My name is Jairam. I operate Ananda’s satellite office at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Fresno County. I am happy to be with you in this way on this joyous occasion. This gift is being made under the leadership of Jyotish and Devi, and through the guidance and blessings of Swamiji and our Masters.
The passage I most frequently recite to myself from the Gita is this one:
“He who works for Me alone;
Who makes Me his goal:
Who lovingly surrenders himself to Me;
Who is non-attached to My delusive cosmic dream-worlds:
Who bears ill-will towards none, beholding Me in all:
He enters my being, O Arjuna!”
I repeat this passage to myself several times a day as a prayer for guidance and attunement.
I have been in the California prison system since 1984. In 1987 I read the Autobiography of a Yogi. That year I began a serious study of Yogananda’s lessons as distributed by SRF. In 1988, brimming with spiritual ardor, I wrote SRF from Folsom State Prison requesting Kriya. The Mother Center replied that I would have to die and reincarnate—essentially—before I would be deemed worthy of that rite. I took their letter with equanimity, reasoning that whether I received initiation was ultimately a matter between Yogananda and myself.
A couple years later I was in the San Mateo County Jail awaiting trial, and my mother (rest in peace) told me about the Ananda Church of Self-Realization. My call was answered by David and Asha, who began to visit me at the County Jail. They adopted me. The ensuing years saw me warmly embraced by my gurubhais at Ananda.
Jyotish came and gave me Kriya initiation in a secluded room within the San Mateo County Jail in 1991. I began a correspondence with Swamiji, who gave me my second Kriya over the telephone in 1995 while I was in the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting a decision on my appeal.
When I was sent back to New Folsom State Prison for further grueling years of imprisonment, Ananta and Maria, then of Ananda Sacramento, frequently came to see me. When I experienced a run of good fortune while trading the stock market from a pay telephone at the prison, I began to tithe to Ananda.
During those years Jyotish and Devi also came to see me often, as well as Dianna and Ram, and Asha and David. They often prayed for me, and Swamiji never ceased exhorting them to help me and for me to never give up. In the last year, Shanti, Asha, Ananta, Maria, and Jyotish and Devi have all come to visit me, at considerable time and expense to them, I might add. A score of my gurubhais made the trek last year to support me during oral arguments in front of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. My heart soars as I consider the high consciousness and selfless spiritual justice of my gurubhais. In short, over a span of some 25 years, I have known myself to be an equal in this church, and as such, a cherished member of Ananda.
There has remained in my heart an ambition to contribute to the work and to my gurubhais. I have never thought that my opportunity to so contribute was impaired by my circumstances, but rather knew it to be enabled by my circumstances.
Born of words from Devi and Jyotish about the importance of the construction of the Temple of Light, and an inspiration I had about a particular business venture, my sister, Katherine, and her brilliant husband—– and my brother on this path—Michael, conceived a conspiracy some months ago to raise $1,000,000 for the Temple.
Through the work of many sleepless nights and through my sister’s God-consecrated will, my knowledge of investing, Michael’s genius with software and technology and his great and unselfish heart, and many fervent prayers for grace and attunement,– our conspiracy for the Temple of Light bore fruit. . . . We are so happy to share these Glad Tidings with you this evening.
I send my love and loyalty. Where there is dharma there is Victory!