A Visit with The Swami at the Ananda Center
On January 13th, 2011 we interviewed Swami Kriyananda, one of the world’s most revered Spiritual Teachers and the last still-teaching disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda; what an inspiration he was on our show. At 84, he is a man of perpetual action and engagement with society, and is the founder of the Ananda Village, located in Nevada City, California.
During our interview the Swami mentioned that he’d planted 9000 tulips (WOW—that’s a lot of tulips) at Ananda and people would come from all over to see the tulips in all their glory, usually the second week in April.
In our interview I let him know that I lived fairly close to Nevada City and would love to drive up to see the tulips. He’d invited me to stop by to say hello while I was at The Crystal Heritage Gardens.
Now it’s April and I received a call from my friend inviting me to be her roommate at the Ananda Retreat Center; she and some of her friends were going up to meditate, to do yoga and of course see the tulips. So I jumped at the chance and said yes, hoping to be able to meet the Swami in person and enjoy the tulips.
I called ahead of time before traveling, asking if it was possible to meet the Swami on my visit; Good News—the Swami’s secretary responded quickly, calling me back and said there would be a message for me at the office when I arrived. The Sad News—was that the tulips were not in bloom presently, because of the unusual weather.
During my drive up to Ananda it rained and hailed, and I got the feeling there may be bad weather all weekend long; upon arriving at the Center I got a glimpse of the clouds parting in the sky with the sun shining through… I knew this was a good sign and my heart did a leap!
When I checked in at the front desk, there was a message for me that the Swami could see me at 6:00 pm, and I asked if I could bring my friend with me. The people at the office said they would call a head and ask.
As I walked down to my room, I took in deep breaths of the freshness of the air and of the trees. As I opened the door to my room is was simple with two single beds and a small closet, and the bathroom was shared with others across the hall.
My friend who had arrived an hour before I did was so excited to find out that we could visit with the Swami together at 6:00 pm. It would be quite a distance to walk there, so my friend would drive us up to where he lived.
About 5:00 pm there was a knock at the door of our room. It was a lady checking to see if I’d received the message about visiting the Swami. And, she let me know, that there would be someone from the Center coming to drive me up to The Heritage House. I then let her know that my roommate was driving me. And, to my disappointment as well as to my lady friend, I was told that she must wait in the outer room as she was not able to visit with the Swami as this was just for me. We were informed that dinner was served at 6:30 pm and that our plates would be set aside for us just in case we were late.
We enjoyed our drive up to The Heritage House where the Swami resided… such beauty—a little chapel, pools, waterfalls, and terraced flower beds, all looking over a national forest and the Yuba River. Then, the Swami’s secretary met us and said it was fine for both of us to meet the Swami; can you image our delight! We were led downstairs through a lot of hallways. I made a joke that we might not be able to find our way back. Then we finally arrived and met the Swami, who was dressed in Royal Blue. He invited us to sit down. We were able to visit half an hour with the Swami, just having a casual conversation. He told us he had been having some sleepless nights, but those nights were not at all wasted as he just got up and would write; in fact, several books in all. He also shared with us that the Disney people would be meeting with him the following day to start a film production about his life. He shared with us how he purchased over a 1000 acres for Ananda that backed up to a national forest. And, that Ananda also has just bought 40 acres in Oregon, where they are going to build a University.
Ananda has Centers all over including India and Italy. The Swami believes that it is very important to have centers/communities that are self efficient because of the possible hard times ahead of us.
We both left with this awesome feeling of thankfulness and what a great blessing it was for the both of us to be able to visit with the Swami.
On our way out, were we given a tour by the Secretary. There was an Italian influence throughout the decor, inside and out due to the Swami’s love for Italy and St. Francis. And sure enough our plates were set aside with a beautiful vegetarian dinner waiting for us.
We spent the next day meditating, doing yoga, walking and each of us got a massage. The Ananda Center was so peaceful.
Then, ten days later, my friend and I drove up to see the tulips. There were Unbelievable!