From Joseph Agee, Narada’s Brother
During his time at Ananda in California, Narada worked tirelessly as an electrical contractor, both in and outside of the community, and directly contributed to its growth. He can also claim credit for having designed and developed one of the first inclusive electrical circuit boxes that allowed the complete connection for solar powered homes. This came of his years of experience helping set up solar components for many homes in the area. He saw the need for some kind of device that would make the process simpler and more feasible for the average home. Working with several colleagues in the community, he founded the Ananda Power Technologies Company that prospered for several years and set the standard in the solar power industry.
From Ananta McSweeney
It seems the salient quality of Narada’s life was his humility.
When he first came to the village in the mid-70′s he was one of only two certified electricians (the other being Muktan Knowles). Swamiji lived in the dome and had electricity only from a generator. Whenever it would go out, Narada would get the call. I remember many nights holding the flashlight for him, or moving the two 12-volt car batteries out of his way so he could fix the generator and get Swami back in the light. He was always cheerful and eager to help Swamiji, even if it was very cold, wet and dark, which it usually was. He was very devoted to serving Swamiji in any way he could.
One of his greatest aphorisms was, “Why, there’s nothing holding back this project now but a lack of money and common sense!” It seems that many projects we worked on in the 70′s were especially suited to this truth.
He worked tirelessly on whatever project we were doing. He spent many long hours for many long months getting the Shower House at Ananda Farm working. It was the first indoor flush toilet and the first clean water shower at downtown Ananda. The project involved water, septic and electricity, a pump from the septic tank to a distant leach field. Narada, as always, was cheerful, cooperative in the utmost, joyful despite circumstances beyond our control (El Nino rains flooding the project repeatedly). Beyond all that, he was also a very professional electrician and absolutely invaluable to the success of the project. As the project repeatedly went underwater with deluge after deluge, I would ask Narada each morning, “What’s the weather forecast for today?” And he would affirm, “Santa Ana winds and a drying pattern!” Miraculously, it stopped raining long enough for us to get the septic tanks in the ground in downtown Ananda.
From Daiva Glazzard
I recall working with Narada during my early years at Ananda Village(mid-1980s). He worked with the Ananda Builders’ Guild, doing the wiring and plumbing. We used to joke about him writing a book called “Warp-Speed Wiring and Low-Clearance Plumbing.” He was endlessly cheerful and industrious—qualities I yearned to adopt. From the beginning, I found myself embraced by his endless friendship, thoughtfulness, delightful sense of humor and sweet devotion.
From Richard Salva
I had the great pleasure of working with Narada for two years on a regular basis at Ananda Electric during the late ’80s. In a number of heated situations, I never saw my friend anything but calm and centered. Narada has one of the purest and most beautiful hearts I’ve seen on the spiritual path. I believe that, among us, are hidden great souls that may not seem to make a big splash in terms of “Great Deeds and Positions in the Work,” but are quiet saints who silently lift the vibrations of everyone around them. Narada, sage divine, is and was one of those humble and serviceful saints.
From Jayadevi Popkie
Narada Agee was one of the most humble and deeply devoted people I have ever met. One of the first times I really noticed his humble sweetness was when I was introducing him to my parents. He was the boss of a friend of mine. Not only his boss, but the co-founder of the business and inventor of a new solar energy product. When I introduced him he just said “Hi, Jeff and I work together.” He never put himself above others. He was a friend even when in a position of authority.
He was also brilliant and fun. We played on of those games where you have to know strange facts about history and geography and science. We were stunned to realize how much he knew.
From Sitabai Betts
I have a silly story of Narada. I worked with Narada for some time at Ananda Power Technologies; he was a founding energy to that solar company. We used to laugh together that someday we’d go out and do our “mission” serving the work, delivering Master’s teachings to new devotees.
One day Narada came to tell me that he had seen a nature program in which an airplane had flown over the penguins of Antarctica, and the penguins all fell over like dominos that had been lined up to all bump over the next one! They had been so concentrated and focused on the airplane that Narada and I decided they would make the perfect congregation, we would just have to minister to them “the good word” and they would be the most attentive focused parishioners we could ever hope for.
