I decided during Spiritual Renewal Week in August to join Ananda’s monastery for one year at the Ananda Meditation Retreat. In celebration of Swami Kriyananda’s discipleship anniversary, the vows of monasticism were taken last Sunday. The idea of monasticism had often inspired me, but in the past I had never quite felt like I would be able “cut the mustard” so to speak, as a monk. This summer I had several realizations that made think that being a monk would not only be possible, but would be the best possible thing for me at this point in my life.

The first was that nothing outside myself would ever give me happiness and fulfillment (with the exception of Hagan Daz ice cream, right?). The lines from one of Swami Kriyananda’s songs called “One Day When I was Roaming” caught my attention. The song isn’t sung very often, I think because it seems like a sad song, but Swami can be heard singing it on the CD, I’ve passed my life as a Stranger. The ending lines were particularly meaningful to me:

For life he thought these meadows,
would give to be his own;
But life he gave not first to them,
and life he’s never known

(These lines repeat twice, and “life” is replaced first with “peace,” and then with “joy.”)

What we are looking for is inside ourselves! As long as we think that it lies in things, we will be sorely disappointed. From one point of view this seems like a grim statement: Nothing in this world can bring you lasting fulfillment and happiness. But on the other hand, the keys to happiness are within us and not dependent on anything external. We can choose to be happy anytime and all the time! Anytime we think something outside ourselves will give us joy, that joy is within us already. In other words joy is within you (where have I heard that before?).

The second realization came while watching the rehearsals for Swami Kriyananda’s play, The Peace Treaty. In watching the characters Gazella and Ponder (who in the end, become monastics), I saw that renunciation is not a denial of life and love, but a joyful celebration of the soul’s freedom and devotion in God. Instead of being cold and dry, it is an affirmation to seek love in God alone. It is, after all, from God that all love originates. Any love that we feel can be offered upward and shared with God. In this it is impersonalized and in fact made greater.

Nabha, Anuj, myself, Nitai and Jagrav

The monks at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat

As I join my fellow monks and look at this year ahead, I hope and pray that this year will help me deepen my realization of the Divine within me, and help me to share that love, light and joy more fully and freely with others. In making this decision, it has been beautiful to see how the community has supported and encouraged me. It is truly a blessing to live in a place that so wholeheartedly supports the inward search for God, no matter what form it takes.


  1. Dear Peter,
    Thank you for sharing the thoughts and realizations that led to this important decision. May God and Gurus bless you deeply throughout this year.
    In Master’s joy,

  2. I am so inspired by you newsletter, for I am old and living so far away from the Ashram.
    I onece, long time ago I took a Kyria Yoga correspondence course. When I lived in Marin County in California, and my life at that moment became a whirlpool of situations, that brought me to El Salvador, where I got trapped and have not being able to live, nor do I know any one that practices, nor temples nor groups, living old and alone but with Krishna at the center of my life, I feel the need of more structure, that is not available to me.
    So, I rejoice that you were able to do it.


  3. I totally love Peter for how correct he is in his perceptions of how a monastic life will open and fill his life more than take anything away. Sometimes we have to take things away from ourselves to teach us to only depend on God alone. Think of all the drama it will push away and free Peter up to attain great success in life. It’s So beautiful ~ Being somewhat what you would call an attainer of the blessings that come from a monastic lifestyle myself, I thank Peter for showing me love and being able to project his love towards others in a very deep way.
    In love and blessings,

  4. Congradulations on your decision! I envy your opportunity. It brings me great joy to see a young man dedicate to Master so deeply. The time I spent with the monks during SRW left me with the feeling that in the right situation, I would do the same thing. As for now I’m pleased to be part of one of the non monastic orders anyway.

    Walk In The Light!

  5. Dear Peter,

    Your entry to monastic life is such a joyous event. The fact that one will be able to focus more on the ultimate goal than the maya surrounding us at every moment of our stay on this earth is indeed a reason to celebrate and rejoice. I am sure that the Divine must be standing with arm outstretched to receive you in this new light.

    Wish and pray that your journey for the union with the Ultimate will now become fast paced.

    May joy and peace be with you!

  6. Congratulations, Peter! You are showered with blessings.

  7. blank

    Dear Peter,

    May Master bless you deeply. This was such a nice post. All the best! :)

    love and light

  8. Peter,
    Can women become Monks as well? I am coming back to take the Meditation and Yoga TT next month. I am curious about the Monastic life and feel very drawn to it. Is it for both men and women?


  9. Dear Brother,

    This prayer has always been particularly meaningful to me.

    Prayer for All
    O Lord make of me and instrument of Thy peace;
    Where there is hatred; let me put love,
    Where there is resentment let me put forgiveness,
    Where there is discord let me put unity,
    Where there is doubt let me put faith,
    Where there is error let me put truth,
    Where there is despair let me bring happiness,
    Where there is sadness let me bring joy,
    Where there is darkness let me bring light.

    O Master grant that I may desire rather:
    To console than to be consoled.
    To understand rather than to be understood.
    To love rather than to be loved.

    Because it is in giving that we receive;
    In forgiving that we obtain forgiveness;
    In dying that we rise to eternal life.

    St. Francis

    May God and Gurus be ever with you on your commitment to him.

    In God and Guruji,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *