This past Sunday, December 2nd, was the 24th World Brotherhood Day at The Expanding Light at Ananda Village. It is a day set aside at the beginning of the Christmas holiday season where we consciously stop and remember the beauty of this season.
World Brotherhood Day has been one of my favorite Ananda observances for years. I remember many years ago (yikes – almost 20 years ago) sending for the cassette tape so that I could listen to and then participate in the event from a distance.
The evening began and ends with the choir singing beautiful songs, including my favorite, Christmas Mystery. This song plus others from the Christ Lives Oratrio fill me with awe.
It has been our custom on this day to contribute a day’s wage to an aspect of the outreach ministry. We place this offering at the beautiful Christmas altar then recieve a blessing by Jyotish and Devi and a small gift. This year it was a copy of a profound article Swami Kriyananda recently wrote.
In the past we have given support for the Ananda groups in Russia. We created a fund in Assisi which they could use as scholarship money for Russians and eastern Europeans who wanted to come for training programs. We have also in the past dedicated our offerings to reprinting “spiritually precious” books written by Swamiji which had gone out of print. After 24 years, you can imagine that the benificiaries of this special day are many.
This year our donations will go toward sharing Master’s light in a coordinated effort to spread the word about Ananda Village’s 40th year and Swamiji’s 60th year of discipleship. 2008 will be a special year indeed.
The evening also featured brief talks by Jyotish and Devi, Catherine Van Houten and Tim and Corinne Hickey. Tim and Corinne will be in charge of pulling all the strings together and coordinating our efforts to share the news.
The dedicated Expanding Light cooking staff and Karma yogis prepared and served a delicious banquet after the program. It was so nice to see everyone dressed up and enjoying the delightful food and pretty decorations.
This weekend was special for another reason. As many of you know Swamiji had surgery last week and after a brief stay in ICU is now again at his home in Gurgaon, India. He has inspired all of us with his courage and amazing joy. Swamiji said at the close of a letter he wrote to everyone, “You all have my deep, heartfelt love. Thank you again and again for your loving (and blissful) prayers. And, yes, I tried to share my own bliss with all of you. Let us all work together to bring Master’s wonderful message to the whole world.”
So our World Brotherhood Day gift is dedicated to try and share Yogananda’s message of inner joy with the world.