Ananda Family News

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Free & Clear Italian Dinner

[Thanks to Karen for the guest post and the photos.]

Fifty-eight people dropped into an Italian evening of delicious food, music, and inspiration on Sunday evening. We’ve been having one fabulous fundraising event after another for many years now, and this one was splendid, indeed.

Almost exactly $30,000 was raised that evening! That leaves just $231,000 remaining of the original $1 million goal. We really are almost free and clear of any debt remaining on Ananda Palo Alto’s Temple property.

Asha spoke a bit at the end, remembering the long history toward this point. There was a small, not very well-maintained building that came with the property when we bought it. It was rented for awhile, but finally, we were able to take it down in preparation for the new school building. It was a big hole in the ground for a long time, into which we threw rose petals, prayed, and began moving forward bit by bit, whenever we had money in hand to continue the process. The lawsuit intervened, but then gradually we started up again, finishing the school against all odds. With the remarkable help of many people giving what they could over a long time.

Then this Free & Clear campaign began to raise $1 million. Within the short time, the Village announced their campaign to pay off $1 million of old debt from the lawsuits in one year’s time (which they succeeded in doing just when they said — by the end of 2012). And within that same time frame, the Ananda movie raised $2.2 million — everything it needed to finish the film. More will be needed to fully do the marketing portion, but the film is done. Amazing.

“Even though many of us are doing meaningful work,” said Asha, “the waters of time close in over you. It’s hard to leave something behind of lasting value. But when you leave a temple behind, it’s a real legacy, both individually and collectively. Every time I walk into that Temple, I feel an immense sense of gratitude. So much happens there. Each of you has divine memories of what has happened to you in that space.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Celebrations

“Vivid” is the word for Easter at Ananda. The clarity of Christ’s life and message comes through our gurus and teachers so powerfully, and then resonates throughout the deep spiritual connections in our community until its practically palpable. It brings the story to life again, for us and within us.

On Good Friday we had one of our evening services that are always so lovely and inward, and we experienced our way through the story of the crucifixion via music and readings. This is an evening that can be tricky to end well—Jesus dies on the cross, leaving us in suspense about the resurrection—but we managed to wrap it up beautifully at the “intermission.” It was clear by then that, though he had died, he hadn’t been killed. He “gave up his spirit” voluntarily, rather than waiting to die on the cross, remaining completely a master of the situation, even in tragedy.

The next day (which I’ve just learned is called Holy Saturday) we had an Easter Retreat in the temple, in which Asha treated us to a few hours of more free-form story-telling and teaching. It was a time to come to a deeper understanding of not only the events of Easter but the true spiritual significance behind them all. We had people there who have grown up with the story in Christian churches, and others who were only hearing it in its entirety for the first time, and everyone gained something very worthwhile in the experience.

And then, of course, we had the glory of Easter itself. The Oratorio pieces performed by the choir and soloists come through with even more power than usual on that day, and the story is completed in all its ever-new joy.

The Easter banquet followed service (and an Easter egg hunt), with spanikopita as the main course, several tasty side dishes, creatively lavender-flavored lemonade, and a dessert that was like pumpkin pie dreaming it was in heaven. We also had a great collection of new or seldom-heard songs for the entertainment, many of which were thematically appropriate, even if only in terms of being resurrected versions of popular or folk songs. If you missed them, or want to revisit them, check out the videos!


What Do You Do with a Blissed-Out Yogi?

My, My, It's the Spiritual Eye

Take Me Home, Babaji

The full set of photos is also worth a visit. Happy Easter!

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