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Ananda and Political Views
September 5, 2011
Are the political views at Ananda very diverse? What is the general economic preference: communism, free-market capitalism, socialism, anarchism?
Ananda members have a wide range of political views. The practice of meditation and the teachings of Self-realization are not inherently one view or another, politically speaking.
The paths to truth are many, though truth be One.
Nonetheless, the spiritual path is a process of the expansion of consciousness and sympathies.
So compassion, selfless service, and the practical application of one's ideals are a natural and integral part of the spiritual path (which emphasizes devotion). Some would say this is "left-leaning" (though it is not necessarily true).
Yet the path of Self-realization (based on the very individual commitment to meditation and spiritual growth) necessarily emphasizes personal initiative.
No one can meditate for you, in other words. Some would say this is "right-leaning" (though it is not necessarily so).
On economic matters you would find the same wide variety.
But as pioneers in the intentional communities movement you would find a distinct (general) preference for small businesses, supportive leadership styles, sustainable economic and ecological policies, healthy lifestyles, and respect for others.
We tend to eschew government involvement and subsidies and prefer self-sufficiency where feasible.
Intelligent, sincere and virtuous people can have very different views about social policies. "Fools argue, but wise men discuss," Paramhansa Yogananda commented.
You would find among Ananda members, therefore, a wide range of opinions about economic and political issues.
And like thoughtful people anywhere, you will also find it difficult to easily classify Ananda members as to their views, at least on specific issues, even if they are, by the workings of political processes, registered in one political party or another.
Can I move to Ananda Village?
September 30, 2010
I have been suffering spiritual loneliness for a long time. I have read many books on yoga, philosophy, psychology, but have not found a "home" yet. I have tried yoga postures in classes but they have not helped. Kriya yoga and Yoganada's teachings have provided a source of hope for me and I have started to do some simple meditation techniques I learned from this website. Is it possible to find a spiritual home at Ananda Village while also finding employment in the village to support myself?
Your question was forwarded to me, as Director of Member Services.
It's true, when we begin to realize that the world promises everything, but delivers nothing that is lasting, we long to find what will bring us this lasting bliss that our soul remembers and seeks to be reunited with.
It seems that perhaps, you have found a "kindred spirit" with Ananda, and I would encourage you to seek out more direct contact through a meditation group or Ananda Sanga or Meditation and Yoga Center. This will give you satsang, spiritual fellowship, and you will find your spiritual brothers and sisters, and be able to keep company with them and receive their friendship and support. Be encouraged that when we begin to feel this lonliness, it can be our first step to finding where our true fulfillment resides.
I'm glad that you found Ananda on the web, and are benefiting from some of our offerings. I would encourage you to also go to the Expanding Light website (www.expandinglight.org) to see about coming to our retreat as a guest so that you can get a little experience of Ananda Village. They have low cost programs, inparticular the Karma Yoga program that offers you more time here, and the opportunity to serve, which is what life at Ananda Village is all about.
As far as moving to an Ananda community to live and work, I would suggest that you check with our communities in our more urban areas. These can be found on www.ananda.org. Ananda Village has a lengthy membership process requiring over a year of programs to develop familiarity with the Village and to discover if this is the best place for you spiritually and practically. It's important to have enough time here before you make a commitment.
You may move into any of our other communities (Seattle, WA.; Portland, OR., Mt. View, CA; Sacramento, CA.) without going through any membership process, if they have room and think that you would be able to find a harmonious life there. The advantage to our communities in the more urban areas is that they also have teaching centers, Sanghas, and temples so your early years with these teachings is supported. Ananda Village doesn't offer classes in the same way. Being in a less rural area also brings the opportunity for more employment options.
Currently we are full in our housing and we don't have employment available, in the Village. We have to offer housing and employment to people who are already members, and with seniority in mind. You will have a better opportunity to become involved with Ananda if you explore our other communities. However you are always welcome to visit Ananda Village and spend some time at The Expanding Light retreat.
Living "in" community is the best way for a devotee to live. You are in a supportive environment with like-minded people which creates an atmosphere that supports you spiritually and socially.
Many blessings. If you have any more questions, feel free to write to me. Also, please go to: www.anandavillage.org to see more that is written about our membership process, here at the Village.
