Claiming Your Spine As Your Own

Last week, I decided to take a trip up to Mount San Antonio, otherwise known by locals as Mount Baldy. Standing at 10,140 feet, this dramatic peak is a mountaineer’s dream of alpine wilderness, icy mountain waterfalls, and breathtaking panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountain Range.  There are several route options to summit, but my chosen route was called the Devil’s Backbone. This name gives you a clue into the difficulty of the trail. After climbing over 3,000 feet … Read More

Stardust Song

Have you seen “Stardust”? I’m not speaking metaphorically about an inner vision you may have had. I’m talking about the old movie with Robert Deniro and Michelle Pfeiffer . You might remember it. It’s part fantasy/adventure and part love story. Sometimes Dharmadevi and I have difficulties finding a movie we both like. I gravitate towards action and adventure. She likes animated movies and love stories. Fortunately, this movie blended both! It satisfied our comingled natures and we were saved from … Read More

“People Won’t Like You”

Only three years after moving to Ananda, Swami Kriyananda asked me and Narayan to step into a leadership role. Before Ananda, I worked very happily on my own and actually had little in-person contact. All of my correspondence as a teacher of holistic healing was, by choice, through email. I wouldn’t have classified myself as socially awkward but antisocial would be a fair description! What did I know about leadership? Absolutely nothing. Swamiji gave me very little advice but one … Read More

“You, You, You… Just You”

My favorite chant right now is one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s called “In the Valley of Sorrow.” The lyrics and melody are hauntingly beautiful: Rather than wallowing in self-pity which masks our divinity, this chant offers us a superconscious solution for sorrow. Instead of ruminating on our problems and asking “Why me?” we get lost in the reverie of “You, You, You, just You.”  This chant reminds us that we can use sorrow as fodder for our Self-realization. Necessity, it has … Read More

Have Faith In Yourself

Narayan and I just finished an inspiring and fulfilling weekend at our community in Palo Alto. At the temple, we offered a workshop we just launched in Los Angeles, called Chanting for Healing. This three-hour workshop involves mostly, you guessed it, chanting! Interspersed between the chants are guided visualizations, meditations, and affirmations to attune more deeply to the essence of Paramhansa Yogananda’s sacred chants. We utilize the healing qualities that he gave to each chant and break the workshop into … Read More

Bronx Tale Blessings

“Wasted talent, Son!” My earthly father was expressing his emphatic disapproval of my new life. After finding my spiritual path through Autobiography of a Yogi, Ananda, and Swami Kriyananda, I decided a few years later to leave my high paying job in New York City and move to Ananda Village in Northern California.  Overnight I went from being a smashing success in my father’s eyes to throwing my life away. We were having another heated exchange and my dad would … Read More

Dynamic Surrender

As I was beginning on the spiritual path, I had a vivid dream that I’ll never forget. In the dream, I was outside of my home in front of a small garden. I was admiring the beautiful flowers when I noticed a bug. I thought, “Is that a ladybug?” As I looked more closely, I was surprised to see that the bug was actually a tiny man! He was crawling across the leaves and flower petals. As I gazed at … Read More

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