I will celebrate my eightieth birthday in less than a month. While my personal inclination would be to let the occasion slip by unnoticed, the precedent set by Swami Kriyananda impels us to honor the event with a celebration. He understood that these occasions are wonderful opportunities to knit our worldwide family together.

I thought it appropriate to share a few significant lessons I’ve learned over the years:

Perseverance: I read Autobiography of a Yogi, and subsequently met Swami Kriyananda, when I was twenty-three years old, an age that holds an important astrological significance. It is a time when many people find their life direction. Once I became a disciple, a divine grace descended upon me. A certain spiritual stubbornness made its presence known, likely a carryover of a past-life tendency. So long as I was willing to cultivate the necessary self-discipline and persevere, life’s events began to unfold as if propelled by an unseen force. For me, this dogged persistence has probably been the most important quality of all, enabling further spiritual development to follow in its own karmic time.

Willingness: The first album of Swami Kriyananda’s music was titled, Say “Yes” to Life! Whenever something was asked of me, I had the good sense to say “yes.” This started from the very moment I met Swamiji and has persisted through all these fifty-seven years of discipleship. Saying “yes” has led Devi, our son, and me on a global journey, placed us in many different roles, and given us a life we could never have dreamed of on our own. Every day, God subtly asks something of each of us. If what is asked is pleasing, it means that it aligns with our previously developed inclinations and tendencies. If it is uncomfortable, then it is likely meant for our growth. In either case, quoting Gyanamata, Master’s most advanced woman disciple, our job is to “Say ‘Yes’ and make it snappy.”

Perseverance and willingness can be considered the bedrock of a spiritual life. Everything that follows will be built on top of these two, and, without them, little else can be achieved.

Discipleship: When we open our hearts to the Guru he will accept the responsibility of guiding our lives. Our main job then becomes to earnestly follow his guidance. In the early days of my discipleship, I harbored the illusion that I was in charge, much like a rider directing his horse with the reins. Soon, however, I began to feel that the horse of my life was a wild stallion, and that all I could do was hope to nudge him in my chosen direction. Eventually, even that semblance of control evaporated. I felt as though I was strapped to the back of an elephant who marched wherever he wanted. Fortunately, in my case, the elephant was Swami Kriyananda, and the driver was Yogananda. My job became quite simple: Say “yes” to what was asked, and stick with the job until it was finished. I’m still working on this lesson.

jyotish and devi being showered in rose petals at ananda bangalore visit 2022.

Photo by Rohit Sherikar.

The power of gurubhais: I’m not sure that I would have gotten nearly as far without the constant support and inspiration from my circle of friends and gurubhais. They’ve lifted me up during my moments of discouragement. They’ve worked beside me as we built Ananda together. And they’ve been beautiful models of the shining attitudes needed for the journey of life. Besides that, they’ve made this eighty-year trip FUN!

Last night I had a curious experience. Throughout the night, as I arose from sleep to a semiconscious state, the song “Keep Calling Him” spontaneously played in my mind. This inspired song, written by a young devotee in the early years of Ananda, is based on a poem by Yogananda.  

Here are the words that kept bubbling up from my slumber:

Keep calling Him.
Keep calling Him.
Whether He replies or not,
Keep calling Him.

In the temple of unceasing prayer
Believe that He’s approaching there.
And call to Him.
Keep calling Him.

It is a lovely summation of my eighty years on this planet.

In gratitude,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. Watch the video of our Ananda musicians singing, Keep Calling Him here.

Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (15:38):


  1. Thanks Jyotish ji for this example of life which is offered to God alone! 🙏

  2. Happy and blessed birthday dear Jyotish!
    Many thanks for sharing this inspiring article!

    God bless you

  3. Happy birthday, great soul. I appreciate walking the path of life with you.

  4. I wish you a very happy birthday with many blessings; may you be surrounded by love. I first read “Autobiography of a Yogi” when I was 24; I will turn 70 in 3 months. I think of any birthdays ending in a “0” or a “5” as the “speed limit” birthdays (although perhaps the only highway where you can speed at 80 or more is the autobahn) :).

  5. Thanks a lot Jyotish ji. This indeed is an inspiring write-up of your exemplary, bubbling personal life . May He bless you to be at least a centenarian!

  6. Wishing you a happy Birthday in advance Jyotish ji. Aum Guru

  7. Simply amazing….
    i learn so much just reading your comments every time…
    Happy 80th!!
    80 more!! 😎❤️❤️❤️❤️

  8. I wish you a very joyous birthday, Jyotish! and thank you very much for sharing so much of what you have learned.

  9. Happy Birthday to you, Jyotish Ji!
    May I ask the date of your birthday in August, please?

  10. Jyotishji,
    May you have a healthy and very long life in bliss…in Guru and God…🕉️
    May you be an inspiration for many, by sharing the teachings of Master…🕉️
    May you continue the legacy of Swamiji through Ananda…🕉️

  11. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you very much for your life’s lesson. It’s a guidance for us in this path.

    We sincerely thank you for what you have given us


  12. Dearest Jyotish,

    This is absolutely beautiful and inspiring. Thank you so much for all that you do and have done for us all. Happy birthday! May Divine Mother shower you with continual joy.

    In love and gratitude,

    Rebecca Smith (Ananda Tucson)

  13. mm

    What a beautiful full version of Keep Calling Him by the Ananda musicians!

    Happy birthday Jyotish! The blessings just keep coming to you and through you to us as given in shared blogs like this one. What a joy it has been, is and will continue to be on this path with all our wonderful gurubhais, Guru and Swamiji.

