By Keshava Betts
November 7, 2017

About a year ago, Ananda LA expanded its aura to embrace the greater metropolitan area by opening several new centers across the urban-expanse. It was (and is) an exciting time, there was lots of new energy, enthusiasm, and a desire to create little hives where we, the little devotee-bees, could gather the honey of our collective devotion.

Have you ever walked into a temple, or some hallowed place, and been struck by an immediate sense of Divine presence? Such places can be an incredible aid in raising our consciousness and they help us to dive deeper into meditation; hence the attraction of pilgrimage to holy sites. I’ve been struck many times at the power a temple, or my environment in general, has upon my spiritual aspiration.

When I was a boy, I had the blessing of visiting the Porziuncola, a small chapel built by St. Francis himself. As soon as I entered that chapel, I was engrossed in a sense of Peace so palpable, that even at my young age, I immediately sat down and meditated. I didn’t want to move – I didn’t even want to breath. I just wanted to be in the deep state of Peace I felt radiating from that holy place.

That experience, and others, have left a deep impression in my consciousness in regards to the power of spiritual environment. When we opened a temple in the Larchmont area of Los Angeles and began offering our community morning meditations there, it was a point of concentration for the whole Ananda LA team to consciously build a strong spiritual magnetism in that temple.

We began meditating there together nearly every morning, but in addition to our usual sadhana routine we decided to try something a little unique: Every morning for the first month we chanted Yogananda’s chant, In the Temple of Silence.

Did you know that Yogananda spiritualized each of his chants? He said that if you chant them deeply enough, with great concentration, they will take you to an experience of the Divine in a specific form. Yogananda said the chant, In the Temple of Silence, conveyed the vibration to overcome restlessness, worry, and anger. We decided to chant it every morning to begin our meditations, with the intent of imbuing the power of peace, silence, and calmness into the temple itself (Ironically, prior to our occupancy the space had been used as a cyber cafe – more like a temple of violence: A convocating place for violent video games and dimly lit rooms. Needless to say, it was time for an energetic overhaul).

You know what happened? It worked. That temple grew into a place of stillness and peace amidst a city of chaos and restlessness. When fellow devotees from Ananda Village came and joined us meditating there, they commented on how peaceful the temple felt in such a short time.

Often, when we hold satsangs there, after we meditate and share some brief inspiration, we typically ask the group if they’d like to share anything – and more often than not we are met with silence. Not the awkward silence of people unsure of what to say, but the sweet silence of inner peace and the appreciation of sanctity.

I encourage you to take one of Yogananda’s chants, and try to imbue it into your meditation space, your home, your being, your life. Each one of his chants possess incredible power if we approach them with enough energy. Then, your home, your temple, your consciousness, too, may become a Temple of Silence.

“In the temple of silence,
In the temple of peace,
I will meet Thee, I will touch Thee, I will love Thee,
And coax Thee to my altar of peace.

In the temple of Samadhi,

In the temple of bliss,

I will meet Thee, I will touch Thee, I will love Thee,
And coax Thee to my altar of bliss.”