meditation. The awareness of being is an intuition which is self-explanatory. It does not require definition but rather precedes definition. The same is true with happiness. It isn’t something that you can define because it’s something that you are. What you can define, perhaps, is pain because it’s an imposition on your true nature. You can’t define happiness because that is your true nature. When some impossible climax of pain and tension has finally passed in your life, and you return to your normal relaxed centeredness, you feel relief and happiness.
SUN: Are you a happy person?
SUN: What do you do when you’re not? How do you deal with your pain?
KRIYANANDA: I am always happy, even when there’s pain, because I can see that at my center there’s something that doesn’t change. I’ve had to work hard and to suffer a lot for that. So it’s not as if I don’t know what suffering is. When I feel suffering I cling to God more, I meditate more, I listen more. God is the source of joy and turning away from him is the source of suffering. I am aware of pain but it hasn’t caused me to lose my happiness. I don’t think it’s possible to live without pain, to love without pain. It is the penalty we pay for living and loving and just being human beings. The only way to avoid it is to numb our perceptions, to get drunk, to refuse to love, or learn to become callous. Such people know the greatest pain of all, the pain of not feeling. I wrote a song a year and a half ago after going through pain:
Though green summer fade, and winter grow near, My Lord in your presence I live without fear. Through tempest, through snows, through turbulent times, The touch of your hand is my strength and my guide. I ask for no riches that death can destroy, I crave only thee, your love and your joy. The dancers will pass, the singing must end, I welcome the darkness with you for my friend.
It takes a certain amount of courage in times of difficulty to say, “No, I will continue to love, and I will continue to have faith.” The essence of love, which is also the essence of happiness, is the discovery that it doesn’t depend on anyone else; it depends on us. And we’re happier when we love than when we don’t love; not loving is suffering. When we have that key, we have all we need never to allow being hurt to affect our ability to love. When we are hurt and we refuse to love, we suffer twice. If we continue to love, then and only then can we find happiness.
SUN: Ananda has grown from Yogananda’s vision of a world-wide brotherhood of communities. Why do you think communities like Ananda are important?
KRIYANANDA: Three reasons. First, there is an influence on society at large. We’re never going to get everybody moving into a community and even if we did we’d have to build cities there, so what’s the use? And yet, when you find a focus of energy, a group of people doing one particular thing — and it happens to be a good thing — then society as a whole gets the message usually after a generation or two and begins to act in that way also. For example, there’s a dogma today that competition is the way. Competition has its value but cooperation does too. A lot of people know that cooperation ought to work but they’re afraid to try. When they see it actually working, bit by bit the concept begins to filter out into society. The purpose of these communities is to bring these things to a focus. A few people doing something valid together can be a lot more influential than a few people doing something valid spread out over the world. You can more easily see what is happening because of the power of many people doing the same thing.
Second, the community is a home for people who would like to live a harmonious life with others who have ideals they want to share. It is a more satisfying, happier way of life than living out in the city among people who don’t have that sense of harmony. I’ve gone into that in considerable length in my book, Cooperative Communities: How to Start Them and Why.
The third reason, which at places like Ananda we talk about the least, is the most important one for us personally. We want a place where we can serve God together with other people who are also serving God. Ananda is both a community and an ashram. Its message to the world is community. Its message for ourselves is ashram, the chance for a spiritual life and good company.
SUN: Ananda is one of the few successful communities in recent memory. Practically, what do you think keeps a community together and what pulls it apart?
KRIYANANDA: Probably most important is the dedication to God and to doing God’s will rather than one’s own. We recognize that living for God is what gives us happiness. We follow a single path together. Communities that become totally eclectic in the name of religious unity can find it awkward, especially in the beginning. One person follows Krishna and another Christ. They should be compatible but Krishna followers will say, “Well, we can’t eat onions.” And the followers of Jesus will say, “Well, Jesus didn’t say anything about onions.” They get upset with each other over something trivial. Or, in the name of not treading on each other’s toes, they begin to talk less and less about what they really believe in. It’s just a lot easier for everyone to be on the same path because there are shared assumptions.
