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

Padre Pio with Stigmata from the year 1919
A Touch of Light

When We Cooperate with Grace

Next week we will be back in Italy, the land of saints. Our Ananda community is near Assisi, made famous by St. Francis, Italy’s most beloved saint. Paramhansa Yogananda spoke of him as a “patron saint” for those, like us, who are seeking union with God. Thirty-five years ago, Devi and I helped establish Ananda’s work in Europe, living for … 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

A Touch of Light

Many Hands Made a Temple

There were several hundred of us in the opening circle, holding hands and chanting. We had gathered, not only those who live at Ananda Village, but people from all over, to help prepare the Temple of Light for the hundreds who would soon be visiting. This was just the latest of innumerable voluntary workdays that I have attended over the … 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

interfaith religions celebration at the ananda temple of light
A Touch of Light

The One Light in All Religions

Once in a rare while we are lifted high on the wings of grace. Last week was an extraordinary week filled with laughter, tears, joy, inspiration, friendship, and hope. We celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Ananda and dedicated our new Temple of Light. For the thousand people attending it felt like we were raised out of the mundane world and … 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

Fifty Years!!!

Next week Ananda will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. We took possession of the land we now call Ananda Village on July 4, 1969. We have often remarked on the “coincidence” of July 4 also being what is generally considered to be the birthdate of the United States, the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Both were born … 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

A Touch of Light


After she had blown out the few candles on her cake, Gloria said, “I’m glad they didn’t put all 90 on it. I’m not sure I could have managed that.” We were gathered, over a hundred of Gloria’s friends, at Crystal Hermitage (Swami Kriyananda’s home at Ananda Village) to celebrate her 90th birthday. She has lived at Ananda for nearly … 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


Mother Teresa of Calcutta told this very touching story. The sisters from her order were visiting the very poor during a time of famine in Calcutta. To each home they brought some desperately needed food: a bag of rice, some lentils, and a few other bare necessities. As one sister gave the food to a mother of several starving children, … 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

A Touch of Light

When Worries Howl

In his magnificent poem “God! God! God!,” Paramhansa Yogananda writes these lines: When boisterous storms of trials shriek, And when worries howl at me, I will drown their noises, loudly chanting: God! God! God! Who among us has not had to deal with his share of trials? And when storms of trials arrive, the advance troops are the howling winds … 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

A Touch of Light

A Spiritual Color Wheel

There are many interesting connections between being an artist and being a spiritual seeker. The other day it struck me that there is a kind of “spiritual” color wheel—I’m given to these musings from time to time. I shared my thoughts with Devi, and she suggested that it might make an interesting blog. So, whether you enjoy this one or … 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

A Touch of Light

Till Only Love Remains

I had an interesting dream last week. In the beginning a group of us, friends and gurubhais, were strolling in a crowded street with many people milling around. Then, in front of us, there was a commotion, and we saw a military-type vehicle backing up toward us. With all the people around me, I was unable to get out of … 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

nebula in space for self-realization explanation in quantum physics-mystical, spirituality and science
A Touch of Light


This story popped into my mind spontaneously while we were giving a recent class on the subject of Self-realization. Although it is entirely fictional, it gives us a window into the reality that Paramhansa Yogananda called, “Man’s Eternal Quest.” *                                   *                                 * Dr. Para was born, interestingly, in the first hour of the first day of the twentieth … Read More