In the last two months we have seen two great souls depart this world. Nayaswami Seva passed away on November 14, and we just held an Astral Ascension Ceremony for Nayaswami Anandi, who passed away five days ago. Anandi had been a member of Ananda and our dear friend for more than fifty years. The talk given at the ceremony by her lifelong husband, Bharat, was particularly touching.  

Yet, as all of us must do, these friends have moved on to the astral world. What remains? What is permanent? Memories may stay alive for a time, but only God’s eternal qualities stand unchanged by the crashing waves of maya. I would like to look past her personality and touch on a few of those qualities that Anandi manifested, in ways particularly inspiring to me:

anandi tribute passing away nayaswami anandi of ananda village

A lesson from Anandi: Mold your life around your search for God.

Everything was God-centered. Anandi was very clear that the purpose of this life was to find spiritual liberation, and she shaped her life around that goal. She was always listening for God’s whispers drawing us back to the bliss of our true Self. Though she held many different jobs and roles and gave countless classes and talks, she never identified herself with what she did.

We spent a lot of time working together with her, walking together, and connecting about little things the way true friends do. She never judged people, nor had any tendency to get into negativity or gossip. I remember one walk where the conversation started to drift toward some problems and negative qualities of one of the guests. Anandi quickly said, “Let’s talk about something more uplifting.”
A lesson from Anandi: Mold your life around your search for God.

Selflessness expressed by serving others. There were hundreds of people who had their lives uplifted and changed by talking with her. She spent a lot of time talking with visitors, and never considered it as anything special. But they did! Her husband, Bharat, said that they had gotten over a thousand notes of appreciation after her passing. She was extremely humble in the true sense of the word: not thinking about herself. Because of that, she was able to allow the space for people to feel safe and open up the deeper parts of themselves.
A lesson from Anandi: Dissolve your ego through humbly serving others.

Persistence. When Anandi took up a task, you knew that she would see it through to the end no matter what it took. As an example, she created the wonderful eight-book series, Wisdom of Yogananda, compilations of Master’s teachings on various topics. Just think of the countless hours it must have taken to study, extract, and categorize those wonderful quotes.
A lesson from Anandi: Stick with the job until it is done. And, your main job is yourself.

anandi tribute passing away nayaswami anandi of ananda village

A lesson from Anandi: Live joyfully.

Joy and good humor. The name, Anandi, that Swami Kriyananda gave her means “joy.” And there was a stream of joy and good humor that flowed beneath the surface, always ready to well up in a laugh, a quick, amused comment, or a smile. Of all the things of value that Anandi shared with me, I think that her joy was the most important. It is the very essence of who she was, who we all are.
A lesson from Anandi: Live joyfully.

These are just a few of the many eternal qualities of God that Anandi manifested. And, while her body and personality may be gone, the examples from her life are forever woven into the fabric of Ananda. Soon we will have a memorial service where friends from around the world can share more stories. It is sure to be filled with God’s light and joy. That is to say, it will be filled with Anandi.

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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20 Comments

  1. Once again, you have chosen to take something that could have spiralled down into the mournful and turned it into something so uplifting.
    I met Anandi in 2007, and recall her genuine warmth as she sat down briefly to engage with me and my sister in the dining hall. And then 12 years later, she surprised me when she greeted me by name as we walked to the temple. Some years ago I binge watched her YouTube videos and was struck by the very qualities you have mentioned.
    Go with love, Anandi!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony to Anandi’s life. I love the idea of viewing people in terms of the eternal qualities that they manifest.

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing these aspects of Anandi’s life in this format so we may access with ease. 🙏🏼

    I always felt loved and appreciated in Anandi’s presence. As so many of us have experienced, God’s love followed through her with ease.

    We are blessed.

    Much love & gratitude,
    Astara💗

  4. It is hard to find the right words to express how beautiful and profound this blog is. It captures so much – even in the title: What Goes, What Stays. Anandi’s essence is tangibly with us, and beautifully expressed in your words “examples from her life are forever woven into the fabric of Ananda,”—and in the hearts of all she touched.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful sharing about our sweet sister in god, Anandi. I will never forget when she and Bharat came to the East Coast and did the Aum retreat for our Sangha. Her vibrant light and unceasing joy inspire us all. Jai Guru, Jai Anandi!

