By Nayaswami Narayan
July 1, 2019

“First we’ll sing in English, then Italian, then Russian.” Anand, one of the spiritual directors of Ananda Assisi, was leading us in our food blessing for a satsang at our LA center. We were greeting 40 Italian and 10 Russian pilgrims. The large group traveled from across the world to Los Angeles to visit Paramhansa Yogananda’s shrines. This was their first stop before attending Ananda’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Ananda Village next week. 

During our satsang, I was speaking with a new Italian friend who’s become a part of Ananda Assisi over the last few years. He remarked to Dharmadevi and me, “Isn’t it strange that I feel so close to Swami Kriyananda? I never met him, yet I feel like he’s one of my best friends.”

How could he feel so close to someone he has never met? Dharmadevi and I were just talking about how we feel like Paramhansa Yogananda is our best friend, but we’ve never met him. The  Italian, Russian, and Indian pilgrims we greeted this week all felt like old friends too. Most of them we had never met before, yet there was a feeling of ancient familiarity. Could it be that we are one on a soul level? I believe it is because like Yogananda said of his guru, “We met here because we met before.” We are a divine family that has been together before.

Similarly, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Kriyananda felt like Yogananda was one of his closest friends. Swamiji followed his soul call and took a bus cross county to meet his guru. During that trip Swami said he had two desires: to know God and share him with all.

This spirit of divine friendship sustains and renews Ananda Sangha. First, we unite with God and Guru through kriya yoga meditation and inner communion; and the concomitant to experiencing joy is to share it with others. As Swami Kriyananda said in a children’s song, “Give me joy to share.” 

We invite you to be part of our spiritual family and share in the joy of Ananda by participating in the 50th anniversary. No matter where you are Ananda is as Yogananda said, “…center everywhere, circumference nowhere.” You can attend online through the below links.

Over 850 people are attending the 50th anniversary in person and thousands will attend online. As Paramhansa Yogananda said at the end of his spiritual classic, “Lord, Thou hast given this monk a large family!”