After hearing of my decision to embark on this time as monk, a friend here at Ananda Village sent me an excerpt of a talk by Swami Kriyananda where he talks about monasticism. He starts by explaining how it fits into the community of Ananda as a whole.
“I feel that spiritual communities need a monastery to set the example of selfless service, which is something harder for people with children to support to keep in mind. If Ananda becomes too much of a householder community, then I’m afraid it would lose something precious. Yogananda said that the path of worldly responsibility is indeed higher than the monastic path provided the householder does his duty without any attachment or ego involvement. But not many people are able to do this without examples. If you find people who really feel that they don’t want anything except God and all they own belongs to Him, their example will make it easier for everybody to tune in to that attitude.”
Many people have inspired me by there service, devotion and dedication to God. When I see someone overcome a test, or let go of desires and attachments, it inspires me to do the same. When I see people living for God and not for the egos, it inspires me to be more ardent in my own search for God. As one dedicates themselves more ardently to God and Guru, they inspire devotion and determination in others on the path as well.
Swami continues on what a period of monasticism can mean for individuals within the community.
“It would be good if new Ananda residents could get grounded in the monastic attitude before they thought about marriage. In the Buddhist tradition at least the young men live in a monastery for one year. They come to marriage with a certain understanding of self-control, of detachment, of service. Let’s first be devotees seeking God. Then, as we bring that level into marriage, we can begin to set an example for people everywhere of a kind of marriage that our culture doesn’t prepare us for. We need to have a different concept of human love than what Hollywood films give us. It’s got to be on a soul level.”
Whether monasticism becomes a lifelong path or is something done for a year or two, it can be a beautiful expression of the soul’s devotion and dedication to God.
I don’t know how long I will be a monk. I can only say that I am grateful for this time to dedicate myself to God in a more focused way. I now realize that the important part is to be open to what God wants for each of us, and to let nothing come between us and Him.