This final tribute to Narada is contributed by his student Rachel Anderson. As Dakshina Agee explains, “She’s written it as if she were building a mala. Each of the 108 things is like a mala bead, and she’s put in crimps and spacers per Narada’s formula. It’s quite amazing, really.”
108 Things to Love about Narada
(And just the tip of the iceberg)
108. 8mm Cobalt Blue Swarovski Crystal. “They’re the finest man-made crystals…”
107. If you ever needed a pen or pencil, he’d have one.
106. If you ever needed a knife, he’d have one.
105. If you ever needed a smile, he’d have one.
104. His smile was real and beautiful.
103. The way he would play the harmonium, just the tiniest bit behind the beat when he got into it. He was the one who taught me that it wasn’t how you sang; it was what you sang and how you felt when you sang.
102. The way he’d sing, with all his soul’s devotion. He told me the story of an Indian man, (maybe his name was Narada, I don’t remember, it’s about a 50-50 chance) who would chant Ram all day; completely off key and so horribly that his neighbors couldn’t stand it. And that Rama came to him. He probably said something much more soul provoking, but my 13-year-old mind translated it as “You Rock, Man!”
101. The way he’d illustrate what he’d teach me with stories. (I’ll probably throw some in here.)
100. The way he was always teaching me, and lots of others. Without our knowledge. But always with our enthusiasm.
99. How he’d say ‘oh no’ differently from everyone else and put his hands on his cheeks. It sounded different because he would smile as he said it.
98. The way he always knew that it would work out. He taught me that too. (You’ll notice a trend.)
97. Spacer. 2mm gold bead. 3 mm gold plated bead. Cobalt Blue Swarovski Crystal spacer bead. 3 mm bead. 2 mm bead. I haven’t forgotten, Narada.
96. The way he’d illustrate what he’d teach with pictures.
95. The way he’d express his devotion to God and guru through his art.
94. The way his creativity touched kids, me included, with his ever spinning thoughts and ideas.
93. His determination to follow an idea to its resolution. “We need a nature trail!” “We should make a Youth Group!” “Our youth group should fund an outing to Whidbey Island!” “We should make malas to help the youth group!” “We should build a go-cart!”
92. His joyful attitude towards any task, however daunting.
91. His focus on that task when he was doing it.
90. His focus on people when he was with them.
89. If you needed someone to say ‘good job’, he was your guy.
88. The way he’d always try to make things more efficient or better. “We’re now crimping at the 36th bead, Rachel.”
87. How he always had a notepad in his shirt pocket. I think he gave me his address at least three times when I couldn’t remember it.
86. How he’d refuse to see ‘bad’ in others, always commending the good.
85. Spacer bead. I miss you, Narada.
84. He’d never judge, even if you (I)…we expected him to, and wished that he would.
83. The way he’d never give anything anyone less than his best.
82. The way he’d never let me give anything less than my best.
81. He’d always see light in every situation.
80. He’d always see the opportunity in every situation.
79. He’d always see the adventure in every situation.
78. He’d always see God and guru in every situation.
77. He had about 50 pairs of the same socks. Made him easy to do laundry with.
76. He seemed to know when I was on a hurry on the other end of the phone. So he’d proceed to tell me in depth about whatever project he was working on or recent idea that he’d had.
75. There were no secrets with him; he’d tell you what he knew so you could know too.
74. There were always surprises with him.
73. Spacer. Crimp here at the 36th bead. Use a crimp cover. If it’s not perfect, use another one. If that one’s not perfect…use another one. Did you ever stop having ideas for better ways to do things?
72. His love of adventure.
71. His willingness to take the time for adventures. He taught me that.
70. The way he considered misfortune an adventure as well. He taught me that too.
69. His view of life as an adventure. His certainly was!
68. His way of twisting others’ lives into adventures. He made mine one.
67. His constant reminder that it was the Masters and God, not people, who made adventures.
66. His persistence to make things work or happen. One trip rescheduled three times, but finally happening.
65. The way he’d laugh for himself.
64. The way he’d laugh for others.
63. How he never considered anyone too young or too old to learn. Including himself.
62. How he never considered anyone too young or too old to help. And so help he did.
61. Spacer bead. Narada probably wouldn’t want me to make this list. But he’s too modest to say this stuff himself, so I’m gonna say it for him. Ha!
60. He was so magnetic you couldn’t dislike him.
59. He was so grateful for all the things he magnetized.
58. He was expressive of that gratitude.
57. The way he always worked with potential, not with current reality.
56. How he was never afraid to try new things. Even Twister, which he brought into Sunday School one day. I don’t think he won, but he smiled the whole time.
55. How he would devote as much time as necessary to teaching.
54. How he was always willing to try something and put all of his effort into it.
53. The way he would connect immediately and deeply with people. At the High School, when word of his death got around, not many kids knew Narada very well, but all one had to say was, “You met him in Seattle, he was the one who helped do service.” And they would remember immediately. And more often than not, smile.
52. The way he would share that connection with others. I remember my first experience with Living Wisdom School was at a Thai Restaurant where they were having a kirtan. And he didn’t care that I was an Eighth Grader and everyone else was 11th and 12th graders…he plunked me down at a table with Leiya and Parkle and Matt and Ken and Ria, who towered over me, I might add, and did introductions.
53. He was careful about vibrations and understood the power of what you put out.
52. He was always connected to everyone. Before I even went to school, he was talking to me about girls from the school by name.
51. Spacer bead. Thanks for your email; I really liked the pictures you sent. I replied to it. You don’t have to answer.
50. His enthusiasm. Jyotish referred to it as ‘childlike’ during the Astral Ascension. But I think it was just Narada-like, and children wanted to be around it.