Blending of Christianity and Yoga
January 20, 2010
Why do you followers of yogananda and other eastern traditions pretend to not realize what a fight you have on your hands? I am talking about trying to blend christianity and eastern beliefs. You seem to want to quietly slip these things together and hope no one will notice. My question is why do you think you aren't going to be called out on that by more fudamentalists and theologians?
Why is it you think we aren't going to be "called out?" Our teachings are hardly a secret. We aren't interested in fighting. Our guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, called his work in the United States the Second Coming of Christ. I, too, have wondered why he wasn't "crucified." In fact, however, he DID encounter scorn, derision, prejudice, and opposition. He just also happened to be a very magnetic and charismatic speaker and teacher and individual with a message that resonates with those who know intuitively that beneath the surface of theological and other differences must surely lie the One Truth and One God!
So, heavens, we aren't doing anything quietly or slippy at all! Our teacher, Swami Kriyananda, wrote a book that's quite a "looker" for orthodox Christians: The Revelations of Christ.
It's more or less so that it does seem, to me, that no one's quite taken notice of these things. Perhaps we're just too small to see, or don't have a specific individual with national recognition saying these things. However, for all of that, don't think the Catholic Church and some Protestants haven't noticed. Condemnations there have certainly been; and warnings to the faithful against the practice of yoga and meditation. There's been plenty of so-called exposes and accusations. Except for an occasional Vatican pronouncement, most seem random and uncoordinated. I'm not completely sure of the name, but I think it was Pat Robertson who had been pretty vocal against Eastern teachings.
We certainly don't see our teachings and practices as a threat to any of them; indeed, we believe that we offer orthodox faiths the way out of the narrow sectarianism they have erected for themselves. To see the great saints of all faiths as the true custodians of religion, as those whose lives and teachings share a common bond; to to see that the purpose of religion is to help man to know the Creator and to see in his fellow man and in all life, reflections of the Divine; to practice meditation that each individual might personally have contact with God. Religion ought to be, but is not, a force for peace and harmony on this beleaguered planet. Religion ought to be the one activity that offers mutual respect and honor to all sincere efforts to know, love, and serve God in this world.
Joining the nayaswami order if you have another guru
January 18, 2010
Edward Leighton Wilson
Dear brother or sister. My name is Leighton Wilson. I have a question regarding loyalty. My Guru is Amma. I feel very drawn to "stand up, and be counted" by taking the vows of a monk. I am very drawn to the "new monastic order" that Swami Kriyananda has helped bring about. I will not be disloyal to my Guru. Would becoming a Nayaswami be "mixing teachings"? Or, would it be disloyal? Thank you for your time and care. Love.
Dear Edward, in the inspiration that Nayaswami Kriyananda shared in the creation of the Nayaswami Order he specifically invites those who already ARE swamis to join the Nayaswami Order. He also states that he can imagine nayaswamis who are not on the same path. What he asks of such persons is that they recognize Paramhansa Yogananda as their adi-guru, or as he puts it:
Thus, I can imagine swamis living solitary lives (though perhaps only after some time) in caves or in little kutirs (huts). I can also imagine them not even following the path to which I myself have dedicated my life. Since Paramhansa Yogananda was sent, however, to help bring fundamental change to an entire civilization, I must say that I do visualize all swamis of this new renunciate order accepting him as their adi (first, or supreme) guru. They needn't at all, however, be members of Ananda, of which I myself am the founder.
He did not elaborate on what the meaning of "first" or "supreme" guru means in relationship to someone who, like yourself, has a guru already. But obviously he contemplates that some in this Nayaswami Order will be disciples of other gurus. So, yes, I think what you are asking is a possibility. At the original initiation of nayaswamis there was a woman who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, for example.
As to your relationship to Paramhansa Yogananda (as to "first" or "supreme"), I can only speculate that it means acknowledging (with gratitude and devotion) that Yogananda represents (in addition to a guru for those who consider themselves his disciples) an overarching spirit or divine incarnation sent to guide this (new) age. It's probably more than just a general respect for a saint on another path or lineage, but he cannot have intended to create a conflict for you with your devotion, service, and attunement with Amma.
What is not addressed is how the preliminary stages of renunciation apply in such a case. I have no reason to believe they apply any differently.
