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.