Jyotish Novak Artwork: Prints, Canvas, Cards, and Magnets available www.JyotishandDevi.org/jyotish-paintings
A Touch of Light

What Doesn’t Look Like an Elephant

There’s a delightful story about a sculptor who was renowned for his ability to create marble statues filled with life. After carving an amazingly lifelike image of an elephant, he was asked, “How were you able to make the elephant look so real?” “It’s not that difficult,” he replied. “You just chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant!” … Read More

A Touch of Light

What Part Will You Play?

Recently we watched an episode of the remarkable nature documentary, “Planet Earth.” There was one breathtakingly beautiful scene of thousands of pink flamingos flying together in unison, their image perfectly reflected in the still waters of a pristine lake. The photography in the whole series is beautiful and mind-boggling, instilling a profound sense in us of the harmony and oneness … Read More

The temple of light at Ananda Village sharing a beacon of light and blessings to all the world at its inaugeration
A Touch of Light

This Broken Temple

Please bear with us for a while if we continue to gush about the new Temple of Light at Ananda Village. That the temple stands today, filled with divine light and joy, is a testimony to the omnipresence of God’s grace. Each step along the way has been filled with miracles: from the conception, to planning, interior design, fund-raising, construction, … Read More

A Touch of Light

Fifty Years—How We Did It!

We’re in the midst of a glorious weeklong celebration of Ananda’s fiftieth anniversary. To make this rejoicing even more wonderful, nine hundred friends from all over the world have joined us. It’s hard to describe the feeling of upliftment and joy: Many people have told us, “It feels like we’re in the astral world here!” Most of the activities are … Read More

A Touch of Light

So Many More Could Be Free

Throughout history there have been great heroes who, seeing the injustices of their times, fought against them and changed the lives of thousands. One such heroine was Harriet Tubman. Born a slave in 1822 in Maryland, she suffered great cruelty throughout her childhood and was ruthlessly beaten and whipped by her various “masters.” Yet rather than accepting or succumbing to … Read More

Meditation on Paramhansa Yogananda
A Touch of Light

What Work Do You Do?

We often ask this question of someone we’ve just met to get to know them. Predictably the answer people give is their occupation: “I’m a doctor,” or “a cook,” or “a machinist,” or “a mother of young children.” But if we take their answer one step deeper, we can see that what people do also reflects their consciousness. Doctors are … Read More

A Touch of Light

Unexpected Saints

Her name was Ofelia. She was born in Mexico and grew up in an orphanage there. In her early twenties she made her way to California, where she married and raised twelve children. She and her family lived in the Hispanic district of Sacramento, and though her home was small, the doors of her house and her heart were always … Read More

How to stay young with spiritual practices and attitude
A Touch of Light

Staying Young

What are some of the qualities of youth? A sparkle in the eye? A buoyant step? An enthusiasm for life? Laughter that springs easily from the heart? The physical effects of aging are inevitable with the passing years, but our spirit needn’t be touched by them. Once Swami Kriyananda visited a new doctor, who looked up with concern after reviewing … Read More

Swami Kriyananda glowing in divine radiance, direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.
A Touch of Light

Life Is the Teacher

On April 21, 2013, the strident ringing of the telephone in the middle of the night abruptly awakened us from sleep. Groping in the dark, we picked up the receiver and heard the shaking voice of a friend in Assisi, Italy. She gave us the news that we’d known would come one day, but always hoped would be in the … Read More

I see you all as beings of light said Paramhansa Yogananda to his disciples.
A Touch of Light

Through Your Eyes Only

Paramhansa Yogananda would sometimes gaze lovingly at his disciples and say, “If you only knew how beautiful you are. I see you all as beings of light.” It’s often challenging to see the best in the world around us, faced as we are with life’s many contrasts: beauty and ugliness, wisdom and folly, integrity and dishonesty, kindness and cruelty, to … Read More

how a spiritual star is born swami kriyananda the new path
A Touch of Light

How a Star Is Born

I once saw someone wearing a T-shirt with these words printed on the front: “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.” Spiritually we are all “works in progress,” lovingly, unrelentingly being shaped by a divine hand. The process of creation and evolution—whether for a great, heavenly body or an individual soul—has in each case a similar pattern. … Read More

forgiveness in a couple on a hill, lifes challenges and ups and downs, how to forgive on the spiritual path
A Touch of Light

What Forgiveness Gives Us

I am fortunate to have had a wise and loving mother, who taught me a lot about how to live. There were times as a child, however, when I found the wisdom she shared hard to swallow. If, for example, I’d been taunted or teased by another child (as happens to most children from time to time), and come home … Read More

Lift up your eyes to the point between the eyebrows, this painting depicts the journey to the spiritual eye, Devi's source
A Touch of Light

Lift Up Your Eyes!

Life can sometimes be downright discouraging when things don’t go the way we want or expect. I’d like to share a simple practice with you that can change your reaction to life’s ups and downs. First, let’s begin with an incident from Swami Kriyananda’s life. After Swamiji had been with Paramhansa Yogananda for about six months, a period came when … Read More

Swami Kriyananda and Anandamayi Ma in India at her ashram
A Touch of Light

Why We Need the Saints

“As above, so below.” These words from an ancient school of wisdom can be taken on different levels, and will help us understand the subtle laws of creation. On the highest level, it means that the universe is a reflection of the overarching Spirit that created it. On a lower level, it means that the consciousness of people who have … Read More

Saint francis of assisi lords prayer leave the earth better than when you came
A Touch of Light

Leave It Better Than When You Came

Last week a dear friend of ours from India visited Ananda Village for the first time. What a wonderful experience it was showing her around and explaining to her the many aspects of this remarkable community. Amazed by what she had experienced, our friend quietly said, “No matter how much you told me about Ananda Village, there was no way … Read More

yogananda how to be happy, quotes on joy by yogananda and kriyananda
A Touch of Light

Ten Portals to Joy

It’s not always easy to feel joy in life, especially when we’re bombarded with discouraging news and wrenching images of human suffering. Yet holding on to happiness in spite of everything is a challenge which confronts everyone. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote: “Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the … Read More

Paramhansa Yogananda birthday January 5
A Touch of Light

Happy Birthday, Master!

“The closest of dear friends, she made one feel, yet an aura of remoteness was ever around her—the paradoxical isolation of Omnipresence.” In this way Paramhansa Yogananda wrote of the great woman saint, Anandamayi Ma, in Autobiography of a Yogi. This describes the dilemma we, too, face in trying to deepen our love for our Guru. It’s often easier to … Read More

The story of the other wise man who went to see baby jesus
A Touch of Light

Who Is the Other Wise Man?

One of the intriguing accounts surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ is the story of the three wise men, or magi, who traveled from the East to bring him gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Paramhansa Yogananda tells us that these three wise men were, in fact, Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar in earlier incarnations, and that later … Read More

A Touch of Light

Thank You, Dear India

Usually we write our blogs with you in mind, dear friend, but this time I’m going to do something different. After nearly three months in India, we’ll be returning to America in a few days. Although it will be a welcome change to stop traveling and have some familiar things around, my heart is filled with profound appreciation for all … Read More

Lessons learned on the spiritual path Swami Kriyananda advice to Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi
A Touch of Light

Lessons Learned

Recently in Mumbai, India, we were asked the question: “What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on your spiritual journey, especially those involving Swami Kriyananda?” I’d like to share some of my responses with you, because they touch on issues that each of us faces as a devotee. Lesson #1: Does God Really Know That I’m Making a Spiritual … Read More