“NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT than our quest for God,” Swamiji said in a recorded message sent to all the communities on New Year’s Day. “Even when you are working, feel that God is working through you, using your hands, guiding your feet, directing your thoughts and feelings. Ask God, ‘What do You want from me? Help me, in every circumstance, to respond as You would respond.’ If you live this way, you will find, behind all your experiences, the deep sweetness of God and Guru.”
At the word sweetness, his voice broke. There was a long pause, a deep indrawn breath, then, in a voice choked with tears, he said, “Bless you that you feel this sweetness more and more deeply, as I am feeling it now – and my love for you all.”
InSwami Kriyananda, Lightbearer, chapter 2002, by Asha Nayaswami
Event – May, 9, 2020, 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, PDT
Ananda Village residents and devotees every year on the first weekend in May, gather together and beautify the communities in which they live, in remembrance and dedication to the life of Rajarshi Janakananda, Paramhansa Yogananda’s most advanced disciple.
We work on projects suitable for every age and talent, such as landscaping, land clearing, deep cleaning temples, fixing roofs of common buildings, preparing a delicious lunch, delivering refreshments to workers, and more.
This year, however, with the concerns of COVID-19, Ananda Village, and other Ananda communities, are getting together, in spirit, and continuing the tradition of beautifying the community from home, in remembrance of the life of Rajarshi Janakananda.
There is an irony, here at Ananda Village happening at the same time. We have chosen to focus on – fire clearing around our homes in support of meeting our insurance carrier and safe community goals. You see, Rajarshi was one of the largest reciprocal fire-insurance exchanges in the world.
It is always a great blessing to participate on this day, as everyone joins their energy to the group energy and as we lift the community up to its next level of beauty, we also get uplifted in the process. This year, we’re just doing it from afar rather than gathering in one central location.
So put your gloves, masks, hats and sunglasses on, and bring your tools, then step outside your home, and have fun doing serviceful seva in honor of Rajarshi Janakananda.
We are in this together.
“By the path of right action alone, Janaka and others attained perfection.”
Krishna, in the third chapter of the Bhagavad Gita
Who Is Rajarshi Janakananda
James J. Lynn, was a successful business man from Kansas City Missouri, who after becoming a business success, met his Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda. It is Yogananda who gave Mr. Lynn his spiritual name Rajarshi Janakananda.
An American Businessman
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda describes Rajarshi Janakananda as, “An American businessman of endless responsibilities (as head of vast oil interests and as president of the world’s largest reciprocal fire-insurance exchange), Lynn nevertheless finds time daily for long and deep Kriya Yoga meditation. Leading thus a balanced life, he has attained in samadhi the grace of unshakable peace.”
A Man from the West, Who Became Yogananda's Spiritual Successor
In Faith is My Armor, Nayaswami Devi writes; “Yogananda had announced publicly, “I have passed my mantle to Rajarshi.” This is a tradition among great gurus; to “pass the mantle” means to transfer one’s power and consciousness to his spiritual successor. This transfer is a profound blessing, and one that is bestowed uniquely on only one chosen disciple. Swami Kriyananda wrote later of this disciple, “After Master’s passing, Rajarshi Janakananda seemed almost to become Master. His eyes, by some subtle transformation, were Master’s eyes. So perfect was his attunement that our Guru’s very thoughts became his thoughts.””
What Does the Name Rajarshi Janakananda Mean?
In The New Path, Swami Kriyananda writes;
“James J. Lynn, to whom Master always referred as Saint Lynn, received from Master later on the title and name Rajarshi (royal sage) Janakananda.” In the footnote, Swamiji writes,”Janakananda means “ananda (divine bliss) through an ideal balance of outward responsibility and inward spiritual attainment that was perfectly exemplified in ancient times in the life of the royal sage King Janaka.”
In The Promise of Immortality, J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda) writes: “Janaka was a royal sage in ancient India who achieved divine union by his inward spiritual focus in the midst of intense outer activity.” “Janaka was born spiritually great. A lesser person could not have attained perfection by work alone. Meditation is necessary for most people as a means of centering themselves in the Self. But so also is outward activity for God necessary. One who only meditates, unless he does so superconsciously, is in danger of sinking into a mire of indolence, which to him may seem a peaceful lake, but which is more likely to be, or to become in time, a stagnant pond. Outer activity helps by lifting one’s meditative peace to a state of dynamic inner calmness.”
