Recently a dear friend of ours, Lorne Dekun, passed away. Born in Michigan, Lorne came under the spiritual training of Yogacharya Oliver Black, one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s most advanced disciples, who had a center there.

After living for years in various Ananda communities, Lorne returned to Michigan in 1999, filled with zeal to share our path with others. During his time there, he opened Ananda centers in Lansing and East Detroit, and several meditation groups in other cities.

The Passing of Lorne Dekun by Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi

Swami Kriyananda (left) and Lorne Dekun (right).

Yet his life on earth was not destined to be a long one. Fifteen months ago Lorne had a seizure, was diagnosed with a fast growing brain tumor, and passed away on August 2, 2013. A wise, humble man, he was a great inspiration to many souls whose lives he touched.

Lorne’s wife, Judy, recently sent us a letter written in 2010 by a devotee in Lansing as the Dekuns were preparing to move to Port Huron to start a center there. The letter is even more poignant in light of Lorne’s recent parting from earth.

“Dear Lorne,

Milarepa said, ‘All births end in death; all meetings end in partings; and all acquisitions end in dispersion.’ As the time for our parting draws near, the heart wants to express its boundless gratitude and fails to find the right words. How to say, “Thank you,” for all the countless spiritual treasures you have shared with us? How to sum up a decade’s worth of generosity and giving? How to even start trying to measure all the love, joy, and caring you have showered on us?

“The great masters cannot always be with us in their physical bodies, so they send us their channels through whom they keep in touch. Your arrival in Lansing, dear Lorne, was no accident because the masters sent you to us. You have helped us hook up to your strong faith, devotion, and dedication in a way that gives us hope that some day we will find God.

“Through sermons you have taught us to know God; through meditation you have taught us to feel His presence; and through kirtans you have taught us to love Him. By opening up your temple to us, by sharing your food with us, by giving us all your time and energy, you have given us a glimpse of God’s love and generosity.

“There is neither parting nor goodbye because our bond with you is a spiritual one. That which we love in you will remain with us….”

May we live, as Lorne did, so that we leave behind us a legacy of love.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Devi


  1. Thank you so much Devi, for all that you share.
    This beautiful letter has touched my soul today.
    Susan Kaylee

    1. Dear Susan,
      We’re glad that Lorne’s life touched you.
      With love,

  2. such a beautiful letter – from one heart to many, through your sharing Devi.
    In Divine Love – Stephanie

    1. Dear Stephanie,
      There is really only one heart — the loving consciousness of God — and we are all a part of it.
      With love,

  3. I did not know Lorne very well. I met him only a handful of times, and talked with him on the phone a few times as well.
    When I first read Autobiography of a Yogi, I searched out and found SRF. There was a small group meeting almost literally down the street from me. I searched more and found Ananda.
    I was conficted about which group I should ‘align’ with. I presented my dilemma to Lorne. He said if you should go with what works best for me, I should not exclude SRF at all. For me that was the exact right answer. Had he said, Ananda is the only way it would have turned me away from both Ananda and SRF, because that would be just like churches that I’ve attended, us vs them.

  4. Devi ~ I have really been appreciating your letters, and this one is no exception. Even though I never met Lorne, I feel inspired by your sharing of his life and passing. Thank you so much. Blessings, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      It’s wonderful how each soul can inspire others on their journey. As Master said, “It is God helping God.”

  5. Wonderful letter.
    I have lasting memories of Lorne sharing his many spiritual encounters as we received books and worked the late shift at both the old and new East West Bookshop. God speed to his soul. I know he is loving his astral journey and raking up more stories as he goes along. I like to think of him together with Vasudeva in the astral realms, sweet.

    1. Dear Peg,
      Thank you for sharing your memories of Lorne.
      With love,

  6. I had not known of Lorne Dekun. Yet now that I read the letter, it seems otherwise.
    It is a touching letter indeed.
    So much to know and so much to learn in this short lived life of ours!
    Thank you Nayaswami Devi for sharing this heart touching letter.

