From Kalyani Todd
One day in 1975 I was alone in the meditation retreat kitchen doing the dishes when Narada walked up the covered walkway from the Common Dome, as we called our dining room, and asked if he could have an apple. I told him, sure. He helped himself to an apple from the big box in the walkway. We introduced ourselves, and I asked him, “What brings you here?” He said he was searching for something more in life.
After a few minutes talking together, I said, “It seems like you belong here.” His eyes lit up and he smiled, almost in disbelief, and then he looked down, nodding his head as if he agreed. Several times in later years he told me how happy he was about that meeting, because it was what made him decide to join Ananda.
I’ve always been grateful that Master prompted me to say what I did, because not only did Narada become an integral part of the community, he became one of my best friends, as well. Over the years, each member of my family (Nitai, Prem, and Mirabai) and I have shared countless birthdays, trips, spiritual events, workdays, and casual times with Narada and his mother, Evelyn Agee. They are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, enriching us forever.
From Kalyani Todd
A year or two after my first meeting with Narada, he came to my door. Back then I lived in an improved chicken coop with plywood walls with a greenhouse attached to one side which served as my kitchen/dining room. Narada stood in the greenhouse doorway talking to me while I prepared dinner. He seemed to be struggling with something. There was an Ananda tour he really wanted to be part of. He told me that each person on the tour needed to pay for his own food on the trip. I asked if he had any money. He said all he had was $300 he’d put away, but he didn’t want to touch it. It was his safety net.
I stopped what I was doing, and looked calmly at him. “Narada,” I said, “God asks us to give all we have. If we hold anything back, He’s not pleased. You need to trust that God will take care of you. This is your opportunity to give yourself completely.” His inner struggle dissolved as these words reinforced what his own conscience had been telling him. He relaxed, and seriously said, “You’re right. You’re right. Thank you, Kalyani.” He left, and the next thing I heard, he was going on the tour!
Comments by Ram Kishore Shastri, the Hindu priest Narada lived with for about 2 years (reported by Kalyani)
Narada wanted to live in nature, in the open. He spent a lot of time meditating. He was hard-working. He was a nice, holy, gentle person, with no ego. He had every good quality. He was always helpful. He hoped to have a family life. His eyes gave him a lot of trouble.
When Shastri-ji heard that Narada had died, he was saddened, but said comfortingly, “All souls are eternal.” He misses Narada and lovingly remembers their time together.
Story from Narada’s trip to India in 1980, told by Prem Kane, written by his mother, Kalyani.
Narada saved my life on that trip. We were on a month-long pilgrimage with Haridas, Nitai, and my mom, Kalyani, trying to meet up with Anandamayi Ma, who was constantly traveling to crowds of devotees all overIndia. I was 13 years old at the time.
We were visiting Hardwar on the Ganges River. The sun was so hot, and the water looked so inviting, that Narada and I decided to take a swim to the other shore of the river. The upriver bridge we had just walked over wasn’t very long, and we were sure we could make it across.
Unfortunately, we didn’t take into account the powerful current squeezing past Hardwarstraight out of the Himalaya Mountains. Downstream the river quickly widened to meet the ocean[i]. Enormous pillars holding the mile-long bridge over the mouth of the river were the last visible barriers to the ocean beyond.
As soon as we got in the freezing water, we knew we were in trouble. We had to swim with all our might. Alone, I would have been swept out to sea, but Narada positioned himself below me in the current and yelled to me to swim hard. We barely made it to the island between the bridges. We stayed there a long while to catch our breath for the rest of the swim to the opposite shore. Narada and I laughingly kept our escapade a secret from Mom until we got safely back toAmerica!
[i] The actual ocean is a very long way from Rishikesh but as a 13-year old he didn’t know that. Still, being swept downstream would have been extremely dangerous if not fatal due to hypothermia, disease, and being lost in a (very) foreign land where finding his parents would have extremely difficult.