So we're entering now the main part of Crystal Hermitage, and this is the Shrine of the Masters. And we're going to meet Mandala, who is the manager of the Shrine of the Masters.


Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

This is Shrine of the Masters at the Crystal Hermitage, and we are a gift shop in a little garden center. We have lots of people that come here for the Tulip Festival.

This is Yogananda, a poster from early on. This is his original “Autobiography of a Yogi” and some of his earliest lessons.

Welcome, blessed viewers, to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Today, we’re visiting Ananda Village near Nevada City in Northern California, USA, a place to help people experience the Divine through meditation and spiritual living. Ananda Village is situated amidst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, on 900 acres of beautiful meadows and forests. Two hundred fifty people of all ages and backgrounds reside here permanently, including adults and children.

This is Lahiri Mahasaya, and this pot is very special. We fill it with water. This was a water pot that belonged to him and he would fill it with water and then bless the disciples that would come to have fellowship with him. We fill that with water and then we take it down to the Crystal Hermitage to Swami's apartment, it stays on his altar. It gets blessed, and then we pour it into little bottles, and I'd like to give you some of those as well.

This is Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya’s master, and here is some more of Yogananda's things. His family members, many of these are the family members that have offered all these little relics to us.

Ananda Village is part of Ananda Sangha, a worldwide movement founded in 1968 by a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda. The Sanskrit word ananda means “bliss.” The Ananda Village community is based on the teachings of Yogananda, who showed how everyone can realize God in their daily lives as a tangible, loving reality.

At the age of 22, Swami Kriyananda, who at the time was known as J. Donald Walters, began the adventure of his lifetime: the search for joy in God. His guide was the great Indian Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda. Kriyananda became one of Yogananda’s foremost disciples and his spiritual path eventually inspired thousands of other truth-seekers in all corners of the world. Swami Kriyananda has completely dedicated himself to two main goals in life, in his own words, “to find God, and to help others find Him.”

A gifted writer and composer, Swami Kriyananda has written over 100 books and 400 pieces of music. He speaks 9 languages, and his books and music have sold over three million copies and are published in 25 languages. From April to May 2011, Swami Kriyananda held a weekly lecture series at Ananda Village and read from his latest book to be published soon. This book consists of treasured reminiscences of his teacher Paramhansa Yogananda.

Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, Divine Beloved God, Jesus Christ Babaji-Krishna, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, Beloved Guru, Saints of all religions. We bow to all of you. We love you. We want to serve you. We want to be one with you. Om. Peace. Amen.

On the day of giving this lecture, Swami Kriyananda had to go to the dentist. Still having some difficulty speaking, he used this uncomfortable experience to elaborate on the deeper meaning of pain in life.

There are times when there is a certain sensation. I think I have learnt that the important thing is to not to define that sensation as “pain.” It is just a sensation. And if you find the thought coming that “Well, it is pain,” then accept it, because – okay – but it doesn’t matter if it is painful. In other words, don’t reject the pain.

One time, the pain was rather intense. But I told myself, “Well, this is only right here and right now. Reality is much bigger than this little tooth of mine.” So, I lived in that reality and noticed that this reality here was bothering me but it didn’t matter that much. I found that with that attitude, I can lie there while he [the dentist] is working and not even know what he is doing. I can work out points of philosophy that are a little difficult to figure out, or write music in my head.

Really, it’s a very important lesson in life because all of us have experiences that are not easy. Some of us have what we choose to call “tragic experiences.” We don’t have to call them “tragic.” Let’s accept that this is what life is. Even when I see a movie and I see a painful thing, a recording from it, I try to put myself right in that position. And I say, “Well, what attitude would I need to be able to bear that pain, or bear that tragedy or bear that whatever it is?”

And I find that it’s a very good practice for real life, because in real life you will have to go through your own particular pains, not necessarily that one but some others. But if we can have the right attitude, we find that nothing needs to touch us. And I have discovered that that’s true, just remain even-minded all the time, even-minded and cheerful. This is what Master taught us.

Swami Kriyananda then continued to read from his new book of reminiscences of Yogananda.

