The faces of the young couple were radiant as we led them in their wedding ceremony in the chapel at Crystal Hermitage. The late-afternoon light illuminated the chapel’s stained-glass windows, but the light shining from within the bride and groom was more luminous than the sunlight.

The chapel was filled with family and friends who had come to be with them as they took their wedding vows. Although the couple were relatively young, they were “old souls” who had dedicated their life to the spiritual path and to serving others.

As they repeated together the “Vows to God” from the wedding ceremony written by Swami Kriyananda, I saw that many of those watching were moved to tears. The vows begin with these words:

     Beloved Lord,
     We dedicate to Thee our lives, our service, and the love we share.
     May the communion we find with one another lead us to inner communion with Thee.
     May the service we render one another perfect in us our service of Thee.
     May we behold Thee always enshrined in one another’s forms. . . .

Ananda Wedding Vows. Look to the Mountaintop by Nayaswami Devi

We dedicate to Thee our lives, our service, and the love we share.

The guests seated in the chapel had a variety of expressions as the ceremony drew to its conclusion. Two young girls, who probably had romantic fantasies about marriage, sat wide-eyed as they witnessed a different kind of love from what they had seen in the movies.

Young married couples looked at each other and smiled, as if to say, “Maybe we can take our love to a deeper level.” Single people with sorrow on their faces, perhaps remembering disappointment in relationships, seemed to take hope and reach out for the courage to try again. An older couple took each other’s hand and moved closer together, expressing their unspoken desire not to let their love fade over time. The beauty and inspiration found in the ideal of human love brought hope and encouragement to everyone present.

We need ideals to aspire towards in all aspects of our life—not just for our relationships, but also for our work, our mental attitudes, our physical health, our values, and our search for God. Without ideals showing the highest way forward, we can fall far short of our own potential.

As a boy, Paramhansa Yogananda had a vision of himself in a squalid marketplace in a town in the foothills of the Himalayas. Everyone there looked tired and dispirited. From time to time, someone would gaze high into the distance, then sigh deeply and mutter, “Oh, but it’s much too high for me.”

After this had happened several times, Yogananda turned to see what the others were looking at. There, towering above the town, he beheld a lofty mountain, serene and verdant. It was inexpressibly beautiful, and he longed to go there. But as he reflected on the difficulty of the climb, he began to repeat those same words, “Oh, but it’s much too high for me.”

Then he scornfully rejected this thought, and declared, “It may be too high for me to reach the top in a single leap, but at least I can put one foot in front of the other!”

Never abandon your ideals, no matter how completely they seem to be wrested from you. Your ideals are your guides to true happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of life. Take the next step before you, and the next, until you reach the mountaintop of attainment.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. “We need ideals to aspire towards in all aspects of our life—not just for our relationships, but also for our work, our mental attitudes, our physical health, our values, and our search for God. Without ideals showing the highest way forward, we can fall far short of our own potential…Never abandon your ideals, no matter how completely they seem to be wrested from you. Your ideals are your guides to true happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of life. Take the next step before you, and the next, until you reach the mountaintop of attainment.”

    Dear Deviji,

    THANK YOU! It is wonderful to have support in maintaining ideals…so often they can be “poo poo’d” by others as “dreams”.

    To hold true to an ideal takes great strength and courage! Along with perseverance and clarity in focus, in order to hold a higher level of integrity for your life and the willingness to be responsible for it!

    Jai Guru, Jai Swamiji. and Jai Ananda for being the living examples of living your ideals!

  2. Dear Nayaswami Devi, What can I say re this article, am running out of adequate words to describe the couple’s union in the most wondrous possible way – in true Union with God’s Love. May they grow closer to Him, all Divine Heavenly Host and All that is as instruments in this most joyous and worthy service. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing such inspiration and encouragement. Bless you and Jyotish. Namaste

  3. And to always make time..to deeply pray..and to meditate,practice Kriya..every night & every day. Thanks

  4. Simply could not have been observed and commented on more wisely and with deep love. Very touching . Jan

  5. Dear Nayaswami Devi ji,

    Thank you for this lovely and encouraging blog 🙂
    Today is the Newyear day for Tamilnadu and Kerala. Bless us on this auspicious day 🙂

    Aum,
    Prem

    1. We wish all are friends in Kerala and Tamilnadu a very blessed New Year.
      With joy,
      Devi and Jyotish

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