Before addressing any of Ananda’s specific charges against SRF, it is worth noting the way in which quotations are used in Ananda’s letter. We have found that frequently the words Mr. Walters attributes to SRF leaders in no way reflect the thoughts actually conveyed by them. Rather, all too often, thoughts are rephrased or elaborated upon or are presented completely out of context, drastically changing their intent and meaning. Readers who have had some contact with Daya Mata and the other disciples quoted will recognize how extremely uncharacteristic are the thoughts and feelings ascribed to them in these letters and will naturally question the validity of allegations that are based on such quotations.
Regarding Ananda’s personal attacks on our president, Sri Daya Mata, and her actions as leader of Paramahansa Yogananda’s work, we would only say that these allegations are in direct opposition to the testimony of those who know her. Throughout the more than 40 years in which Daya Mataji has served as sanghamata of Paramahansaji’s worldwide society, countless souls have found in this great disciple the fulfillment of the Guru’s counsel to her, “Inspire all with your spiritual motherliness….” and have experienced in their own lives the transforming effects of her divine love, wisdom, and compassionate understanding.
India’s former Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Binay R. Sen, wrote in 1990: “Those who, like myself, were privileged to have met Paramahansaji find reflected in Daya Mataji that same spirit of divine love and compassion that so impressed me on my first visit to the Self-Realization Center almost forty years ago.”
In considering the characterization of Daya Mata in Ananda’s recent letter, it is also worth noting that it represents a startling contradiction of the one given by Donald Walters in his own autobiography The Path, (published in 1977):
“Of the nuns, Daya Mata was the one I got the opportunity to know best, and also the one from whom I drew the most 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 I ever observed except to do Master’s will.”
J. Donald Walters, in The Path
[Added by Yodananda Site] ~ Daya Mataji (with Ananda Mata and Brothers Shantyananda and Achalananda), during one of her 5 lengthy trips to India between 1958 and the early seventies looking after and building up the YSS work, as she had promised Paramahansaji that she would do
Those of us who have been blessed to serve under the leadership of Sri Daya Mata know that, in any decision guiding the direction or activities of Paramahansaji’s work, Daya Mataji’s first and only concern is always: “What would our Guru want done?” Never has she allowed any other principle or pursuit to preempt this one.*
[Footnote: *In the Sept. 30 newsletter, Ananda makes much of the guideline ascribed to SRF’s leadership: “In any situation that arises, we must be guided by one consideration only: ‘What is best for the work?”’ Ananda states: “Self-Realization Fellowship has unfortunately interpreted the phrase ‘What is best for the work’ to mean ‘that which will help Self-Realization Fellowship to survive at any cost.”’ In actuality, to monks and nuns of Self-Realization Fellowship the phrase “Whatever is best for the work” expresses the humble prayer of any true disciple to follow the Guru’s wishes, and not the desires or dictates of one’s own ego. The effort to discern “what is best for God’s work” is in fact a basic principle on the spiritual path, synonymous with seeking God’s will in everything, which is the very essence of all spiritual endeavor.]
Mr. Walters and Ananda claim that SRF “has lost its way.” However, the many direct disciples who today carry on the work of Self-Realization Fellowship had the unique blessing of being personally trained by the Guru himself (some for as many as 20 years) and know his guidelines and wishes for his work through firsthand experience. Mr. Walters was not present on the numerous occasions when Paramahansaji conveyed his guidance for the future, and was not among the close disciples to whom the Guru entrusted the direction of his work.
[Yogananda Site: As stated elsewhere in this SRF letter, Paramahansaji left in writing the disciples he wished to serve on the SRF Board of Directors after his passing. Mr. Walters was not appointed to the Board by Paramahansaji but was appointed in 1960 after the passing of Dr. M.W. Lewis, and removed from the Board by unanimous vote in 1962.]
It is under the supervision of these direct disciples that the SRF monastics continue to fulfill Paramahansa Yogananda’s mission through the various services and activities he initiated many years ago: publishing and distributing Paramahansaji’s teachings; overseeing temples, meditation centers, retreats, and youth programs; providing spiritual counsel and guidance by letter, telephone, and in person to students of the Self-Realization teachings; conducting lecture and class series in cities all over the world; and coordinating the Worldwide Prayer Circle, a network of individuals and groups dedicated to praying for those in need of physical, mental, or spiritual aid and for global peace and harmony.