A friend who is an architect and engineer made an amusing comment about Ananda that has always stayed with me. He said, “We engineers study the effects of gravity. We need to know how to keep structures from collapsing. But at Ananda it is the opposite: You study the effects of levity.”

Levity, in this sense, is far different from the normal definition of humor or frivolity. In its deeper sense, levity is the flow of energy toward the bliss of our soul nature. Levity can even become levitation if the flow is strong enough. As Swami Kriyananda wrote in Demystifying Patanjali, Sutra 3-40, “By mastery over udana—the current within the deep spine which raises Kundalini through the sushumna to the brain—one gains the power of levitation, and of leaving the body at will.”

Few of us need to concern ourselves with levitation yet, but we all should practice levity. How can we “in-joy” ourselves? Keeping in mind that the flow of energy needs to be elevating and expanding, I thought it would be fun to share how Swami Kriyananda enjoyed himself. Since May 19 is the anniversary of his birthday, let’s start there.


A rainbow appears in Seattle, on the anniversary of Swami Kriyananda’s moskha this past April.

Swamiji was attracted to both refinement and joy in many forms. One of these was good food. He often invited a small group of friends to breakfast on his birthday. Many times breakfast consisted of “fun foods”: pancakes, a wonderful fruit salad, fresh juice, and tea or coffee. Mainly what I remember though is the friendship, laughter, and delightful stories. Later in the day he might have a community gathering in the gardens around his home. Again, laughter and joy: the squeals of children playing in the pool, the aroma of food cooking on a grill, the murmur of small groups of people talking together. There was always music involved and often a play or skit. Occasionally, Swami would read a story from his favorite humorist, P.G. Wodehouse, sometimes laughing so hard he could barely finish a sentence. An amazing thing is that Divine Mother almost always attended these events dressed up in the form of a rainbow. On more than one occasion a rainbow appeared in a nearly cloudless sky as what is called a “glory.”

Swami was focused in whatever he did—he had to be energetic and concentrated in order to produce so many books, songs, and talks. But some of our most enchanting memories are of the trips of celebration that he would take after finishing a big project. We often accompanied him and a small group to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming California coastal town that started out as an artist colony.

Carmel is very refined, as close as Swami could get to the European feel of his youth. After meditation we would usually stroll along the streets visiting small shops, or art galleries, or “Conway of Asia,” a store that specialized in Asian and Indian antiques. We weren’t so much interested in buying things as in enjoying the refined ambience. The highlight of the day was lunch or dinner at one of Carmel’s many wonderful restaurants.

The main point here is that, in spite of his intense schedule, Swamiji always made time for uplifting enjoyment—for levity. And, as was his nature, he liked to share his joy with others. We would do well to take this as a model for our own lives. Set aside time for friends, for good meals, for laughter and song. It is all a part of the life of a yogi.

“Ever-new, ever-expanding joy” is the final goal of the spiritual path. It would be a shame to wait, to spend a lifetime being pulled down by the gravity of problems and world events. Let’s find ways to practice levity. Swamiji did.

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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 (7:16):


  1. Thank you Jyotishji, for this wonderful blog. Jai Guru! Jai Swamiji!

    I wonder who those few are, who need to be concerned about levitation! Hope you disclose that someday! :)
    Joyful read.

  2. Hi, good day!
    I didn’t know or let’s say understand how about levity. Thanks.
    Beautiful writing that surely reaches Swamiji heart.
    When I shall one day go, eventually, to visit Ananda Village in California, I’d like to visit Carmel by the sea.
    Have a beautiful week and I’ll meditate on levity specially longer on the 19th , asking Swamiji to assist me.

    1. So cool to find OMG… Spirit. led me
      here puzzle piece. perhaps. the
      last one. a cycle of 16 years is closing.
      human experience ING real magic.
      days ago I experienced. while observing. reading a headline. I read
      what I thought it said. However
      what. I said was ” the power of
      Levity”. surprised. not my words.
      after reading. your blog. I first
      of course like you write define, ( not frivolous )
      but joyfilled happy to BE.
      You wrote. what I spirit. meant.
      Not. Gravity as in that side of the coin. gravity. Levity. . the path
      ends and begins. Here focused
      anchored in Presence. I walk
      The path of the Yoga of Self Ascension. Ever new. ever expanding. I am as you are 🙏🎁🦉🌱✌️❤️🌎🗝️🎶 💃

  3. Thank you, Jyotish! I love it. 😊 (& I enjoy your devotee levity.)

  4. Thank you for sharing this as a reminder that we all need to see and create and experience more daily joy!

  5. What a wonderful way to begin my day.
    Thank you for sharing🌞

  6. Wow, was this written specifically for me, or what?! Bless you, Jyotish.

  7. What a beautiful story about Swamiji. It reminded me of one of his trips to Seattle many years ago. He and a few others went to LaConnor, which was one of his favorite places in this area. I got a phone call from Padma. She said Swamiji forgot his underwear and would I bring it. So I drove up and joined them for lunch. It was so sweet – the first thing Swamiji did was offer me food from his plate. I didn’t accept, but realized later it was a blessing for him to share in this way. That’s levity.

  8. Dear Jyothishji,Pranams.In Ananda we are always taught that joy is within us.We always felt the levity and it’s always joyful to be with our Aacharyas and Gurubhais. Thank you Swamiji,for your wonderful legacy

  9. mm

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of levity and joy and being “in-joy” !

  10. Thank you, Jyotish,

    I loved reading this about Swamaji.

    Blessings and love,
    Sandy Koshari

  11. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this inspiring blog. It is always wonderful and uplifting to read an account from Swamiji’s life. Many thanks for sharing!

    Happy Swamiji’s Birthday


  12. I so needed these words and pod cast to remind me to in-joy the precious simple things in life. I will make time for my joyful friends I have ignored lately. Thank you all!

  13. Childlike Christ sees Divine Mother forever and forever.

  14. Thank you for this delightful blog. We were in Yosemite in all its spring glory this past weekend, and remembered to stop by the bridge in Yosemite where Swami played the guitar and sang, with the beautiful view of Half Dome in the distance. Thank you for reminding us of his example of levity.

  15. Hello Jyotish, always nice to hear from you with tales of Kriyananda. One of the things I remember about him was his joyful nature. In fact, when I met him when he visited Canberra, the city I was living in at the time of his visit in the early 1980s, I already had a copy of his book “The Path”. He signed it for me with the words “Joy to you”. I still have that book as a precious memento in my library.

  16. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story……it sounds just like an afternoon with my guru here in Australia. Medina…..a wonderful English lady with a beautiful levity about life that I miss so much. She introduced me to Yogananda and his teachings in 1991. I have been to Carmel by the Sea, as I grew up in LA and started my more aware spiritual journey here in Sydney and have been here since…..just a nice connection I thought I would share🙏🏼💖

  17. So true, this description about Swami Kriyananda. The word Levity is a keeper! Thank you for reminding us, dear Jyotish. On the communal Path to Light-ness, to envision mastery over gravity in the presence of earthly delights- is doubled Joy.

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