Light On Sri Yukteswar – Sri Yogananda


This is an excerpt from a beautifully  written letter by a late-devotee (Richard Wright) of Sri Yukteswarji.  At the bottom of the page, you will find the link to all the letters from Richard Wright to his friends, telling them about his travels in India together with his experiences with Sri Yukteswar. I am thrilled on finding the Ananda website, to be able to read first-hand accounts’ of Sri Yukteswar life.  I would have loved to have met Him but alas!  he died long before I was born. Yet in some strange odd way, I feel very drawn to him as if I knew him anyway.  – ” Just sayin, maybe next time around.. ”  Sorry about the spacing in the letter below, just cannot be correct..

Dear All:

No doubt, you are quite puzzled, perplexed, and annoyed at my apparently greedy silence regarding Swami Sri Yukteswarji; and in one sense I don’t blame you. But in another sense I believe you would not blame me, for this is the reason. I felt this way: far be it from me to attempt to describe one so great and saintly with my limited understanding and superficial glances. I could write reams and reams perhaps about his appearance and the outward aspect of the man, but would I be doing justice to the Saint within? So I waited and waited,hoping to glean more and more of the Saint, the true Swami Sri Yukteswarji.

On every visit we made to his humble Ashrama out in Serampore, just 15 miles outside of Calcutta, I tried and tried to penetrate the Bengali conversation between the two Swamijis, for English is null and void when they are together, although Swamiji Maharaj (as called by others) can and sometimes does speak English, although every time I’ve been present every precious moment is devoted to an exchange of expressions and not wasted on merely passing the time of day. I’ve felt so privileged and elated at just being present in their company, that to utter a word or question in English would have been sacrilegious. But to a certain extent, much less than desired, I’ve had a chance to taste the saintliness of this Great One, in his jovial smile and twinkling eyes.

One quality I have discerned in his merry, serious conversation, is a decided positiveness in his statements—the mark of a wise man, who knows he knows, because he knows God. And so it is, anything I could write would only be based upon the limited external impressions and perception, and not upon the true basis of the saint—his spiritual glory. So, if I’m forgiven for my inaptitude and inability to do the inner man or saint justice, I shall begin my tale (from my notes) on a certain day back in September, as a matter of fact on the 30th.

On this day we left Calcutta, filled with the highest anticipation and full of the great joy that we had been experiencing in the receptions here and there. Our journey to Serampore, just 15 miles out among the villages outside of Calcutta, led us over very picturesque roads crowded with heedless pedestrians or rag-clad natives and most insolent and inert “hump-shouldered” cows and dogs. One common scene that is always of fascination is the water buffaloes with their huge bulkiness, climaxed by a crown of flesh and bone on their shoulders, “worn so,” or created so, by the heavy poles stretching across their necks in the form of a yoke, for centuries and centuries; at least, one would be led to believe that this physiological characteristic had been formed from the constant burden they had to bear over so many centuries, and yet they appear docilely vicious in their huge black, scarcely-haired hides, with long horns swooping and dipping back toward their shoulders, so meek and so fierce, in appearance only, however. It is not uncommon to see herds of them standing majestically
in ponds of mud or dirty water out in the villages.

Well, enough of the cows, or at least of the way I described them, so on we went through the conglomerated, congested, and “un-white-winged” villages, and entering Serampore we passed by the queer shops and motley mass of humanity, turned to the right, and proceeded past the adobe, tile-roofed and thatched-roof huts or hovels, past the favorite eating haunt (a shop) of Swamiji during his school days at the college in Serampore, and suddenly turned to the right again down a narrow, walled lane, then a sudden left turn and there before us towered the humble, but inspiring two-story Ashrama of Swami Sri Yukteswarji, with a Spanish-style verandah on the upper floor or balcony, and the most impressive thing about it was its humble solitude. In grave humbleness I strode behind Swamiji into the courtyard or patio within the Ashrama walls, and likewise the inner portion of the upper story was lined on three sides by a verandah. We proceeded up some old stone steps, hearts pounding, up steps no doubt trod by myriad of Truth-drinkers; up through this crumbling, but sacredly humble abode we continued, the tension growing keener and keener, when suddenly, without ostentation or fore-preparation, there before us near the head of the stairs of this quaint verandah, appeared the Great One, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, standing in his noble pose of great wisdom. He has a decidedly sloping forehead, indicative of a lofty vision and sincerity of purpose, a decided purpose, and God-Wisdom.

Then my heart heaved and swelled as I felt myself blessed by the privilege of being in his sublime presence. Tears nearly blurred my eager sight when Swamiji dropped to his knees, and with bowed head offered his Soul’s gratitude and greeting, touching his feet, and then his own head in humble obeisance to his Guru; he arose and was embraced on both sides of the bosom. It was like the joyous greeting of father and prodigal son, but in this case, triumphant son; no words passed, but the most intense feeling was expressed in the silent words of the heart.