I don’t think it’s possible to live without pain, to love without pain. It is the penalty we pay for living and loving and just being human beings. The only way to avoid it is to numb our perceptions, to get drunk, to refuse to love, to learn to become callous. Such people know the greatest pain of all, the pain of not feeling.
SUN: How have you struck a balance at Ananda between unity in community organization and personal freedom?
KRIYANANDA: We believe in free enterprise, in the concept of letting the individual grow as he can. We try to solve our problems right at their source rather than at the top. There’s an overall direction that we’re all moving in and if somebody comes in and wants to do something totally in opposition to that we have to say, “No, it’s not in harmony with what we’re doing.” But what we’re doing is along such a broad highway, there’s plenty of latitude in the way an individual can express himself. It is in no way a narrow and restricting path.
SUN: As an example, living at Ananda, could I put out a magazine like THE SUN?
KRIYANANDA: Yes. There are a lot of people with private businesses here. The only thing we want to be sure of is that they are compatible with though not necessarily expressing our philosophy. One person writes articles for national magazines and that’s fine.
SUN: What is your role as leader of Ananda and how is it changing?
KRIYANANDA: When I was a child, I was given a bicycle for my birthday. At the birthday party, I taught all of the kids on the block how to ride it. My way of doing it was to hold the seat and the handlebar and run alongside them while they peddled and tried to get a sense of the balance. Then I’d let go of the handlebar and just hold on to the seat. After they began to show that they were not likely to fall, I’d let go of the seat and run with them for a while. When they saw that they were really doing it on their own, they’d leave me behind. I think that describes very aptly my role in the community.
SUN: Are you still placed in the role of guru with people looking to you for answers they could better find on their own?
KRIYANANDA: Yes. There are a lot of people who try to get me to solve their problems for them. I try to get them to solve their own problems. It’s sort of a struggle between these two wills (laughs).
SUN: How important is a strong leader as a focus in establishing a community?
KRIYANANDA: Essential. I don’t think that it can happen without one because there will be too many varied ideas about which direction to go in. But a strong leader doesn’t have to be a dictator. In fact, it’s a sign of insecurity and weakness if you have to boss people around. The strength of a leader is to somehow be able to enlarge his vision to include everyone’s kind of energy. There was someone who wanted to join the community a few years ago who was not of the same personality as the people who were living there. They didn’t want to accept her. I said, “Well, listen. You’re only thinking of personality. She’s a sincere person. It’s helpful for us to have different kinds of personalities. Otherwise we’ll end up agreeing on everything and it will be a boring life.” I think that we owe it to ourselves to accept people with different kinds of personalities as long as there’s an underlying sincerity and their personality isn’t so abrasive that it will disrupt everything here. I got them to see that this person could be an asset even though she was different, or perhaps because she was different.
I have found that when someone comes to me with something that seems to threaten what I’m trying to do, it helps to relax and consider, “What if?” My own strength increases by being able to include another point of view or way of doing things. Many times I’ve suggested that someone do something — without ordering or demanding it — and they have come up with an alternate suggestion. For the sake of discussion, let’ s say my experience tells me it is not as good a suggestion as my own. My question has been, “Will it be disruptive if we did it his way?” If not, then usually I’ll say go ahead. It doesn’t matter that one idea be accepted over another; what matters is that he grow by trying his own way and making his own mistakes. Following his own interests he’ll learn more than by following mine. A leader’s strength is being able to understand and accept many different ways of doing things and yet always trying to rein them in one direction rather than seeing them scattered. It’s like being able to ride a team of horses. It takes more strength to handle ten horses in a team than one; it takes more ability to know what each horse is capable of and what it’s likely to do. It shows less strength to try to drive them and force them to do it your way and you wouldn’t be as successful in the long run. The trick comes in being able to always see the general direction that we want to move in. Otherwise you lose control and that wouldn’t be strength. You are aware that it may take ten years for an idea to be finally understood and adopted but you hold on to that idea all the time, constantly nudging it in one direction. Or, if you see that it will never go that way, you have the strength to say, “Never mind, it doesn’t matter.” An idea itself is trivial; it’s the overall direction that counts. Without a strong leader, a community would remain a very one-horsepower kind of operation.
