By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
August 15, 2017

We all walked to the spot where Ananda’s new Temple of Light will be built, chanting Aum Guru, and waited in anticipation for the groundbreaking ceremony to begin. As the statues of our line of gurus were lovingly placed on the spot where the future altar would be, we could feel their living presence descend. These were not little marble murtis; they were, in fact, our Masters, smiling at the four hundred devotees gathered to celebrate.

We were there to celebrate a hive where God’s honeybees could come and worship together, but so much more than that was happening. After the groundbreaking ceremony, we shuffled down to the nearby amphitheatre to continue the festivities through a concert that many hands had lovingly prepared.

I’ve been to a number of concerts at Ananda and we always have something special to celebrate, but this one was uniquely powerful. As I looked at the faces of our choir, gathered from our Ananda communities around the world, I saw, not just angelic beings (as they all are), I saw our unity. I felt my heart merged with all these great souls and realized there was no separation between us. It’s not a feeling that is easily describable with words, but I’ll try.

Throughout my life, I’ve donned the self-definition of “fiercely independent.” I realized in this moment with my spiritual family that I could achieve true freedom, not through my independence from others, but by complete union with God through this amazing community of soul friends. Gratitude poured flood-like into my being and tears of joy filled my eyes as I realized how Divine Mother had given me exactly what my soul needed to find Her.

Narayan and I have been leading Ananda’s work in Southern California for the past few years and building community has been one of our top priorities. Somehow, I felt, there was a part of me fighting to maintain my individuality, my independence. Just then, the full force of Paramhansa Yogananda’s vision of World Brotherhood Communities, which has come to fruition through Swami Kriyananda’s life of service to his guru, erupted in my heart. I felt my aura expand as though it could finally fully relax into the arms of my community, my gurubhais, my spiritual family on earth and in heaven.

The following passage was read during the groundbreaking concert:

“I am so grateful that so many of you have come. I believe that when we die and we have to leave all those that we loved behind… that there is a string that ties us to everybody we have loved…. I love everybody. I love God in them — and those who respond to that love, I believe that there is a tie between us.
I think that perhaps in the astral world we created a community together, and are trying to recreate in this world what we knew then. Master said that when people create beautiful things in this world, whether it be music or painting or anything, it’s because of their astral memories — their desire to create an astral perfection that they’ve already known.
We are together because we’ve done this together. And this is why I’ve had the good fortune and the good karma to draw so many people. Because we’ve done it before.
It’s a fascinating thought. If I have to come back it will only be with this purpose: to help others find God.”

–Swami Kriyananda
(at his 80th birthday celebration)