The stories below are excerpted from the book Reflections on Living by Nischala Cryer, which commemorated Ananda Village’s 30th anniversary in 1998. In it, founding members offer a glimpse of their early days at Ananda.
From the Introduction by Jyotish and Devi Novak
The exceptional challenge of starting Ananda lay in the fact that nothing like it had ever been done before. We share these stories because they are inspiring, poignant, humorous, entertaining, and because they may help others to learn from our successes and our failures.
Like most people at Ananda, I’ve always had an intense desire to find truth. I was raised Episcopalian, but my church experience didn’t seem to answer my questions. I graduated from college in 1966 and immediately moved to California. During this period I came across Autobiography of a Yogi. Reading this book was, by far, the most profound spiritual experience I’d had in my life. More
My early introductions to this path were memorable; my family lived in southern California and we’d often take the old Highway 1 down to San Diego. We would pass by the Encinitas towers, which is where Yogananda had his seaside hermitage. They were so striking and unique that I would always ask my father what they were. My answers didn’t come until I got on the spiritual path. More
Starting the Ananda School was an organic process. From the very beginning I’ve had a strong karmic connection with the kids here. I had first visited Ananda in 1970 after graduating from UC Berkeley. Two years later I returned to Ananda and began teaching. I desperately wanted to approach the school differently… More
I first learned about Ananda after I had been divorced for a couple years and was raising my two children. Having gone through the trauma of having the normal middle class lifestyle fall apart on me, I was seeking a more fulfilling way to live. More
I came here in 1970, and until 1986, when I married, my strongest spiritual practice was japa. Chanting, or repeating the name of God, helped me focus on God. And it taught me that, through every test and trial, God is always present. More
It was 1970 and I was visiting an old friend in British Columbia when I began my spiritual search. I felt I was on the right track but hadn’t yet reached my goal. I met a young man who said to me: “You’re looking for something, and I can’t help you, but I think I know someone who can.” More
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and attended the second largest Southern Baptist church in the world. I never felt in tune with what was being taught to me by the Baptists. I didn’t want to hurt my parents so I told myself I’d do what they want up to a certain point and then I’m on my own. I was already searching for answers about spirituality. More