By Nayaswamis Narayan and Dharmadevi
August 27, 2019

We are at our community in Assisi participating in a retreat called “The Way of the Spiritual Warrior.” Upon arriving at the Rome airport, we were greeted by two spiritual warriors, Anand and Kirtani, the leaders of the community here.

Kirtani’s soul smile and Anand’s mellow joy immediately made us feel warmly welcomed and embraced in a sphere of light, love, and joy. Paramhansa Yogananda said in a chant, “Heart to heart meeting, Spirit and soul’s greeting.” We were greeted by saints in the land of saints! Through the buckshot of their smiles I was reminded that Ananda is not a place but a state of consciousness.

Someone once commented to Swami Kriyananda that they met a number of special people during their visit to Ananda Village in California. Swamiji responded, “If you meet one or two people, you can say they are special. But when you meet a whole community of people, it’s what they’re doing that makes them special.”

After being at Ananda Assisi for a week now, we continue to meet new (and old!) soul friends who silently resound with a sweet and special vibration. Like a refreshing rain in the height of summer’s heat, we are bathing in their openness of heart, sincerity, and joy. They are doing something special here. What is it?

There is a saying that “All of Krishna’s soldiers look like Krishna.” The theme for the Ananda Assisi community this year is attunement with the guru’s consciousness. To do so, they inwardly ask the question, “What would Master do? What would Swami do?” They make a daily effort to be spiritual warriors through meditation and service. 

How can we become one of Krishna’s soldiers? What are the ways of the spiritual warrior?  

Nayaswamis Jyotish & Devi and other speakers shared inspiration and practical wisdom on how to be victorious in life. The first class was titled “What the Battle of Life Is and How to Win It”. Here are some highlights we wanted to share with you: 

1)   The purpose of life is to get back to our essential soul nature of ever existing, ever conscious, ever new bliss.

2)   Everyone is driven by the desire to be happy and avoid suffering.

3)   We’ll never be satisfied with temporary happiness that comes from the world.

4)   A deep acceptance of the above truth is one of the first steps on the spiritual path.

5)   We overcome our karma through: A strong mind and a pure heart, Meditation and Kriya Yoga, & The grace of God and Guru.

6)   To develop a strong mind you need focus and will power.

7)   A pure heart is cultivated by transcending our likes and dislikes.

8)   Paramhansa Yogananda said to a disciple who was being tempted by delusion, “I don’t ask you to overcome, but to resist.” We have to put out the willpower to draw the grace of God, which ultimately helps us overcome our tests.

Nayaswami Devi concluded the first class with this inspiring passage from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda (edited by Swami Kriyananda):

“In karma’s realm, karma rules supreme. Yet we have the power to withdraw to another realm entirely, by attuning ourselves with the infinite wisdom behind karmic law. This much freedom is ours eternally, to accept God and His guidance from within or to be guided by our egoic desires.”

At the end of the retreat, we were encouraged by Jyotish and Devi to introspect and ask ourselves, “What is the battle God wants me to fight?” 

All of the speakers and the environment from the community have inspired us to be warriors of kindness. 

Jyotish concluded the retreat suggesting we hold onto one or two internal commitments such as meditation and kindness to others.

We came away feeling like “we can do that.” 

Will you join us in this loving labor?

With Love and blessings,

Narayan & Dharmadevi