SUN: Isn’t one of the requirements for joining Ananda that you accept Yogananda as your spiritual teacher?
KRIYANANDA: That’s what I mean when I say that we’re all following the same path.
SUN: Then what role is Yogananda given in the community?
KRIYANANDA: He’s the guru. I’m a channel to him for some people but we draw our strength and inspiration from him. I feel that all communities would do well to see him as their patron saint. People who attune themselves to his blessing, his power as a patron saint, without necessarily being his disciple, will find it helps them overcome many obstacles to the success of what they’re trying to do.
SUN: But the guru himself is. . . .
KRIYANANDA: Only a channel to God. We have to depersonalize the whole thing. It’s like a ray of light coming down from the divine into this human sphere and there are many such rays of light. We need them to help steer us out of the darkness toward the infinite light we’re trying to reach.
SUN: What is your response to people who have trouble with the whole idea of following a guru? If the answers are within, why look to someone else?
KRIYANANDA: I may feel that my hair is well-combed and that I look neat but it certainly helps to have a mirror. Sometimes we think ourselves to be quite different from what we really are and the feedback we get from other people is very important for our own growth. Unfortunately the feedback from most people is hardly worth anything because they are as much in delusion as we are. They will judge us according to what’s convenient for them instead of what’s good for us. The value of a guru is that he has the wisdom to see what’s good for you rather than what he wants from you. He gives you a flawless mirror as opposed to one that’s all twisted and will show you as fat when in fact you are thin.
SUN: What do you see happening in the community movement now?
KRIYANANDA: I wish I knew. I’ve been so busy doing what we’re doing that it has limited the amount of time I’ve had to study. My general impression is that more and more communities are starting to form. It’s like snow falling on the ground. First it melts right away but every time it melts there’s a little coolness left that makes it easier for the next snow to melt more slowly. Finally it starts to hold and accumulate. In the beginning, very few communities succeeded; the average life expectancy was thirty days. Now, more and more groups seem to be springing up and hanging in there more strongly. I think it’s got quite a long way to go to really work. There are two major obstacles. One is the wish not to have a leader. People who reject leaders find one anyway; they follow someone and just don’t call him a leader. We have to be honest enough with ourselves to say that someone with experience may have something to give us. Without that we don’t grow. Egotism is the death of knowledge or wisdom. Another obstacle is a tendency to think too much in sociological terms. When you’re starting something, you need to give it a full blast. It’s like starting a car. You begin in first gear and once you gain some momentum, less energy is needed and you can move down to third or fourth gear. In the beginning you have to give it more power. The thought that what you’re doing is just an economic experiment doesn’t have enough power to make a community last. Later on it will. Later on, people with a minimum of energy will find that they can build communities easily and will wonder why it had been so difficult in the past. It is as if there is a thought form in the ether that needs to be made strong. Once it is there anyone can tune into it. For example, look how long it took to finally run a four-minute mile. But as soon as it was done everybody started doing it. They started breaking records almost immediately. There is some sort of a thought form or energy field that is crystallized at that point.
SUN: Do you feel that such a crystallization point is being reached?
KRIYANANDA: I do! It is becoming more and more accepted that this is a sane way to live. People from all over the world are coming to Ananda to find out how it’s working. People are coming to see it from the negative side too. They look at the great lacks in the so-called normal world. They’re aware of the economy falling apart, of the increasing insecurity everywhere. This is pushing people to find an alternative.
SUN: Does pride ever get in your way?
KRIYANANDA: I don’t think so. Of course that’s a dangerous thing to say strongly because it is so subtle. But I don’t feel any problem with it. I feel that God is the doer and I don’t feel that anything I’ve done or could do is very important.
I’ve tried to reach out to many different kinds of people. I did that even when I was a writer, before I came on the path. I’d come into a town and within a week I’d know half the people there. That may be an exaggeration but I did have a wide circle of acquaintances. I’d go up to strangers and talk to them as a friend, not as a scientist looking through a microscope. I’d see a house that was particularly beautiful, go up and knock on the door, and tell them frankly I just wanted to know what kind of people would want to own such a beautiful house. I’d get to know them. They always appreciated it.
