Next week Ananda will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. We took possession of the land we now call Ananda Village on July 4, 1969. We have often remarked on the “coincidence” of July 4 also being what is generally considered to be the birthdate of the United States, the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Both were born from the desire to fight oppression: one against a tyrannical overseas power, and the other—Ananda—against an even more tyrannical ruler, delusion.

Temple of Light in progress at Ananda Village for the fiftieth anniversary of founding of Ananda by Swami Kriyananda.

Temple of Light in progress at Ananda Village.

More than 850 people will join together for Ananda’s weeklong anniversary celebration, which will be filled with classes, music, inspiration, and joy, and will include as well the dedication of the beautiful new Temple of Light. People are coming from around the world to be part of the energy. You, too, can tune in to many of the events on the internet either live or recorded. The classes during the week will cover the challenges, commitment, and creativity that carved out a complete way of life lived for God, and that have made Ananda a beacon of light for the world.

The essence of Ananda was expressed many years before its founding, when Swami Kriyananda crossed the country to meet his great guru, Paramhansa Yogananda. Having just read Autobiography of a Yogi, Swamiji’s deep desire was to find God and to share Him with everyone. Now, fifty years later, Ananda is still committed to those two goals.

What does it take for a community or an individual to persevere for half a century against all the tests and trials that life throws at us? Here are three elements that made it work for Ananda:

1) Absolute faith in the power and teachings of the guru. Faith in the guru—in our case, Paramhansa Yogananda—gives you two essential ingredients: the desire to practice his divinely inspired teachings, and even more importantly, his grace and blessings on your efforts.

2) The support of others who are also seeking God. It is much easier to keep your resolve when in the company of others who share the path with you. When you need help, or when your resolution fades, you have friends to help, and when they flag, you are there for them. The essence of spiritual community is sharing deep friendship during both the good and the difficult times.

3) Individual will and perseverance. There are many ups and downs in life, and sometimes one has to use fierce determination to power through obstacles. On the other hand, you can’t sprint for a whole marathon; you have to pace yourself. True perseverance requires finding a balance between effort and relaxation. It also requires  that we find and maintain the innate joy that lives within each of us. If you can accept, and even laugh at your tests, you will be able to maintain your center when, as Yogananda put it, “trials shriek and worries howl at you.”

There are many other qualities that could be mentioned, but to my mind these are the three most important. I think I will stop here and follow this wise advice: An effective talk (or blog) needs a strong opening and a good ending. And the two should be as close together as possible.

With joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (4:40):


  1. Congratulations!! The community has always been dear to me even though its been exactly 30 years
    since I was connected to it and the ashram in Seattle. You all are wondrous in what you have built=
    amazing channels of grace and guru.

  2. Thank you dear Jyotish for making the difficult seem possible,
    and for the map of how to find home.
    with devotion, bhajana

  3. Thank you! It’s easier to read your posts now. My host told me today that it’s better to follow a live Master than a dead one. I of course disagree . The words and teachings of Paramhansa Yoganada are alive in my heart .

  4. Thanks for resending it, Jyotish. Will be watching it from here in Portland!

  5. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the blog…
    What a blessing it is to be part of Ananda Family and serving Master.
    Sincere thanks to Masters, Swamiji and all of the Acharyas who is guiding us through this path.
    In Master’s love

  6. Accepting every situation by overcoming dualities will lead to a fulfilling life……..then life is a lila !

  7. Succinct and fabulous, Jyotish! and I feel SO honored to be a part of this amazing happening on our planet. It gives me so much hope for our world! I appreciate the incredible power, wisdom, kindness and humor of your–and Devi’s–leadership. Bless you both, and I am looking forward to a week of truly divine friendship, upliftment, light and humor! love and hasta pronto!

  8. When I was 13 years old, my family took an 8-week camping trip from Michigan to California. On July 4, 1969, we were in California at Disneyland (I still have the flag pin they gave us with our tickets!). I have always felt this was a karmic coincidence that I was there just as Swamiji purchased the land for Ananda. Happy 50th Anniversary! Jai Guru!

  9. Thank you — I always enjoy hearing from you!
    For some reason, your format is so wide that even on full screen, much of the text is missing on my PC screen.
    Is that something that you can fix?
    Looking forward with pleasure to seeing you all this weekend.
    With love and light, Marjorie

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