1989: “The Greater the Will, the Greater the Flow of Energy”

Ananda Village resident members group portrait, late 1970s


For Master’s birthday weekend, all the ministers gathered with Swamiji and Rosanna at Crystal Hermitage for a three-day retreat, even though it meant not having a January 5 celebration in our centers. Coming together in divine friendship was deemed a higher priority, especially now that we were more dispersed. Many founding members of the Village no longer lived there, but had responsibility for building communities elsewhere.

In our first discussion right after the morning meditation, Swamiji said, “When the fire came twelve years ago and burned up most of our land and homes, many people thought Ananda was finished. We desperately needed money and I said, ‘Let’s raise our income to a million dollars a year!’ Some of you thought I was out of my mind, but within five years we were earning more than a million. Now it is three or four times that, not even counting private income.

“Before the fire, as a spiritual community, we were still a bit up in the clouds. One of the reasons Divine Mother gave us that test was so our spirituality would become real in a practical, outward way. But once you start in a direction, the tendency is to keep going in the same way. Right now, many people are coming who want to live at the Village, but we don’t have jobs for them. The thought is, ‘Let’s open more stores. Let’s start more businesses.’ Not a bad idea, but I’m going to suggest a different approach.

“Our 20th anniversary marks the end of a chapter. Where do we go from here? We’ve become practical. We know what we are doing and we do it with joy. But I don’t think God is pleased if we think only in terms of business. Some have suggested that our businesses suffer because we are so isolated here in the foothills; that we should expand our base with mail order catalogs. But there are thousands of catalogs already in the world. If we try for a piece of that pie, at most we’ll get a tiny sliver.

“By contrast, we are the only ones doing this particular mission, and the whole world is our base. People come from everywhere for our books, music, lecture tours, classes, The Expanding Light. These are the things that will make Ananda flourish. Master said America will go through an economic upheaval; and that as a country, we will have half the wealth, but be much more spiritual. People will want what we have to give.

“For many of you, the ministry is something you do in your spare time. Most of your day is spent on other kinds of work. I would like to think of ways to make our ministry the central thrust of our community. Ministry takes many forms—publishing our books, for example; going on the road to sell them. Many of you are here because you read one of those books.”

After lunch, Swamiji held up the most recent brochure from The Expanding Light. He praised the high quality of the concept, writing, and artistry. Still, there were only six guests for the weekend. He contrasted that small number with the crowds that come to the retreat in Assisi. At The Expanding Light, Swamiji said, pointing again to the brochure, the emphasis is on programs. In Assisi, it is the place, and above all, the people.

“There are only twenty to thirty people living at Ananda Assisi. They are overworked, but carry on because they are there to serve. We have a wonderful staff here, too. But because our emphasis is on the program, guests think, ‘What am I learning?’ rather than, ‘What am I experiencing?’ We need less emphasis on teaching, and more on simply being here.

“The Expanding Light is the way we can reach people and change their lives. Yes, the teachings are important, but they should come here because it is a life-transforming experience. In this atmosphere, they will draw God-inspired solutions to the problems they face. They’ll meet a whole community, hundreds of people, dedicated to living in a way most people can’t even imagine. It will give them a new perspective on life.

“In Assisi, it is surprising how many people have been drawn back because of contact they had with one person. Not necessarily a teacher, staff member, or even someone who has been there a long time. Maybe the person they meet can’t even explain the teachings very well, but everyone can give love. That’s what changes people.

“We need to reach people with who we are. Everyone who lives at the Village should spend time serving at The Expanding Light. It is the heart of what we are doing. When the staff plans the programs, when they write a brochure, they need to feel the whole community is with them. There is tremendous power in that thought.”

At Ananda Assisi, contact between the guests and residents was automatic. Everyone there meditated in the same temple, and took their meals in the same dining room. The whole community was focused on the Retreat.