I have been reading his characteristics. And it’s absolutely wonderful to ponder his greatness in so many different ways. One thing I noted about him was his always blissful outlook on life. I would notice this fact not only in his calm inward expression but also from the deep bliss I often felt in his presence. What you need to do too is try to feel that everything that you were doing, the underlying reality is bliss.

I had this dream. I shared it with you before. It was in Florence between meeting with our distributors in Italy. I woke up with this wonderful inspiration. I had this dream of thousands of people. And I knew that the one thing they all wanted was bliss. And they were Mafiosi [criminal] types, tough business types, all kinds of people. But all of them, they all wanted bliss. They just didn’t know where it was, they didn’t know how to find it.

So the Mafiosi types thought, well, we’ll get it by punishing people, by riding hard on them, by taking from them, by killing them, by taking revenge. But all they really want is bliss, they just hadn’t figure it out yet. And it takes many incarnations to figure out that that’s really all that life is about. We should learn to find how bliss can be discovered in any situation.

This bliss that Master talked about came to him because he was completely even-minded, because he was not attached to anything. You don’t have to do things to attain bliss. You have to remove those things that cover that bliss. Bliss is like gold buried in the earth.

You don’t have to make the earth gold, you have to uncover that gold so that it will shine. So, you have that bliss in you. But you think “I need this, I want to do this, I am going to try to do this, I don’t want that to happen, I want this person to come, I wish this person would leave me alone.” All the thoughts that come to people. If you can get rid of all that, it’s not that you become apathetic, you find that then you begin to enjoy things.

Paramhansa Yogananda often predicted that world brotherhood communities, based on the principles of “plain living and high thinking” would be the social pattern for the future. Since his youth, Swami Kriyananda had dreamt of creating small communities based on cooperation and high ideals. So when Swami Yogananda spoke about the importance of creating “World Brotherhood Colonies,” Swami Kriyananda immediately felt that it was his mission to help create such communities.

To establish a spiritual community is not an easy task and the noble intentions to do so are sometimes misunderstood by others. In his talk, Swami Kriyananda elaborated that true masters do not do anything, including coming into the world, for their own benefit, but only for the good of others.

Master gave that beautiful example in his life that whatever happened he was always blissful. He was deeply loving to all, and concerned for their well-being. This is something that people have to realize. A guru doesn’t come into this world for his own good, he comes here, because he has this deep feeling. He knows how much he suffers, over millions of incarnations, to attain freedom. And, most people, when they attain that freedom, they say, “Well, I’ve had it.”

There are very few people who come back again and again. They don’t need to take on the pains of this world, they don’t need to. They come back because they want to help us. And then people say, “Yeah, what have you got to give me?” It’s certainly not an easy thing but he had love for everybody. And he wanted to help us. It’s such a beautiful thing to realize.

Through many years of dedicated work, Swami Kriyananda and the members of the Ananda Sangha have made Ananda Village and other affiliated centers around the world havens of outer and inner beauty. Visitors to the Shrine of the Masters at Ananda Village often remark on the deep peace they feel here.

We have three 3-hour meditations here every week. So we've had this going on since the very beginning. Every Saturday morning, from 6 to 9, without fail, we have people come in here and meditate for three hours, and then Thursday night the men come, and they have a meditation. And then Sunday evenings, we also have some young people that are new to the community come and have a 3-hour meditation. So it's very blessed in here. Many people come and they wonder what they're feeling, and so I think it's a combination of having Yogananda's relics as well as the meditations we have here, and the beauty, of course.

This concludes the first part of our program on Swami Kriyananda and the Ananda Village, a spiritual community in the US which was inspired by the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Thank you, noble viewers, for being with us today. Please join us again next Sunday, July 17 on A Journey through Aesthetic Realms, when we will continue our visit to Ananda Village and hear more from Swami Kriyananda’s engaging discourse there. Up next is Our Noble Lineage, right after Noteworthy News. May each of your days be filled with beauty and bliss.

For more information about Ananda Village and Swami Kriyananda, please visit: and