Swami Kriyananda: The Secret of Good Photography

Photos: Portraits by Swami Kriyananda.

(Part 14 in our ongoing series, Swami Kriyananda on Art & the Artist.)

To a few close friends, Swamiji said, “I’ve already done almost everything I set out to do in life: starting Ananda, writing about my life with Master. Inwardly I feel a deep, inner freedom, a joyful sense of attunement.” Now, he said, he needed to change his orientation to be less about projects, and more about people. “But others, accustomed to relating to me in the old way, repeatedly seek to involve me in projects. I get drawn in, but my inner guidance also blocks my energy.”

The high blood pressure he described as “the physical expression of the mounting pressure of unfulfilled guidance. It isn’t the work itself, it is the way I approach it. I need to develop more of an intuitive, loving flow; less teaching on a mental level, more sharing on a heart level; less theory, more direct experience.” He knew a change was needed, but it wasn’t clear to him how it would come about.

In February, Arjuna and Shivani invited Swamiji to come with them on a vacation to Hawaii. At first he hesitated, then realized the atmosphere of Hawaii would support the inner shift he felt he needed. Perhaps an open-ended stay would be beneficial. At the Village, his basic living expenses were covered. In Hawaii, he would have to rent a house and take care of everything himself. But how? He had no savings; everything he earned he put back into the work.

In the early years, Swamiji rarely saw a photograph of Ananda that he felt expressed the real spirit of the community. So he began to take pictures himself. Then he started carrying his camera when he traveled—and soon had an impressive photo collection, not only of Ananda, but of people and places around the world.

“The secret of good photography is feeling a sense of communion with the subject,” Swamiji said. “Of course, people respond to your vibrations of love and good will, but so also do plants, animals, even Nature herself. Mountains, sunsets, flowing rivers all appear more vibrant when the photographer feels an inward connection with all of life.” (Swami Kriyananda: Lightbearer, 1981, pp. 157-158)

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