Ananda Family News

Friday, August 7, 2015

Guru Day Retreat

This past Saturday we held our annual Guru Day Retreat. Guru Purnima is traditionally held on a full moon in July or August, and in this case just a day after a blue moon, the second full moon in July. As the sun went down over the course of the long summer evening, its light shone back into the night from the rising moon and echoed again from the hundreds of candles gradually gathering around each master’s shrine.

All five in our line of gurus have permanent shrines now on the community green — four gazebos, with Sri Yukteswar’s as the latest, and Babaji perched as always in the open air off on his own little mountain. Beginning with Jesus, we gathered at each one in turn, with Asha helping us focus our minds and hearts on the facets of our path that each one represents. Then a song, a chant, and a meditation, ending with everyone individually offering a small candle at the guru’s feet.

We had a remarkable turnout this year — about 120 people. The ranks of folding chairs spread so far around the shrines that when the time came to move from one to the next, some of us would simply turn our chairs around and already be part of the new crowd. But even in spreading itself out, an Ananda crowd creates a beautiful focus of energy and devotion, and this one carried us deeper and deeper into its vibration throughout the entire evening.

You can find more pictures here, and the audio and video recordings should be available soon on this page.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Concert

Swami Kriyananda wrote so much music (over 450 individual pieces!) that much of it unintentionally tends to fall by the wayside, even with all the music we enjoy during service and at other events every week. Every once in a while, we try to correct this by putting on a concert full of little-heard and lesser-known songs and instrumentals. Plus, it’s a good excuse to enjoy more music!

This time around we had the concert in the evening, which helped give it a sweeter, more intimate feel, compared to the afternoons we often do. Another difference was that there were fewer full-choir pieces this time, with the bulk of the songs going to solos, with a few duets and trios as well. There’s a certain clarity and connection that comes through when a soloist sings a favorite song that they particularly chose to share with us, and we could feel the experience of these songs one after another building throughout the evening. Many people, even those who have heard dozens of Ananda concerts, commented on how special this one felt.

In addition to all the singing, Janice performed an instrumental from The Mystic Harp, Rita and Karen B. performed a dance duet to “Emerald Isle,” and Rita danced to “Farther Away than the Stars.”

If you missed the concert, or just want to ever-newly re-enjoy it, the video is already posted! (Due to technical difficulties, the last couple of songs are missing, and “Dublin Town” is off in its own separate video.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fourth of July Celebration

This Saturday we held our annual Fourth of July Celebration at the community, with swimming, water balloons, potluck barbecue and picnic, and music. With 50+ people, we had plenty of tasty salads, side dishes, and desserts to go with our veggie burgers and dogs. See all the photos here!


The water balloon games this year started with the standard water balloon toss and gradually developed into a new invention in which one group of players tossed water balloons around in a circle, while an interlocking circle threw their balloons in the opposite direction. Increasing numbers of both balloons and participants kept things increasingly interesting.


The music included a couple of Mary Poppins classics (rewritten for yogis) and sing-alongs of “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Brothers.” Yogananda actually used to include “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in his Sunday services, and so we decided to give it an encore at church the next day, ending with Master’s version of the lyrics:
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
That the light of God within Him might enliven you and me,
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
His love is marching on. 
Happy “True Freedom Day” to all!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Farm Adventure Days

[guest post from Michael and Kasey]

Here are some photo highlights from our June Farm Adventure Days!


When you think of all the components God pulled together for a wonderful week it is truly amazing. The chicks arrived a day before the first day, and all the kids got to hold these brand new baby chicks about the size of a orange. The big chickens were great fun to feed and get the eggs from. The pond with salamanders or Sally’s as the kids called them were endless fun to catch and release along with the cute small frogs. We also enjoyed art projects, planting veggies, nature appreciation games, and a trip to the beach. It’s wonderful for kids to get unplugged and get out in the sunshine to explore and play.


We want to thank our wonderful teachers that led the week of adventure days. Our daughter Kelly was in another camp being a teen leader last week after doing the same at FAD. Her comment was that the other camp was not like an Ananda teacher experience — those Ananda teachers put a lot of thought and energy into really connecting with the kids.


There are more Farm Adventure Days coming up on July 20-24, and we expect them to sell out soon! We’re looking forward to this second session, especially when we get uplifting reports like this from parents:
“Our children loved the camp so much and were extremely candid while telling us about their day.... It was so wonderful to hear about all their experiences. When they went to bed in the evening, they were so exhausted, yet couldn’t wait for the morning and their next adventure. My son said, ‘Mom, I learned so much from camp, it taught me to connect with nature and feel calm inside.’ Priceless! This is one of the best camps ever. My two boys also said that they felt loved and cared for. Thank you so much for this great program!”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rajarsi Day

[guest post from Sharmila]

About 30-35 Ananda gurubais and friends showed up on Saturday to clean up and beautify our temple (inside and out), our teaching center entryway, the temple entry from El Camino Real, and the piazza grounds.


Living Wisdom School got some wonderful help in sanding and painting the picnic tables, and painting hopscotch on the ground for kids to play.


Marcel had wonderful help from Sahadev and others in putting together a tool shed, organizing and cleaning out the tool room.


Anandaprem had quite a crew helping her clean up and beautify the flower pantry, and the ministers’ room. Jan was our early bird “dust bunny” cleaning and dusting cobwebs from every corner, and going on to lend her energy to numerous other tasks.


Many thanks to each and everyone who helped, with wonderful fun energy. A good time was had by all, and lots of great conversation happened around the beautiful snack table. Thanks, Master, Swamiji, and Rajarsi, for being present with us today.

[More photos here!]

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Shrine Installation

Thanks to Jay’s loving volunteer labors, we have a beautiful shrine for the bust of Master in the piazza now. After service last Sunday, David and Gary carried the bust out into the courtyard, followed by everyone else, with chanting, and a dedication by Shanti. Rose petals and happiness poured out to bless the presence of the guru, lovingly symbolized by his likeness. Drop a petal of devotion next time you pass by....



A few photos here and lots more photos here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Congregation Photo

Whoops — I forgot to mention in the last post one of our other Easter traditions: our annual all-congregation photo. Here we all are!


If you want to get the high-resolution version, click on the photo above, then click “More,” then select “Download.” Enjoy!
blueline

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