It’s been barely two months since we launched the new Ananda Khandala Monastery. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who have supported us, with your prayers and donations!
As you know, we made this move to try and fulfill a long-held dream of Swami Kriyanandaji, “when the timing is right.” He wanted a monastery where: monks have a very strong and focused seva every day, with other monks; three group meditations every day; support for an inner life that includes meals in silence and other practices; proper training and classes for monks in ego-renunciation, right attitude, attunement, and more.
In every direction that we take, we try to ask the question, “What does Swamiji want?” I’ve always seen this as his monastery.
Even though I had high hopes and expectations, our new monastery has exceeded both my expectations and hopes. There has been such a high degree of harmony, cooperation, deep meditation, devotion, joy, and focused seva, that I have been quite happily surprised. I am sure that Swamiji is very pleased with this big step forward, one that serves all of Ananda.
We would not have been able to make this shift without the generous support of our friends — Thank You!
Seven of us now live in two row houses in Khandala. One house has our temple (and soon-to-be vegetable gardens), the other has our office, dining room, and main kitchen.
Some of the highlights of the first two months:
Development of Online Classes That Prepare People for Kriya Yoga Initiation
Under Jemal’s leadership, we are making great progress in the online version of the Kriya Yoga Home Study Course. In the last 25 days, using our experience with promoting the book version of the Kriya Home Study Course, we had 81 people register and pay for Level 1 online — in the entire previous year, there were 113 people registered.
On September 9 we began a Level 3 online series, with approximately 30 students. The Level 4 online series is being developed now. The monks are making major enhancements to all of the Level 1-4 online classes, which will provide much better content, along with easier interaction between the students in each class, and between students and instructors.
We have our first batch of new Kriyabans through the Home Study Course, 13 of them, receiving Kriya initiation in the coming weeks!
Our new monastery has a great office space that provides a very positive and expansive environment for our service. Some day, we will be reaching many thousands of people through these classes.
“When one works with the thought of God and with the realization that it is a privilege, not merely a duty, to serve Him, work itself becomes a form of meditation, an overt act of worship.”
— Swami Kriyanandaji
Group Meditation and Healing Prayers
Group meditations are extremely strong and consistent! Attendance is essentially 100%, which has contributed greatly to the overall level of harmony, and the sense that we are all pulling together towards God. One major focus of our sadhana and seva has been more practice of healing prayers. All meditations include praying for others — long meditations once a week finish with 45 minutes of healing prayers only. Please feel free to send us names of people that need healing.
Weekend Outreach and Travel
In the first two months, monks have traveled to Mumbai and Pune several times; Ahmedabad every other weekend; Kolkata; Singapore; NCR; and more. We are also taking on the support of our Navi Mumbai meditation group, along with meditation classes there beginning 9 September. Navi Mumbai is just over one hour from Khandala, so this is the closest meditation group or centre to us, and will likely be a main area of seva over the coming years.
Teams of monks recently spent three days in Mumbai, spread out over different theatres, support the opening weekend of The Answer. The monks are also planning and organizing the Khandala Retreat in November with Jyotishji and Deviji.
Adventures in Spiritual Living
Every month or so we take on a particular theme as a group. The first month was Practicing the Presence of God. The last month has been a special focus on Healing Prayers. We study the topic, hold satsangs and discussions, and work on practices based on these themes. Over time, we will be sharing the fruits of our efforts in blogs and webinars, as a way of sharing the fruits of our monastery with everyone.
Harmony and Cooperation
I think Master and Swamiji must be very pleased with an extremely high degree of harmony and positivity. One cause is that the group meditations are so strong and deep. Another is that we are all serving together in the same office every day, on the same projects. Finally, I’ve seen that the grace of our Masters and Swamiji has been opening many doors and changing us. I sincerely believe that they have given us a lot of their good karma and grace, because we have given our lives to them in this way.
“Peace and happiness, willingness, a harmonious relationship with others in the community — these are a barometer that unfailingly registers whether or not a disciple is making sufficient effort in meditation. An undercurrent of continuous, ever expanding divine joy, peace, and harmony courses through the life of the disciple who attunes himself with God and Guru through deep meditation.”
— Swami Kriyanandaji
People have been asking us, ‘can I visit you?’
We are not taking visitors here. What we have in Khandala is a proper monastery — much different from many ashrams, which have more socializing and discussion. Our weekdays are very focused on seva, sadhana, and training — entertaining visitors would be a distraction. Swamiji often referred to this type of monastery as a “hermitage.” For now, if people would like to meet us, you can email us for our weekend travel schedule.
There is much more, but this is already very long. We’ll be sharing more news as we move forward.
With deepest gratitude,
Nayaswami Devarshi, on behalf of all the Khandala monks: Jemal, Devendra, Vineet, Premdas, Ramesh, and Gaurav
“Inner joy and peace come with the channeling of thoughts and energies toward loving and serving God alone; this becomes uniquely possible in the inner freedom of hermitage life. Part of the joy is the satisfaction that one feels in his work, knowing that it serves the noble cause of helping to fill a worldwide need for the understanding of spiritual truths. Only by Self-realization can mankind banish wars, materialistic greed, and other ugly outgrowths of soul ignorance.”
— Swami Kriyanandaji