The Ananda Monastic Order is the monks and nuns of Ananda Sangha, who have renounced worldly life and dedicated their lives wholly to seeking and serving God. They live the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda as a means of fulfilling the final goal of all souls: divine freedom or moksha.
Without marriage and family duties, Ananda monastics can be more fully dedicated to a life of meditation and sadhana, or daily spiritual practice. As part of their sadhana, they actively serve in helping to spread the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, through Ananda Sangha, founded by Yogananda’s direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda. Ananda Sangha was founded in 1968. The Ananda Monastic Order was created in 1971.
Paramhansa Yogananda taught a more inner and positive form of renunciation than is taught traditionally. True freedom comes from ego-transcendence, gained by giving everything as an offering to God—as compared to a more traditional following of an outward list of rules prescribing the many things one should and shouldn’t do.
The vows of Ananda monastics are three in number: simplicity, brahmacharya (control of the senses), and cooperative obedience.
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In the lead up to the monsoons at the hermitage, preparations began for planting trees and cover crops.It involved digging pits, removing weeds and bringing manure (cow dung). The cover crop i.e. green manure was planted in areas where no development was going on as a way to give back to the land. These nitrogen fixing crops known as Dhaincha and Guar help bring nutrients back to soil which was abused in the past by chemicals.
The first tree planting phase of this hermitage was majorly for the northern and eastern perimeter, it involved 112 trees in 2 rows and the number of varieties was 24. These trees will provide blessings, shade, privacy, protection from winds along with medicinal uses. They will give company to the existing trees on the hermitage property- 1 Peepal, 1 Jamun, 6 Neem trees and an enthusiastic mulberry!
All the trees ready for planting
Devarshi in midst of dhaincha (cover crop)
Monks planting a kadamb tree