Many people are interested in their ancestry and the qualities they have inherited. There is a popular movement to have one’s DNA analyzed, in order to see what diseases and other traits run in one’s family. But, those of us who are drawn to Ananda are spiritual brothers and sisters and have DNA that is common to all of us, common qualities that run through the whole Ananda family. What traits have we inherited from Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda? Here are a few that come quickly to mind:
1) A sincere desire to achieve Self-realization and to know God. This may take different forms. Some may define it as a desire to know truth. Others as a deep devotional love and desire to be close to Yogananda. Others, still, long for peace or bliss. Some of us tend to feel guilty as if we didn’t get much of this particular gene. Yogananda had and answer for this type of despondency. “Remember,” he told a despairing disciple, “it takes very, very, very good karma even to want to know God.”
2) A commitment to practicing those techniques and attitudes that helps us achieve Self-realization. This includes the self-discipline required to meditate daily and practice the other techniques of this path. Yes, the degree of self-discipline may vary from person to person, but even the least of us at least has gotten the gene that wants to want to do our sadhana. Even the sleepy-heads are trying to wake up and get out of bed.
3) A willingness to actively serve. As a general rule, we are a very high-energy clan. Starting communities takes a lot of work, and we seem to enjoy challenges. Serving also takes the form of a willingness to give money. As a group, we are incredibly generous.
4) A desire to share these wonderful teachings with others. After reading the Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Kriyananda took the next bus across the country. He had two burning thoughts: To know God, and to share Him with everyone. He passed this tendency on to us and, in many ways, it defines life at Ananda.
5) A certain social instinct. Most of us enjoy being part of a family and sharing the path with others. I haven’t met many true hermits in the long history of Ananda and, quite honestly, the few that I have met didn’t seem all that balanced or integrated. I think Master knew that he had to attract people who like people if he was going to launch a communities movement. While we are social, we also tend to be strong-minded individualists. We are a little like a table loaded with good crème brulees – a bit crunchy on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.
6) Intelligence, creativity, and the ability to enjoy a good joke. We like to laugh. At life. At problems. Even at ourselves.
All in all we have inherited wonderful DNA: It is a great family and a splendid life!