by William Page
I never met John, but had lots of e-mail correspondence with him when I was contributing to AV and he was the editor. I believe Swami Yogeshananda has said it all, and there’s nothing I can add, except that he was an unusually understanding, wise, compassionate, and diplomatic editor. I developed an enormous amount of respect for him, and consider him a saint.
I gather from various sources that he was treated rather shabbily in his later years by the power structure at the Vedanta Society of New York (West Side center), and if that is true, I find it lamentable. Saints and power structures often have problems — see Meister Eckhart and Thomas Merton as examples. Usually it’s the power structure that ends up looking bad, and the saint gets martyred in one way or another. But by handling his or her martyrdom without rancor and with equanimity, the saint emerges more saintly than ever.
I am sure that Sri Ramakrishna has taken John to his bosom and pray that he will bless him forever. Svaha!
NB: By the end of his life, John regarded his move to Atlanta as a great blessing. He had forgiven all that had seemed a trial as it occurred, and did not change his will, which left his small estate to the Vedanta Society of New York. — Br. Shankara, Resident Minister, Vedanta Center of Atlanta