Temple of Light (Tempio di Luce) at Ananda Europa near Assisi, Italy: https://www.ananda.it/en/

At the Village, there were many enterprises. People cooked in their own kitchens and meditated on their own, or in small groups here and there. Most of the teachers at The Expanding Light came only to give their classes. Afterward, they would go back home, or to another job.

Meditations at The Expanding Light were led by a resident or a staff member, but everyone else in the temple was a guest. In Assisi, the guests were surrounded by experienced meditators, making it easier for them to go deep. Rather than being immersed in the community, guests at The Expanding Light were often left mostly to themselves, with just a few staff members. There was much to consider.

Swamiji then suggested that everything would change if we had a real temple at The Expanding Light. “What we call the temple there was designed to be a classroom,” he said. “Even after all these years, it still feels like a classroom. It doesn’t feel holy like the Temple does at the Meditation Retreat. Once we have a temple at The Expanding Light, that magnetism will draw many people here.”

Of course, the problem was money.

Someone pointed out that people were now paying large sums of money to go on pilgrimage with Ananda. Yet our own community—because of Swamiji’s presence, and years of concentrated spiritual practice by so many sincere devotees—was as holy as many of the places we were visiting. Perhaps this year we should cancel all the other pilgrimages in favor of a pilgrimage to Ananda, with all proceeds going toward building the temple.

On our trips to India, we had made wonderful connections with Master’s family in Kolkata, and Lahiri’s descendants in Varanasi. They could be the guests of honor. Lahiri Mahasaya had his Mahasamadhi on September 26, and was born on September 30. Those four days would be ideal for our Pilgrimage to Joy.

When we broke for lunch, the room was abuzz with the idea of building a temple. During the break, a few people with more knowledge of the accounts presented to Swamiji a host of objections. Ananda was carrying a debt of over $1,000,000. The reason there were so few guests at The Expanding Light was because in winter there was no place for them to stay. If the temple drew crowds of people, where would we put them? Building year-round guest facilities had to be the first priority.

After lunch, Swamiji shared these objections with everyone. He was undeterred and hoped we, too, could raise our energy to meet the challenge. Instead, enthusiasm for the temple collapsed like a deflating balloon. Seeing that we didn’t have the faith, and therefore wouldn’t have the magnetism, to make it happen, he suggested, “Instead of a big temple in the meadow, we could build a small chapel by the lake. The cost of that could be folded into the fundraising for the guest rooms. We can build the temple later.”

Swamiji then turned his attention to Kriya. “In terms of drawing people, advertising is good, but our real power is Kriya. That is what will generate the magnetism to bring people to Ananda and inspire them to come back. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Master says that whatever problem people brought to Lahiri Mahasaya, his answer was, ‘Do more Kriya.’ He gave other advice, too, but Kriya was central.”

On the last day of the retreat, Swamiji again took up the subject of Kriya, filling out what he had said before. “Lahiri was talking to people who had been raised from the cradle with reverence for the Guru and the need for the Guru’s grace. He talked about faith and devotion, but he didn’t have to emphasize these things the way Master did and the way we have to do. In Lahiri’s time, the need was to help people bring their devotion to a clear focus through the practice of Kriya.

“In the West, the situation is entirely different. The devotional aspect of religion is weak. Even in the churches, people sing about God; they don’t sing to Him. Devotion is weakest of all among those who come to yoga. Most have left their church, or never joined one, and many don’t even believe in God. They like techniques because ‘It is something I can do for myself!’ In Europe, the yoga scene is even more dry than it is here.

“Americans understand the value of techniques. Look at all the self-help courses! Even small appliances come with a book of instructions! Americans want a spiritual path that is down-to-earth. They want to approach God in a practical way. We have to introduce the path to them in a way they can accept.

“That’s why I cut my hair, started wearing Western clothes when I lecture, even using the name ‘J. Donald Walters’ on books that don’t deal directly with yoga. Otherwise, no matter what I said, people got the subliminal message that to practice these teachings, you have to grow your hair long and live in a cave—or at least out in the country. I created Superconscious Living to give people techniques they can use in their everyday lives.

