We’d like to share with you some highlights of our visit to Ananda Assisi before we leave Italy for India on Sept. 7. Right now we’re relaxing in Ostia for a few days with friends: Kirtani, Anand, Shivani, Arjuna, and Uma, and soon will be joined by Narya and Laura Tosetto.
Ostia, a beautiful seaside town (now a suburb of Rome), was the main port of ancient Rome. We’re staying in a small hotel right on the Mediterranean Sea with a beautiful view from our porch of the beach, sea, swimmers, and boats. Just across the street is a wonderful promenade along the shoreline where we see the Italian love of family on full display.
It’s hard to imagine that we’ve already been in Italy for almost three weeks, and now it’s time to move on to India. The days fly by quickly and have been filled with inspiring events, deep connections with old and new friends, enjoyment of the beautiful countryside, and the richness and warmth of Italian culture.
We’d been studying Italian online for the past several months, and it’s really made a difference in feeling more at ease here. We’ve enjoyed several visits with friends in which most of the conversation has been in Italian. We now can speak with Italians without them flinching, looking totally confused, and trying to use their broken English.
While here we’ve been busy at the center starting on the Saturday after we arrived with a Kriya Initiation for about one hundred and fifty people. We then led a weeklong course, “A Touch of Light.” Our schedule also included two Sunday services; a satsang with kriyacharyas; as well as ones with lightbearers and ministers, donors to Ananda Edizioni, and the community as a whole.
All of our satsangs and classes here are translated by our dear friend, Sahaja, who has also translated many of Swamiji’s books into Italian. She has a wonderful grasp of both English and the teachings, so working with her as a translator is seamless, and a huge help to us.
We also shared at an inspiring event on August 27 organized by a Japanese woman, Sonoko Tanaka, head of The World Peace Prayer Society. Sonoko spoke, as well as a Christian monk from a Calmadoli monastery, a Muslim imam, a Buddhist monk, a Baha’i leader, and the founder of the International School of Forgiveness.
After the talks, everyone gathered outside where there were national flags from all the countries on earth. As each flag was handed to a volunteer to hold aloft, one of the organizers would say the name of the country and ask all of us to pray for that nation. Each flag was then carried into the center of the lawn next to the temple, until every country had been named, and a circle of flags was formed. It’s hard to describe how moving this experience was, especially during this time of global divisiveness and conflict.
Another event we participated in was the blessing of the site for the new temple here, Tempio della Gioia, situated behind and up the hill from the current temple. It’s needed to accommodate the increasing numbers of guests that are coming. The retreat here had, by far, its biggest summer ever this year.
We gave people the affirmation cards that were created for the new Temple of Light at the Village, and they’ll translate and change it a bit to use for their temple. It’s wonderful to think that we’ll be united in our efforts in this way.
While we’re in the Pune Ashram in India, we’ll also dedicate the new temple there, which is mostly finished. So Ananda will soon have three new temples on three continents. Surely Master and Swamiji are adding their blessings to our efforts to serve others in their ray.
We should also mention the tragic earthquake that struck central Italy in the early hours of August 24. We felt it as a strong, sustained rolling around 3:30 am, but no damage or injury from the quake occurred near Assisi. The town of Amatrice, however, which is about 50 miles away, was devastated with an estimated 300 people killed. Many prayers were offered at Assisi for the victims and their families.
We’ll close with sharing about plans for 2017. We’ll return to Assisi in mid-August to participate in several events. They’re planning a weeklong course similar to this year’s, since it was so successful. Next year we’ll call it “A Touch of Joy.” They’d like to see this become an annual event similar to Spiritual Renewal Week at The Expanding Light. This program will coincide with the publication both in Italy and the US of a second book of our weekly blogs, this one from 2015 and 2016, called A Touch of Light and Joy.
Finally next year there will be what Shivani is calling The “Intercontinental Kriyaban Retreat” from August 27 to Sept. 3. In talking about it today with Arjuna, there may be as many as four hundred Kriyabans from around the world gathering for this event. More information will soon be available, so if you’re interested, save the dates in your calendar.
So we’ll close now with our loving thoughts and prayers for all of you. We’ve been sorry to hear of the injuries and illnesses that have happened recently, and have been sending special prayers to those affected. Thank you for all the prayers that you send to us as we travel. We can truly feel them as powerful waves of protection, grace, and love.
May God and Guru guide and bless you always,
Jyotish and Devi
See more photos of Jyotish and Devi’s time at Ananda Assisi here.