The saints are sources of inspiration and truth for all who are on a spiritual path. Each one was directly guided by the Divine and expressed in their unique way God’s love for us and the world. In these five weeks we will examine the lives of five saints: Saint Francis, Ramakrishna, Saint Lynn (Rajarsi Janakananda), Sister Gyanamata and Kamala Silva. Come join us in this celebration of divine realization and be uplifted by their stories of discipleship and selfless service to God.
Saint Francis – 10/1/19
Yogananda used to refer to Saint Francis as his patron saint. He loved him for his joy and childlike simplicity. Saint Francis is considered by many to be the most perfect of all Christian saints. Like Christ, his spiritual magnetism was sufficient to be projected over the centuries providing support for and influencing true seekers even today.
Swami Kriyananda, too, has found enormous inspiration from this beautiful saint. “Feeling the divine sweetness of Saint Francis in my meditation, I wondered: How is it possible for anyone to be so utterly sweet? And then the answer came: By never judging anyone; by being from one’s heart a brother or a sister to all; by complete humility — but above all by never judging.”
Presenter: Frank Villalvazo
Ramakrishna – 10/8/19
Ramakrishna was born in 1836 to a poor Brahmin family. From the age of 6 he had ecstatic experiences of the Divine. He became a priest at the Dakshineswar temple in Calcutta but practiced several religions, including Islam and Christianity, and taught that in spite of differences, all religions are valid and true and they lead to the same ultimate goal—God.
Presenter: Rammurti Reed
Rajarsi Janakananda (James Jesse Lynn aka St. Lynn) – 10/15/19
The foremost disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Rajarsi Janakananda, was a prominent businessman in Kansas City. A self-made millionaire when he met Yogananda in 1932, Rajarsi was chosen by Yogananda to succeed him as his organization’s president. Yogananda lovingly referred to him as “Saint Lynn” because of his great devotion to God. He said, “Since Lynn first received Kriya Yoga, I have never seen him when he was not inwardly communing with God.” Rajarsi was the perfect example of being in the world but not of it: showing the effect that Kriya meditation can have in those who carry worldly responsibilities and also aspire spiritually. Yogananda described him as his most spiritually advanced disciple.
Rajarsi Janakananda & Sister Gyanamata (next week’s topic) led lives of polar opposites: Rajarsi, a business tycoon and Gyanamata, a reclusive widow. Yet, once they gave themselves in total service to their Guru, they were able to achieve soaring states of consciousness.
Presenter: Nayaswami Narayan
Saint Damien of Molokai – 10/22/19
Saint Damien of Molokai was canonized a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church on Oct 11, 2008. For 16 years Saint Damien worked in the Hawaiian Kingdom as a missionary from Belgium on the Island of Molokai where he served in the Leper’s Colony. Hansen’s disease, or Leprosy, was a dreaded disease that spread throughout the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 1860’s. Eight thousand people were sent to the small peninsula called Kalaupapa, on Molokai, to die in isolation and banishment. St Damien gave the people hope and dignity as he served the sick and dying in this seemingly God-forsaken place in paradise.
Presenters: Tyagis Ram and Dikshini
Kamala Silva (Mary Isabelle Buchanan) – 10/29/19
Kamala Silva met Yogananda at the tender age of 19 when she and her mother attended Yogananda’s first Los Angeles lecture series. From that moment until her passing, at the age of 91, Kamala was a devoted disciple of the great yoga master and his teachings and in 1935 Yogananda ordained Kamala as the first female minister in his organization.
Yogananda often stayed at Kamala and her mother’s home during his brief rests from his extensive lecturing in the 1920s and Kamala recorded many incidents that chronicle her relationship with Yogananda. These stories are preserved in her two books: The Flawless Mirror (1964) and Priceless Precepts (1974). Her spiritual insights and the example of her life of loyal service to her guru continue to inspire generations of devotees to come.
Presenter: Tyagi Ram