Praises of Daya Mata, by Mr. Walters/Kriyananda, 1977 The Path

from the INDEX: Answering Allegations and Historical Background

The article below was made by Yogananda Site and relates to  ~  Sri Daya Mata and the Leadership of SRF from the SRF Letter to members, 1995, about personal allegations against Daya Mata made in public letters written by Mr. Walters/Ananda during the 1990’s. (These allegations and more remain on Ananda websites and in their books and ebooks today.)   The SRF article points out the stark contrast between Mr. Walters’ descriptions of Daya Mataji in those letters and an extremely positive description of her in his autobiography written 1977.  

Below are all the references to Daya Mata, all of which are extremely positive, in The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi, 1977, First Printing, by Swami Kriyananda (Donald Walters).  



pp. 242-243   I have been in ashrams where human personalities were so much the focus of attention that, almost within minutes of one’s arrival, one knew who the important disciples were, what they did, what the Guru said about them. By contrast, during my first few months as a monk in SRF I doubt whether I would have recognized more than one or two names in a “Who’s Who” of Master’s closest disciples. We received simply no encouragement to be curious about them.

Thus it was that, when word came that fall that Faye Wright (now Daya Mata, the third president of Self-Realization Fellowship) had been taken seriously ill, her name, though high on the list of Master’s close disciples, meant nothing to me. I learned of her illness itself only as the explanation for why Master had suddenly departed Twenty-Nine Palms for Los Angeles.

“It would be a serious loss to the work if she died,” Bernard assured me gravely.

“She was already gone,” Master announced on his return from Los Angeles. “Just see how karma works. The doctor, though summoned in plenty of time, diagnosed her case wrongly. When he discovered his mistake, it was too late. She would certainly have died. But God wanted her life spared for the work.”

Master counseled us not to be preoccupied over matters that didn’t directly concern us. “Always remain in the Self,” he advised me once. “Come down only to eat or talk a little bit, if it’s necessary. Then withdraw into the Self again.” I didn’t meet, or even see, Daya Mata until I had been with Master almost a year.


p. 255-256 Daya Mata tells a story dating back to when she was a teenager and new on the path. At first, in her association with him, he had treated her lovingly, like a daughter… Once her feet were planted firmly on the path, however, he began to teach her the superior merits of impersonal love. To her now, feeling for him as she did the affection of a devoted daughter, he seemed all at once aloof, even stern.

One evening in Encinitas he addressed her that way. She went out onto the bluff above the ocean behind the hermitage, and prayed deeply for understanding. At last she reached a firm resolution. “Divine Mother,” she vowed, “from now on I will love only Thee. In beholding him, I will see Thee alone in him.”

Suddenly she felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her. Later she went indoors and knelt before Master for his blessing, as she always did before retiring for the night. This time he greeted her gently, saying, “Very good!”

From then on he showed himself once more affectionate toward her. Now, however, their relationship was on a deeper level, for the disciple saw him at last in that impersonal light in which he beheld himself.

For us who came to him years later, it was an inspiration to see between Daya Mata and Master a friendship truly divine.


p. 273–Daya Mata tells the story of how, as a girl, she once asked Master whether he thought she ought to go out and find work to support her needy mother. Instead of the sympathetic reply she expected, Master cried, “Go on! Get out of here this minute!”

“Master,” she begged him tearfully, “I don’t want to leave here. This is my entire life!”

“That’s better,” he replied, very gently. “You have given your life to God, renouncing all worldly ties. The responsibility for your mother is His now.”

On Yogananda’s invitation, the mother came to live at Mt. Washington, and remained there until her death some forty years later.

Soon after that scolding, Master began referring to Daya Mata affectionately as his “nest egg.” For it was from her arrival that he dated the beginning of his monastic order.


 p. 274 Yogananda urged us even in our monastic life to remain somewhat apart from others.

“Don’t mix with others too closely,” he recommended to us one evening. “The desire for outward companionship is a reflection for the soul’s inward desire for companionship with God. But the more you seek to satisfy that desire outwardly, the more you will lose touch with the inner divine Companion, and the more restless and dissatisfied you will become.

Frequently he held up to us examples of saints who had remained aloof even from fellow devotees. “Seclusion,” he told us, “is the price of greatness.” Though mental withdrawal may not make one popular with less dedicated devotees (Daya Mata, who lived that way through her early training, soon found herself dubbed the “half-baked saint”), it is a shortcut to God.


p. 337– It was several days after the committee episode that I first met Daya Mata (then Faye Wright). I had entered the main office after working-hours to deliver something. A youthful-looking woman of radiant countenance entered the room, her firm step suggestive of boundless energy. I had no idea who she was, but sensed in her a deep attunement with Master. Seeing me, she paused, then addressed me pleasantly.

“You’re Donald, aren’t you? I’m Faye. I’ve heard about you.” She smiled. “My, that was quite a stir you boys created with that committee of yours!”

I felt acutely embarrassed. As far as I was concerned, that committee was a dead issue. But she, not knowing how I stood on the matter, decided to help me understand it better. As we conversed, I found myself thinking, “So this is an example of those disciples who were supposed to be ‘obstructing’ Master’s wishes. I’d a thousand times rather be like her than like any of those complainers!” Her calm self-possession, kindliness, and transparent devotion to Master impressed me deeply. From now on, I resolved, I would look upon her as my model in the ideal spirit of discipleship that I was striving to acquire.

“We must learn to give up self-will if we want to please Master. And that,” she added significantly, “is what we are trying to do.”