“But if we go only that way, the path is too dry. Technique alone won’t do it. There must also be longing for God, reverence for the Guru, and the attunement to receive His grace. That is what Master emphasized. We have to reach people in a way they can understand, but when they come to one of our centers, or to The Expanding Light, let them also learn our language and our way of approaching the spiritual path. Otherwise, we dilute what we have to offer.

“If we can emphasize chanting, lots of chanting, that will get them into devotion. And energization—teach them to be aware of energy and how it can be properly directed, including toward devotion. This leads naturally into talking about the Guru and how to receive his power. If we approach it this way, people won’t make the mistake of thinking, ‘Now that I have the technique, I have everything I need.’

“Those who do Kriya, but without devotion to Master, never get anywhere. Even those who think they can make progress by themselves without coming to Ananda or going to SRF, don’t get nearly what those do who seek out the company of other disciples.

“Above all, Master said, ‘If you want to be in tune with the Guru, serve his work.’ He wrote to a devotee in St. Louis, urging him to support the center there. ‘If you get behind this work and help build it,’ Master said, ‘God will bless you and give you realization.’ This is the truth. We shouldn’t hesitate to speak frankly on the point, but urge people to support what we are doing. If we are of one mind on this, our work will gain great power.”

Yoga class in the Ananda Europa community Temple of Light (Tempio di Luce) near Assisi, Italy: https://www.ananda.it/en/.

During the retreat, Swamiji ordained new ministers, blessing and giving individual advice to each one:

“Don’t look to others for endorsement. The joy of pleasing Master is enough. It doesn’t matter whether others are pleased, but it matters everything that God is pleased.”

“What has made me happiest in you hasn’t been your efficiency or the things you do, but your increasingly humble and childlike attitude. Put your hand in His and let Him lead you.”

“Don’t hold back. Plunge over the cliff into the arms of the masters. If you have courage, faith, and openness, everything that needs to be done, they will do through you. Be strongly courageous, joyfully courageous, and courageously joyful.”

“You have shown lovely spirit, but let it now be radiant spirit—large, not small. Expand outward to embrace everyone with God’s love as it flows through you.”

“You have dedicated yourself and there is no turning back. Don’t fear anymore. Have faith, fervor, and calm conviction. The more you call on Him, the more He will work through you.”

“You are not alone. It isn’t only God that is with you, you also have all of us—your brothers and sisters in God. We are one with you, and you are one with us.”

“People need love so much—Divine Mother’s love. She is Infinite. If you offer yourself into Her flow, She can use you as Her channel. Don’t be afraid to give love.”

“It is nice to be childlike, but know that, as a child of God, you also have infinite power, infinite consciousness. Live more in that. When you share, share not only as a child of God, but also as an instrument of that majesty. Dig deep; you have much to give.”

“Don’t waver anymore. Say, ‘From now on I will live the way Divine Mother wants me to live.’ You aren’t a boy now, you are a man, and can be a great man if you let Divine Mother work through you.”

“You have the body of a young woman, but you are an old soul with maturity, dignity, and intuition. Think of yourself as the a temple of Divine Mother.”

Leading us into meditation, Swamiji said, “Feel that you are Master. Seek God with the kind of fervor you hear in his voice. Let his power be your power. That is what it means to be a disciple: to take on the Guru’s power. Listen to AUM. Only AUM is real. Let AUM negate any thought of self.

“Alone, we can do so little. But many of us together can do so much. Let us unite ourselves in this great mission of God.”


Later in January, Swamiji had his second hip replaced. For this surgery, as for the one before, he refused to be put unconscious, but remained fully awake, anesthetized from the waist down. Dr. Peter assured the surgeon that Swamiji would remain calm and cooperative throughout. The second hip was equally degenerated. With two titanium hips, for the first time in years Swamiji’s gait was normal. When he recovered from the surgery, he could walk without pain. “Hip, hip hooray!” he declared.


