“Crowds of Souls” – Building Ananda LA
March 2, 2011
This will be the last letter that we write you from Los Angeles for a while, since Swami Kriyananda, his staff, as well as Jyotish and I will be heading back to Ananda Village on March 11. We’ve been here now since August 23 – nearly six and a half months – and it’s been an incredible adventure.
Swamiji had two primary goals in coming to Los Angeles: to bring Master’s love and joy to people, and to develop the two film projects he’s been working on – The Disciple and Yogananda, the Movie.
It’s impossible to estimate the sheer number of people whose hearts have been touched through our efforts here: through radio interviews, classes, satsangs, the Oratorio concert, billboards, New Age conferences, book fairs, social gatherings at our ashram, Meditation Groups, online classes, Kriya and Discipleship Initiations, and the pilgrimage to Master’s shrines.
As we look back on all the activities, it’s deeply inspiring for us to think about how much has been done. But more important than the quantity of people is quality. As Master said, “I prefer a soul to a crowd, but I love crowds of souls.” Those people who have deeply connected with Ananda and have committed themselves to this path have been visibly transformed. The magic of Master’s magnetism has changed lives and created a lasting spiritual family.
The two movie projects are also progressing beautifully. Filming began during the last two weeks of February on The Disciple, a docu-drama based on Swamiji’s life. An international team of Italian and American filmmakers and devotees began filming interviews with Swamiji about his life, his time with Master, and his building Ananda worldwide.
These interviews provide a priceless legacy filled with many stories that most of us haven’t yet heard. Many other people were also interviewed including several who are founding members of Ananda and some who were born and raised in an Ananda community. More interviews will be done in April when the crew comes to Ananda Village to film the community and the 9,000 tulips in full bloom during the “Springtime at Ananda” festival.
A separate film team is working on Yogananda, the Movie a feature film based on our Guru’s life. The director and scriptwriter are fine-tuning the screenplay and hope to show it to Swamiji before he leaves. Once the script is finalized, they’ll start work with a casting agent to find actors for a short “demo” on the film. It’s really thrilling to think of the impact these movies will have.
All of work that’s been started here will continue with the great crew of Ananda LA. Swamiji also plans to return here in June and July for more work on the films.
Finally, last weekend – February 24-27 – Ananda LA hosted a pilgrimage to Master’s shrines here in Southern California. Despite chilly weather and lots of rain on Friday, 30 devotees visited Forest Lawn Cemetery (where Master’s body is interred), Mt. Washington, and Lake Shrine. On Saturday the weather cleared a bit as 40 of us visited the Hermitage at Encinitas and the beautiful Ananda Encinitas Meditation Center.
For Jyotish and me, it was a very blessed way to say good-bye to Los Angeles for now. As we meditated on the bluff at Encinitas overlooking the Pacific Ocean, one could feel Master’s infinite consciousness as a dramatic play of power and light on the waves stretching to the horizon. It was as though he were saying to us, “My children, seek Me in the vastness of spirit within yourself for I am ever with you.”
We send our love and joy in God to each of you,
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi