A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

How to Build a Monastery


  • 3 monks
  • 2 high school boys
  • 1 foreman, the only one who really knows what he is doing
  • Lots of tools
  • Styrofoam, wood, electric wires, and a lot of other supplies
  • Divine grace
A Place Called Ananda, Divine Love, Spiritual Community

The Easiest Way to God

“Divine Mother,” Vanamali Devi said during the retreat last weekend, “is the easiest way to God. As any child knows, you can make demands of the Mother than you can’t make of the Father. It is the same with Divine Mother. So, this way of worshipping God has become very popular in India.”

A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

Traveling Within in India, Part 2: Our Visit to Vanamali Devi

Our tour group had a short audience with Vanamali Devi. One of the first questions we asked was if she would talk about devotion. She replied, “That is one of the hardest things to talk about!”

So she took a charming approach to the subject: why wisdom is a necessary prerequisite for deep devotion. Wisdom, she said, is the knowledge of what we would be devoted to, and without it, we become dogmatic and fanatical, focusing our energy not on our perception of God, but on our conception of Him: on mere belief or superstition. […]

A Place Called Ananda, Meditation

Traveling Within in India: Our Pilgrimage to Rishikesh, Part 1

An excerpt:

“As the story goes, Swami Purushottamananda walled off the vast majority of the cave to stop people from disturbing the siddhas (realized or perfected souls) who were, and perhaps still are, sitting back there in their astral (energy-based) bodies, meditating.

“Is this true? I certainly can’t say for sure. However: this cave is the one place I would make sure to go if I ever returned to Rishikesh. It was intense.”

A Place Called Ananda, Meditation

How to Start Meditating Daily

In celebration of making a commitment to deepen my own meditations, I want to share something to help people get started with a solid daily sadhana (spiritual practice).

I started meditating daily nearly four years ago, and in that time I have grown more spiritually than I would have in forty years of not meditating. It’s that profound.

A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

Sweetness, Sincerity, and Swami Kriyananda

Like Dave, I’ve enjoyed and felt blessed by my time here in India. One of the things that struck me immediately was how natural it felt to be here. This pattern repeated itself several times in the first couple of days: I see someone (an Indian) while I’m walking down the street. They are probably staring at me; no smile … Read More

A Place Called Ananda, Meditation

Meditating in India

We arrived in Delhi four days ago after fourteen hours of flying and four hours of driving – Zack, one of the monks at Ananda India, picked us up. Once we were on our way to the Ananda center in Gurgaon, he said, “Well, I don’t know if you guys are up for it, seeing as how you just got in, but in five minutes we’re starting a six hour meditation…”

A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

What is Ananda?

This website is called “A Place Called Ananda,” but what and where is that place? A dream I once had offers some explanation, as does my first Christmas meditation.

In the dream, a friend was telling me that Ananda is like a lake of consciousness, filled with joy and reflecting all the colors of the rainbow. I only very rarely share spiritual dreams, but this one illustrates so well […]

A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

Thanksgiving blessings, and a way to develop gratitude

Today we had a sweet (sweet in Spirit! though there was also pumpkin pie) dinner at the Meditation Retreat. This was my second year here for it, and both years what I have enjoyed most is serving together with spiritual family.

A Place Called Ananda, Spiritual Community

Tibetan Buddhists visit the Ananda Meditation Retreat

This weekend at the meditation retreat we had around 50 Tibetan Buddhists as guests. It was an inspiring experience to see other truth-seekers advancing in their chosen path.