Note from the editor: Krishna Deep, a monk at Ananda’s new community in Pune, is writing about Yogananda’s birthday celebration there in March 2009.

Dear Gurubhais,

Wish you all happy Master’s birthday!!!


Entrance to the community, graced by Master’s presence.

Today is a special day for all of us, no doubt. The sacred ceremony of the monastic vows is taking place today, on our beloved Master’s birthday, in Gurgaon. I thought I would take this opportunity to write to all of you, and include a few pictures about what’s going on in Pune.

It has been just about a year since a handful of us came here to this beautiful city, with Swami Kriyananda. As I was walking on the community land today, I was struck by how much we grew over the year.

It may be that my brain works a little strangely, but only when nobody else was around (it was just me and Avinash on the land today), did I realized just how much was going on here!

We now have houses for Swamiji and our spiritual directors Dharmadas and Nirmala, some kutirs (cabins) for Swamiji’s staff, a garden, a monastery, a “tent city,” a guest retreat with a kitchen and a temple. We also have a pet dog Boo.


So much construction going on!

There is certainly no doubt that this place is going to become very special (it already is!) in the near future. It is hard to convey through pictures, but it is very easy to see once you’re here, what God is creating through many willing instruments — a place of beauty, harmony and peace.

It is a wonderful opportunity to serve, meditate and have a truly simple living and high thinking.


“Seva House” — the guest retreat

Plans and meetings have already begun as to how we would accommodate guests when they come here to meet Swamiji, especially during spiritual events. There were a few days of trying to work out where everyone would stay, how would food and transport be arranged, and how a transition from the rustic to the modern could be arranged, etc.

I don’t know about others, but my mind was certainly whirling. Today however, it was clear that it would all be taken care of, for the one reason that Master is there with and within all of us.


Swami Kriyananda’s house, seen through the trees

Though there always will be the whole American vs. Indian ways of doing things (as in, “what do you mean shower, we take bucket baths here!” Or, “what do you mean you need to leave right now, there is always time for chai!” ), the work is happening just the way it is meant to be — a right balance of the best of East and West.


Swami Kriyananda’s house

It is very exciting to me as an Indian, to be a part of India’s first cooperative community.

Even though I knew the moment I came to Ananda that this is the right way to live, something in my Indian gut kept asking questions.

India has never had a model of community living. It is considered abnormal to live away from your family with “other people”. Ananda however, will lead the way for sure, because we are a spiritual community.


Kutirs (small cabins) being built

The recent wave of gated communities model is already catching across the nation. This is when young people leave their old parents in someone else’s care or an old – age home, to live in a condo with other people like themselves.

Even though this is not the best reason for living together as a community, people at least are beginning to get the idea of community living.

We now can say Ananda is a “spiritual gated community”, where the condo you live in is Bliss!


Monks’ temple


View from the monastery.


Future site for the convent (above the consruction)


The garden. We have tomatoes, squash, basil, etc


A healthy avocado tree is saying, “I predict guacamole in your future!”


Our rustic kitchen (don’t worry, we have a community kitchen as a backup!)


Early dawn


The monks are praying (and having fun)


Happy birthday, Gurudeva… May Thy love shine forever on the sanctuary of our devotion, and may we be able to awaken Thy love in all true hearts!

There was a conversation I had with a friend of mine yesterday, who said, “You people (referring to Ananda) are just living wa-ay too – easy life.

“Look at my Guru, he’s changing the whole world. You people are trying to create a small ashram on a tiny piece of land. But my Guru, for him each city in this world is like a tiny piece of land, where he is building ashrams.”

Even though I was slightly taken aback by this unexpected flow of words from him, I decided I would keep quiet.

In my mind, I kept saying, “Master, I love You alone”.

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda