Dear Friends,

We send you our love and want to share some news about our time in Ananda Assisi. We arrived here on August 28, which was at the end of their busiest month for the Retreat. Although the Italian economy is in bad shape (reports say that 1000 people lose their jobs every day), we have never seen the Retreat so filled with guests from everywhere. Anand and Arjuna said that 2014 has been one of their busiest years at the Retreat ever. Master said that as times become difficult, people will turn more toward God.

As we mentioned in our last blog, there was a wonderful group of about 30 devotees from Russia and the Ukraine that were here due, in part, to Dharmadas and Nirmala’s recent trip to Russia. Many of them were leaving the day after we arrived, so we had a satsang with them that afternoon. Such beautiful souls with deep devotion to God and dedication to the spiritual path!

Every time we return, we can see development and growth in the facilities, the activities, and most importantly, in the members. Our time has primarily been spent in three ways: giving public satsangs for guests on the weekends, having time together with individuals, and sharing with the community and the staffs of the different departments.

We’ve pretty much covered all the bases here, meeting with (in order of appearance): the Retreat and Financial Managers, Ananda Edizioni, Inner Life Coop, Prana Foods (a wonderful new line of organic raw chocolates and food bars), the Retreat Staff, all the community members (where we showed the progress on the Moksha Mandir to great enthusiasm), Ananda For the Future, Terra di Luce (their dynamic agricultural efforts), the Living Wisdom Staff plus some parents, the Lightbearers and Ministers, and finally this morning, the Kriyacharyas.

It’s really inspiring to see the dedication and selfless spirit that permeates every aspect of the work here. Though Swamiji is deeply missed, everyone is carrying forward the mission that he started for Italy and all of Europe.

We’ve also had the opportunity to meditate in his bedroom, where he left his body. Swamiji’s presence and blessings are very strong there. His house and bedroom are open for meditation for members and guests on several days each week, and Kirtani said that many people come each day.

Timothy and Lalaan, managers of The Expanding Light, flew to Italy with us, and enjoyed the inspiration both of our community here and of St. Francis and St. Claire in the town of Assisi. Although we didn’t have much time to spend with them, we were able to share an over night trip to Florence. They departed from there for some touring of Italy, and we returned to Assisi.

One of the highlights of our visit was an Italian performance of Swamiji’s play, “The Jewel in the Lotus.” There is a woman who was a professional actress and now works in the theater in Rome, who Swamiji asked to help direct plays here. The quality of the directing and the performances by the actors was really wonderful – filled with creativity, imagination, and inspiration.

This afternoon (Saturday) we’ll have our last public satsang, and tomorrow we’ll give the talk at Sunday Service. On Monday we’ll drive to Rome, spend the night near the airport, and on Tuesday, Sept. 9, we’ll fly to Delhi.

It’s been a spiritual revivifying stay, filled with the joy of seeing old friends as well as new expansion in the community here. We thank you for your prayers and thoughts. As you can see, we are trying to keep in touch both outwardly and inwardly.

May God and Guru bless you always.

In divine friendship and love,
Jyotish and Devi