As part of a pilgrimage, Jyotish and Devi took a group of people to Assisi, Italy.

Devi and I are currently traveling to Ananda centers and communities around the world. Last month we were in Italy helping lead a pilgrimage and now we are residing for a while in India. There are many interesting aspects to travel and, especially, to living in a foreign country. Among other things, your comfort zone gets poked, prodded, and bent out of shape. It is a great opportunity to overcome old habits.

Our reactions, whether positive or negative, produce sparks of energy and little bits of karma. When we repeatedly react the same way, it produces a habit. A habit, when strong enough, becomes a samskar, or tendency, that we carry with us from lifetime to lifetime. Samskars are like ancient roots descending into the dark soil of old behaviors. When the right circumstances come, these old weeds sprout anew and strangle fresh growth and change.


Wandering monks in India often travel to the banks of the Ganges river, which is considered very sacred.

We asked a Western friend, who has lived happily in India for many years, what the secret was of adapting to a new culture. His response was succinct and powerful: “Never compare.” He told us that for the first few years he’d had the tendency to judge things in India according to his experiences in America and was on the verge of moving back to the West, but then saw the solution to his difficulty. Comparing conditions is very common, and leads people to imagine that they can solve their problems by moving from one environment to another, or by switching jobs, or by changing partners. The real danger is that this tendency keeps them looking for solutions outside themselves.

Gyanamata, Yogananda’s most advanced woman disciple, was once faced with a severe test. When she prayed to God, she felt it was not His will that she be spared that experience. Immediately she knew the prayer God would receive: “Change no circumstance of my life. Change me.”

Travel is broadening, and I’m not talking only about the amount of food we’ve eaten in the last month or two. A new culture forces us out of the ruts of normality and gives us a chance to review our habitual behaviors. A new environment also gives us ample motivation to break the chains of old likes and dislikes. When we overcome all reactive tendencies, we are free to soar in God.

In joy,
Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Thank you, dear friend Jyotish!
    I feel I needed this the most at this time.
    In Him,

  2. ” When we overcome all reactive tendencies, we are free to soar in God.”
    What a simple but profound, deep and meaningful statement…..I am moved ….THANKS a lot….

  3. Just the right timing to hear this message. Thanks very much and may you and Devi’ and all the devotees in India, have a very blessed Thanksgiving. Joy, Prem-Shanti

  4. Very helpful articles at right time.I am always reluctant to get out of my “comfort zone” because of this habit of comparing.
    Thank you!Thank you!!

  5. Thank you Jyotish and Devi for these weekly letters…they are so inspiring…and they “sound” like you, so it feels like I’m in your presence when reading them. All blessings to you wherever you are and in whatever you are not comparing!

  6. Thank you Jyotish for these wonderful stories which are also for me, reminders along the way.

  7. Hello Jyotish and Devi,
    I signed up for your messages about a month ago and they are always so inspiring. This particular message rings so true. It makes it easier to appreciate and honor the culture, food, people and entire experience when we don’t compare. Also, adapting makes it that much richer a time. It’s all temporary! Love…

  8. Hi Jyotish, What a nice column. I can imagine the challenge of living in India, for me, an American, and no doubt vice versa for an Indian. In your upcoming travels, please have a wonderful visit to Monterrey, Mexico. I think you will enjoy it—I was there myself a few times recently: ‘Good vibes’, although that didn’t preclude me from getting lost in the car a few times!

  9. I love your messages.
    Always just what I need
    at just the right time.
    Thanks so much for your wisdom and insight.
    Susan Kaylee

  10. Perfect timing as always! Great message to remember and not only in regards to travel or living situations, but for me as a designer. I was comparing the progress of a project I am working on with the ‘done’ image in my mind… and disappointed that the two visions were not as of yet, one, and therefore dismissed gratitude from others. I must remember to accept, be appreciative, enjoy ‘what is’ and the process, and not be disappointed in thinking about what I believe it ‘should be’.

  11. Dear Jyotish and Devi-
    Thank you so much for this little column. Each and every one touch ‘home’. My favorite place to read these is while standing in line at Peets on Saturday morning. I tend to be impatient in lines and reading Touch of Light helps me to be calm and grateful!

  12. Beautifully written, Jyotish. Not only is the article itself inspiring, but it is also uplifting to see the positive comments of others and how they’ve been helped by these ‘touches of light.’ =)

  13. Yes, very powerful indeed–comparisons suggest expectations, and expectations, attachments. Thank you again, Jyotish!

  14. Thank you …. again. Have a joyful and loving “Thanks Giving” to all! Always in Him, with Him.

  15. Thank you so much for your timely words. I look forward to receiving these weekly insights. Nothing can compare to the wisdom you share by sending out this mighty touch of light. not that i’m comparing, i’m simply stating the truth:)
    with peace and joy,

  16. Thank you for your words and please be the bubble and Master’s blessings on you and Devi. Our thoughts will be with you as we celebrate this Thanksgiving day. Eternally thankful for the gift ones such as you two bring to our lives.

  17. What an inspiring article! With the Thanksgiving day round the corner, I thankyou and Devi, for sharing your experiences with us in Bangalore and letting us bask in your positive vibrations for a few days!

  18. Thank you for the beautiful insight. I will try to cultivate it in me with all my sincerity. I understand it will be hard, specially in the moments of unawareness as comparing has indeed become a habit and probably a samskara too. It seems “Never Compare” holds the key to bliss.

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