As a result, Narada and I would perfect our penguin quacking together in order to learn the new language to be able to go on our mission. It was a joy to always bump into Narada forever after, for years and years, we quacked our greetings! Narada had a joyful upbeat heart and a ready smile that was infectious.
Another friend told a story at lunch today that was funny, maybe you will hear it from another. There was an occasion in which Narada was asked on the job if this was his normal speed of operation, and he answered, “Well, no, I have two speeds. This one and one that you won’t like much.”
Finally, someone said that we believe Narada was our first Ananda maintenance guy here at Ananda Village. That makes him our patron saint, and we will be honoring him for years to come in our Department!
From Hriman McGilloway:
As time went on, we discovered that not only did Narada bring the maintenance level up a notch, but the Community grounds (lawn, sidewalks, etc.) were always clean and tidy. He loved making shrines and small touches that not everyone would notice at first. More than this, he was soon tackling maintenance projects everywhere at Ananda: the temple, East West Bookshop, Living Wisdom School, and even the homes of individuals.
One day this last winter, after a fierce storm had broken some of the beautiful blue roof tiles at the temple and a storm drain was plugged, he came to me and said, “We need to get people involved in maintaining this temple. It’s brand new, it’s beautiful, and it’s been created by love and devotion. It is a living thing and needs care and love.”
So we decided to make a list of men (mostly) who we felt might respond to the opportunity to be stewards of the Bothell Meditation Temple. The “Temple Stewards” were born just a month or so before Narada left us: just in time (though barely). He had lots of ideas: a gravel patio, outdoor light fixtures and curbs to be repaired, a play area for children, and a larger storage area for tools. The very first meeting and first several work days attracted a very energetic group of souls. He was grateful for each and every person who came. He mentioned to me how much he enjoyed working with Jim Kent and appreciated both Jim’s skills and his commitment.
Perhaps a year ago, we recommended to Narada that he work four rather than five days a week doing Community maintenance. This we felt would free him (a little bit) to do the many creative and serviceful projects he liked, especially with the children, and even, hopefully, (though we suspect it was rare) take a day off to rest.
Here is an example of one of the “serviceful projects” Narada loved to do. This is from an email from Narada to a friend, shortly after he moved to Seattle, December 2005:
I did a really fun thing last week. I built a little niche for a Madonna that belonged to my mom. Carole, the apartment manager, and I refurbished the management office about a month or so ago. In the process we eliminated a pass-through window that was between the office and the mailroom. I sheet rocked over the window hole on the inside of the office, but this left a little niche on the mailroom side of the wall. It was about 14” wide and 30” high. What to do? I could have sheet rocked over it also, but it was going to be hard to match the existing texture on the wall. Plus the mailroom was drab, and not very inviting. And unfortunately it is one of the most visited rooms in the community. Every one checks their mail at least once a day. So I told Carole that I would make the niche into a shrine for a spiritual statue, but at the time I had no idea how I would do it, or what statue would go into it.
Last week I decided that I would like to get it done before Christmas. Then I remembered that I had a beautiful Madonna that belonged to my mom. So I dug it out of my things, and sure enough she seemed to fit perfectly into the space. I got some white poster board and drew the curves that I thought would make a wooden frame around the Madonna, and a little shelf for her to rest on. It was quite a project for me. I’m not a woodworker by trade, and I sort of had to invent how to do it. But it was great fun, and I felt that my mom and the Madonna were guiding me. It took all weekend to make the frame, but it was worth it. It turned out beautifully with the help of our Divine Mother and my mother. I still need to paint it. I plan to use a light blue and white. Willow Kushler, who lives here in the community, (she is professional interior designer) is going to help me with the colors.
One of Narada’s final projects was helping to build “The Stormer”, an electric car he worked on with the Living Wisdom School 5th & 6th grade class. The car was not finished at the time of Narada’s passing, but Zachary Huang had asked so many questions of Narada that he knew all the remaining steps to finish it. Several of the men in the Sangha stepped in to help the boys finish the car, and it was unveiled at the school’s Joyathon in May. Follow the links below to see news stories and a photo album about the stormer.