My husband and I returned to live at Ananda Village in March of 2009 after living at Ananda Sacramento, California for the last 23 years. There we served as the Colony Leaders and Spiritual Directors.


Ananda Farms today…

We are now working with the young adults at Ananda Village and working with some of them on the Ananda farm.

As we were packing our things to move I found a diary that I wrote while traveling with my sister and brother-in-law, as well as by myself, for 6 weeks in Central America when I was 19 years old.


… and in the early days

As I read through the pages I was amazed. Behind the words I was reading was the consciousness of those with whom we were soon to be working and serving at Ananda Village!

From the daily entries sprang idealism, creative expression, inspiration, hope, the desire to serve and help others, to give back to humanity, make a difference, “save the planet.”

So much energy! The energy of the “ever new,” and yet, if you will, just mere ideas, untried and unproven. I was very grateful to read these detailed pages from my earlier life. The timing was perfect. I felt that Divine Mother was giving me a vivid picture to prepare me and to align my consciousness in receptivity to the souls with whom we would be living and serving.

Swami Kriyananda talks about “practical idealism.” He says that we need to ground our ideals in reality and channel inspiration into tangible form.

As I worked closely in cooperation with other devotees I began to learn how to be able to direct my energy, manifest dreams and hopes, and serve a greater reality than just myself. Indeed I was too busy to think of myself in a personal, selfish way. I discovered quickly that it was only by cooperating with God to change my consciousness that I could accomplish anything in life, what to speak of “changing the world.”


Maria and friends, early seventies

Within 3 years of my coming to Ananda, myself and my husband were managing the farms at Ananda.

Our gardening teacher, Haanel Cassidy, passed on and it all landed in our lap.

One day Swami Kriyananda invited us and few others who were serving on the farm at the time, to come over for lunch.

We brought with us a garden fresh feast. He loved it and so appreciates to this day the quality of what is produced on this land. His guidance was to “grow as much food as we could.”

But beyond that, he let us explore how to do it. He gave us the freedom to “tune in” and try to channel our inspiration and enthusiasm into creative deeds. Needless to say our hands and hearts were full.



It is very inspiring for us to serve with these young people. They are fresh, alive, hopeful, and most importantly, love God, and want to dedicate their lives in service to Him, and through Him, to others.



It is a great blessing to watch the seeds of spiritual yearning grow within them so strongly. Their very presence is like a breath of fresh air to other thirsty, truth seeking young adults.

This year a number of them will be heading up 6 weeks of programs for young adults, ages 18 – 30 at Ananda Village. If you are interested please check out their website.

The name which they have coined for these programs is “Living with Spirit.” It truly captures the essence of youth in cooperation with the Divine.


Nayaswami Maria and Ananta


  1. My heart fills with gratitude for the two of you in reading this perspective about who you are and what you are doing!! Thank you for all you’re doing for Ananda! Jai Guru, victoria

  2. What a blessing to see you both, passing on your ideals and energy to young people. My thoughts are how you taught P. Y.’s lessons, here at Sacramento, How special it was to have Maria cook for us, and how you both worked in the land.

  3. Gardening can be seen as an analogy for spiritual practice and raising others in the light. Maria, you and Ananta have been shining examples of both. Blessings to your work, and thank you for this beautiful article.

  4. “idealism, creative expression, inspiration, hope, the desire to serve and help others, to give back to humanity, make a difference, and ‘save the planet'”? Sounds like you haven’t changed much, other than perhaps refining each!
    Thanks for helping to water my seed of spiritual inspiration, Maria.

  5. Rachel couldn’t have said it any better!!! Yes, thank you Maria and Ananta, Namaskar!

  6. Maria, it was so much fun to work in the gardens with you this past weekend. Blessings to you and Anantaji and I hope to serve with you again soon.

  7. It is such a blessing to see you and Ananta move full circle from where you began to share your love and light in the natural surroundings of the Village and the many people who will come to visit.

    This next segment of your journey continues as you serve many souls. It is good to see you regenerate yourselves with others.

    It brings me joy to see the abundance of your love grow through the life of the garden!

    Joy & Many Blessings,

  8. Wonderful to read about the two of you managing the Ananda gardens….I knew you both and worked in the garden with you before you were married! What amazing memories I have of that time. Maria, you were one of my closest friends at Ananda at the time…and I still think of you fondly!

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