Simple teaching, simply expressed! But it rang true. What, I thought, reflecting on her words, was the use of building this, of organizing that, of doing even the most laudable work, if Master was not pleased? For his job was to express God’s will for each of us. To please him was, quite simply, to please God.

Let others do the important, outward things, I decided. For me only one thing would matter from now on: to do Master’s will, to please him. I was immeasurably grateful to this senior disciple for her advice.


p. 362  Of the nuns, Daya Mata was the one I got the opportunity to know best, and also the one from whom I drew the greatest inspiration. I found her always fair-minded, gracious to all, humble, childlike in her spontaneity. What inspired me most about her was her utter devotion to God and Guru. She had no desire that I ever observed except to do Master’s will.

“Is everything all right?” she would ask me when we met in her office to discuss official matters. Ever ready to help us spiritually if she could, she would set organizational problems resolutely aside even when they were pressing, if at any time she sensed a need in us for counseling or encouragement. Into every office discussion she would weave subtle threads of insight and guidance. From her I learned that work and meditation belong not in separate compartments from one another; that rather, when the thought of God is held uppermost, they blend together and become one.

…I could never express in words the depth of my gratitude for her constant friendship and guidance. It is one of the most precious gifts God has given me in this life.


p. 376  During the Christmas meditation that year…Master spoke for some time, as he’d done the year before, from the depths of his divine communion. He blessed St. Lynn, Dr. Lewis, Daya Mata, and several others, telling them how greatly pleased God was with them. ….

On Christmas Day we enjoyed our traditional banquet. Master spoke afterward, intimately and lovingly as he had done the year before. During his talk he said, “The ladies in the office gave Faye a Christmas present. They addressed it to, ‘Our boss who never bosses.’” Smiling his pleasure at this beloved disciple, he went on to speak fondly of the garden of souls that was growing up around him.


p. 470  One evening he praised the spirit of those disciples (Daya Mata, Virginia Wright [Ananda Mata], and Miss Darling [Durga Mata]) who had long served him personally. During their early years at Mt. Washington, especially, they had often followed a full day’s work with all-night office labors as well.

“Sir,” I inquired, “didn’t they get much time to meditate?”

“Well, working near this body as they did, they didn’t need so much meditation; they evolved spiritually just the same. But you all must meditate more, because you haven’t that outward contact as much as they had.”


p. 532   On his return to Mt. Washington, Master spent some time discussing Sister [Gyanamata] with a group of us…

“In all the years I have known her,” Daya Mata told me during Sister’s final hours, “I have never once heard her say anything unkind about anyone.” What a beautiful tribute! I reflected that it said much about Daya Mata, too, that she had singled out this one quality for special praise.  Kindness was the hallmark of her own personality.


p. 532  During his last months, especially, he found his greatest earthly joy in those disciples who had lived up to his divine expectations of them. Often he praised St. Lynn, Sister Gyanamata, Daya Mata, Mrs. Brown [Meera Mata] and others. Of Merna Brown (Mrinalini Mata) he said, “She has wonderful karma! You will see what she will do for the work.” She had been a saint, he told us, in more than one of her past lives. Of Corinne Forshee (Mukti Mata) he exclaimed to me once, “She is a wonderful soul!” Of Virginia Wright (Ananda Mata) he never spoke in my hearing, but it was clear from the way he treated her that she had pleased him very deeply. Another disciple who had, I know, pleased him greatly was Jane Brush (Sahaja Mata)…Master showed himself much pleased also with Henry’s spirit (Brother Anandamoy)…


p. 534  His last months passed quickly. Far too quickly, for in our hearts we knew that the end was approaching.

“It will be very soon, I feel,” Daya Mata remarked to me one day in her office.

“But surely,” I protested, “Master will return once more, first, to India.” …

“Do you think so?” Gazing at me deeply, she said no more. Her presentiment, however, proved accurate.


p. 539-40  Later on, after we had left the room, Daya Mata remained alone with Master’s body. As she gazed at him, a tear formed on his left eyelid, and slowly trickled down his cheek. Lovingly, she caught it with her handkerchief.


p. 556  Master, shortly before his mahasamadhi, gave us the ultimate secret of spiritual organizing. Daya Mata had asked him sadly, “Master, when you are gone, what can ever replace you?”

“When I am gone,” he replied, smiling tenderly, “only love can take my place.”


p. 560   PHOTO “Sri Daya Mata, third president of Self-Realization Fellowship”


p. 567   1955 was an important year for Self-Realization Fellowship.  In February, Rajarsi Janakananda died.  The Board of Directors elected Daya Mata to replace him, making her the third SRF president.  Her activities prior to that time had been more or less behind the scenes. We who knew her, however, and knew the high esteem in which Master held her, hailed the choice as the best possible one.

1955 was an important year also for me personally…three other monks and I took our final vows of renunciation in solemn ceremony, receiving sannyas, or ordination into full monkhood, from Daya Mata.  On that occasion we symbolically cremated our bodies in sacrificial flames, to signify that we looked upon ourselves thenceforth as dead to the world, and alive only to God. 


p. 569  Their [women’s] admission into the Swami order has been fully endorsed by several of the greatest masters of our age.

During the course of a sannyas initiation ceremony in Puri, Orissa on May 27, 1959, Swami Bharati Krishna Tirth, the then-presiding Shankaracharya of Gowardhan Math, and the recognized leader of all the Shankaracharya swamis of India, formally redefined those ancient traditions by recognizing Daya Mata’s inititation into the Swami order by Paramahansa Yogananda.

See also~

SRF and Shankaracharya Bharati Krishna Tirtha, head of the Swami Order of India

Back to ~ INDEX: Answering Allegations and Historical Background


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