    Much love,

  14. Happy Birthday Jyotish! You and Devi have been such an inspiration over the years. Very blessed to be a part of all that is Ananda.

  15. Dearest Jyotish, thank you from my heart for this wonderfully uplifting comments on your life as a disciple, and the qualities that have sustained and furthered your spiritual growth. Master brought me to this path when I was 55,. Willingness and perseverance have only become stronger over time with the support of community, and the blessed models of you and Devi, and others being my beacons of light. Blessings to you. 💕🙏😊

  16. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish ji,

    Thank you so much for sharing these lessons. It has been an absolute delight reading about them. Truly inspiring for newbies on the path like me. Wishing you a blessed birthday. May the Grace of the Guru and the Lord be always upon you and May you continue to inspire millions around you.

  17. mm

    Happy Birthday, Young Feller. Three weeks early, but what is a bit of time between friends? Thank you for the lovely reminders. Yes – RFP (relentless forward progress – a saying of ultradistance runners – doesn’t matter if your sprinting or crawling so long as you’re moving in the right direction). Also, BBBJ (“Banata, banata, ban jai!” Striving, striving, one day – the eternal goal!) And finally, KBO (This one’s from Winston Churchill: “Keep buggering on.”) Blessings after blessings to you, old friend.

  18. Namaste Baba,
    Happy Birthday my dear Friend. You will only be 16 plus 64 years of Divine Guidance. You are still young.

    Thanks for all the uplifting lessons you have sent over the past 4 years. That is what I needed in a very hard time. You may not know….but that is how our Divine Mum works. Thanks for being a vessel of Universal Love, and to your family too.

    I wish you well….I wish you well. With folded hands.

    Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti.



  19. Happy birthday Great Soul! Grateful for your presence on the planet and for all that you do to keep us close to God Christ Gurus. 🙏🕉️
    Unceasing Gratitude and Blessings,
    Omshanti and Joe

  20. Dear Jyotish ,
    Wishing you a very happy and blessed 80th Birthday and may you be blessed with much more,

    Yours Sincerely,
    Chris Govender from South Africa.

  21. Blessings dear soul. Perseverance has been a saving Grace for me as well. My one question about it is to make sure I am moving in the right/dharmic direction in persevering and not blocking myself off from guidance that suggests another route that “I” have chosen. I honor, deeply, the loving friendship I have experienced with you for many years. You have the kindest of hearts, deep determination to share God and Guru with all whom you meet, as ‘they’ might receive Their Blessings. You don’t push, you invite. Swami has taught his willing pupil well. I offer my deepest and most sincerely gratitude for our friendship and your guidance over the years. JOY FILLED Birth Day Blessings great soul. Namaste

  22. Dear Nayasmawis Jyotish and Devi!

    Thank you for being with Swami Kriyananda the co-founders of the world Ananda community from the very beginning more than 50 years ago, and you are successfully continuing the organization of lectures and preserving the spirit of the teachings of the great founders of Kriya Yoga in history! This great celebration of Ananda 2019 is an unforgettable day that best symbolizes the spirit of Ananda, which best symbolizes Ananda, joy and uplifting choral music and a beautiful arati ceremony celebrating the Light, with Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi and many hundreds of devotees from around the world.. Where there is Dharma, there is Victory!


    In love and gratitude,

    Mario Vukelic

    1. mm

      Thank you Mario for sharing the video of that very special day! 🙏

  23. Dear Jyotish, blessed Self, blessed birthday to you, and congratulations for being a unique expression at Ananda. You are in the twilight years of your life. Each decade we reach is a milestone, but actually, it is only the body that is changing as it grows, decays, and finally is recycled at death. The Self, Awareness-Consciousness that enlivens, and expresses through the physical body is timeless and ever-present in the ‘Now.’ Consciousness takes the form of the mind, which is thoughts and perceptions, and has no location. All the locations are in mind, in thought. The Self is not affected by time or duality. To go beyond duality into oneness, one needs to be realised with Self-knowledge. Self-knowledge gives liberation. Live and abide in the Self, Live not in years, for the Self has no age; it is eternal. In Joy! Stephen.

  24. Dear Jyotish,
    I have regularly followed your blog and your gentle wise teaching. I just wanted to wish you a very happy 80th birthday.



  25. Congratulations Nayaswami Jyotishji as you turn eighty. In India when a person turns eighty and his spouse is alive – the couple perform a marriage RENEWAL VOW of Gratitude, Love and a promise to serve the extended family .Receiving Blessings from the couple on the occassion is very special and Sacred. .We Gurubhais around the world seek your Blessings 🙏

  26. Dear Jyotish ji, thanks for sharing your lessons, which would be our goals and reminders in life.
    True, the power of Gurubhais helps us a lot, supportive, fun to be around and uplifting.
    Love the song ” keep calling him’ so reassuring.
    Our advance birthday wishes to you ji! ☺️

  27. Happy Birthday, Jyotish and thank you for all the posts from both you and Devi. It’s always good to hear your insights, especially when times are difficult. Actually, any time is good to hear them! :) Wishing you both a joyful, blessed year.

  28. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey home… We are all going to the ocean of sweet nectar and Being consumed by a Love we have yet to imagine.
    Happy Birthday and may your wisdom and truth shine on for many years to come.
    Radha Sweet Swami.. 💕 love 💖 you are a beautiful soul

  29. Loved to hear ur rejoicing celebration of Your 80th connection to your guru. Have a blessed month. I personally turned 73 this July 4th. It is interesting how life pages still turn. WHEN the pages stop turning you become anxious for the next life to be born wondering what country it will be in.

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