Dharmadevi and I watched a movie the other night called, “The Disciple.” It’s a story about a young Indian man who has a passion for Indian classical music. He learns from his father growing up and then his teacher who he considers his guru. 

There are some soul stirring scenes and you can feel why India considers the voice to be the most beautiful instrument. The voice conveys subtle aspects of feeling and when used in attunement with the Divine it has the power to raise our consciousness.

For example, I remember when I first heard Swami Kriyananda’s voice. His voice was so filled with vibrations of divine love and joy that I was rooted to the spot. Whenever I listen to his recordings (his lectures or music), I feel uplifted and inspired. He used his voice as an instrument for his guru’s grace. 

The movie got great ratings and reviews and I love Indian classical music. I thought I would enjoy it. 

However, I had one big problem with Sharad, the disciple from the movie. He was not happy! Whether he became successful outwardly or not wasn’t the point for me. I was waiting to see his inner victories and joy. Unfortunately, the movie’s portrayal of discipleship left me with a feeling of sadness and incompleteness. 

His character reminded me of what saint Frances de Sales said, “A sad saint is a sad saint indeed.” 

On the other hand, Swami Kriyananda lived a completely different model of discipleship. His life demonstrated the greatest joy in every way. No matter what happened outwardly (and Swami endured his fair share of persecution) he never lost his inner peace and God’s joy. 

Swami taught us to say YES! to life. He showed that discipleship means to enjoy things with the joy of God.

The old approach to renunciation emphasizes what you give up and the suffering one endures. A priest once told me the Pope was holy because he “suffered a lot.” 

Today we are in desperate need of a positive example of discipleship and renunciation. This is why Swami Kriyananda made the color for the Nayaswami order blue. He wanted it to be life affirming. Swami was saying that discipleship and renunciation are about what we embrace. In fact, the vow he wrote for the order begins:

“From now on, I embrace as the only purpose of my life the search for God.”

Rather than singing a sad song of unhappiness, it is the disciple’s duty to be very joyous and happy. Discipleship, rightly understood, is joy.

So let’s take a page out of Paramhansa Yoganada’s book and “sing a song that none have sung” through our love for God. 

When we live for Him alone, we will hit the only note that matters: His joy.

Joy to you!