Swamiji encouraged Ananda Assisi to make the choir a first priority, sending the group on tour as much as possible. His music, he said, would find acceptance first in Europe, and from there come to America. A local priest was so impressed that he arranged for the choir to sing at the Vatican for a public audience with Pope John Paul II. On March 8, fifteen choir members and twenty community members left Assisi at 4:30 a.m. to drive to Rome for the 11:00 a.m. event. There was only one entrance ticket, so they all had to go in together. One of the cars broke down on the way, but they still managed to arrive in time.

An hour before the Pope was scheduled to appear, more than thirteen thousand people were already gathered. We were the only choir, so they asked us to fill in some of the hour with music. After every song, there was enthusiastic applause. When the Pope arrived, prayers were offered and Bible passages read in six languages. Throughout it all, even when the Pope was speaking, there was a constant hubbub. Only when the choir sang Thy Light Within Us Shining, was there complete silence. “You moved us to tears,” an audience member said afterward.

The choir was only a hundred feet from the Pope. As he was leaving, he stopped and shook hands with the director and several of the singers. “Powerful, humble, kind” is how they described him.


The only exception to the no-other-pilgrimages rule for the year was a trip to SRF in April, again led by Swamiji. Rosanna’s father needed an operation, so she went to Italy to be with him. The previous year, we had been allowed to sing in certain places. This year, SRF decided that singing was “too disruptive.” We explained that we had taken pilgrimages all over the world, chanting and singing everywhere. The music deepened our experience, and many who heard us said it also it deepened theirs. SRF remained adamant.

“Wherever a Self-realized soul has lived,” Master said, speaking of the value of pilgrimage, “the vibrations of his consciousness remain there forever.” After some discussion, we decided that singing on pilgrimage was “a preference, not a principle,” and therefore a compromise we could make. Property could be owned, but the vibrations of a master belong equally to all.

The physical contrast between SRF and Ananda was dramatic. Their buildings were beautifully decorated and maintained, their gardens, pristine. Ananda, by contrast, was a work in progress. Our centers operated on a shoestring, out of rented storefronts. At the Village, we didn’t even have paved roads, although the first chip-seal was laid down a few months later.

Rather than feeling discouraged, we rejoiced at the contrast. They had their work, we had ours. The silence imposed on us at the SRF shrines was balanced at the crypt where our music filled the marble hall. At Encinitas, Swamiji again led a discipleship initiation.

 “The disciples of a great Guru, even though brothers and sisters in one spiritual family, are very different one from another. ‘Every atom’ Master said, ‘is dowered with individuality.’ Every soul is unique. The Guru doesn’t teach, in the sense of imposing information from the outside; rather, he helps each disciple discover the truth within. The path is universal, but every devotee has to make it his own, or else it isn’t real for him.

“In India, they understand that there are two kinds of disciples: siksha, which means student, and chela, which means child. To be a chela—a child of the Guru—is the relationship every disciple seeks. When you show serious interest in God, God shows the same interest in you. He has brought you to this path because of your desire to know Him. To come to the spiritual path, to find your Guru, to know that you belong to him—this is a tremendous accomplishment. It takes many incarnations to reach the point where you can say, ‘I am the disciple of a great master.’ Every other accomplishment pales by comparison.

“I asked Master if it took a long time to find God. ‘Oh yes,’ he said. ‘Desire for name, fame, and many other things takes people away again and again.’ Everyone on the path falls many times. All that matters is that you keep coming back to God. Don’t ever say, ‘I have fallen, therefore I have failed.’ As long as you have the desire for God, He will never turn away from you. Never think that God judges you. He loves you through eternity.

“Your discipleship is not what you do outwardly, but how much you attune yourself inwardly. Work on developing the right attitude; above all, humility—not self-abasement, but self-forgetfulness. You forget the ego because you are thinking of God.

“To be a disciple you must also be a channel for the light. You can’t just gather and hold the blessing for yourself. You need to feel, ‘The Guru’s work is my work. I am responsible. I want to give my life to helping others.’

