A Touch of Light

We Are Building a Temple of Light

The sun rose an unnatural shade of red-orange in the hazy early morning sky. Though the burning forests and towns were hundreds of miles from Ananda Village, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction. The air quality was unhealthy and the temperatures were high, but still they came. They were building a temple of light. Devotees from all … Read More

What I should do next, teachings of paramhansa yogananda, touch of light
A Touch of Light

What Should I Do?

What should I do? This is the question we hear most frequently. It might take the form of “What should I do about a short temper?” or “What should I do about my mind wandering during meditation?” Simply asking “What should I do?” means that you’re ready to move beyond passivity and engage your willpower. Congratulate yourself whenever you ask … Read More

journey to self discovery teachings of paramhansa yogananda
A Touch of Light

Leaving the Morgue

As I entered the chemistry lab on the basement floor of the hospital, no one was there to greet me, only racks of dirty test tubes. My part-time job during my last semester in college was to clean the vials after the chemists had left for the day. It wasn’t very interesting work. I usually found myself alone in a … Read More

The most important thing we can do spiritually to stay strong, let us share with one another.
A Touch of Light

The Most Important Thing I Do

In 1979 Ananda began a period of expansion, and Devi and I helped start a large ashram in San Francisco. An early challenge was to find ways to support ourselves, especially in a way that allowed us to serve together. One solution we found was a business with a vegetarian restaurant on the first floor and a small bookstore on … Read More

Krishna image Source: ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
A Touch of Light

Everything Balances Out in the End

“But, that’s so unfair!” How many times have you spoken these words, or at least had this thought? I know I often have. Maybe someone else got the praise for something that you did. Or maybe you got the blame for something you didn’t do. It’s hard to resist this thought when we see ruthless, selfish people gaining power over … Read More

Yogananda Gardens Statue with Rainbow, lifesize statue of paramhansa yogananda in oregon
A Touch of Light

Acting on Intuition

Intuitive insights come to each of us. They are, after all, the soul’s way of perceiving. Sometimes they come as a clear knowing; at other times, as a hunch; and often as just a whisper of feeling. True intuition is God’s way of guiding us, but most of us ignore our intuitions most of the time. This last weekend we … Read More

Devotion painting of Yogananda in meditation by Nayaswami Jyotish
A Touch of Light

A Day of Yoga

Over ten thousand people gathered on the grounds of the iconic India Gate in Delhi, India; at the same time many thousands congregated at the United Nations Plaza in New York City. Why had they all come? Was it part of some global political protest? Yes and No. It was June 21, the annual International Day of Yoga created by … Read More

A Touch of Light

Animals and Compassion

When I was young, one of the most important members of our family was Nipper. He was a medium-sized dog with amazingly intelligent eyes, a golden coat, and a combination of the best traits of numerous breeds. He was a faithful playmate, protector, and coconspirator during my daily adventures. Many people remember a beloved four-legged friend who shared their youth, … Read More

A Touch of Light

How to Water a Garden

My alarm clock went off in the early hours each morning. Though it was still dark and often cold, I knew that if I didn’t get up immediately, I’d be late. My small trailer had no electricity or running water; I’d light a kerosene lamp, wash up with water from a gallon jug I carried home each day, and then … Read More

Yin Yang Symbol in Yoga Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda author of The Science of Religion
A Touch of Light

Game Over

The major premise of Paramhansa Yogananda’s first book, The Science of Religion, is that everyone in the world shares the same basic motivation: to be happy and to avoid pain. I‘ve been reading a book with a similar theme, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by a psychologist and philosopher, Jordan B. Peterson. His theme is similar to … Read More

Swami Kriyananda Quote Disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda
A Touch of Light

The Philosopher King

We were once talking with Swami Kriyananda about the best form of government. “Enlightened monarchy with a philosopher king is the highest expression,” he said. “But it’s only possible in a more advanced age in which mass consciousness is higher than it is today.” For me Swamiji was a true philosopher king. As we celebrated the anniversary of his birthday … Read More

A Touch of Light

We Don’t Know Enough

One of the Ananda teachers just sent me an article about the physiological link between the breath and a brain chemical, noradrenaline. Here’s a quote from the article: The research shows for the first time that breathing—a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices—directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger … Read More

What is self-realization, 5 steps to self realization paramhansa yogananda
A Touch of Light

Five Steps to Self-Realization

As plants grow toward the sun’s light, so too do our souls reach up toward the light of God. At first our inner growth may seem slow and hesitant, but gradually, as the yearning in our heart grows stronger, our movement towards the light gains momentum. Eventually, and this is true for everyone, the magnetism of God’s presence within us … Read More

A Touch of Light


We heard a good joke recently. A man and his young grandson are shopping in a supermarket. The little boy is fussing and whining, wanting to leave. The grandfather says, “Be patient, William. We only have two more items to get and then we can go.” A few moments later, the grandson is again complaining, and the grandfather says, “Just … Read More

Ananda Tulip Festival Springtime at Ananda Yogananda Whispers from Eternity
A Touch of Light

Beauty and Grace

Imagine seventeen thousand tulips in an amazing variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, all blooming amidst the vast vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. April is the time for “Springtime at Ananda,” the annual tulip festival at Crystal Hermitage Gardens, and thousands of viewers come from throughout the state to enjoy the superlative beauty. These gardens have a … Read More

rainbow appearing in the sky around the sun
A Touch of Light

The Power of Divine Places

We were sitting with two dear friends at a retreat house in the foothills of the Himalayas, where we take a yearly seclusion. One of them asked me if I felt a special power here and if my meditations were any deeper. I told her that for me personally, this is one of the two most sacred places on earth. … Read More

Creativity and Spirituality Yogananda Quotes Expressing Gods Creativity
A Touch of Light

Express Your Self!

As we entered the art room and took in the paint-splattered tables and small plastic chairs, we felt as if we were back in grade school. We took our seats, and saw at each place a row of paint jars containing a variety of colors; large, flat brushes; and a medium-sized piece of white art paper. The afternoon was part … Read More

Cooperating with the Grace of God, Quote by Sister Gyanamata Say Yes and Make it Snappy
A Touch of Light

Cooperating with Grace

As I write this, we’re in India for two weeks on an unexpected trip. A series of completely unforeseen events has provided the potential for a wonderful new project. Working with one of India’s premiere leaders in education, our small team is creating a vision and feasibility study for a world-class Institute of Leadership based on Paramhansa Yogananda’s principles of … Read More

Revelations of Christ by Swami Kriyananda
A Touch of Light

Whom Are You Trying to Please?

Early in their time together, Paramhansa Yogananda instructed his direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda, that his work in this lifetime would be lecturing, editing, and writing. When I met Swamiji in 1969, he was constantly engaged in these three activities, as well as in the Herculean task of launching the spiritual communities movement through Ananda. His was not a typical yogi’s … Read More

A Touch of Light

A Place of Refuge

Last week, here on the island of Hawaii, we visited an interesting historical site called “The Place of Refuge.” The old Hawaiian culture was hierarchical, with the king at the top, the warriors and artisans beneath him, and then, at the lowest level, the vast majority—those who fished and worked the land. There were many laws concerning what was “kapu,” … Read More