We were sitting in the radiant, late-August sunlight at the Ananda Retreat, overlooking the gently rolling Umbrian hills outside of Assisi, Italy, chatting with a friend of ours from Rome. She told us with joy in her warm, brown eyes and a sweet smile on her lips, “I recently came to the Retreat feeling quite depressed about many aspects of my life. But after being here for only three days, my thoughts now are filled with such peace, and my problems all seem so trivial.”

Ananda Assisi is a place of deep spiritual vibrations that heal the heart and mind as they uplift the soul. People come here from all over Europe to learn and practice Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings, but mainly to bring joy back into their lives.

Kriya Yoga of Paramhansa Yogananda at Ananda Retreat in Assisi Italy

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi at the Ananda Retreat in Assisi, Italy.

Jyotish and I have been here for two weeks now, offering classes and satsangs for the guests and community members, and deeply enjoying the peace and blessedness that permeates this place. Last Saturday night we helped lead a Kriya Initiation for two hundred people coming from ten different countries. As you can imagine, a variety of languages were represented in the softly lit temple, made especially beautiful that night for the initiation. Throughout the ceremony you could hear the whisperings of several translators helping everyone to receive Kriya in their mother tongue.

This gathering of disciples, all dressed in white and filled with a shared devotion for God and Guru, was like a vision of the future: a time when this planet will be united in peace and world brotherhood. Our guru spoke of such a time to come. As harbingers of a united world, our Kriya Masters are bringing their blessings for global upliftment.

Tocco di luce and tocco di gioia di Jyotish and Devi The next day, following the Sunday Satsang and lunch, we signed copies of our new book of blogs, Un Tocco di Gioia (A Touch of Joy), that has come out recently in Italian. Learning people’s names and signing their books gave us an opportunity personally to meet many of the devotees who had received Kriya the night before, as well as some of the other guests who were also present that day.

I kept a mental tally of all the different countries from which the people we met had come: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Siberia, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Holland, and, of course, from all over Italy. We signed books for nearly two hours, though the time flew quickly by as we met our spiritual brothers and sisters, and they shared about their lives.

We came to understand how many had come from difficult circumstances, either nationally or personally, with health, family, or financial challenges. Yet Yoganandaji had found all of them and had changed their lives. Eyes filled with light and strength, person after person spoke of the joy of coming to Ananda and practicing Master’s teachings.

My heart began to expand and soar as I felt the limitless scope of Yoganandaji’s presence throughout the world, and the blessings that he brings to “all those waiting, thirsty ones.”

He describes it best in his poem, “God’s Boatman”:

I want to ply my boat, many times,

Across the gulf after death,

And return to earth’s shores

From my home in space.

I want to load my boat

With all those waiting, thirsty ones

Who have been left behind,

That I may carry them to the opalescent pool

Of iridescent joy,

There where my Father distributes

His all-desire-quenching, liquid peace.

Oh! I will come back again and again!

Crossing a million crags of suffering,

With bleeding feet, I will come,

If need be, a trillion times,

As long as I know that

One stray brother is left behind.

So, my dear friend, have no fear, for “God’s Boatman” is ever seeking to find those who, from their heart, call out for God.

In His love,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. This article touched my heart. “Yet Yoganandaji had found all of them and had changed their lives.” Yes, it started from his very eyes!

  2. Lovely! Thank you for sharing this with us. I recently saw Paramhansaji in a vision. He was in a boat and holding it down so it would not rock too badly in rough waters. I am blessed and I am grateful.

  3. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for this wonderful blog
    Very heartening to know that there were so many souls from different countries. Masters vision of ‘United States of the World’ 🙂
    ‘With bleeding feet, I will come,
    If need be, a trillion times,
    As long as I know that
    One stray brother is left behind.’ — We bow to our great Master. Thank you GuruDeva!

  4. Tears of joy as I could feel what you were feeling through your words. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am so touched with tears of joy hearing how Master through Ananda is touching so many souls in need of upliftment! Bless you both for sharing Master’s ray with so many.

  6. Bravo, sweet Devi! Your description of Master’s Divine Mission filled my eyes with tears to think of the overwhelming Divine Love of this Path. Your article was well written as usual. Love you.

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us, Devi. Very moving. Although very likely I will never meet the majority of these Gurubais, as I read your description of the Kriya Initiation and book signing, I deeply felt my connection with them. Paraphrasing Master, “we are all held in the gossamer net of Guru’s love”.

  8. Dearest Devi and Gurubais – How wonderful!
    Thank you for this inspiring post.
    Joy, joy, ever new bliss!

  9. Thank you Devi, and God and Gurus bless you. I too feel my heart expand and soar as I read your words. How deeply touching to feel so connected to truth seeking souls everywhere.
    With love for all, Shanti

  10. Devi ji, thank you very much for sharing the wonderful experience. It is always a pleasure to listen to your voice, and reading your experiences.
    The poem throws a light on Paramhansa Yoganandaji’s kindness to the mankind. So much touched by his words “I will come back again and again!”
    My love to you Devi ji…??

  11. Thank you for the lovely share… keeps us inspired.
    P.S. I have taken the ananda emailid… could you please change my earlier one to this .
    Sumitra – delhi

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