Dear Friends,

We send our heartfelt wishes that your Christmas season be filled with peace and joy. May you feel you are like the three wise men bearing gifts of divine love with each gift you give.

Yogananda tells us that the three wise men who traveled from the East to visit the baby Jesus were our gurus — Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar — in previous incarnations. Master also explained that they were great yogis guided by the Inner Star of intuition which led them to the Christ Consciousness present in that tiny babe asleep in the manger. They came, in part, to prove by the “Miracle of the Star” that Jesus was a true son of God, an avatar.

“The Second Coming of Christ” is what Yogananda called his own mission to the West. He came to show us all how we, too, through meditation, service, devotion can behold the radiant Inner Star that shines at the spiritual eye.

I remember my first Christmas at Ananda in 1970. In fact, it was my first Christmas ever since I was raised in a Jewish family. The Village had only 30 or 40 members at the time. This was before other Ananda communities were formed, so we were a small group celebrating Christmas very simply.

I was living at the Meditation Retreat in a little 10-foot trailer nestled among the trees down a small dirt road. On Christmas Eve we had a concert in the temple at the Retreat, and it started to snow. I stayed after everyone had left to meditate alone before the beautiful altar as the snow was quietly falling all around.

When I finished meditating and was preparing to walk back to my trailer, I realized that the snow was quite deep and that I had no flashlight. So I curled up next to the little propane heater, covered up with someone’s meditation blanket, and slept one of the most peaceful slumbers I’ve ever had.

In the morning when I opened my eyes, I felt spiritually transformed as I beheld a world of sparkling beauty and purity with snow covering the trees and landscape with a blanket of white. People began to gather in the temple for the Christmas morning meditation, but I had already felt the presence of the baby Jesus — so quiet, powerful, and filled with God’s presence.

Now these many years later, Ananda’s celebrations of Christmas happen all over the world, as communities and groups come together for many inspiring activities. But for me, Christmas will always be the awakening to a new world of inspiration and joy that I experienced alone in a small, cold temple in the snowy woods.

So, this Christmas may you be ready to receive from Christ his greatest gift of all — the awareness of his presence residing all around you and in your own heart.

With love in God, Christ, and Guru,
Nayaswami Devi and Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Very inspiring!! For me, born in a country of heat and summer the whole year round, a snowy Xmas seems so appropriate, so cozy by the fireplace and with the possibilities of experimenting devotion and love for Christ in a different level.
    Devi, your story is pure light!! My love to you. Marcia

  2. oh to be able to break away from habit and just sleep there where you are; to have the longing in your heart to meditate any old time..just like Sri Yukteswar did with Master and his students. How blissfully free. Thank you for this luminous visualization.

  3. What a blessing to be part of the Ananda celebrations in Michigan and also to feel the deep connection with our Ananda Spiritual Family all over the world! What a joy it was to watch the Festible of Light in Dance! Joy to All

  4. Snow is so spiritually radiant! Doing my kriyas at 3 am on the floor of my boys’ room, the house full of Christmas guests, I too felt the presence of Jesus vibrating within, and thought of our Gurus saying, “We observed His star in the East!” Thank you for sharing your beautiful CHristmas memory! JOY to Everyone!

  5. Blessings to you both and Happy Christmas from Tucson, AZ (and our little fledgling Ananda Center here).

    Rebecca Smith (formally from Ananda Seattle.)

  6. Thank you for the e-mail. Have been feeling especially stressed during this holiday season and longing for the feeling of peace in knowing what the real meaning of this season is – God’s greatest gift to us – his only Son.
    Happy Holidays

  7. That is one of the most beautiful and moving stories about spiritual transformation I have ever heard. I felt what you felt along with you, and it lifted my heart and soul. Thank you so much for sharing, and have a Joyous Christmas.

  8. I was at the old retreat during those years, too, and every Christmas I return there in my memory and meditation to reawaken the intense blessedness of those early Ananda Christmases Thank you, Devi, for this lovely writing.

