When Ananda’s founder, Swami Kriyananda, first walked the land that is home to the remote Ananda Meditation Retreat, he felt that it had already been blessed by the Masters. It was 1967, and he had been looking for land to build a spiritual retreat. He bought the seventy acres and made his home there.

The Ananda Meditation Retreat, which for many years was called the Seclusion Retreat, is seven miles east of Ananda Village, higher up in the foothills. To arrive at the site one must travel nearly three miles of dirt road that can be somewhat rough in places. After entering the gates, the visitor is greeted by three acres of beautiful gardens, statues of saints, and many ponds and meditation areas. There are two temples on the property, one small and the other large. The larger temple, the Temple of Silence, is Ananda’s oldest temple. It has been rebuilt twice; the site has been used for over fifty years now by practitioners of Kriya Yoga, an advanced meditation technique brought to the West by Paramhansa Yogananda.

Uma Macfarlane, an early visitor to the temple in the seventies once recalled her first reaction to visiting the Temple of Silence. “As I walked into the meditation temple, I could hear the sound of AUM permeating the room, yet it was totally quiet and not one person was talking. I remember creeping in reverently and sitting near the back. During my first moments at Ananda, in the silence of the Seclusion Retreat temple, I knew that I was home.”

Today, the Temple of Silence is used for meditations by residents, staff, and guests who come on retreat or groups who rent the retreat.