And we can’t forget dessert, of course. The younger bodies effectively dominated the s’mores scene (above), but we also had a sundae bar to pick up the slack. Vanilla ice cream with raspberries and blueberries made an excellent combination for the patriotically-minded, but the brownies and fudge sauce were well worth altering the color scheme.
Dinner was followed by an outdoor kirtan in front of Paramahansa Yogananda’s shrine and gazebo. Along with the abundance of voices, we had harmoniums, guitars, kirtals, a flute, a drum, and shakers for the little ones. The chants naturally included “Rise in Freedom” and “I Am Free,” along with many other Ananda favorites.
Swami Kriyananda’s words from Living Wisely, Living Well remind us to be grateful not only for the freedom we’ve been given here on earth, but also for the divine freedom that awaits all of us:
Independence Day in America: The political and national freedom celebrated this day were meant to give all men a chance to rise to their own highest potential.
Though independence has not been applied universally, it has at least been directional. It has taken time for black people and for women to win the right to vote, though that right should have been recognized and bestowed from the beginning.
It is time now to declare a new kind of freedom: freedom of conscience!
This declaration can be made only by and for the individual. Let no one pressure you into thinking or behaving as he thinks you ought to. God has a special song to sing through you. It can be offered to the universe only by yourself.