Rajarshi Day Poem
I was made for Thee alone. I was made for dropping flowers of devotion gently at Thy feet on the altar of the morning.
My hands were made to serve Thee willingly, to remain folded in adoration, waiting for Thy coming; and, when Thou comest, to bathe Thy feet with my tears.
My voice was made to sing Thy glory.
My feet were made to seek Thy temples everywhere.
My eyes were made a chalice to hold Thy burning love and the wisdom falling from Thy nature’s hands.
My ears were made to catch the music of Thy footsteps echoing through the halls of space, and to hear Thy divine melodies Flowing through all heart‐tracts of devotion.
My lips were made to breathe forth Thy praises and Thine intoxicating inspirations.
My love was made to throw incandescent searchlight flames to find Thee hidden in the forest of my desires.
My heart was made to respond to Thy call alone.
My soul was made to be the channel through which Thy love might flow uninterruptedly into all thirsty souls.
Our Ananda Family Photo Album
A Virtual Stroll on Memory Lane
Use the Arrows to Scroll Through the Pictures
Shanti and Rachel
Nayaswami Vidura and Narayan in LA
J.T. Panduranga and Nayaswami Mantradevi
Sundara and Balarama -working-in-Hermitage-garden
Rajarshi Day 1980
Sumitra and Athena
Niranjana Sophia Anna and Josette 2007
Sambhava Brannon Larry W Gopal and Josette 2007
Atman – Rajarshi Day 2018
Jaya – Rajarshi Day 2018
Jayeswari and Sundara – Rajarshi Day 2018
Koral – Rajarshi Day 2018
Devadasi and Nancy – Rajarshi Day 2018
Bulldozer – Rajarshi Day 2018
Carianne and Barbara – Rajarshi Day 2018
Atman – Opening Talk – Rajarshi Day 2018
Maghi at the Costume Shop – Rajarshi Day 2018
Men at Work – Rajarshi Day 2018
Narani – Rajarshi Day 2018
Lalaan – Rajarshi Day 2018
Nayaswami Pranaba – Rajarshi Day 2018
Prashad – Rajarshi Day 2018
Priya – Rajarshi Day 2018
Rachel – Rajarshi Day 2018
The Cooking Team – Nayaswami Diksha, Jayeswari and Chef Leor – Rajarshi Day 2018
Gopal – Rajarshi Day 2018
Josette – Rajarshi Day 2018
Picnic Lunch – Rajarshi Day 2018
Nayaswami Sajaha and Gopal – Rajarshi Day 2018
Nayaswami Seva – Rajarshi Day 2018
Sraddha – Rajarshi Day 2018
Suzanne – Rajarshi Day 2018
Satya – Rajarshi Day 2018
Anna – Rajarshi Day 2018
Balarama – Rajarshi Day 2018
Barbara – Rajarshi Day 2018
Our Stories of Success, and Memorable Moments
Use the Arrows to Scroll Through the Pictures. Click on the caption under each picture to read the story.
Recorded Talks about Rajarshi
Use the Arrows to Scroll Through the Pictures. Click on the caption under each picture to listen to the talk..
“Paramhansa Yogananda was once asked why his most advanced disciple, Rajarshi Janakananda, progressed so quickly on the Spiritual path. Yogananda replied,”He knows how to listen.” Just as the quiet man was the only one to hear the telegraphy message, the devotee who deeply listens is the one who hears Cosmic AUM.”
“Several times, while driving down the California coast to San Diego, he, (Paramhansa Yogananda), had felt attracted to a certain spot in the little town of Encinitas. Each time that the attraction had awakened in him, he had received the inner message: “Wait. Not yet.” Obedient to his inner guidance, he had never pursued the matter further. After his return from India, however, a surprise awaited him. On the very spot that had interested him on those drives, James J. Lynn, a wealthy disciple and highly advanced spiritually, had purchased and built for him the hermitage of his visions! Here it was that Paramhansaji, as many people now began calling him, over the next several years spent most of his time writing books, among them his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.”
For as the soul returns to ego-awareness from its state of oneness with God, it can either bring with it a consciousness of infinity, or use that vast consciousness as a memory to reinforce the power of the ego. Supreme, then, among these tempations would be the thought,”I know everything! I know as much, even, as my own guru!”