“The majority of people in the world are just marking time, waiting to be inspired by someone else’s faith. If a handful of people, or even just one person, knows what life is about and puts his will behind it, many will be carried along. You don’t have to grab people on the street and try to sell them books! Just radiate spiritual light wherever you go. That is the best way to serve.

“Don’t think you have to be a learned person, a minister, or have an important position. Just be yourself with sincerity. Be completely sincere in your relationship with God. Don’t put yourself down, but with faith and love, put yourself aside. Get out of the picture, and God will work wonders. Don’t hold back with the thought, ‘I am unworthy.’ Of course you are unworthy! Nothing new in that! But it is not you doing it; it is God acting through you.

“Every day of your life be grateful that God has brought you to this path of discipleship. As Adi Shankaracharya said, ‘In all the three worlds—causal, astral, material—there is no greater blessing than to have a true Guru.’ The techniques are given to us as a way to attune ourselves, so that we can receive the Guru’s power. The power of the Guru is worth more than any technique.

“Receive this ray of divine grace. It will transform your life and bring you to God.”


Sales for Crystal Clarity had doubled in the last year, mostly because of the new line of Secrets books. Since then, many others have copied the format, but when Swamiji started writing these small books of aphorisms, no one else in the new age field was doing it. Pocket size, attractively designed, one aphorism for each day of the month, the books sold extremely well. They crossed over from the book into the gift market, introducing Crystal Clarity and Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters for this series) to a whole new group of readers.

Some of the subjects were obvious: love, friendship, happiness, meditation. Others were more unusual: leadership, persuasion, emotional healing. Swamiji thought the one about emotions would sell particularly well. “Meditation is of interest only to a few, but almost everyone deals with emotional difficulties, or has a friend who does.”

Swamiji edited these books as carefully as any other, but the foundation could be laid quickly. “After so many years of teaching,” Swamiji said, “the ideas are clear in my mind and I just have to choose among them.” He arrived in Los Angeles a day early for the SRF pilgrimage. Finding himself with a free afternoon, he sat by the pool and wrote three more. “It took a few weeks to polish them to my satisfaction,” Swamiji said, “but the essential ideas all came in a few hours.”

In the middle of May, Rosanna returned to Ananda Village, bringing her parents for a three-month stay. She traveled with Swamiji to the East Coast to lead a weekend retreat. “Friends gathered together as brothers and sisters in God” was her ideal way of sharing the path. Then they went to the American Booksellers convention. She enjoyed meeting the other authors and spending time in Crystal Clarity’s booth, greeting the steady stream of visitors.

In Sorrento, Rosanna’s life was one integrated flow of prayer, music, Church services, spiritual counseling, and long, deep conversations, often over leisurely meals. She lived with her parents. Her father supported her, and most of PEKI’s work as well, including their retreat house. His generosity spared her, and PEKI itself, from having to make their spiritual work self-supporting. She was free to follow her inspiration wherever it led.

Ananda was entirely different. The financial pressure was unrelenting, both on individuals and on the work as a whole. Added to that was Swamiji’s determination to complete the great work Master had commissioned him to do. Every day there were problems to solve and projects to finish. Rosanna loved Ananda and had many dear friends, but it was a constant, exhausting challenge for her to follow her own spiritual rhythm in the midst of it.


Plans had been made for a phased development of The Expanding Light. Phase One would be upgrading existing buildings, adding more guest rooms, developing the gardens, and building a chapel by the lake. Swamiji’s letter, which went out in July, focused almost entirely on the chapel, which he called the Temple of Divine Inspiration.

“In 1961, when I was living in India, I received in meditation a design for a Golden Lotus Shrine of All Religions. In order to show others what I had in mind, I made a simple painting of the shrine and the gardens surrounding it. Although no one thought it possible, I succeeded in getting a land grant from Prime Minister Nehru himself to build it right in the heart of Delhi. However, the Board of Directors of SRF vehemently rejected the project—and then me as well!