    1. Dear Debabrata,
      He was a soul well worthy knowing, so we are glad that you could meet him through this newsletter.
      With joy,

  7. Lorne was a great friend of mine. When he was moving from Palo Alto to Michigan, he wanted me to go with him. He exhorted me with great energy in that resonant voice of his but I just couldn’t see myself in Michigan. I did though go and visit him once there and had a great experience. He enjoyed my guitar playing and I enjoyed chanting with him. He could quote passages from the Gita at will. I will dearly miss him! There must be a great Ananda colony in the astral plane! Thank you for your kind letter. Blessings, Frank

    1. Dear Frank, The opportunity still exists to come to Michigan! Thank you for you kind words. Blessings, Judy Dekun

    2. Dear Frank,
      Thanks for sharing how Lorne touched your life. He brought such light into the world.
      With joy,

  8. Dear Devi,
    Thank you for this lovely tribute to Lorne. He lived his life in service to God and with Great Joy and Love he was a channel to Ananda and Master. I will be forever grateful!
    In divine friendship, Judy

    1. Dear Judy,
      I’m so glad that we were able to introduce Lorne to many people who never had the blessing of meeting him. Hope that you are healing from his loss.
      With love,

  9. Oh life is sweet, and death a dream,
    Oh life is sweet, and death a dream,
    When thy song flows through me,
    My Lord, when Thy song, flows through me
    P. Yogananda

  10. Thank you so much Devi for sharing this beautiful letter,a token of love and tribute to Lorne,his life of pure dedication to the love of God , inspiring us on the path of Gods Consciousness. In Divine Love. Biren Anjana

    1. Dear Biren,
      You captured Lorne so well in the words “pure dedication in love for God.
      With blessings,

  11. Thanks to Lorne and Judy for touching so many lives. Everyone with Ananda Michigan is so very welcoming.

  12. I don’t know if Lorne was aware of it or not but when I first started attending Ananda in Lansing I was going through a hard time. Lorne helped me through it. Thank you for sharing that letter.

  13. Dear Lorne, I didn’t know you, but I love you. Someday we will all be together in our home with God. How beautiful it must be! I am so happy you are now with God and Guru.

  14. I knew and worked with Lorne briefly in the late 1980s at Ananda Village….I think I’m remembering the time period correctly. I think he had dome some work as a disc jockey. Anyway, although it’s been decades, I remember Lorne vividly. Very warm and friendly fellow. I remember the unique and friendly sound of his voice as if I’d heard yesterday.

    1. Dear John,
      Yes, Lorne was a disc jockey, and his voice was truly memorable. Hope you are doing well.
      With love,

  15. I never met Lorne Dekun, but I would have loved to. I live in Michigan and have had my eye on him for the last couple years. I got to talk to him over the phone, before. He seemed like quite a nice yogi.

  16. Thank you for sharing Devi, this is beautiful and very touching …
    I was very grateful to have met Lorne just before I moved to Ananda Village. I had been running a small Ananda Meditation group in Madison, WI. From the beginning I checked in with Lorne from time to time via email – he was very supportive, encouraging and kind.
    Meeting him was one of my highlights of living in the Midwest. I stayed with Will and Wendy who were running the East Lansing group he had started. Lorne was visiting and staying with them too. We had a beautiful evening together in their kitchen after a devotional kirtan he had lead. Lorne told many stories about Yogacharya Oliver Black, how he met him and his time with him, his own journey and how he came back to Michigan. I felt very blessed to be there. I could strongly feel his connection to Master and his great light.
    Very kindly and out of the blue at Sunday Service the next day, Lorne led the group in a blessing on my move to Ananda Village. I was very touched. What a joy to have known such a great soul!

  17. I first met Lorne when I was a guest at the Expanding Light over 25 years ago. In his unassuming way, he sniffed me out because he had heard we had a common interest: video production. He realized that if he could inspire me to do some video seva, that it would really help me become more attuned to the teachings and draw me in more. Thus began a very special brotherly friendship as he was one of the main channels for Master in helping me through difficult times and sharing joyous ones as well. For a few years we were the video-audio gopis together at Ananda. While he was generally reserved in nature, he had a resonant, deep booming voice. I loved to hear him chant “Oh God Beautiful” in Bengali. I will never forget the time when I was having a particularly challenging time, he loaned me his car so I could drive myself down (8 hours!) to Master’s shrines in LA and Encinitas. It was a spiritually life-saving trip filled with deep blessings. And how fortunate I was to have a gurubai so trusting and attuned. Over the years, Master took us on different journeys—Lorne to Palo Alto and then Michigan, myself to Dallas. I am horrible at keeping in contact with folks from afar and so I think we only connected once in the last 17 years over lunch at the Expanding Light a few years back during SRW. It was good to see him and know how fulfilled he was in his work for Master and in his marriage with Judy. My only regret is I didn’t get to say goodbye on this physical plane. He blessed me so very deeply with his spiritual friendship, I really wanted to thank him again. Life well lived!!!! Well done Lorne and thank you. Ineffably. May we be One in that Light someday.

  18. Just wonderful ! A meaningful and fulfilled life can be read in a letter !

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