Ananda Family News

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Master's Birthday

This past Tuesday, January 5, marked the 107th anniversary of Paramhansa Yogananda's birth. We began the evening with a 2-hour meditation at the temple, where a beautiful altar display has been set up all week, with many pictures of Master.

(See more of Rambhakta's photos here.)

After the meditation was the dedication ceremony, which was a time for everyone present to reaffirm their commitment to Master and/or to God, at whatever level was appropriate for them. There were separate affirmations or vows for each level, from life members of the Sevaka order, all the way down to truth-seekers who may not have found a particular path yet, so it really was beautifully inclusive. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how many people in the "truth-seekers" category showed up, given that this was such a Yogananda-specific event. (As Asha said to them, "We will pray to these masters to guide you where you need to be, whether it's this path or another. They're not jealous about it.")

On Saturday we had a followup meditation day, continuing to celebrate Master's birthday in the way he liked best. This was similar to the Christmas all-day meditation, but a bit shorter. In each break we sang a couple of chants, then listened to some recordings of Yogananda speaking, and of Nayaswami Kriyananda reading both from Autobiography of a Yogi, and his own autobiography The Path. This gave us a chance to really focus on tuning in to Master, both through his own voice, and through Swamiji's description of what it was like to live with him.

Asha mentioned that the birthday meditation was the seventeenth special event at Ananda since Thanksgiving, and marks the end to the main holiday season. That's a busy couple of months! As we take a breather, though, it's nice to think back to Thanksgiving, and connect that feeling of gratitude to this week's celebrations. It's because our guru had a birthday that we are even here on this spiritual path at all, and that's the biggest blessing we can possibly be thankful for. And so, among our entire spiritual family, we all wish each other a very happy birthday.

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