“I was so deeply hurt by the whole experience, that in all these years I haven’t been able to bring myself to look at the letters and drawings from that time. But thinking about building something now at The Expanding Light, I reviewed them, and much of what I wanted to do then would be ideal for us now.

“Since then, in over forty years of lecturing around the world, I have been repeatedly struck by how weak the position of religion has become in our Twentieth Century. The situation seems all the more poignant, considering that religion deals with the only aspect of life that is man’s permanently: his soul. Why, I’ve asked God repeatedly in prayer, this total commitment to materialism?

“Throughout history, spirituality in its purest form—the pristine religion of love, tolerance, and openness to truth that was taught to their disciples by Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, and other world teachers—has been unquestionably the greatest power for peace and good will on earth. Spiritual awareness might save us today as well from the disasters that presently threaten the human race and the planet on which we live.

“Alas, too often the essential message of religion has been stifled by sectarian bigotry.

“There is an urgent need today to demonstrate the essential oneness of all religions. For, clearly, all of them are dedicated to principles that are universal. In the matter of abstract principles, there is widespread unanimity. It is in the specific application of those principles that the different religions vary.

“There is a deep need in this age to inspire mankind not only with political ideals, but with spiritual vision. For only when men and women are taught to view truth, love, and brotherhood as eternal principles, not merely human concepts that were dreamed up merely for human convenience, may people be inspired to break open the confining walls of national selfishness and step out into the fresh air of international good will.

“Only then will worldwide prosperity, peace, and happiness become at last possible.

“This year, in September, we plan to dedicate The Expanding Light specifically to the spreading of a recognition of the universal essence of all religions; and to begin building by the lake there a small Temple of Divine Inspiration, dedicated to this ideal.

“I don’t mean thereby that Ananda will thenceforth be less dedicated to its own path to God. We have our own approach to the eternal verities, and are loyal to this approach. I only mean that the time has come to encourage religionists everywhere to emphasize the timeless principles that underlie all paths to God.

“If even a few such principles can be subscribed to universally, we believe also that people will gradually open themselves to higher aspects of spiritual truth—to the need, for example, for divine grace in human life, and for inner communion with God.

“Because all religions are dedicated to self-development, as opposed to mere social upliftment, the essence of religion might be defined, quite simply, by the term, Self-realization.

“Another word is important, however, to complete this definition. For personal spiritual development, if it is not manifested also in fellowship with others, runs the risk of becoming ingrown and selfish. Hence, in every religion, the emphasis we find placed also on the fellowship of devotees with one another, and on the importance of sharing with all the inner peace one feels in himself, through his spiritual practices. Another word, then, is needed: Fellowship.

This is the name Paramhansa Yogananda gave to his organization: Self-Realization Fellowship. The truths he taught were eternal principles. These were what he embodied in his organization, which he had established to propound them.

“The need is greater, surely, than ever before. For modern man is like a ship in a storm without a rudder. The natural forces he has unleashed through his scientific achievements have posed a challenge to his moral caliber. The effects of both his virtues and his vices have become exaggerated, through the power presently unleashed in Nature, to fantastic proportions. Given free rein, his natural selfishness, uncorrected by corresponding moral development, might destroy this very planet. On the other hand, he has the power, if he so chooses, by developing his spiritual nature, to create a new world of peace, prosperity, and universal happiness.

“It is a matter of urgent necessity that the basic and universal tenets of the great world religions be made the focal point of all moral and spiritual teaching. It is playing with fire to continue to talk of the superior merits of one religion or another. The real anachronism is to make superficial differences among religions the focus for all our investigations, for all our classroom discussions.

“If truth is eternal, then there must exist underlying similarities in the teachings of those who have struggled sincerely to attain it. It is this similarity that must be held up before the eyes of the world, if men are to become united under the banner of a common conviction and a common goal.

