Ananda Family News

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Free & Clear Auction

This year’s fundraising auction had a very special theme: Most of the items were “spiritual souvenirs,” having been directly connected to Swami Kriyananda in one way or another. These included various shirts and a jacket that he used to wear, signed photographs and books, a comb, the mug he had on stage with him at the recent Foothill College event, and much more. There were also a number of malas (created by Narayani) that Swamiji had blessed. (One was designed without a guru bead, but we were assured that when the buyer was ready, the guru would appear.)

The “non-Swamiji” items weren’t too shabby, either. We had two of Jyotish’s paintings, a beautiful wooden altar by Sahadev, a “Shanti” sign from one of the original cabins at the meditation retreat (you can guess who won that), and a spineless Burbank cactus, a strain developed by the “American saint” that Autobiography of a Yogi is dedicated to.

There was no silent auction component this year, so everyone got to engage in the bidding for each item, whether as participant or observer. It turns out that an auction is just as amusing as everything else we do around Ananda, especially with David and Dambara MC-ing and obligingly modeling various items of clothing and jewelry for us. A tricky thing, though, about bidding amongst a group of people who are all so nice and fond of each other, is that items sometimes don’t sell for as much as they ought to. But the problem of having cruelly out-bid one’s friend is easily remedied by the winner promptly turning over the prize to his runner-up.

The auction wrapped up with a unique Ananda tradition, one that would only work in a crowd of yogis and renunciates: bidding on absolutely nothing at all. For a flat rate of $25, you would be generously allowed not to acquire any new possessions, while still being able to contribute to the Free & Clear effort. A remarkable number of people were delighted by this option, regardless of whether they had already purchased anything else.

In all, the evening brought in nearly $9,000 towards paying off our temple. (For the record, the highest-ticket item was a lapis and gold spiritual eye pendant that traveled for years in Swamiji’s luggage, as a sort of “Dwapara Yuga St. Christopher’s medal.” It went for $675.) This was enough to get us a new puzzle piece added to our church-o-meter at Sunday service, and to get us within a few hundred thousand dollars’ shouting distance of paying off the mortgage completely. (And there’s still time to wrap that up by the end of the year!)

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