A Precious Gift
I am grateful for this opportunity to share with you all, my spiritual family.
My name is Aditya. I am a medical doctor, and a recent addition to the ever-expanding Ananda family in Pune, India. I’m a monk. Since joining my brothers in the monastery, my life has been filled with many opportunities for growth and expansion. Each one has brought a challenge, but also joy.
“Building Spiritual Power of Our Times” was the topic of the 2009 Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village. That is a great topic, much needed today. And for devotees, it’s also a great responsibility! This spiritual power can be built individually, and also as a group.
“Don’t disband your group, pray, pray together!” —Padre Pio, a great modern-day mystic of the Catholic Church, used to say to his disciples, sensing difficult times ahead.
Yogananda, too, said that whenever two magnets come closer, the magnetism of the stronger magnet overpowers the weaker one.
I have been on this path for a short while, but I already had a chance to see how easy it is for devotees to go astray. Even young, energetic, and seemingly devotional people sometimes are gone without a trace!
This world has seen enough spiritual “casualties.” It is time we band together.
When discussing spiritual power, it’s impossible to overlook the magnetism created by spiritual communities.
When I left my home almost a year ago, my family had no clue whatsoever what my search was all about, or what possible good can come from seeking God. I guess their biggest thought was, “Does God even exist?” Even so, my younger sister said this to me, “Bhaiya (brother), don’t worry. I will tell Daddy that you are doing a good thing, even though it is something we don’t understand!”
Swami Kriyananda said that in one man’s search for God he could easily be thought by the world as a madman. But when a thousand “madmen” come together to work, pray, meditate, and live harmoniously, it makes people stop and take notice.
Life at Ananda is beautiful!
Speaking of our Pune community, it is amazing to see the consciousness of people around change so much (for the good!), even in a few months. The nearby villagers are gradually coming to realise that we are not here only to build something for ourselves, but also to share it with them — whether providing them with solar electricity, or serving them through our medical clinic, or creating a library.
We set up a free clinic for the villagers with medicines for most of the common illnesses. In the past, the villagers would have to go to the city for medical care — over an hour away on dirt roads. With the help of some devotees, I even invested in a decent surgical kit too!
On any given day around 30 villagers come to work at the Ashram building site, earning daily wages. As they told us often, they have never met such joyful employers!
Our exchange is two-way. We buy our grain from them, hire their bullock carts, and at times, share our meals together.
“Once you live in this way (in spiritual community), you would not want to live in any other way!” said Swami Kriyananda. It Is True!
Attitudes of renunciation, selfless service to others and God, come easily in gathering of renunciates. Living in community gives one endless opportunities to offer seva or service, right from day one.
I know I am strongly recommending Ananda to you all. But I can’t help it! It is simply too precious a gift to keep away from you. To use a medical term, there’s something about Ananda that is almost “infectious” — in a good way! You don’t have to be a saint to come here, but you can get a lot of help to become one!