“In unity lies strength. Universal moral and spiritual truths can inspire in mankind that deep-seated conviction, that dedication to lofty ideals, which alone has a chance of turning the present tide of destruction, and of changing its raging waters into peaceful rivers of benefit to humanity. Then at last will the powers of nature that man has unleashed be harnessed for peacetime uses. Then will poverty and famine disappear, and unrest give way to calm contentment. For mankind will have built a world that will be itself a monument to human cooperation and creative effort. Prosperity will reign in every home, and share its throne with Love.”

Accompanying the letter was a full color brochure, including Swamiji’s original painting, and an expanded and refined rendering to show what we planned to build now. The groundbreaking would be during the Pilgrimage to Joy at the end of September. The chapel itself we hoped to dedicate at Spiritual Renewal Week 1990. Then would come Phase Two, which included a large temple in the meadow.


In July, the community in Assisi faced a crisis of self-definition. People were coming from all over Europe, many with their own agendas, often more sociological than spiritual. Even the Ananda leaders weren’t clear about how to balance the competing demands of retreat, ashram, and community. They needed Swamiji to help set the right course, so he came to Assisi for three weeks.

“Call yourself a community of devotees,” he said. “The true center of the community is our spiritual lives. From there we engage in outward activities, with a shifting focus as needed. Right now it is the retreat and the music.”

Swamiji sang with the choir for a concert in Assisi, translated English lyrics into Italian, wrote introductions to the songs, and notes for the concert program in both languages. Then with all the singers, he recorded three albums.

“Seventeen of us were crammed into a very small space with Swamiji,” one of the choir members said. “It was over a hundred degrees inside; we were all dripping with sweat. But the vibration was so clear, the energy so strong and joyful, that we recorded twenty-seven songs in one afternoon. Some were in English, some in Italian, some in both languages. Most of them we did in one take!”

In a credo for the music, Swamiji wrote, “The World Brotherhood Choir is dedicated to bringing people, through the inspiration of music, to a deeper awareness of God’s presence within themselves. We embrace those of all faiths, and of no faith, and even those who deny God altogether. For we believe that His love reaches out equally to all His human children, and we pray that He will make us, each according to his own ability, instruments of that love.

“We believe in practice over theory; in experience over blind belief. We recognize the right of everyone to define truth as he will, and we aspire only, through our music, humbly to touch the hearts of those who hear us, that we and they may be inspired to love ever more perfectly.”

In between recording and writing, Swamiji met with the residents, gave classes, satsangs, and two Kriya Initiations. On very short notice, a hundred guests came from all over Europe to see him. He returned to Ananda Village in time for the comparative quiet of Spiritual Renewal Week. Often Swamiji’s only pause between the final flurry of activity in one community, and the beginning of a demanding schedule in the next, was the airplane flight in between!


Rosanna was a trained architect, but it had been some years since she had worked in her profession. The Temple of Divine Inspiration, though, fired her imagination. After Spiritual Renewal Week, she returned to Italy to work with some of her former colleagues on a design for the chapel, and also an overall plan for developing the Village.

At the end of September, five hundred people came to the Village for the Pilgrimage to Joy. We met in a huge tent set up in the meadow where someday the temple would stand.

Shibendu Lahiri, great-grandson of Lahiri Mahasaya, came from Varanasi. He was appointed by his father, Satya Charan, as heir to the Lahiri family dynastic tradition of Kriya Yoga. In a small shrine in the courtyard of his house, he had some of Lahiri’s ashes.

Harekrishna Ghosh, the son of Master’s younger brother, Sananda, came from Kolkata with his wife Anjali. They lived in the family home at 4 Garpar Road. Harekrishna felt it was his divine duty always to keep the home open to visitors. Thousands came from all over the world to meditate in the small attic room where, Master said, “I found God.”

We had also invited Devi and Hassi Mukherjee. Hassi was the daughter of Master’s boyhood friend, Tulsi Bose. When Master visited India in 1935, he stayed many months in Tulsi’s home in Kolkata, where Devi and Hassi still lived. At the last minute, though, Hassi’s mother became ill, and they had to cancel.

