July 28, 2008
ON SUNDAY AUGUST 24TH YOGACHARYA JAYA HELIN will be visiting us at Ananda Michigan. Jaya has been here every year since 2002 and his visits are always an uplifting and joyful occasion. This year it will be a short visit – only the one day. Jaya will conduct the Sunday Morning Service and Festival of Light at 10:00, and then, at 2:00 PM, we’ll have a special lunch in his honor at the home of Rob and Mary Thomas. It seemed fitting to take advantage of Jaya’s visit by making the lunch into a fundraiser for our Building Fund, and also for his Mission in India.
When we originally starting working with Jaya he was the Director of the Ananda Meditation Group Outreach Department at Ananda Village. His job was to support centers around the country. He encouraged us to help our work to grow by having a weekend retreat. Our first one took place in May of 2002 with Jaya leading it. That retreat turned out to be a formative event for us and many of you remember it fondly. Since that time he’s done several classes for us, and has performed three Kriya Initiations, each one a deeply memorable occasion. Jaya is still very committed to seeing our work further establish itself and keep growing. I know he’s looking forward to seeing all of you during this upcoming visit to Lansing.
I wanted to take a few moments now to share with you a little bit about our efforts in Michigan. Over the years this work has moved on two tracks that very much complement to each other. One is the weekly Sunday Services and Meditations, and the other is the outreach meditation classes. Since September of 1999 we have held weekly Sunday Services on Blake Avenue, as well as regular midweek meditations. Also beginning in the Fall of 1999 meditation classes began. Since then well over a 1200 people have learned the basic meditation techniques of Paramhansa Yogananda. Just this past year in the Lansing and Detroit Area 142 people took the classes. Our Sunday Services have never been all that large, however, the work of the Masters in the world always has had these two components, one qualitative, and the other quantitative. Like a wheel, the hub at the center is always the smallest, whereas that which is furthest from the center is quite large. Those of you are receiving this letter are those who have gone to the deepest center of this work.
In May of 2007 we initiated a building fund. Most all of you generously donated to get that fund started. This fund is to insure future growth of Ananda Michigan. Since those initial donations I’ve also taken a portion of our regular Sunday donations and deposited it in the building fund account. The total in the account now is $5333.28, and growing. At this time there is no specific plan for that money. However, the seed ideas are all in place, just waiting for the right soil and timing in which to grow. Those ideas, include, as they have from the beginning: teaching centers, a retreat facility, community, schools, and temples.
The larger world of Ananda in which we are a tiny, but inspired, portion is developing throughout the world in amazing ways. In the last year a new center was opened in Los Angeles:
A splendid Temple of Light was finished and opened in Seattle:
Land for a community was purchased in southern India, in Pune. Here's a photo of Jaya, Dianna, and a group of brand new Kriya Initiates in the Southern India area:
And, as this letter is being written, Ananda Village is celebrating it’s 40 year anniversary as one of the most successful spiritual communities in the world. The following photos were taken during the recent celebrations at the Ananda San Francisco Bay Area community (Palo Alto):
JAYA'S CURRENT ROLE is to work from the New Delhi headquarters of Ananda India setting up programs and Kriya Initiations all across the country. He then travels to these various places to conduct the programs. Hundreds and hundreds of Indians have taken part. I’m so pleased he has found time to include our spiritual family here in Michigan in his extensive travels.
As I said earlier our special lunch with Jaya at Rob and Mary’s on Sunday August 24th will be a fundraiser for both Jaya’s work in India and our building fund. The basic donation starts at $30 per person, and $50 for a couple, but you are quite welcome to give more. It will be a beautiful and delicious meal. As many of you know, from experience, Rob and Mary are gourmet vegetarian cooks and the most gracious of hosts. I’m also sure Jaya will be happy to share both some of his interesting experiences in India, as well as his thoughts for our future growth. Please RSVP if you'd like to attend. (By the way, if you’ve never checked out Jaya’s Blog, “Letters from India” you are in for a treat. Over many months he has written several captivating articles on life in modern India: http://jaya-india.blogspot.com
Another nice resource that’s been growing slowly but surely is our Anandamichigan.org website. You’ll always be able to find listings there of upcoming kirtans and other special events. The Photo Galleries page contains hundreds of delightful pictures that are a family album for our spiritual family: Photos.html. It is well worth going back to those galleries now again for upliftment and pleasure. The latest additions to the site are a regular uploading of our Sunday Service talks for you to, either listen online, or to download to listen to at your convenience: SundayServices.html. At the top of that page you’ll find links to audio and video recordings of other great talks from Ananda Village and from Ananda Palo Alto. Those sites, and links from them, contain a magnificent resource of inspirational material. And watch for an update to the whole over-all look of the Ananda Michigan website.
Finally, I wanted to highlight two other special events coming up for you to keep in mind. Judy wanted me to remind you that our annual Women’s Retreat is coming up early in October. It will take place up north at the Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat E-mail Judy. And, (roll of drums!) next May 1st, will be the 10th anniversary of Ananda Michigan. May 1st is a Friday, therefore it is a perfect set-up for a retreat to begin. We haven’t had an “on location” retreat since our last one with Jaya in 2003 at the Saint Francis Center. Next year on May 1st I’m hoping we can have a full weekend retreat at the beautiful Saint John’s Retreat Center, located in Plymouth Michigan (on the far western end of the Greater Detroit Area). As many of us discovered at the first retreat we had with Jaya in 2002, there is simply no better way to enhance spiritual growth than pilgrimage away from our day-to-day environment and routines. Especially if that pilgrimage is spent in a truly spiritual atmosphere with other like-minded souls. So please mark the weekend of May 1, 2, 3 on your calendar now so nothing else will be able to interfere with your spiritual goals.
In the light and joy of God and the Masters,aaaaaaaaaaaa
“Good company is essential on the spiritual path. Whether your energy will move inward toward God, or outward toward the world, is determined, to a large extent, by the company you keep.”
a naaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn—Paramhansa Yogananda