Swami Kriyananda, disciple of "Master" Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of the incredible 'Autobiography of a Yogi' amongst his other accomplishments) gave a talk this last weekend in Los Angeles about his time spent with Yogananda, and what has happened in the 50 or so years since Yogananda's death - which is a miraculous story in and of itself.
I didn't make it to this talk, seeing the video is almost as rewarding. I did, however, go to another, smaller gathering a few days later at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, specifically at the non-denominational Church of the Recessional, where Kriyananda again spoke with an abundance of humor about his life with Yogananda, reincarnation, and the perfection of desire.
Sometimes I find myself drawn and quartered at the intersection of faith and science. Is it possible to have respect for Richard Dawkins and his crew while maintaining a strong sense of a higher consciousness? I hope there are others out there who can take the essence of all these teachings and distill them into something practical, which is all I'm trying to do. As Kriyananda was wrapping up his talk, and answering questions, someone asked something about the practicality of spirituality, to which he answered "there is nothing more practical than spirituality" to a resounding carom of laughter and applause.
After the talk, Swami Kriyananda received people outside, I knelt before him, with absolutely nothing and simultaneously everything to say to and ask of him, yet in his presence the chatter of my mind ceased. He smiled one of the most memorable and sincere smiles I've ever born witness to, looked past my eyes, and touched me lightly between them...I can't stop thinking of that moment, I hope its a memory I'll never forget, and I've been very deliberately closing my eyes from time to time, focusing on that third-eye place and seeing Kriyananda there, smiling.
Finally, I went to the Mausoleum where Yogananda's crypt is...I found it slightly strange that he was placed amongst mere mortals with nary a epitaph suggesting who he was when he was living. I guess, ultimately, he is not in there, his soul is long gone, but I still believe his body should be placed somewhere more profound. It's akin to burying 'Jesus' in a shoebox in your backyard...I guess I'm not the only one who feels this way as there are proceedings with the local authorities to have his body moved to Mount Washington in Los Angeles where he founded The Self-Realization Fellowship, but its been over 50 years since he died, what's the holdup?
Update 10/2/09 - I found a video of the talk I attended, so I'll post this too: