excerpts from RICHARD WRIGHT, Beloved Spiritual Son of the Guru
Richard Wright is known and highly regarded by Self-Realization Fellowship members and friends all over the world as the disciple who assisted Paramahansaji during his extended trip to India in 1935-36. Millions of readers of Autobiography of a Yogi have been inspired by the passages from Mr. Wright’s fascinating travel diary that Paramahansaji quoted in the book. He also took movies and photographs—a number of the latter are included in the Autobiography— that chronicled the Guru’s memorable journey to his homeland. ….
Below (clockwise from upper right): Paramahansa Yogananda and C. Richard Wright with Swami Sri Yukteswar in religious procession, Calcutta, 1935; in Egypt, 1935; with renowned Catholic mystic Therese Neumann, Germany, 1935; on boat on Yamuna River with Paramahansaji’s brother Sananda Lal Ghosh and other relatives, 1936; at Red Fort with Taj Mahal in background, Agra, 1936; with Swami Keshabananda, Brindaban, 1936.
For ten years Richard Wright was one of the Guru’s close personal assistants, rendering him enormous help in the early years of SRF. Though he never took monastic vows, Mr. Wright lived at the Mt. Washington ashram as a single person beginning in late 1932. He was an original member of the Board of Directors of SRF when it was incorporated in 1935, and was elected Secretary at that time. He assisted Paramahansaji with his lecture tours and class series all over the United States. He also helped to inaugurate the comprehensive home-study series of SRF Lessons, through which the Self-Realization teachings and meditation techniques have become a way of life and path to God for countless persons all over the world. Writing to Rajarsi Janakananda in 1934, Paramahansaji noted: “Of all workers I find Dick Wright the most intelligent, faithful…. About weekly Praecepta [SRF Lessons], I told Dick what you thought of them and it made him very happy.”
[His] unique family was destined to play a far-reaching and irreplaceable role in the Guru’s divine mission of disseminating the ancient science of Kriya Yoga to the world. Richard Wright was the elder brother of SRF/YSS president Sri Daya Mata. Their sister, Ananda Mata, entered the monastic path a short time after Daya Mataji and served on the Board of Directors of SRF/YSS for more than half a century. Their mother, Shyama Mata, who also became a nun, was highly esteemed by Paramahansaji, whom she served faithfully for many years. The younger brother, the late Dale Wright, was another lifelong follower of the SRF teachings.
Paramahansaji wrote the following in 1934 from Lexington, Kentucky, where he was conducting classes:
“Glad to receive your very nice letter. So happy, at last I found a little band of youngsters—your family—who have given me more happiness and confidence than anyone else in being the foundation of this work for which I have bled for years and sacrificed everything. I hope you realize how much I think of you all; and while I am living, and more when my lips will be silent forever, you will have a chance to prove that you will live and die for this great work. That alone can be the best token of you and your sisters’ loyalty. You all must be one with me.”
Throughout his final months, Mr. Wright was permeated with a joy and divine peace that uplifted all around him. One of his nurses related: “I remember when I first met him, he seemed like such a big man to me—not only physically, but his presence just seemed to fill the whole room. He was very dignified, very quiet. As time went on something else also emerged from him. It was such a sweet purity, so very beautiful to experience. He was always so thankful for anything that you ever did; he never complained about a thing. It was such a blessing to be in his presence.”
Not long before Christmas, Mr. Wright told his nurse that he would be there for the holidays, but then “I am going home.”
“What’s it like, your home?” his nurse asked him. “He looked at me with those light blue sparkling eyes, a very full smile, and said, ‘It’s beautiful!'”
Four days after the spiritual celebration of Paramahansaji’s birthday (January 5), he left his body for the bliss and freedom of the heavenly realms.
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