March 8, 2015
Our time in India is drawing to a close now, and we finally have a moment to share a bit with you. The two main qualities of our travels during this trip are expansion and clarification of Ananda’s mission in India.
Starting with our time in Singapore, we saw that dedicated leaders are emerging to serve throughout India and Asia. It’s as though Master’s children are rushing forward to be part of the great wave of spiritual consciousness that he brought.
Though we were only in Gurgaon and Delhi briefly, we could see that many new devotees, as well as those who have been with us for many years, are coming to our centers. With the additions of Shurjo and Narayani moving to Delhi to help Keshava and Daya, and Devarshi being based in Gurgaon to head up the India Kriya Sangha, the potential for further growth in the north is great.
In Mumbai, we had wonderful responses to our programs on “Everlasting Youth” and “Spiritualizing Relationships.” Though we don’t yet have a permanent center there, the area is ripe for one, and they are actively looking for a place. A small group of us stayed at the ISKCON center, which has simple but pleasant rooms and a large dining room/restaurant. For every meal during our visit ten to twenty of the Mumbai devotees joined us.
From there we went to the Pune Community for two weeks to work with the Sangha members and resolve the question of the proposed sale of the rural property. It has become apparent over the past few years that although we have built thirty flats no Indian community is developing there. Without available jobs and schools, Indians, and especially families, are unable to move to such a rural property.
Our highest priority at this time is to expand Master’s teachings throughout all of India and to continue to build Ananda Sangha. It is a higher priority for our overall work to have our limited staff of seasoned leaders and teachers spreading the teachings, rather than focusing on property management. The time and expense of maintaining empty flats is more than we can handle with the human and financial resources that are now available.
After many groups meetings and discussions with individuals, we finally arrived at the decision to sell the flats and the property they stand on, but to keep the Retreat facilities, Swamiji’s house, and the nearby kutirs.
Ananda Sangha leaders, (primarily Jaya, Surrendra, and Tushti) will be based in Pune city and serve as advisor, but will no longer be responsible for the daily operation of the Retreat.
A local group of involved Sangha members, headed by long-time Ananda member, Amol Parkhi, will take over the management and running of the Retreat. Total consensus on such a decision is hard to achieve, but in the end, everyone felt that their concerns had been heard and accepted this new direction.
Jaya, Tushti, Surendra, Shurjo, and Narayani were all in favor of such a move, and we also feel that these changes will free up tremendous energy to continue to build the work in India.
Now we’re in Bangalore with Haridas and Roma staying at the beautiful new ashram. Yesterday we had a Kriyaban Retreat in the morning and a Higher Kriya Initiation in the evening with thirty new initiates. In a few hours we’ll be giving a public talk for Master’s mahasamadhi titled, “Paramhansa Yogananda: An Incarnation of Divine Love.”
Dharmarajan, Dharmini, and sixteen devotees from Chennai are taking the train to Bangalore (a six-hour trip) for the program tonight. Afterwards they’ll take the red-eye special back to Chennai to be at work on Monday. What dedication and devotion to Master!
On Wednesday we’ll fly to Chennai for programs and to spend time with the devotees there. We return to the US on the 18th. It’s been an intense, but very joy-filled and productive trip.
We thank you for your prayers and support. We feel them very tangibly. May Master bless you all.
In His love,
Jyotish and Devi