  6. Bharat, my heart goes out to you. I know that empty feeling when so much of your life has moved on to her next step. Anandi, you are such a beautiful person. I know we will meet again in another life, and we will have the opportunity to be closer. With love and light, your admirer, Marjorie

  7. In 2008, my last visit to Ananda, I was doing a sabbatical commemorating the first-year anniversary of when my beloved husband of 40 years took his life after a long illness. Anandi just seem to know that I was struggling so she came up to me and started a conversation. She was very loving and supportive. I’ve never forgotten her warm, welcoming smile and gentle nature. We walked around the grounds and she even took me on a tour of the guest house when I asked about it. We kept in touch for a short while after that visit, but at that time the only computer available to her was a community computer there in the lodge and eventually somehow my emails either didn’t get to her or they were lost in the ethers. I have always held the hope that when I returned to Ananda, I would see her again and reconnect. God speed, Lovely Anandi. You were truly a gentle, yet powerful force for God here on this planet. Even I will miss seeing you again — but perhaps we’ll meet again in the great beyond. Blesssings, Liza

  8. A wonderful tribute to a very special devotee who touched so many hearts. She certainly did mine!

  9. Thank you, dear Jyotish, for so beautifully sharing these truths of Anandi’s life lived for God and for sharing Divine qualities with all whom she met! We are all so very blessed to have walked this path with her! Her example is so very inspiring!

  10. Thank you for your beautiful tribute to her, Jyotish!!

  11. Anandi was one of the instructors who watched our last presentation video in the meditation teacher’s training course. The only comment I remember of Anandi’s was that I seemed very comfortable teaching. I had been so nervous doing the video but she saw something else. It meant a lot to me. During Covid isolation she was calling members from Ananda to see how we were doing. Talking to her and listening to her encouragement was uplifting. Yes, Anandi’s teachings and the way she lived her life will be what stays. Aum, Shanti, Ashanti.

  12. I once told Anandi that she was a Bright Star in the Constellation of Ananda. She really liked that! Maybe one of your artists can create the Constellation of the original Ananda “founders”/Stars…
    Anandi was the one to take me into the yoga temple for my commitment ceremony to being a formal devotee, just the two of us. I will never forget it, and in a short time, I felt completely enfolded in Master’s guidance & protection, and have felt that way every night & day since then. (Circa mid-90s).
    There is no thought of Expanding Light that doesn’t include Anandi, Savitri, Adam, Gyandev, Diksha, the Gamows, Prakash, Jyoti, Melody, and the amazing Healers.
    ” My old life was a mess,
    I was lonesome and depressed.
    But then I found my Guru,
    Now all my dreams came true.
    ( Many more verses, but here’s the end:)
    He will never disappoint you,
    He will never be untrue.
    He will guide you and protect you
    And make your Life brand new.”
    Yes, He will make your life ever new…

    Fly free Anandi!
    Much love & respect from Martha Curran

  13. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for sharing this blog. We were moved to listen to Nayaswami Bharath and also read a few letters which were very endearing and uplifting.
    We are so blessed to get to know a great Soul like Ananda Ji in this lifetime. Sincere gratitude to her for the service that she has done to help build Ananda and share the teachings.
    A great Inspiration!

    Joy,
    Prem

  14. Like Liza, I too lost a husband to suicide in 2008. I had just started spending time at the EL, had taken Discipleship. On the Ides of March, I came home to find my husband dead by his own hand. To say it rocked my world – for a very long time, is an understatement. Anandi was one of the folks who helped me – finally – come to a resolution with that. And of course, all of life, and death, is a gift from God. Several years later, Anandi (& Diksha) performed my wedding ceremony to an amazing man. I cannot help but remember when our rings were blessed by them, and I am reminded that all relationships are in our life for us to learn from, and make the choice (or not) to grow ever closer to the DIvine. I miss Anandi, and. A few days before she left her body, during my mediation. I could clearly see her surrounded by the Love of Divine Mother, and she was in Joy. Till we meet again Great Soul.

  15. Thank you for sharing. I was able to interact with her while visiting the Village. Great Soul. Thank you.

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