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Unregistered User
(2/3/02 12:41 pm)
Bernard meets Yogananda, Part One
This is my second Yogananda story posting, and it consists of the first installment of three parts.

Bernard met Master as a young man. He impressed the guru enough to be accepted as a disciple. Yogananda later gave him responsibilities as a minister: leading Sunday services, satsangs, counseling, etc. In that capacity, he was known in Mt. Washington circles as "Reverend Bernard." (I don't know his last name.) He left SRF sometime in the years following Master's demise.

How I heard this story: In 1978 (I believe it was), Swami Kriya-nanda went on a national speaking tour with a group of A-nanda people. During part of the tour, he stopped in Santa Barbara where another direct disciple of Master, Norman Paulsen, had founded a community called "Brotherhood of the Sun." Bernard happened to be staying at Norman's community at the time, and the three of them came together one evening to share their stories of Yogananda with everyone who was there.

Kriya-nanda started things off by reading selections from his book, The Path, that dealt with his associations with Bernard, Norman and Master. Norman then relayed his own recollections (the essence of which might be gleaned from the account he later wrote in his book that was published under the name of Christ Consciousness). Then, Bernard got up to speak.

I was not present at this satsang. The story of what Bernard said was later related to me soon after by someone who had been there. What I'm writing here is what I recall of what I was told more than twenty years ago, but it was such a striking story that I believe it stuck in my memory fairly well.

Fair warning: Bernard was a real eccentric, and his manner of speaking was unique. Some might describe him as "crotchety." The parts of this story that are his direct words will give you some idea of how the rest of it sounded, and I am pretty sure that it will be a fair departure from any other story you've ever heard of Master. (I would also be willing to bet that this one never made it to the pages of Self-Realization magazine!)

        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

When Bernard stood up to speak, someone tried to hand him a microphone. "I don't need that thing!" he declared. And, indeed, it seemed that his own voice, old as he was, had enough carrying power to reach pretty much everyone in the crowd.

Bernard started off by informing his audience that he was quite a young man, in his teens, when he first met Yogananda. He was living in L.A. at the time, and was old enough to be holding down some sort of job. One of his friends happened to be acting as a secretary for Master, or had some other capacity at SRF. At any rate, this woman began to encourage Bernard to come and see Yogananda who, at that time (and if memory serves), was giving personal interviews to people on Saturdays at Hollywood Church.

Bernard said: "She kept telling me, 'Oh, ya gotta meet the the Master!'" But Bernard kept putting it off. I don't believe he was on the spiritual path yet at that time, and his reaction was that it all sounded kooky. Yet, as he put it, "she kept bugging" him about it, and finally, Bernard relented and decided to give it a try, "just to shut her up!"

Well, when Bernard got to the Hollywood Church, he found that he wasn't alone in his decision. In fact, he found himself at the end of a long line of people who had all gotten there early in order to have an interview with Yogananda.

Bernard ending up waiting there the whole day and, to add insult to injury, when his turn finally came, the interview hours were over and Master had decided not to see anyone else!

Bernard was really ticked off. The next time he saw his friend, he told her what had happened, along with his intention never to waste his time again so foolishly.

Yet, she (bless her heart), continued to "bug" him. "She kept sayin', 'ya gotta meet the Master! Ya gotta meet the Master!' 'All right!' I said, 'I'll go once more. But he better see me this time!'"

Well, if you'll believe it, the same thing happened! Once again, Bernard stood at the end of a long line for many hours, and once again, when he finally made it to the front of the line, the door was shut in his face!

Bernard was, understandably, deeply unhappy about the course of events. And renewed his determination never to set foot in Hollywood Church again.

Still, his friend wouldn't relent, but insisted that he "give it one more shot." And Bernard, feeling like an idiot, gave in, and found himself one more time standing in a long line and staring at a door that he was sure would never open for him.

And then—whether he had come earlier this time, or his karma had cleared enough to make it happen, or what—the secretary came to him and said, "The Master will see you now."

Feeling a sense of trepidation, Bernard walked through the door and into Yogananda's interview room, where he found the Master, with his orange robe, long, dark hair, lustrous eyes and gentle smile, awaiting him.

From Bernard's description, Master was seated and indicated that the young man before him should sit down in the chair that was pulled up in front of him.

Bernard rough voice became a little softer as he talked about the furnishings of the room, giving his audience a fuller picture of the occasion. He recalled that the draperies were hung in blue and gold. "Master's colors," he called them, and Kriya-nanda and Norman, who were seated behind Bernard on the platform with their eyes closed, were smiling and nodding their heads as they recalled their own interviews and experiences with Master in that same room.

Master, perhaps sensing Bernard's nervousness and wishing to put him at ease, asked him some very basic questions. Was Bernard still going to school? Did he have a job, and if so, what did he do? Was he living with his family, and in what part of L.A.? And so on.

After they had spoken together for awhile and "the ice was broken," there came a time when Master stopped asking questions and just sat there, (either looking at Bernard, or with his eyes closed, I forget which.)

And then, to Bernard's surprise, Yogananda scooted his chair up so that their knees were touching, and leaned toward Bernard. "What's he gonna do?" he wondered for a moment. Then, Master's hands reached out and pulled Bernard's head forward so that their foreheads were touching. And all Bernard's thoughts fled.

Bernard's forehead was filled with a kaleidocope of brilliant, swirling light. At the same time, his heart was bursting with bliss. In that light Bernard saw, like a newsreel, images of himself with Yogananda in one past life after another. Forward through the centuries they traveled, the two of them. And always, Master had been the guru, and Bernard, Master's disciple. In one form or another, in one country or another, wearing various garments and names, they had played the same roles in the pageant of time.

Finally, Master let go of Bernard's head and sat back in his chair. He smiled at the young man, cocked his head to one side and said, "Well?"

Bernard jumped to his feet. "Well, that was great!" he blurted out, "gotta go!" And, quick as a flash, he was out the door!

Bernard was young and inexperienced, and the vision that Master had given him, though powerful and deeply meaningful, had left him in a state of shock.

It took Bernard a little time to recover, but when he did, he realized that he had no other desire but to see Master, to be with Master, to plumb the depths of that inner bond which his vision had hinted at.

And so, it was not long after this that Bernard packed his things and moved up to Mt. Washington.

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End of Part One.

Registered User
(2/3/02 8:49 pm)
Re: Bernard meets Yogananda, Part One

Great story!! I've often wondered about "Reverend Bernard" as I understood he played a prominent role in the service of Master just as you've so finely described.

I'm anxious to hear "Part Two" as soon as it's posted.


Pig Ma
Registered User
(2/3/02 10:04 pm)
This is great!
This is a great section, and I am totally looking forward to the future installments of Reverand Bernard. As long as you keep writing them, I'll keep reading them!

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