There were several hundred of us in the opening circle, holding hands and chanting. We had gathered, not only those who live at Ananda Village, but people from all over, to help prepare the Temple of Light for the hundreds who would soon be visiting. This was just the latest of innumerable voluntary workdays that I have attended over the years. Group workdays are one of the main reasons that Ananda Village has risen from the mud and dust of its early years to the place of beauty and inspiration that it is today.
An environment is but the physical expression of the consciousness of the people in it. The climate problems we face now are nature’s reaction to the greed and exploitation that are so prevalent in the world today. There is an enlightening quote of the Dalai Lama’s that goes, “People should be loved and things should be used. Unfortunately today, things are loved and people are used.”
I would add that when the right things are loved — including the earth and all its creatures big and small — then real magic can occur. That magic is what was felt by all the hundreds of people who participated in our fiftieth-anniversary celebration. For many, it was the most uplifting week of their lives.
The great masters urge us, first of all, to love God, and then to love Him in all creation. Love should be the center of our meditation, and should spill out from there into all our daily activities. When our thoughts, words, and actions proceed with and for the love of God, then every hour becomes sacred.
But it is even more fun to meditate and serve together. Yogananda said, “I prefer a soul to a crowd, but I love crowds of souls.” When crowds of devotees all join their hands together to accomplish something beautiful for God, then showers of blessing rain down from the heavens.
Whatever we give to God, turns to gold. Rabindranath Tagore wrote of a beggar sitting beside a dusty road who saw the king of the land approaching with his retinue. Eagerly he held out his hand to receive alms. But he was shocked and angered when the king himself asked for something from him. What nonsense is this? he thought. Resentfully, he gave the king a single grain of rice. That night, when he emptied his purse, he found there a single rice-shaped piece of gold, and realized in a flash what this meant. “If only,” he reproached himself bitterly, “I had had the courage to give Him my all.”
Ananda has been built and will continue to grow by people offering their love, service, and devotion. And it has all turned to gold. I’m sure that the thousands who have given freely to this wonderful work would tell you that they have gained much more than they’ve given.
We invite you, also, to join us in this great adventure. For the first time, we are asking you, our dear readers, to give a donation in return for what you have received from these blogs, which have been given freely and joyfully for more than six years. Your donation will be used to help make the Temple of Light a beacon of hope for all the world.
Let us all join our hands together and make the Temple of Light a miracle that will be a center to spread light and joy to the world.
To learn more about the Temple of Light visit Ananda.org/temple.