  9. Dear Devi and Jyotish, Correspondence is no measure of how often the both of you, and the Ananda community is thought about and prayed with and for. – with gratitude and love. The prayers for healing have been generously answered, and the prayer you sent, Devi, has been multiplied and used by numerous others. We hope to be able to respond to your generous offer to return to the hermitage at least one more time. Thank you, so much. May the grace of this Christmas Season be extended to you both – Devi and Jyotish – throughout evey day of 2011 – and may it be realized in and through you in your faith and trust, love and compassion, gratefulness and in a deep awareness of our dear God’s presence. Again, grateful love for all that Ananda means for so many of us.
    Sandra and Kathleen (I’m with Sandra for Christmas)

  10. Your description of that night you spent alone in the chapel is beautiful and moving to me–a Blessing, and Grace. I can feel and see it and I thank you for sharing your experience with us. Have a blessed Christmas!

  11. Very interesting story. I send my heartfelt wishes to all Ananda members for the Christmas season.

  12. Thank you Devi for that inspiring story. I felt my heart expanding as I read. I feel at peace as I write. Being from Maine, I well remember those wonderful, quiet, peaceful walks in the snow. May you and Jyotish have a very blessed and joyous Holiday Season. Jerry Champagne, Ashland,OR.

  13. “The Real Gifts of Christmas”, today’s message from Jyotish and Devi, states we can spiritually progress to “behold the radiant Inner Star that shines at the spiritual eye”, but it does not explicitly state that the spiritual attainment of Christ consciousness is open to us all.

    It’s imperative we share the good news that each of us can attain the Christ. I’m not saying it’s quick or easy to attain the Christ, just that it’s possible. It could take many lifetimes. But it’s a real and worthwhile spiritual pursuit which needs acknowledgment here, I believe.

    What a spriritual catch-22 it would be if only spiritual masters like Jesus and Paramhansa could attain the Christ! What hope would there be for non-enlightened souls seeking enlightenment? While I realize that not many attain the Christ, the door remains open to us all,…

  14. The evidence and proof given to us by Master has brought so much hope and debth to our spiritual growth. Just to know that we have many incarnations to perfect our work in merging the self to the Self is a great comfort to me. Knowing and learning how to expidite this process is beyond description.

  15. Thank you for the message, this is the most beautiful X’ mas message I have ever.

    With Love & regards

  16. Thank you for your beautiful Christmas message, and the very sweet memory of your early Christmas at Ananda. We are all so blessed to be celebrating together, where ever Ananda devotees are. May the Christ consciousness steal quietly into the hearts of everyone one of us tomorrow night. Blessings to you all,

  17. What a beautiful story, Devi — it moves me to tell you of the first time I went into the Hansa Temple, just touring it, to see it since I hadn’t been there. I stepped inside the door and immediately felt a tremendous rush of energy — love or awakening or whatever it was, it was immensely powerful. I wanted to stay there, just to BE there, in the awareness of God, in the presence of the Masters. I’m thinking of you all now, with the love of Christmas surrounding us.
    With much love and light, Marjorie

  18. Thank you for your deeply inspiring post. What a blessing.

  19. Devi,

    What a beautiful, inspiring, moving experience you have shared with us. Thanks so much!

    Your story rekindles some of my memories of wonderful experiences at the Meditation Retreat. What a holy and wonderful place to commune with Divine Mother.

    Many blessings to you & Jyotish!

  20. Thank you for this quiet, simple, inspiring message. …also for the pix of the retreat temple, for this is the only Ananda I remember (haven’t visited in many a year)…when I was new on the path in the late ’70’s. I can imagine the quiet and sweet spiritual stillness of the baby Jesus that you felt in the dome that morning. The snow, the quiet, the cold temple, the awareness of deep quiet, deep peace. OMmmmm…..Jai Guru…..Jai Baby Jesus…..Ommm

  21. Thank you, thank you, for your beautiful Christmas message.

  22. I too have spent time alone in that temple at Christmas time and have meditated in there alone with the snow falling. Simply magical! A woman I met there once told me she had meditated in temples around the world, including India, and that the energy in the Meditation Retreat temple was the highest she had ever experienced. I relish the many seclusions I’ve taken there.

  23. Thank you for sharing your inspiration and story of true love and devotion to Master’s teachings.

  24. Ahhh……the old retreat.
    Found myself…… Spiritual renewal week in 1980 in the old dome temple. Sat in there and gave my all and became transfixed and woke up to breakfast finishing and then Keshava said I was ready for Kriya.
    That temple is still there to partake of. So a pilgrimage now and then to the seclusion retreat is just a way of finding yourself while charging up the temple …..adding honey to the hive as it were. I’m sure glad that you and that temple are still there. Much love,,Jeff K.

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