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!

NEXT: Watch Nayaswami Devi share how the Temple of Light is a symbol for global unity.


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  2. Speechless – “great souls” gets tossed about, but these people define it.

  3. You story brought tears in my eyes. You are shining like a diamond wherever you are placed. I will hold you as my inspiration. Jai Guru!

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  5. Dear Jairam,
    Thank you so much for your most generous gift. Thank you also for your work in prison. I will pray for your freedom.
    Jau Guru,
    Ute Tellini

  6. Dear Jairam,
    Thank you so much for your most generous gift. Thank you also for your work in prison. I will pray for your freedom.
    Jai Guru,
    Ute Tellini

  7. Jairam’s life and devotion to the Masters is an inspiration to all and the quote from the Gita received with gratitude, as i would like to repeat it in my heart to develop such attunement as well. Om Christ, Om Guru.

  8. Very touching and Inspiring. Thank you Jairam for this letter.
    We pray for your Freedom. Masters are with you as always

  9. This is such an inspiring event. After reading Jyotish and Devi’s blog this morning about preparing for the Marathon to raise money for the Ananda school and then this story about what Jiaram has been able to accomplish with of course Divine Mother’s help in prison has helped me so much personally this day as I struggle with being a single parent trying to keep my son in college without incurring debt to do so, keep the mortgage paid and so many other things so many of us do while being householders I am inspired anew to stay tough, strengthen my will and keep also working for God and Guru anything at all can happen. I would very much like to meet Jiaram some day! Aum Guru!

  10. I would like to correspond with Jairam. Is it possible? Sincerely

  11. What brilliant light shines through Jairam! What fascinating karma! Surely God has blessed him with such a unique set of obstacles and circumstances – indeed, as Jairam himself writes, his opportunity to contribute to the work is enabled by his circumstances, but it is his shining example of living his life with ‘Victory to God’ as his guiding motto shows us – indeed, ”Where There Is Dharma There Is Victory!!” Amazing inspiration to us all – thank you Jairam for showing me how to live my life!!
    Om Guru

  12. My goodness, what a story! I had no idea that inmates could manage investments while in prison, and amass a fortune. It is interesting that the story of Jairam from Ananda begins with the disclaimer that he is in prison for a crime he did not commit. Well, it would seem that with all those appeals and hearings at various levels of court, that perhaps he did commit the terrible crime. Why do we have to portray him as an innocent? Life, history, and literature are replete with tales of those who did horrible things and became totally repentant and higher level beings. In my view, his gift is a blessing regardless of guilt or innocence and can be received with great joy and without any disclaimer as to make him a better person and worthy donor. Shanti! Mac

  13. What a remarkable story! Many blessings to you, Carol, a gurubhai.

  14. Dear Jairam,
    My Prayers are with you and as a former resident of Ananda, I know that Our connection to Master makes us all Part of this Divine Family on Earth, no matter where we live…I recently lived at Ananda for a joyful 15 months and I now live in Michigan.
    Your contribution is amazing and I pray that you will be at the opening ceremony of the Temple of Light and I pray that I will be honored to shake your hand.
    Thank you,
    Suzanne Krause

  15. You are a shining example for us all, Jairam. We all have so much to learn from you. Truly, you are more free “on the inside” than so many individuals who aren’t in prison. You are demonstrating every day that God is everywhere. And as Master said before his passing, ‘to those who think me near, I will be near.’ You will be in our thoughts, hearts and prayers.
    Joy to You!
    Many Blessings,
    Michael and Deborah

  16. Thank you Jairam. You shine like a star through the dark walls of a prison. It is indeed true that you can do anything from anywhere. My eyebrows were raised the whole time whilst reading your letter. Blessings to you.
    Aum Gum!!!
    Rosy… South Bay

  17. Thank you for your selfless actions and inspiring example of discipleship. Jai Guru, Jai Ananda, and Jai to you, Great Soul!

  18. Great faith blessed by great results!

    With joy,


  19. Full many a gem of the purest Ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of the ocean bear_ Jai Guru.

  20. What a story, a story of heroism, you have created of your life! With the help of your God and those inspirational lines of Sri Krishna that you repeat several times a day, you have held steady through a dreadful storm and are emerging like a shining jewel – surely a great example to thousands!

  21. Dear Friend,

    You are in my heart. I hope this new social media campaign will be your ticket out. We’ll be in touch.

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