If you know someone at Ananda, and can find out if they are a nayaswami, you can establish or deepen your relationship with that person and they can guide you along the process. Short of that, may I suggest that you write to Nayaswami Bharat through this form on The Nayaswami Order website.
Blessings to you,
Living at Ananda Village
January 13, 2010
I am looking for a spiritual community to live in, and Ananda is at the top of my list of prospective communities. Are all residents at Ananda Village in Nevada City brahmacharis or sannyasis? i.e., have they taken vows of celibacy? Is this a requirement to live there, or do couples live there as well, cohabiting and raising children together? The issue of brahmacharya keeps arising for me, over and over again. Thank you. Namaste _/_
The primary focus for residents at Ananda Village is that they are disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda and our line of gurus, and that they have taken (or are moving toward) initiation into Kriya Yoga. Ananda Village is the beginning, in a sense, of the fulfillment of Yogananda's vision of World Brotherhood Colonies.
There are many couples as well as families with children living at Ananda Village. The emphasis for every resident is that of inner renunciation, regardless of one's choice of outward relationships. This means living with the ideal that God is our goal but also that it is God who is the doer behind all that we do.
Just recently Nayaswami Kriyananda has established A Renunciate Order for the New Age which invites those devotees who want to take more formal vows of renunciation to do so.
This new order, the Nayaswami Order, is a new movement in renunciation.
In his book A Renunciate Order for the New Age Nayaswami Kriyananda describes a new model based on positive aspects of renunciation - rather than the traditional world-negating approach. It is intended for people from all walks of life, married or single, who are committed to finding God, and is open to people of every religious affiliation.
"Renunciation, as practiced in the past, no longer appeals to people in this age of greater freedom of thought and consciousness. It is more uplifting nowadays to concentrate on the positive aspects of renunciation."
For more information about Ananda Village, including the membership process, please click here.
In divine friendship,
Are there pets at Ananda Village?
December 12, 2008
are there pets at ananda village? i ask because master had a pet deer at his ranchi school and i have always found my kitty to be a great meditation companion. i would like to come and live at ananda; would i have to leave my kitty behind?
Yes, there are pets at Ananda Village. A number of Village residents have cats just as you do.
We do however have a restriction against dogs. This is not because we don't appreciate them, but rather because of the effect dogs have in our environment, especially in regards to the wildlife, such as the deer.
Ananda in Atlanta, Georgia
October 28, 2008
Dear sir, Can we have Ananda in Atlanta city? There is no Ananda in the South. I meet people in here whose eyes tell that they want spirituality in there life. I can assure you many souls here wait for the arrival of Ananda in Atlanta.
Ananda is always happy to support devotees in forming meditation groups wherever there is a need. But it isn't that Ananda as an organization determines where we have such groups; rather it comes from the natural development among sincere devotees such as you coming together with other like-minded souls and growing in magnetism.
Swami Kriyananda has often said that if someone sees a need in some area, it very well may be that person's role to address that need and take steps to find a solution! So, the invitation is for you to help start up an Ananda Meditation Group in Atlanta! We would be more than willing to give you the support to help you in your endeavor. Please email us, and we will fill you in on the steps.
In divine friendship,
Ananda Meditation Groups Coordinator
Finding Ananda in New Zealand
October 24, 2008
I am in Auckland (NZ) basically from India. I am in search of Ananda devotees here so that I can discuss my spiritual path with others and share the books too. At times I feel real lonely here. It seems as if the materialistic things are diverting me from my actual path. Please help me in finding spiritual satsang here. Regards Richa
Thank you for your inquiry. We get inquiries from all parts of the world asking about if there is an Ananda group in their area. At this time we have over one hundred Ananda groups worldwide. We do have a group in New Zealand. You can contact them via email.
Our Website has over 900 pages of material. There is a Free "Online Inspiration" section where you will find a number of books, hundreds of articles, over 250 streaming audio and video talks, and more.
Most people that get involved with us begin through our yoga and meditation home-study course.
We also have a very good Meditation Support site where you can subscribe to our free monthly support newsletter.
If we can be of anymore help to you, please let us know.
In divine friendship,
Ananda Meditation Groups Coordinator
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