How their eyes sparkled and fired with the warmth of renewed Soul-union! A most tender feeling surged through-out this humble patio; even the sun seemed to elude the clouds to add his blaze of glory to the sublime occasion. Then my humbleness waxed high, and on bended knee and dropped head, I added my Soul’s love and thanks for all I’ve thrilled to and hope to thrill to; touching his feet, calloused by Time and Sacrifice, and receiving his blessings by touching my own head after rising, I stood to face two beautiful, deep eyes, sparkling with joy and wisdom, and introspectively smouldering; the brown iris of his eyes glistened in a ring of ethereal blue.

Good Thoughts and Good Deeds – Early Devotees


Here are a few writings from Charles Penn who visited Sai Baba in the 1960’s. First we have an introduction from Mr. Bozzani who knew The Penn’s and spent time in retreat with them. Then we have several wonderful reflections to pass on to our readers. I hope you enjoy the collection of writings of Charles Penn from that time….

Robert Bozzani

“Charles and Faith Penn were among the most wonderful people I met. I got to know them because they would come to the Sai get-togethers when we would have retreats and conferences. And all they would talk about was Love. They would have a meditation, and then they would get up and talk about the Love of Sathya Sai Baba and the poor.”

“I still remember distinctly, that first time at the retreat. I was very disturbed. I said, ‘What is this talk about love? Let’s get to work and make the changes necessary!’ I really laugh at myself when I think of it now, because I’ve understood over the years that it was the Penns’ message which was the most important of all! Understanding that message of Love was crucial to the perception and implementation of Baba’s teachings. In fact, Charles Penn was really the first in the United States to introduce Sathya Sai Baba to the United States, because he had come to Swami as early as 1969.”

– Mr. Robert A. Bozzani


From the writings of Charles Penn’s book My Beloved

“After reading Sathya Sai Baba’s lifestory and thinking long and deeply about it, I decided to write to Sathya Sai Baba. Imagine my joy in receiving a letter from him directly in response to mine – the letter dated 16 July, 1965 and read in part – ”

Charles Penn
Charles Penn

“Dear Charles

Your letter, good thoughts, good deeds, always yield good fruits. Prayers are always answered – that is the rule. Your earnestness to help all those you meet, your activities, your interest in meditation and mind control have borne fruit. This contact is evidence of it.

The guru need not always come in an actual concrete form. He can prompt the higher impulses and urges through a friend, or a book or an event, which reveals the reality in a flash.  After this awakening, the rest is mostly in the hands of the aspirant. The guru can, at best, watch and guide. Do not get agitated or lose heart. You will be guided. However far you may be, geographically, I am as near to you as you are near to me dear Charles, in your sadhana and you can certainly attain shanthi.

You can prepare the edition of the book, for the american and english readers, whom you desire to serve. Whatever is done with sincere faith has my blessings. You can also keep up this correspondence. This proposal has been blessed, and it can be taken up.

Inform your sadhaka friends that i am with them. When the name is evoked, the name and the form are inseparable. This is the meaning of presence.

With blessings to you,

– Sri Sathya Sai Baba ”


My Journey to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by Charles Penn

This is the autobiographical account of a devotee of 25 years, who also authored My Beloved and Sai Ram. Here, he relates his lifelong search for God and his road to Sathya Sai Baba. Swami guided the writer through the process of creating this book, and it is studded with many thought-provoking messages from Swami, as well as moving personal stories, such as the time Swami saved Penn from a 20-foot shark and the time Swami miraculously healed one of the author’s co-workers. Perhaps the book is best described by the eloquent title of the final chapter, ‘Yearning for God’s Grace’ – the source of our extract above.

Heartfelt Prayers, More Sathya Sai Memories

Heart to Heart

During my student days at Sathya Sai Baba’s Lotus Feet, I learnt a lot through innumerable such instances. Many times it happened that  Baba would refuse to accept a letter from me and I used to feel completely dejected. On one such occasion,  Baba gave me the ‘cold storage’ treatment by not accepting my letter for many days at a stretch. One  day, He suddenly called me and literally grabbed the letter from my hands. Even without opening the letter, He went on to reveal its contents and concluded with a great revelation,

‘I need not go through your letter to know its contents. The prayer in your heart reaches me instantaneously, even before you pen downs your thoughts.’

To be frank, after this incident I reduced the ‘written mail’ and instead concentrated on heartfelt prayers. This is what  Baba implies when He exhorts us to develop ‘a heart to heart relationship’ with Him.


article by Sri K. Suresh