49. His openness to different views and people and teachings and experiences.
48. His acceptance of people as they were.
47. His knowledge that he couldn’t change them, but his willingness to accommodate any changes they were ready for.
46. His attention to details.
45. His inexhaustible energy. God had to give him pneumonia one time to get him to slow down. And even then he went down with a fight and popped right back up afterwards.
44. His grounded-ness and realism. His goals were incredible, but always reachable.
43. His imagination and creativity. I might have already mentioned this, but I guess it deserves to come up again.
42. His flexibility. He talked to me a lot about waving in the wind and going with the flow of intuition. Once, he spent 20 minutes going over a lesson plan with me for Sunday school. And we ended up have no kids show up. So he shrugged and we stayed up for the service. He did the lesson plan the week after, but it ended up being a much younger group, so instead of reading a lot from the AY, he read parts, then told stories while they colored pictures of Jesus and Master. Pictures that Narada had drawn.
41. How he never seemed to get tired of working and serving. We spent 6 hours making tile-shelves one time and only stopped twice: once for lunch and the noon meditation, once to go to the hardware store.
40. How he always told what he knew, and if he didn’t know, he’d look it up or find someone who did.
39. Spacer. Crimp here. Narada, I asked you one time if you were an angel or saint. You said no and that I shouldn’t think of you like that. But I’m going to think of you as my teacher, ok?
38. His respect. I had heard people refer to Swami Kriyananda as Swamiji, but never really knew what it meant until Narada called me Rachel-ji, and I asked. That was an incredible honor.
37. His honesty.
36. How time always seemed to fly around him. I made malas with him for four hours one time. And it felt like not even one.
35. How he was always ready with congratulations or support, no matter how undeserved or small the thing.
34. He would pursue something to the end. Even when I was 700 miles away at school, he was supporting me. It was always a joy to hear from him when he would call and ask about everything.
33. His support, I suppose, goes with the one above. I think I’ve mentioned this before too, but it deserves to come up again because he was so…supportive, especially of youth. His support was a treasure.
32. The way he was always open to new ideas for projects and fresh points of views for innovations.
31. His appreciation for nature.
30. His appreciation for people.
29. How he’d never underestimate a person, no matter how young or inexperienced. Maybe especially then. He let me use an electric saw, after all…
28. How his values shone through in everything he did.
27. Spacer. Jyotish said during your Astral Ascension, that you had a way of connecting with kids in the formative years. I’m sure I wasn’t the first or the last kid you had an impact on, but if there’s a list, I want to be on it.
26. His appreciation for beauty. Maybe this should’ve gone higher.
25. His super-power to turn any experience into a learning experience.
24. His devotion to his teachers, Swami, Master, Lahiri, Sri Yukteswar, Jesus…saints of all religions. I think his mom too, from what I’ve heard, and probably many more, but these are just the few I know.
23. His solution-oriented mentality and creative problem solving.
22. His leadership capabilities. He would never admit it himself, but Narada was a good leader, maybe not for adults, but definitely for kids.
21. Related to the previous, the way he could capture attention and interest and direct it into productive and constructive energy.
20. His love for his wife, Dakshina. She made him a soup for lunch one time when we were working and she had to be somewhere. I remember him being super grateful and going off on a tangent about her knitting project with as much enthusiasm as he would one of his own.
19. His love for the people in his community.
18. His love period.
17. His ability to relate to adults and kids simultaneously and on basically the same level.
16. His praise. A gift I will never forget and one that many others received.
15. Spacer. Narada, I miscounted. I don’t really know how, but I’m three beads off, I should be on 12, I think. I need one of the white counter boards you made (yet another invention you created for efficiency). However, I don’t think that three extra things to love about you are going to hurt, so…
14. The joy that he found all around him and pulled from within to share. Divine Joy.
13. The humility with which he performed everything he did.
12. The modesty that made him divert all gratitude to the Divine Mother. Well, Narada, THANK YOU! Ha. I said it. I think he’d laugh.
11. The gratitude he showed whenever his service or devotion was reciprocated at a fraction of what he’d put out in the first place.
10. The selfless service he performed in general, I wouldn’t leave that out. That was a signature Narada trait.
9. The wisdom he shared with everyone who was seeking it, and always with the precursor that he didn’t know everything, and usually with a follow-up of researched or relevant information if he didn’t have the answer himself.
8. The praise that he always had for a job well done or consolation for a person in need of it.
7. The support he had for people in need.
6. The freedom with which he shared, served, and loved.
5. The enthusiasm with which he attacked life.
4. The kindness and friendship that preceded him wherever he went.
3. The love he had for the Divine Mother.
2. The love he had for everyone he met.
The last space is for you to put a reason to love Narada. Something I must have missed because just as Narada and I always put a tassel at the end of a mala with hundreds of strings, there are also hundreds of reasons to love him.
The numbers above have no numerical significance because just as the beads went on in no particular order, things to love about Narada occurred to me in no particular order either and went down unedited just as they came to me.
The last part of the mala was the ‘common whipping’ to tie the tassel together and complete the masterpiece of energy-infused beadwork. This was the hardest part that required the most concentration and precision. I don’t know what that will look like for you or for me, but just as every whipping was a little different, I’m sure our sadness at the loss of a dear friend will express itself differently. I suppose I can say:
Narada, you were, are, and always will be a great soul. I am honored that our paths crossed and sad that they diverged again so quickly, but I will always remember you and I’m so glad to have known you. You were a great friend to me and so many others. I love you and will miss you for so many reasons. Thank you for being my friend. Goodbye.