We have just finished one of the most remarkable weeks in the long history of Ananda. Last week we held a worldwide online Spiritual Renewal Week. This event is a tradition at Ananda, going back more that fifty years to the roots of our work. In the early days, Swami Kriyananda led everything: the sadhanas, the classes, the evening entertainment. This last week, however, we had more than forty teachers sharing from centers and communities around the world. And we reached by far the largest audience ever: over two thousand people. Many more will watch the recorded events in the months and years ahead. It was a great success, but a surprising one.

Last year at this time we had a large gathering at Ananda Village in Northern California. It was our fiftieth anniversary and we were also dedicating the new Temple of Light. Nearly a thousand people from around the world gathered here, and we were expecting to continue what appeared to be the beginning of a new tradition and do much the same this year. Then the coronavirus hit.

If someone had told us last year that we would be unable to gather together this year, we would have seen it as a disaster. If he had told us that, as a result, we would have a much larger gathering, we would have suggested he see a good therapist about his delusions. So much for logic.

We should have paused to remember Paramhansa Yogananda’s teaching, “There are no obstacles, only opportunities.” Fortunately, this principle is deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds of Ananda people, so as soon as the virus appeared we immediately started looking for solutions. The obvious step was to increase our offerings online. Immediately, every Ananda center around the world started doing this, and today we have two or three times as many students attending our courses and events.

What is the lesson here? As soon as a problem arises, immediately start looking for solutions. Don’t waste time worrying about it or allowing negativity to paralyze your mind or your efforts.

I recently saw a very inspiring video about a man who was born without arms or legs. Yet, he never let this hold him back. He’s learned to do amazing things: swim, play golf, and most importantly, inspire people around the world. As a youngster, he decided to let nothing hold him back. Today, he is filled with joy, and a motivational speaker, inspiring large crowds, especially effective with teenagers. He says, “There is almost nothing I can’t do,” and, “If a man without arms and legs is dreaming big, why can’t we, why can’t we all?” His is an incredible story of using even a severe “obstacle” as an opportunity.

You and I will not face this particular challenge, but, rest assured, we will face whatever karmic tests we need in order to grow spiritually. The first step in the process is acceptance, not to waste time finding excuses or trying to run away. Accept your obstacle as an opportunity, and you will rise to new heights.

For Ananda, last week was a proof of concept for this attitude. It will make Ananda stronger, deeper, and more serviceful than ever.

In acceptance and gratitude,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. You can enjoy the newly released kirtan from Spiritual Renewal Week here.

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (4:48):


  1. Thank you for your inspiration as always. How very true! What an enormous blessing this time is proving to be. Jai Guru?️?

  2. What a blessed uplifting cloud 9 SRW week we all had .. if ever I thanked the virus it was then !! Beautiful lessons in this blog Ji. Thank you. Acceptance and solution consciousness. Thank you Swamiji for Ananda and all our polestars (Acharyas)

  3. Great article! Love the idea of instead of worrying, just get busy looking for the solution and also the man with no arms and legs who can do anything.

  4. The blessings of our unity with God, Guru and Swamiji were truly made miraculously apparant and abundant this past week. The Virtual Angel Choir, singing to our Guru, to God and to the World are a light house beacon of love and healing to and for the world.
    What an indescribable Blessing we have received and share freely with all. Namaste

  5. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for the blog :) How we enjoyed the time together (Virtually) during SRW. It was like a family get together. Sincere gratitude to all those who made this happen and to all the Acharyas to their Inspiring talks. A definite recharger!

    I like these lines in particular and I am reflecting on this. Very useful during these times in particular. “Accept your obstacle as an opportunity, and you will rise to new heights”

    Thank you again

    At Master’s Service

  6. Very inspiring blog! Thank you for sharing the story of a man without hands and legs .which says there are opportunities even in difficulties.

    With Gratitude,

  7. Thank you for the uplifting message. The importance of taking lemons and making lemonade !!

  8. Very encouraging message, dear Jyotish ji. Will remember always. Helps us to be courageous in all situations. Thank you!

  9. Pranams Jyotish Ji,

    Very inspiring….no obstacles only opportunities..need of the hour for the world to heal.

    Om Guru,

  10. It was such a wonderful week!! I’m continuing to enjoy the talks and the music. Thank you for being such a shining example of how to move gracefully and powerfully through obstacles to the nectar in the opportunity. Om Shanti ~

  11. SRW this year was in incredible experience. In fact, this, the week after, I’vs so missed the daily presentations, MUSIC and inspiration. But taking what launched us into the blessed realms from all of the brilliant speakers, we’ll carry on. We’ll tackle every obstacle and turn it into an opportunity to learn, grow, and see God’s hand behind every test, nudging us closer to his loving, joyous vibration. For ultimately, that is the goal, and its presence grows more intimately, each and every day!

  12. Thank you once again for inspiring us. This whole experience with Covid19, SRW and just the experiences we see around us each day are another lesson from our Master’s in how to live and support each other and our world.

  13. This may be in the 60 Minutes video, but if not, you might be interested to know that Nick Vujicic (the man without arms or legs) has a very strong spiritual background. He sees what he does as a service to Christ and it brings him a lot of joy, as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *