Ananda Family News

Monday, February 22, 2010

Members' Candlelight Tea

On Saturday evening, Ananda members turned out in their finery for our annual gala event celebrating the fact that we all love being part of the same divine ray together. Calling it a "tea" doesn't quite do justice to the array and excellence of the food, which were impressive. (I think I ate three dinners there, two of which were actually desserts.) And check out this cake that Chris made, with the Ananda joy logo done in poppy seeds and powdered sugar!

The cutest part of the evening was a collection of baby photos. About 40 folks contributed pictures for a "who's who?" guessing contest, in which we all tried to match photo numbers with names from a list. (See all the pictures here if you want to play along at home.) Midway through the evening, the answers were revealed via a slideshow, with each person getting to stand next to their baby photo. It was fun seeing how some people's pictures were quickly identifiable by a feature, or an expression, or just by a general vibe, and how others only popped into focus after the answer was given away.

And of course, what would an Ananda event be without music? We had some lovely songs performed by a small choir ensemble, an audience sing-along/whistle-along led by Dambara, and the return of our barbershop quartet (who last made their appearance regaling us with our Thanksgiving menus.)

And just to prove that we can have fun with anything, the evening included a pop-quiz. The tables competed as groups to answer a variety of tricky questions from Autobiography of a Yogi. These started with "What was Yogananda's given name as a child?" and got harder from there. But the winning table got 43 out of 55 questions correct! The rest of us voted for multiple choice options next time.

It was a beautiful evening all around, and you can find more photos of it here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Can I Find Jesus? Try the Gazebo.

If you've been by the central lawn at the Palo Alto community recently, you've probably noticed that the marble statue of Jesus has a new home. Nirmoha's been working on a lovely new gazebo for it, across from Yogananda's, and the statue was moved back in over the weekend. 

The shrine isn't quite done yet, though. There's still more painting to do (gold and blue accents on white is the plan) as well as planting the circular area in the center, and adding benches, lighting, and a fa├žade for the brick altar. Contact Nirmoha if you're interested in helping with any of this, and maybe we'll do a volunteer painting party, or something fun like that.

There are a couple more "in-progress" pictures here, and we'll add some more once the whole thing is finished.

(P.S. Do you know how much marble weighs per cubic foot? If you do, don't tell me, 'cause it's probably scary. I helped Nirmoha lift the statue down from the crate it used to be on, and it was all we could do to lower it to the ground without collapsing. We had to waddle the poor savior along the grass just to get Him out of the way of the construction. Nirmoha, Chaitanya, and Matthew together get credit for lifting Him onto the new brick pedestal. Whew!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swami's New Home in Pune, India

[A letter from Lahari, with photos by Vidura.]

Dear Friends,

We invite you to share in the joys of Swamiji's first visit to see his new home in the Ananda Kriya Yoga Community on the land near Pune.

A larger housewarming event is being planned, but for now - first glimpses....

Here is a link for photos of yesterday's momentous event here in Pune. Jai Gurus!

Swamiji mentioned that yesterday was a particularly auspicious astrological time for him to see and to spend some time in his new home in Pune. Everyone pushed beyond human capacities to have his house ready (making it very clear to us all that God IS the doer).

One hour before his arrival, Nirmala, along with several Nayaswamis, Tyagis, and a group of local Pune devotees were washing floors and windows, moving furniture, hanging pictures and draping the new landscaping walls with garlands for his arrival. Spirits were very high and full of joy as his car came around the corner of the road leading up to his house. With the backdrop of exquisite natural beauty and peace, Swamiji stepped out to be greeted and shown his new home.

"Beautiful!" he said, over and over again as he saw each room: the large hall, suitable for hosting many devotees in satsangs, his lovely meditation room, Lila's new bright kitchen -- every room filled with "Space, Light, and Harmony," the three key concepts of architectural design mentioned in his book by that name.

Nayaswami Dharmadas and Nirmala's work with the architect has captured these qualities. Their plans, through the heroic efforts of Nayaswami Jaya and his team, Biraj and Deo, the contractor, and his teams, (including 100 people from the local villages), all came together to manifest Swamiji's new home -- the spiritual center for this first Kriya Yoga Community in Pune.

Thank you all for your generous support and endless prayers. This is a victory for every one of us who are a part of this great work.

Here in Pune, it feels that the first Kriya Yoga Community has truly begun.

It is the beginning.  As Swamiji said during his first satsang in his new living room/hall, "It is now time for you Indians to bring this forward - for every one Westerner, we need one thousand Indians."

Spread the word..... this wonderful way of joyful living for God is available now in Pune, India!!!

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