Paramhansa Yogananda Side
Stories of the Masters

Sweet Compassion

Andy Anderson worked as a foreman on several of Yogananda’s construction projects. Swami Kriyananda narrates the following story.

During the months while Andy supervised our work at India Center, he developed a deep love for Master. Master, in return, was touched by Andy’s devotion, and by his simple, kindly nature. As Christmas 1950 approached, Andy took pains to buy his guru an appropriate gift. During our luncheon break one day he made a special journey to Mt. Washington and, with great trepidation, went up to the third floor. Placing his gift by Master’s door, he fled.

‘Oh,’ he cried, upon his return to India Center, ‘what a fool I am! I forgot to put my name on that package. Now Master will never know who gave it to him!’

Just then the telephone rang. It was Master asking to speak with Andy. Andy returned a few minutes later, beaming from ear to ear.

‘Master just wanted to thank me for my present!’

Andy, like many in the construction trade, rather liked his beer. Sometimes, in fact, he came to work a little ‘under the influence.’ One day Master asked him to construct a concrete driveway at Mt. Washington.

‘Heavy trucks drive up here,’ Master explained, ‘with paper for the print shop. How thick do you suggest we make the driveway to bear all that weight?’

After a few moments’ thought, Andy replied, ‘Four inches would be quite enough, Master.’

‘Make it six,’ Master said with a sweet smile.

Andy was about to object, when he saw Master’s smile. ‘All right, Sir.’ He gulped, swallowing his professional knowledge.

I wondered at the time why two extra inches of concrete should have inspired Master to request them so sweetly. Later I understood. For when the day came for pouring the concrete, it was obvious from the look in Andy’s eyes that he was a little tipsy. Not fully conscious of what he was doing, he sprayed too much water on the new driveway, diluting the mixture. If it hadn’t been for those extra inches, the cement would have cracked. Master, out of loving respect for Andy, wouldn’t allow anyone to replace him. Indeed, it was to compensate for this problem, which he’d foreseen, that he’d requested those extra two inches of concrete. The sweetness of his smile had been due to his compassion for Andy.

Paramhansa Yogananda Instructing Hatha Yoga
Stories of the Masters

I know Every Single Thought you think

One day, after a gathering in Beverly Hills, I had been invited to perform yoga postures at a Jewish Bar Mitzvah. Afterward, a materialistic Jewish psychiatrist cornered me and challenged my beliefs. I defended them as reasonably as I could, and then, to clinch my argument, spoke of certain miracles to which I’d been a witness. It did no good at all. In fact, I could see the thought forming in his mind, ‘Perhaps I could find time for this ‘patient’ next Wednesday morning.’

A few days later, I served lunch for my Guru and several guests, and followed the meal with a short demonstration of yoga postures. After the guests had departed, I sat alone at the table for a few minutes with my Guru. During our conversation he paused briefly, then commented, ‘By the way, when you are with atheists and materialists, don’t speak to them of miracles.’

‘You knew!’ I exclaimed.

Looking at me deeply, he replied, ‘I know every single thought you think.’ Often, during our time together, he demonstrated the truth of that extraordinary statement.

Paramhansa Yogananda in American Suit
Stories of the Masters

The Hamburgers

An incident narrated by James Coller to Swami Kriyananda

James Coller, another disciple, visited us at about this time from Phoenix, Arizona; Master had appointed him to be the minister of our church there. James, though deeply devoted to God and Guru, had a tendency to be a little casual about hermitage discipline.

‘I was driving from Phoenix to Encinitas recently,’ James told us, ‘to see Master. It was late at night, and I was getting hungry. After some time I came to a restaurant that was still open, and eagerly went in. As bad luck would have it, all they had to serve was hamburgers. What was I to do? I knew Master wanted us to be vegetarians, but still. . . . I mean, I was really hungry! ‘Oh, well,’ I decided finally, ‘he won’t know!’ So I ate two hamburgers. After I reached Encinitas, I spoke with Master. At the end of our conversation, he remarked gently:

”By the way, James, when you’re on the highway late at night, and you come to a place that serves nothing but hamburgers’better not eat anything.” It may comfort those who have similar problems with self-discipline that Master said James would be spiritually free in this life. His saving grace was deep love for God.