In Joyful Memory of Sam Podany

May 02, 2022

by Sherry Chow

On the night of the new moon, our dear friend Sam Podany returned to God. As his long-time partner Jannie shared in her email:

Today, April 30th at 3:12 am Mountain Time, Sam made a joyful transition into the Land of Light.

He was eager to get on his way and spoke of it often! Just before he closed his eyes into about 3 hours of the unconscious part of the passage, Sam indicated his father was there already to greet him.

Sam was mentored by Dr. George, another direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda who was based in the Midwest, and quickly became part of the Ananda LA family when he started attending our weekly community Zoom meetings during the pandemic.

Sam was a magnetic storyteller, sharing his time with Dr. George with us, as well as his joy, love and wonderful sense of humor. He saw each of us honestly and held us all with love, which was palpable even through the virtual reality of Zoom.

One story I recall was when he was a young man in LA, out on the town with his pretty actress girlfriend. They were at dinner when a guy (let’s call him Joe) came over to their table clearly looking for a fight, hitting on his girlfriend and insulting Sam. Alarm bells went off in Sam, but he kept his cool and opened his heart to Joe, sending love. As he sent love, Joe became befuddled, stopped and left the restaurant.

Later that evening, at another venue, the couple was approached by another man. He had witnessed the entire scene at the previous restaurant and was wondering what Sam had done for Joe to leave so abruptly. Apparently Joe was a known troublemaker and would go around looking for fights, causing destruction and mayhem wherever he went. Sam then disclosed that though he was sending love the whole time to Joe, his hands were ready to flip the table just in case!

Such was Sam’s love and humor.

After service this past Sunday, we held an astral ascension ceremony for Sam, and a few devotees spoke, including Nayaswami Dharmadevi. Sam had visited the LA ashram last summer and was hoping very much to move here sometime this year. When someone asked Dharmadevi why she thought Sam wanted to join the Ananda LA ashram, she didn’t really have an immediate answer. But after some time her heart revealed the beautiful realization that Sam wanted to come to show this was all real; that we are all Yogananda’s disciples and all are one.

May God’s Light shine forever on the sanctuary of our devotion, as it is certainly shining on Sam right now.

For more of Sam's stories and music, explore this playlist.