Therefore Yogananda once said to his chief disciple, Saint Lynn, “Never forget where your power comes from.”
With a sweet smile, Saint Lynn answered, “I won’t Master. It comes from you.”
Thereafter, in one context or another, he often repeated this prediction. “You must do so-and-so, Walter,” he would say, “because you have a great work to do.” Or, “You have a great work to do, therefore. …” Two years after Master’s mahasamadhi, Rajarshi Janakananda, his chief disciple, was blessing a group of us one evening in Encinitas. He paused when I came up to him, then said softly, “Master has a great work to do through you, Walter. And he will give you the strength to do it.” I was struck by how softly he had spoken — as if not wanting the others to hear him. Was it a secret? And if so, why? Master, too, I had noticed, chose moments when we were alone to speak to me of my life’s work.
What was this “great work” to which both of them referred? Neither Master nor Rajarshi ever told me. But Master’s words were, in their cumulative effect at least, the most insistent he ever addressed to me. They returned often to my mind through the ensuing years, demanding comprehension. Clearly, I reflected, they had been meant as a command, not as a compliment. They seemed intended to invest me with a sense of personal responsibility for some aspect of his mission, and also, perhaps, to inspire me to take that responsibility seriously.
Clearly, too, in the context of his remarks on several of those occasions, mine was to be a public work, one in which I would have to stand, perhaps independently, on my own feet, and one therefore perhaps not closely connected with the institution’s activities.
Instinctively I feared such responsibility. I wanted to be in tune with Master, and not to dance the wild jig of outward success and acclaim, fraught as it is with temptations. We are here, Faye had said, to please Master. Couldn’t I, I prayed, just please him from the background — the safe ground — where no lure of outward importance could intrude?
“I don’t want to do a great work!” I wrote to Rajarshi the day after he had spoken those words to me. “I just want to serve Master unnoticed.” (Rajarshi’s reply was to come and bless me again, smiling quietly.)
But when, one time, I resisted Master’s efforts to draw me into teaching activities, his response was brusque.
“Living for God,” he told me sternly, “is martyrdom!”
“It is said that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. god is not only centered in every atom, which thereby (in Yogananda’s statement is “dowered with individuality”: he has also his own special (in a way of speaking) melody to sing through each individual. No spiritual master ever expresses the Divine in quite the same way as any other. All of them do, of course, express the essential characteristics of divine perfection – divine love, (for example, always universally and impersonally. At the same time, however, the particular way every enlightened master expresses the divine qualities is unique.
Does this mean that all saints and masters agree with one another on every issue? Not at all! They cannot but agree on the deeper issue, which relate to Sanaatan Dharma, itself, but I myself have noted human differences both of personality and of opinion. I remember one saint, whose nature was withdrawn to the point of being almost taciturn, who disparaged another saint’s tendency to laugh a lot. My own Guru was once speaking of land as the best investment, when Rajarsi Janakananda (his chief disciple, “Saint Lynn” as the Guru had previously called him) frankly, though without emphasis, disagreed.”
Read the rest of the story of these Eastern and Western Modern Day Yogis — Their Journey in Self-Realization and Their Love for Their Masters and Spiritual Teachers.
Ananda founding member, Nayaswami Anandi, said, “As I listen to Swamiji’s talks from the early years, I feel how profoundly he ‘raised’ us, filling us with true spiritual values and attitudes….”
Virtual Worldwide Rajarshi Day
On Saturday, May 16th, please join us for a half-day virtual worldwide Rajarshi Day! From 9 AM to 1 PM PDT (6 to 10 PM CEST and 9:30 PM to 1:30 AM IST).
Gurubhais around the world are invited to learn about and add to our new global, private collaboration wiki for Ananda members.
Activities for you to do in a few minutes or a few hours:
- Biography Blurbs: Write a few sentences about yourself and/or upload a photo as an introduction to guruBuddies around the world.
- Local Details: Take a peek at your local center’s pages and add a detail or two that you know about. With this tool we can move towards getting our “tribal knowledge” written down and accessible to all members.
- Spiritual Docs: Share a spiritual document that you saved from a class
- Browse or Add To the collection of Swamiji’s favorite movies and jokes.
- Figure out other ways to contribute, talking with gurubhais in a live Zoom session.
- List any idea or your skill that you feel might benefit Ananda across the world or which will help you to collaborate and work with other gurubhai’s.