Lately, I’ve come to feel I’ve done enough in that way. I’m less often trying to reach out though I do still do it by instinct. I’m more inclined to say, “This is what I have to say and you can take it or not. It’s your choice, not my concern.” That may seem to narrow me but in fact it doesn’t appear to be working that way. More people seem to be coming now that I’m talking more clearly. For example, if I’m talking with an atheist, I won’t leave God out of the picture but simply say that I personally believe in God and that I love Him. I offer that challenge. If the atheist rises to meet it then I’ll try to explain myself in a way that will interest him. But if not, I’m not interested in bringing him one-tenth of a mile. I’m more interested in reaching out to those few people who want to come the whole mile.
SUN: Would you talk about your understanding of work as a form of meditation or service?
KRIYANANDA: When we work to serve, we’re offering our energies. When we’re working without service, we’re driving our energies. When we offer our energy there’s relaxation and joy. When we have the thought that we’re working, there’s tension and struggle and pain. Working for God is of course the happiest way to offer our energy because when we offer it to people they often don’t appreciate it. Many of them let us down or misunderstand us. But when we offer it to God, we know He understands so it doesn’t matter how people take it.
SUN: What do you see as the relation between an individual’s free will and letting the will of God act through him or her? It’s very subtle.
KRIYANANDA: Yes, it is subtle. When we use our free will to do anything but invite his will, we are not using it wisely; we are using it to increase our bondage to ego and limitation. It’s a delusion to think that we can ever do anything that’s not influenced by something. It may be influenced by truth or by error. To adjust ourself to His will is not to act in opposition to our own true will because He doesn’t want anything for us that is not for our own highest happiness. People often misunderstand this. I must say that He plays the game well. He makes it look as though His will is the very last thing we want. But in every case, when we go along with it, we find out that it really is what we want and nothing else would have worked. When we use our free will to align ourselves with His will, there’s no opposition at all. If we do it any other way, we really diminish our free will.
SUN: Then there’s the question of being able to discern what that higher will is.
KRIYANANDA: Yes. But even without that discernment, if we deeply want to do His will and yet make a mistake, He corrects us. That’s when the door is slammed.
I’m a practical man. I couldn’t have started Ananda without that sense. I’ve found that the most practical thing is faith and that the way to have true faith is to love.
SUN: It’s a process that’s taking place all the time, it seems. We’re just not always paying attention to it. I was struck by one line you wrote, “Grace flows through the channels that we open ourselves.” That opening of the channels, even through activities we’re simply open to performing, seems an example of aligning oneself to a higher will.
KRIYANANDA: Quite right. For example, if a person wants to write music, as I do, and asks God to direct him in composing a new piece, he isn’t likely to get a mathematical formula. He will get his inspiration according to the way in which he asks and according to the way his energy is being directed. People have asked me, “How can that person, who is so saintly, not understand this which is so evident to us?” The answer is that he may simply not have asked that question.
SUN: How important do you think practices such as yoga and meditation are to one’s spiritual growth? In a recent interview you made the comment that these techniques won’t get you there and it’s time we started placing more emphasis on love.
KRIYANANDA: Techniques are essential if you’re going to be a good musician but they won’t guarantee it. What will make you a good musician is your inspiration. But if you think you’ll just play by inspiration and not practice, then it is very unlikely you’ll play well. The two are necessary. I wasn’t saying not to practice.
SUN: You’re giving a workshop soon at Ananda entitled, “Spirituality and Sexuality.” What do you think makes relationships work?
KRIYANANDA: Giving instead of taking.
SUN: Let’s talk about your recent, short-lived marriage. Why was it so shocking to people? What was it all about?
