What we see with Yogananda’s teachings, when he said I’m bringing back original Christianity, he meant self-realization and he meant that each of us individually has to make love to God. If you have an institution, the only purpose of the institution is to help that be actualized. It’s like a hive which can help the bees to create honey, but the hive is not the religion, it is not the honey. So, what Master brought is something that has been lost sight of even in his lifetime and even after his death. And therefore I say that Ananda has with all the struggles we’ve gone through, earned its right to claim its place in master’s mission.
Is Ananda Only About Communities?
Ananda has a role to play. Yes, we have to have an organization, but we don’t put that first. We put the individual’s search for God first. Master kept talking to me about this because he saw that I had this understanding.
So what is the purpose of Ananda? We have a beautiful community and people say well then, we must make a more beautiful community. Maybe and maybe not. Honestly, it wouldn’t matter if we were in mud huts and walking on mud roads if we all meditated and loved God individually. The purpose of Ananda is not to create a beautiful community. That’s something you do in the process of doing your best to serve God. But the purpose of Ananda is to have a place where people can come together and love God. To create a hive. That’s what it’s all about. And I have been very happy to receive many letters from all of you saying that that is what you want to affirm. That is what Ananda is and you know. This is so important.
Coming to the broader picture, I feel that Ananda is really on the eve of a very great change. You know that we have been through different tests, quite severe tests. All of them however, have been to discipline us, in the direction that we’re supposed to go. And that direction has become clearer and clearer, so that we understand now, that what we want is a place for people to practice Kriya Yoga, learn spiritual principles.
Incidentally, that the social good that will come from communities is great. Incidentally, the social good that will come from the writings and the teachings that we have, teaching people about leadership, teaching people about education, teaching people about so many different subjects, all this is very valid and very important. But don’t lose sight of what it’s really all about.
Why Master came here (to America) was because it has devotion and it has practicality. He used to say that in the future, the world will be led by India and America working together. India bringing out the practical side of religion; America bringing out the religious side of material practicality. And uniting practicality and spirituality is going to be the consciousness of the future.
You all have a very important role to play. Many of you are young. Some of you are children. And what a wonderful thing it is to see this gradual upsurge of interest in yoga and meditation and in practical religion by having actual contact with God. All of this has been, a part of the scene and is becoming more and more so.
Ananda of the Future
You have a mission. It is not just about creating a beautiful community. What we need to do is help people, and I do believe,very very seriously, that we are headed for a Great Depression. At that time people who now don’t seem to be at all interested will be very interested. I think we’ll have a mission then. Not necessarily to make other Ananda communities. I like this idea of being autonomous, so that we don’t have to have some central board of directors telling everybody what to do. I am pretty sick of that consciousness.
But to have communities where people love God and serve God. I think they’re going to be a lot of different kinds of communities that won’t be necessarily even Master’s. Even so, Master you might say, is a sort of the patron saint of communities because it was his power behind it.“I am sowing these thoughts in the Ether. And my words shall not die”. I was with him when he spoke like that. It was so stirring, I vowed in my soul that I would do what I could and bring this ideal of his to fruition. And thank God you all are a part of that fruition. But it is only the beginning and many people will be drawn. They won’t necessarily be drawn to us. But we’ll be able to inspire them to do their thing. But to do it even in a simple way of living closer to people, having meaningful friendships, having people who may be Presbyterians or Catholics. It doesn’t matter. Truth is truth, you can’t give a name to it. But if we can help them to seek themselves on a deeper and deeper level, I think that communities can be a great thing. And it’s very important that it not degenerate into just a sociological experiment.
It has to have an ideal. Otherwise it’ll be there for a while and sort of fall apart. But this ideal I think is going to change this country. I think a hundred years from now, people will look back and say this is the most important thing that was going on. Important, because it was what gave Americans a sense of direction and purpose.
You have a mission. Don’t think that your mission is to build yourselves a nice little home and have a nice little family. We’ve been through that and I think most of us understand this now. Yes, we want to do this but for God, not for us.
Those people who have been happiest at Ananda are those who don’t think of themselves but think what can I give, how can I serve, how can I help other people. Those who think first – well what about me, how can I find my security, what’s in it for me – they never find what they are looking for. But I see shining faces here and I know that, that shine doesn’t come from thinking that way. Therefore, I have to say coming back from Italy and seeing this solidification of generous and devoted and self-giving attitude, is to me, the greatest thing.
Somebody (Jan Shapiro) asked me yesterday what can we do for you. I said the thing you can do for me more than anything else is let me see you shining with God’s love. That’s what it’s all about. Nothing else matters but to love God. When I see you happy in God, that is the only fulfillment that means anything to me. The thought that I am this creator of the most successful community and lyric writer of all these books and so, I think that’s trash compared to what we’re really trying to do – instill in people’s minds a sense of direction toward God, a sense of love for God, a sense of love for God in one another and the more I see that, the more I feel really happy. That’s the greatest gift you can give me. I will go so far as to say it is the only valuable gift you can give me.[This is an excerpt from a talk by Swami Kriyananda, you can watch the full talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn2q6WEQ2Io ]