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

A Touch of Light, Spiritualizing Daily Life

Working for God

Our time now in India is fast drawing to a close. This morning during our daily walk, Devi asked me, “What is your main takeaway from this trip?” Without hesitation I replied, “It is the sense that we haven’t been doing anything. God is doing it all.” We have been travelling since mid-August and, by the time we return to … Read More

A Touch of Light

Glimpsing the Red-Billed Blue Magpie

We were walking quietly along a forest path in the foothills of the Himalayas, when suddenly a flutter of wings and movement in the trees overhead caught my attention. There it was, what I had been hoping to see . . . the red-billed blue magpie. For the past several years during our time in India, we’ve taken a period of seclusion … Read More

A Touch of Light

Overcoming Conflict

Here in India we’ve been teaching a course called Living the Gita. Part of our preparation has been to reread the Mahabharata, the long epic of which the Bhagavad Gita forms a part. We’ve been reading a delightful and enlightening version by Devdutt Pattanaik called Jaya, filled with stories from the Mahabharata as well as interesting additional information. At one … Read More

A Touch of Light

Penniless in Brindaban

One of the most memorable chapters in Autobiography of a Yogi is “Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban,” in which Yoganandaji puts his faith in God to the test. If you remember, young Yogananda and his friend and fellow seeker, Jitendra, stop to visit the Master’s skeptical elder brother, Ananta, at his home in Agra. Trying to undermine his younger brother’s … Read More

How gratitude and compassion and positivity can change the world for the better
A Touch of Light

A Fast Track to Happiness

A friend sent us a fascinating article on the strong influence that gratitude and positive emotions have on us. They not only affect us personally, but also influence the world around us. As meditators we know how powerful the mind and heart can be, but it is nice to see this also backed up by scientific research, in this case … Read More

The Sharing Nature Activity called "Camera" is part of the Living the Gita course of Yogananda Institute.
A Touch of Light

Don’t Be Formal with God

The group of thirty people broke up into pairs, laughing as they began to play “Camera,” one of Joseph Bharat Cornell’s Sharing Nature games. It was the last afternoon of a three-day course we’re developing, “Living the Gita,” which will be the basis for the new Yogananda Institute to be established in Delhi. After two and a half days of … Read More

Meditation and the breath is a wonderful way to make finding calmness in daily life possible.
A Touch of Light

Finding Calmness in the Midst of Activity

This article by us came out on September 20 in the Times of India, the largest newspaper in the country. Another article we wrote for them a few years ago had more than a hundred thousand views and three hundred comments. It is a wonderful way to reach large numbers of readers. I thought you might enjoy reading this new … Read More

Rainbow sign of gods omnipresence that he is always with us.
A Touch of Light

We Need Reminders

There’s a story about a guru who made a strange request of three of his disciples. “I will give each of you a banana. I want you to find a place where no one is watching, and then eat your banana. Come back to me as soon as you have completed your task.” The first man quickly left the ashram … Read More

integrated life pyramid for living the gita series of yogananda institute india
A Touch of Light

Do What You Can

I had an insight in meditation a few days ago. I’m sure that these flashes must come to you also when your mind is calm and open. I was trying to deepen my concentration, and failing. This is a common hurdle for all meditators: Even Paramhansa Yogananda’s thoughts were “distributed like leaves in a storm” a few minutes before his … Read More

Jyotish Novak Artwork: Prints, Canvas, Cards, and Magnets available www.JyotishandDevi.org/jyotish-paintings
A Touch of Light

Achieving Our Goals

We arrived in Delhi, India, a few days ago and have been simultaneously getting over jetlag, settling into a new apartment, and giving energy to an exciting project that Ananda is developing here. In case you haven’t heard, a dynamic team is working to create the Yogananda Institute, a learning hub open to people on all levels of spiritual interest … Read More

A Touch of Light

No Longer Earthbound

There was something missing; the life I was living was a cage. Yes, the cage was comfortable — I had a good job, earning both money and respect — but I felt constrained, earthbound. In my spare time I began to climb hills and mountains, gradually conquering the highest peaks. For a time it was satisfying, even thrilling. The vistas I saw were vast, … Read More

A Touch of Light

Practice When It’s Easy

We are in Assisi, Italy, now, teaching and enjoying time with our wonderful Ananda family here. Located in the gentle, rolling hills of Umbria, Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, one of the most beloved saints of all times. Paramhansa Yogananda too loved St. Francis, calling him his “patron saint.” Master visited Assisi in 1935, on his way to … Read More

A Touch of Light

Blockades

We are at our community in Assisi, Italy, participating in a weeklong course called, “The Way of the Spiritual Warrior.” Devi and I, as well as other speakers, have drawn heavily on Paramhansa Yogananda’s explanations of the deep teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. That scripture is an allegory of the battle between our higher soul-tendencies and our lower, ego-driven worldly … Read More

Jyotish Novak Artwork: Prints, Canvas, Cards, and Magnets available www.JyotishandDevi.org/jyotish-paintings
A Touch of Light

What Doesn’t Look Like an Elephant

There’s a delightful story about a sculptor who was renowned for his ability to create marble statues filled with life. After carving an amazingly lifelike image of an elephant, he was asked, “How were you able to make the elephant look so real?” “It’s not that difficult,” he replied. “You just chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant!” … Read More

A Touch of Light

When We Cooperate with Grace

Next week we will be back in Italy, the land of saints. Our Ananda community is near Assisi, made famous by St. Francis, Italy’s most beloved saint. Paramhansa Yogananda spoke of him as a “patron saint” for those, like us, who are seeking union with God. Thirty-five years ago, Devi and I helped establish Ananda’s work in Europe, living for … Read More

A Touch of Light

What Part Will You Play?

Recently we watched an episode of the remarkable nature documentary, “Planet Earth.” There was one breathtakingly beautiful scene of thousands of pink flamingos flying together in unison, their image perfectly reflected in the still waters of a pristine lake. The photography in the whole series is beautiful and mind-boggling, instilling a profound sense in us of the harmony and oneness … Read More

A Touch of Light

Many Hands Made a Temple

There were several hundred of us in the opening circle, holding hands and chanting. We had gathered, not only those who live at Ananda Village, but people from all over, to help prepare the Temple of Light for the hundreds who would soon be visiting. This was just the latest of innumerable voluntary workdays that I have attended over the … Read More

The temple of light at Ananda Village sharing a beacon of light and blessings to all the world at its inaugeration
A Touch of Light

This Broken Temple

Please bear with us for a while if we continue to gush about the new Temple of Light at Ananda Village. That the temple stands today, filled with divine light and joy, is a testimony to the omnipresence of God’s grace. Each step along the way has been filled with miracles: from the conception, to planning, interior design, fund-raising, construction, … Read More