KRIYANANDA: I was trying to create an example of spiritual marriage. I had been talking about it and people weren’t understanding. I thought if I could set the right example, maybe they’d understand what I was talking about — an inwardness in relationship that is not personality-oriented but spiritual. It was shocking because swamis don’t normally get married. It’s against the rules. There are swamis who have been married but quite frankly I didn’t study them to find out if it was legitimate because I felt I was being guided from a higher level. My whole life has been geared not to follow the rules but to go with my inspiration, with what I feel is needed and right from within. Actually I had a lot of positive responses. People were grateful to me for having the courage to take a step they thought was needed, a step that gave an example. People feared that being married meant a vacation from their spiritual life, a separate compartment in their lives. I was trying to show that you’ve got to make it a part of your spiritual life. Being married does not mean you become a devotee in your free time; it’s all got to be part of a oneness. Marriage should also be a renunciation of self will, not living for desires but to serve Him. We had that kind of relationship. It was a beautiful thing and many people were inspired by it. I’m glad for that. Maybe that was all that was needed. I have never had a desire to be married. Maybe the brief time that we were together was all that was meant to be. Our thought, in any case, was that it wouldn’t be permanent. It would just set an example and then no longer be. She left Ananda and now she wants to come back. We’ll see. I think that probably it won’t go on in that way. We did what we needed to do. For me it was a very big sacrifice.
SUN: A sacrifice?
KRIYANANDA: Yes. A very big sacrifice. I felt that I was endangering my own salvation — the only thing that is important to me — by going against the rules. I was petrified. It all seems like a game to the person who hears about it casually but it took every ounce of courage that I had to make that step. It took a willingness even to endanger my salvation if that’s what it took to serve God better. That was my subjective view of it and I have to say that I heaved a sigh of relief when it ended. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t also painful but I accept the pain as a part of the whole picture. I don’t know if it will happen again. I just don’t know.
SUN: What were the particular problems you had to work out with her in learning how to relate in a marriage?
KRIYANANDA: Well, that’s personal.
SUN: What do you think of the idea that it’s important to find a balance between the male and female parts of oneself?
KRIYANANDA: It’s essential. The male energy is outgoing, rational, actively willful. The female energy is inward drawing, feeling, and another aspect of will which is enduring, receptive, and adaptive. Either one of these is incomplete without the other. We have to learn to be complete human beings, to be as much loving as we are rational, as much outgoing as we are in-drawing. Each without the other becomes distorted. Right now I’d go so far as to say that what humanity needs is more of the feminine energy. The world has gone too long in the direction of masculine energy and rationalism and legalism. We need more compassion, kindness, and sensitivity. We need more of the desire to work with each other and with this planet rather than just attacking and taking. That’s why I feel the women’s movement is so important, if only they’d understand why it’s important. This masculine energy isn’t something that you just associate with men; it’s equally present in all of us. But in most men the feminine energy is submerged and in most women the masculine energy is submerged.
SUN: What do you see as the most likely possibilities for the future of the planet?
KRIYANANDA: On the positive side, man is really ready for a major step spiritually. He’s tired of materialism. He’s longing to see some higher purpose in life, to feel a sense of guidance. Although only a few are able to see it consciously, I think that more and more a yearning is felt. With the material habits still being so strong, and then this pull in the opposite direction, there builds up a tension which is going to explode. Materialism itself has just about reached a dead-end. It could easily just peter out on its own but there is spirituality coming in and building up pressure. I think that it’s going to explode in depression, in warfare, world war, possibly some great global cataclysm. I think these things are an inevitable precurser to a cleansing and, when it is over, the planet will settle back into a much higher way of living than it has known in the past. But for somebody who thinks the way I do, it’s not very important. We’ll come back anyway, if not to this planet then to another one. A hundred years from now nobody’s going to be left of the people who are here now. Whether we leave a little sooner or not doesn’t much matter.
SUN: Do you have any fear of death?
KRIYANANDA: None. That’s a brave, bold statement to make but I don’t think I have.
SUN: If you had one minute to say what you’d most like to say to somebody, what would it be?
KRIYANANDA: That all our problems would be solved if we loved God more. It sounds too simplistic to even say but it’s the truth. If people would learn to love God and work for him then this world would become a paradise. But they’re always leaving him out of the picture, saying, “Yeah, but I’ve got to do this first,” and so it goes on and on and on. Faith and love are the most practical things of all. I’m a practical man. I couldn’t have started Ananda without that sense. I’ve found that the most practical thing is faith and that the way to have true faith is to love.