Joyous days of kirtan, satsang, sadhana, and inspired conversation culminated on Sunday afternoon with a huge procession from the meadow to the lake. At the spot where the altar for the Temple of Divine Inspiration would be, Swamiji conducted a fire ceremony, dedicating the chapel, and The Expanding Light itself, to the oneness of all religions.

He started building the chapel himself by turning over the first shovelful of earth. A small quantity of that soil was put into two small silver boxes and presented to Harekrishna and Shibendu. It was fitting that the ceremony included our friends from India, since Swamiji’s original inspiration was to build the temple there.

We each had a handful of rose petals which we placed on the future altar. Swamiji had written a new chant for the occasion. The melody was soaring, the words simple: Sri Gurudeva AUM, Sri Gurudeva Amen.


One of the ways the new age was communicating with itself and with an interested public, was through Whole Life Expos held around the country. These attracted thousands of visitors to hundreds of booths and dozens of lectures by a wide variety of speakers. When the Expos started several years earlier, we participated in a few, but soon decided it wasn’t our scene. It was more about channeling astral entities, developing psychic power, and buying things like pyramid hats and cosmic eyeglasses guaranteed to change your consciousness. When the organizers again asked Swamiji to participate, he explained why he wasn’t interested.

“That is exactly why we want you to come,” they responded, “to raise the tenor of the whole event with more serious presentations.” Swamiji said, “On that basis, I agreed.”

He had already been part of several Expos on the West Coast; after the Pilgrimage to Joy, he went to one in New York City. Then, with Rosanna, on to Europe for the international book fair in Frankfurt, Germany. They joined the choir for a tour of Germany before going to Assisi for several weeks of programs. Swamiji returned to America just in time for an Expo in Los Angeles, then a round of concerts in San Francisco. At the Village, he recorded a series of thirty-minute cable television shows, Joy to You!, and thirty-second radio spots based on the book Secrets of Happiness.

In December, Swamiji called a community meeting. He expressed regret at having been away so much that year. “But I had no choice. It takes much more energy to start new directions, as we have been doing, then it does to keep them going after they are launched. I am acting on behalf of all of us, but unless you hear about it directly from me, it won’t seem real to you.”

Rosanna unveiled her design for the Temple of Divine Inspiration. Swamiji’s temple was a simple dome, topped by a golden lotus. Her design was a tall, oval building, with arched stained glass windows all around. It was sleek, elegant, modern—a quantum leap in sophistication from anything we presently had in the community. She also had an overall master plan for the Village, which more clearly reflected, she said, our spiritual and community intentions. A full discussion of that, though, would wait until another time.


At the end of Swamiji’s Christmas letter—eight single-spaced pages, mostly a chronicle of events over the past year—he wrote, “The theme for the year, set at the ministers’ retreat in January, was ‘The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.’ It has been justified with a vengeance! We’re happy with the result. Thousands have heard us; many have come to Ananda as a result of our appearances and activities. The books are selling twice as well as they did the year before. With the new Secrets series they should really take off. And we have much interest from foreign publishers.

“We’ve much to be grateful for. But now—do we want to continue pushing in the same way? Please, please God—No!

“We’ll continue some next year with the Expos and other lectures. At the same time, however, we feel the need to balance Ananda’s outreach and service of others with more focus on the deeper teachings and practices. Don’t you agree?”

At the beginning of the year, on Master’s Birthday, Swamiji’s talk was, How to Be a Channel for the Light. As a Christmas gift, someone printed onto a beautiful card an excerpt:

Be a radiant spirit—large, not small.

You are God’s child. There is nothing that is not yours.

Greater dignity and greater strength add nicely to your childlikeness.

Be joyfully courageous, majestically confident.

Be filled with the confidence that the Holy Spirit will use you.

The power of the Infinite is in you.

Live more and more in that center where God dwells.

Radiate this to others, and their lives, and your own, will be changed.


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