Ananda Family News

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ananda Valley Farm Dedication

Saturday was a momentous day for Ananda in the Bay Area. Yes, we’d already bought ourselves a farm, through no small financial miracle. Yes, a number of us have already been spending a great deal of time there, even beyond the two recent community workdays. But Saturday was the day we officially gave it to God and our gurus. And Saturday was the day they gave it back to us with their blessings. And that makes all the difference.

Over a hundred people from around the Bay Area, and even from the  Village, gathered at our new farm on a gorgeously sunny afternoon. We assembled in one of the greenhouses, with a large altar set up along one wall, folding chairs brought in for everyone, a sound system, recording setup — the works.

David and Asha spoke, sharing the story of our farm up to the current moment, and we also heard from our official farm staff members Biraj, Lahari, and Warren. James, our realtor, shared how he’d felt Swamiji’s presence “whispering from the trees” to him, all throughout the process of buying the property. And we were honored to meet CaĆ­n, the foreman who has lived and worked on this land for 39 years, and is now taking on the new challenge of teaching us all how to be farmers. A potentially daunting task, but one he’s facing with admirably good humor.

To bless the land, everyone received an envelope containing small items to distribute or bury around the property as we roamed and chanted for half an hour. We had pictures of Swamiji and the Masters, small ziplocs of Ganges water, tiny stones from Babaji’s cave in the Himalayas, and packets of soil from Crystal Hermitage. Asha had kept a large container of the finely sifted Crystal Hermitage soil for a long time, ever since someone gave it to Swamiji many years ago, and had just been waiting to see what its ultimate purpose would be. This was perfect.

To end, we gathered in a central area for a fire ceremony, and then closed by singing “Channels,” Swamiji’s song of gratitude to Divine Mother and to Her presence as expressed through all the infinite, joyful variety of creation. And a song of opening ourselves, as well, to be Her channels. It was  beautifully uplifted occasion, and the feeling of the day was that Ananda Valley Farm had clearly and unmistakably been launched on its Divine mission. Appropriately, Asha commented that the day’s photos are the first we’ve had that truly do justice to the land.

Mother, we thank you,
Your joy shines in ev’rything!
Open these channels
That the world once more may sing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seva in Spades

Few people probably spend as much of their free time hard at work as Ananda folks do. But then, few people have nearly as much fun at it as we do, so it’s hardly surprising.

The Saturday before last, we had our second workday out at Ananda Valley Farm (photos here, including a few from the previous week, showing the walk up to the Babaji Grotto). We had pouring rain most of the time, which apparently comes along with our valley’s nifty little microclimate, and is the envy of the other farmers in the area. So we appreciated that and moved ourselves off to more indoor projects.

The bunkhouse team cleaned and spackled walls, in the first of many stages towards making it a more inviting habitation. We also had a lot of folks working in one of the greenhouses (where the sound of the rain on the roof was deafening). They got some more seeds planted, and transplanted all the calla lilies that were growing in the ground into pots. We set aside the very first one, to do something historical with at some point.

Then this past Saturday we had a workday at the church (and those photos are here). The much sunnier weather was a boon for all the landscaping work. Team Shiva had a big day, taking out giant pampas grasses and other overgrown or otherwise unneeded plants, but the green thumbs came along behind and made sure we left things looking nice.

The un-sunburned team cleaned and organized the flower pantry and the ministers’s room, including a closet full of vases and many drawers full of decorative cloths. We even polished the candlesticks and ironed the candles. (Apparently this is a thing they need. Who knew?)

So the next time you’re at the farm or the church, take a look around at some of the shiny new energy. And get in on the fun next time!


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