By Nayaswami Narayan
May 28, 2019
There are some scenes in one’s life that are so perfectly absurd they prove the existence of God’s great and timely sense of humor.
The other day Dharmadevi, Peter and I were walking down the sidewalk by our West LA center. A group of teenagers (about five) were walking towards us in the opposite direction. From a distance we could see that they were laughing to each other and having a good time.
As they drew closer to us their mood became more somber and serious. Adults were upon them! Their smiles turned to stern stone faces. I thought of Swami Kriyananda and how he would advise to “be the first to smile” and initiate kindness. “All the world is my friend”, I thought. I will share the joy of my soul with them. So I smiled and held my hand up waving in silent greeting.
However, I think I appeared more a strange bird than an old soul friend. As we made eye contact, one of the young girls said in response to my greeting, “What up, Fool?” End of conversation.
“Haha!”, I inwardly guffawed to myself. Little does she know, I am a fool! That is to say crazy for God, a fool in the eyes of the world. In that sense, it was the perfect greeting for me. Divine Mother was speaking through this young teenager saying, “Go on with your crazy self!”
Phil Goldberg shares a similar story about Paramhansa Yogananda in his new book The Life of Yogananda:
One time he (Yogananda) sat opposite a man on a long train ride who stared at him with disgust. Ironically, the fellow passenger was Warner Oland, a Swedish-American movie actor known for playing Asians like Charlie Chan and Dr. Fu Manchu. Yogananda asked why he was looking at him that way.
“None of your business,” said the actor.
“Of course it’s my business, because every time I look ahead I have to see your face.”
That broke the ice. “We are all a little bit crazy,” Yogananda pointed out, “Only I know your kind of craziness but you do not know what kind of craziness I have.” He made an offer: they would have a constructive discussion, and whoever lost would follow the other. They conversed for two hours, and, Yogananda said, “He lost and I won, and I was saved from being a movie actor.” –The Life of Yogananda by Phil Goldberg
One time one of Swami Kriyananda’s brother disciples talked against him to a group of people from Ananda. Upon hearing about it, Swami said, “I feel better loving than holding resentment. It’s none of my business how he treats me. I choose to love him. And it helps me affirm my own lack of importance.”
When someone insults you or looks upon you with disgust, rather than responding with egoic consciousness, “Hey, who are you to call me that!”, try another approach. Learn to be like the saints and respond with the healing balm of humor, compassion, and good cheer. When we choose to love no matter how others treat us, then we will truly realize that all the world is our friend.
Your fool in God,
All The World Is My Friend