A Touch of Light

Good Advice

I was the General Manager of Ananda Village for many years during its early days. Sometimes, as you can imagine, I felt overwhelmed by all of the problems and challenges we faced, and would go to Swami Kriyananda for advice and solace. Often he would tell me, “Don’t think overmuch about the problems, but keep your focus on finding solutions.” … Read More

Kanchenjunga mountains of India
A Touch of Light

Seeing Kanchenjunga

In 1996 Jyotish and I had one of the most inspiring experiences of our life: Swami Kriyananda asked us and two other friends to join him on a trip to India. This was long before Ananda had established centers there, so our journey was for personal inspiration and some relaxation as well. Our first stop was Darjeeling, a small, quaint … Read More

Be a warrior for the light, light the world campaign of Ananda Worldwide Yogananda logo
A Touch of Light

Be a Warrior for the Light

These are difficult, even unprecedented, times for the world. The spreading coronavirus, as well as the ripples of economic and social disruption, have sent shock waves throughout the whole planet. As spiritual seekers, and especially those who are followers of Paramhansa Yogananda, there are several things we can do to protect ourselves and our families, and, more importantly, to help … Read More

How to embrace your fears by turning to the divine presence all around us
A Touch of Light

Embrace Your Fears

Me? Live in a tepee? In the early years of Ananda Village, before we had the resources to build houses, we looked to the Native American culture for solutions in creating homes. Someone found a book about how to make Sioux tepees, and seeing this as both doable and within our limited price range, we didn’t look back. Off we … Read More

Nayaswami Jyotish in 1971, the early days of Ananda Village.
A Touch of Light

My First Day

I went to work for Swami Kriyananda in 1968, and my first day was an absolute disaster! But, like many disasters, it makes for a good lesson and a good story. I had been helping Swami with small tasks at his evening classes as a volunteer for many months. Then he asked me to quit my job as a social … Read More

Jairam or Joe Hunt who is fighting for freedom from prison with Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi
A Touch of Light

Who Is the Prisoner?

He was just twenty-four years old when he was found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and thirty-six years have passed since then. Though he’s appealed his sentence many times, this innocent man has spent his entire adult life behind bars. His name is Joe Hunt, but we call him … Read More

Painting by Nayaswami Jyotish If You Call Me
A Touch of Light

Relax and Accept

Wisdom often comes from an unusual source. I recently read an interview with a Hollywood stuntman. When asked what was the most dangerous stunt in his long career, he replied that it was getting hit by a car traveling at thirty miles per hour. He went on to say that first, you have to be tall enough for your hips … Read More

A Touch of Light

Weathering the Storm

How do seabirds survive the impact of a violent hurricane? Recently a friend sent me an interesting article about this. The birds use a simple technique: they fly in the same direction as the winds, which spiral inward toward the center of the hurricane. In this way, they are drawn into the calm eye of the storm where the winds … Read More

How to dissolve the ego
A Touch of Light

Dissolving the Ego

Swami Kriyananda urged members of Ananda to strive for liberation in this lifetime. One morning Devi and I were eating breakfast with him in his home in India, and the conversation turned to the question of liberation. We said, “Why is it so hard to find God? It seems to be a daunting task, and we don’t feel like we’re … Read More

A Touch of Light

Enjoy Your Self

Swami Kriyananda was a man of deep spiritual realization, and he also had a delightful sense of humor. His laughter helped us to understand that if God is joy, then the spiritual path should be fun, too. One of Swamiji’s favorite writers was the British humorist P. G. Wodehouse. Much to our delight, he loved to entertain his friends by … Read More

The Nadi reader in Bangalore, India. The photo in the upper left corner is his father who trained him in giving readings.
A Touch of Light

Guru Seva

In 2013, about six months after Swami Kriyananda’s passing, Devi and I visited a “Nadi reader” in Bangalore, India. These readings, written thousands of years ago by an ancient lineage of seers and astrologers, give detailed information and advice regarding people yet to be born. A specially trained pundit casts a chart from your birthdate and looks for a page … Read More

Paramhansa Yogananda said to those who think me near, I will be near.
A Touch of Light

I Wish I Had Met You

This year, 2020, marks the one hundredth anniversary of the launch of Paramhansa Yogananda’s world mission. The scope of his accomplishments in one lifetime was remarkable. Arriving in Boston in 1920, barely speaking English, he truly took America by storm. Within a few years of landing in the West, he was filling the largest auditoriums from coast to coast — from New … Read More

Rainbow reflecting the various colors of vibration in light and sound
A Touch of Light

The AUM Vibration

Our Sunday service readings begin the year by quoting one of the most mystical passages in the Bible, the first verses of the Gospel of St. John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without … Read More

Ananda Assisi temple with friends from all over the world, Dhyana, Devi, Anandi, Dharmadas and Nirmala
A Touch of Light

Investment Tips

Often in financial newsletters we see investment tips offered by an economic pundit saying what stocks to buy or sell in the coming year for the greatest profitability. For those of us who are seeking God and His divine riches, however, we need to follow the advice of a different kind of pundit. The question we should ask our guru, … Read More

A Touch of Light

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, and I thought it would be fun to start with a little history before delving into more spiritual thoughts. “A Visit from St. Nicholas” is one of the world’s best-known poems. It starts, “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The … Read More

Paramhansa Yogananda wearing cross of Christianity, representing east and west teachings of spirituality
A Touch of Light

Toward Christ Consciousness

Paramhansa Yogananda came to earth with a dual mission: to unite East and West and to uplift human consciousness. In one of his recorded talks Yoganandaji declared, “We have started a great movement. I came for the special dispensation — interpretation of the scriptures and giving Kriya Yoga, that key to heaven.” He explained that the Biblical expression describing Jesus Christ as … Read More

A Touch of Light

How to Enjoy Long Meditations

We will be having our annual all-day Christmas meditation on December 23. This tradition was started by Paramhansa Yogananda, who suggested we should celebrate a “spiritual Christmas” with a long meditation as well as a “social Christmas.” My first eight-hour meditation was in 1967. The previous evening Swami Kriyananda had given me and a few others our first Kriya initiation … Read More

A Touch of Light

How to Love

“Isn’t it self-evident?” you may ask yourself. Yet when we look at the rising divorce rate, the incidence of abused or neglected children, and the escalating expressions of hatred and violence throughout the world, it seems clear that most people have forgotten the art of loving. Jyotish and I will be giving a two-part webinar, “How to Love and Be … Read More

A Touch of Light

How We Pray

This is a story about Mullah Nasreddin, one of innumerable tales about the mischievous Sufi mystic of thirteenth-century Turkey. Nasreddin never visited the mosque nor did he ever seem to pray, which greatly upset the people of his community. Although he was loved and admired for his wisdom, the elders were no longer able to tolerate his irreverent behavior, so … Read More

A Touch of Light

The Currents of the Ganges

The early morning light cast shimmering shades of turquoise and crystalline blue on the rushing river and floating mists. Even at the usually quiet time of dawn, you could hear the pulsating, all-pervasive roar of AUM as the water’s ceaseless energy moved past us. The Ganges north of Rishikesh is one of the most spectacular and spiritually powerful sights we’ve … Read More