Breathlessness Is Deathlessness

Dharmadevi and I were at Ananda Portland this past weekend as part of a kriya retreat. We had a deeply inspiring visit filled with classes, meditations, and a kriya initiation with our friends here. It actually rained (something we rarely see in Los Angeles!). We joked with everyone that we brought the rain from sunny SoCal! In preparing for one of the satsangs on kriya yoga, I stumbled upon a captivating passage from Autobiography of a Yogi: The mystery of … Read More

Benares of the West

by Peter Sanjaya It has been interesting to ponder exactly what Paramhansa Yogananda meant when he said “Los Angeles is the Benares of the West, even as Benares (Varanasi) in India is the holy city of the Hindus.” On the surface they couldn’t appear more different. Even in Yogananda’s time there was little outwardly that justified his statement. In Varanasi one finds narrow lanes weaving through age-old stone buildings finally opening up on to the different ghats lining the Ganges … Read More

Close Encounters

We had the blessing of hosting Nayaswamis Dharmadas and Nirmala at Ananda LA this past Sunday. They were leading a pilgrimage to Paramhansa Yogananda’s shrines in Los Angeles and, to our delight, made Sunday Service at our center a part of their pilgrimage.  Dharmadas shared about a space probe, New Horizons, that was sent to take pictures of Pluto. It was traveling at the incredible speed of 51,000 miles per hour. Even at that speed, it passed close to Jupiter … Read More

The Game of Smiles

Have you heard of the “Game with Minutes”? Frank Lauchbach was a Christian missionary who wrote about practicing the presence of God in his popular book Letters of a Modern Mystic. In order to make thinking of God fun and practical, he devised a simple “Game with Minutes” where you attempt to think of God at least once each minute for an hour a day.  A friend of mine met Frank Laubach at a public event where he was asked … Read More

Father, Forgive Them

During our Kriya Renaissance weeklong program in Assisi, I got to share about Jesus Christ. I grew up Catholic in the Bible Belt where the vast majority of people are Protestant. I had several encounters with fundamentalism as a teenager that turned me off to all organized religion. One in particular stuck in my mind. At age fourteen, I started working in a pizza restaurant called “My Father’s Place.” It was run by a religious man and was located right … Read More

“All Of Krishna’s Soldiers Look Like Krishna”

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 … Read More

The Power Is Inside Of You

We just arrived in beautiful Assisi, Italy after a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Rome. That’s a long time on a plane but a good time to catch up on things. I’d like to say I had my longest meditation ever, but rather I caught up on a couple of movies I’d missed! Thankfully, they both had an important lesson that makes for good blog material. Most of you probably know Dumbo, the flying elephant. I watched the Disney … Read More

What Can You Do?

I saw a funny cartoon recently. Two cows are in a pasture and then notice a man up on the top of a grassy hill meditating. The man, presumably absorbed in inner peace, chants out loud a long, “Oooooom.” The one cow says to the other cow, “He’s got it all backwards.” Aren’t we a lot like that? Sometimes we miss the point of life and think we have to reform others and the world around us. Paramhansa Yogananda said, … Read More

Give That Which Is Holy Unto Kali

Five years ago, a holy woman from India, visited us in Los Angeles. She is a dear friend and a beautiful soul. Her name is Vanamali Devi but everyone calls her Mataji, or revered mother. She stayed in our ashram in Mid-City, LA. We were grateful that she agreed to stay in our bedroom, which was the biggest in the house. We stayed, with Kali, in someone else’s room who was on vacation at the time.  Kali is our “toy … Read More

Serve More

Over six years ago, my earthly mother was given two weeks to live. She had just been diagnosed with stage four primary peritoneal cancer that had spread throughout her abdominal organs.  I went to stay with her during and after a major exploratory surgery. During that time, I wrote to Swami Kriyananda many times – asking for prayers for my mom – not that she be healed physically, but that she feel God’s presence more and more palpably in her … Read More