Threads of Fate by Anna Shapiro who found Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a YogiThere once was a man of such holiness and humility that he attracted the interest of the Heavenly Father. A messenger from God was sent to offer him any boon that he requested.

At first the saint could think of nothing to ask for, but then he said, “In my travels as a wandering monk, many people’s paths cross my own. Grant me the gift that wherever I go, when my shadow falls on someone, he or she be healed or blessed. But, grant me also a further gift: May I never know.”

I’m reading a remarkable book now, Threads of Fate, written by a friend of mine in Boston, Anna Shapiro. She tells the story of five generations of her family of Russian Jews: of the hardship, deprivation, and anti-Semitism they faced for more than a century in Russia.

But her story is remarkable not only for the difficulties they faced, but for its depiction of the indomitable strength, courage, tenacity, and deep spirituality of the human spirit.

In 1978, Anna and her family requested exit visas for America, knowing that it was unlikely they would receive them, and that they would be fired from their jobs as a result. For ten years their visas were denied, and, though highly educated, they survived only on subsistence work. Finally, in 1988, due to international pressure on behalf of Soviet Jews, the visas were granted, and they were able to emigrate to America.

Along her journey in Russia, Anna began studying and then teaching yoga, though at the time this was punishable by imprisonment. She also found a spiritual teacher, Joseph, who was a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. Then, in the mid-1980s, Anna made an important connection.

She writes: “Joseph told me that in America, in California, there was a center called Ananda, which in Sanskrit means, ‘bliss.’ This was a community of people living in the spirit of cooperation. One day Joseph showed me Ananda’s magazine in English. I asked him where he had gotten it, and he said: ‘I cannot tell you.’ He had translated all the articles word by word into Russian by himself, using a dictionary. Joseph also told me: ‘You cannot imagine how much joy fills my heart when I read the Ananda Masters’ articles about spiritual yoga.’ And he added that this internal spiritual connection with Ananda gave him the strength to live, maintained his belief in God, and kept him consciously aware of the need for devotion to his chosen path—spiritual yoga.

“For me it was just an unbelievable dream to visit Ananda and meet with such spiritual people. I couldn’t even imagine at that time that 14 years later I would be able to go there and enjoy meeting these wonderful people, some of whom became my friends.”

In the mid-1980s I was part of the team that put together Ananda’s quarterly magazine. Little did we know the blessings that were received where its shadow fell in distant Moscow, or that it would help Anna find her way to her spiritual family. God is the Doer.

In His love,
Nayaswami Devi

PS Anna’s book is in the prepublication stage. If you would like to receive information about it, please contact Ananda Sangha Worldwide.


  1. God, the Inner Self, never lets down beings who are virtuous and who are sincere.

  2. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for the Lovely Article :) . God is the Doer :)

  3. Thank you Devi, this is a wonderfully inspiring and touching article. No matter how far we are from one another and what are circumstances are, His love and His joy that vibrate through His teachings brings us together. Jai Yoganandaji! Jai Babaji!

  4. Thank you Deviji, This is so inspiring and rings with truth for my heart. I too feel this love for my gurubais at Ananda.

  5. This gives us an incredible insight on relating the little self to the higher Self and the Universal Self. What a tender way to bless people by using the way the body’s shadow falls. And how lovely to think of how everything is unified and that even amazing changes can come to those who persevere in faith and receptivity. True lessons for us all. Thank you for this post.
    blessings and joy to all,

  6. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful and inspirational story. I will certainly share it.

  7. Thankyou, Devi for sharing this profound story. Indeed very inspiring.
    Thankyou Gurus for leading and guiding us to this path!

  8. Thankyou! Devi,this was most inspiring and profound story.
    Thankyou Gurus for leading and guiding us on this path…

  9. Dear Devi,
    Thank you for sharing this message of hope.
    God truly works in mysterious ways and it is with
    reverence for the Divine Mystery that I marvel at stories like this one.
    For we truly don’t know how far reaching any act or word can have an impact;
    like a drop in a still pool of water, the ripples of energy expand outward.
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  10. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.It shows what determination and devotion can do to all on this path.

  11. What a remarkable story, Devi. Thank you for sharing.

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