Ananda Community Residents Speak

“The first time I visited the community, during a 1998 Open House, I heard a little voice say, ‘I could live here!’ A year later I did. I’ve been a part of Ananda for years now, and not only have I never regretted becoming part of Ananda, but I love it more each passing day. I love knowing all my neighbors. I love having soul friends who live thirty seconds away. I love dinners together with friends. I love interacting on a daily basis with others who share my commitment to finding God. I love experiencing and witnessing so much joyful service. And most of all I love feeling nestled in the loving, joyous, peaceful presence of the Masters, right where I live.” – Sharon B.

Ananda members practice Parmhansa Yogananda’s “Energization Exercises” before a meditation in the community temple. Click to enlarge.
Community residents do Paramhansa Yogananda’s “Energization Exercises” in the central courtyard.

“When my husband and I were living in a large home on the East Coast, I never dreamed that living in a spiritual community was even possible. We had friends in the ordinary sense of the word, but meaningful connections with others were rare. By the early 1980s, we inwardly committed to the spiritual life, and left our careers in search of something…but we didn’t yet know what. Yoga, meditation, and spiritual community were all part of what we were looking for. A few months later, we found Ananda. I can’t begin to describe the meaning and adventure that Ananda has given our lives, but being part of a spiritual community has been the most important part of it. Ananda is a rare environment that fosters serious spiritual and personal growth. Perhaps most touching, it offers profound, life-changing friendships with many, many people — just one of whom would have been a priceless treasure in our lives before Ananda.” – Karen G.

“I purchased Autobiography of a Yogi in 1984. I will never forget the feeling of appreciation, calmness and joy that came that week. I discovered Ananda in Palo Alto and began attending. The rest, as they say, is history. A few years later when my son was born, it was at our home in the community after 30 hours of labor. An unending stream of friends were coming in and out to help take care of me, feed me, and even stand guard at the door and decide who could come in for visits. Asha [one of Ananda’s ministers] came over Saturday evening, and stayed with me continuously, all the way through until Sunday morning, which just happened to be Easter Sunday. She left just in time to change her clothes, and dashed off to give the biggest service of the year. As soon as it was over, she came right back to my bedside, and stayed the rest of the day and evening until I gave birth in the middle of the night. When all was said and done, when I finally delivered, there were 17 people at my birth. Now, that’s community!” – Amy C.

“It’s the day-to-day blessings that keep me energized and grateful, whether it’s working with fellow devotees), hearing one of Asha’s sermons, or living in a community setting which proves to me again and again that ‘environment is stronger than will.’” – Bob. L.

“There’s nowhere I’d rather be to raise a family and grow closer to God.” – Gary C.

“Here, I’ve discovered the joy and practical wisdom of living in a small, close-knit fellowship. Yogananda’s vision of world brotherhood colonies works, I think, because they’re places where devotees have both privacy and community, yet constantly cross paths in a very loving, supportive way.” – Joe B.

“I finally felt I had found my spiritual home when I moved Ananda. Life in spiritual community is wonderful but not always easy. When we move into community we don’t make some instant 180 degree shift from who we were and suddenly become a saint (I wish!). It is extremely helpful living with fellow devotees who support us spiritually. We are often, however, required to face ourselves more than before because of the bright light that shines through ourselves and those around us. This can illuminate the things we would rather hide. ‘Yikes!’ might describe it at times. However, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn compassion for ourselves and others through the experiences here. Most of all there is a predominance of profound joy, as well as fun in our community.” – D.R.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.