Imagine seventeen thousand tulips in an amazing variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, all blooming amidst the vast vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. April is the time for “Springtime at Ananda,” the annual tulip festival at Crystal Hermitage Gardens, and thousands of viewers come from throughout the state to enjoy the superlative beauty.

Ananda Tulip Festival Springtime at Ananda Yogananda Whispers from Eternity

You are welcome here. Enjoy the beauty, and feel a touch of God’s joy in your heart.

These gardens have a special magic that attracts and uplifts people. The sensitive blending of colors and the imaginative landscaping are sublime. And the flowers themselves seem to understand that they are serving as channels of God’s blessings to all who come. In every imaginable hue, the radiant blossoms nod gently in the breeze as if to say, “You are welcome here. Enjoy the beauty, and feel a touch of God’s joy in your heart.”

Last Saturday as we walked through the gardens, what struck us even more than the variety of flowers was the variety of people who had come. The diversity of religions, races, and nationalities enjoying the beautiful natural display was wonderful to see.

Visitors to these gardens come year after year, bringing their children, parents, and friends. Last weekend one family especially caught my eye, a multigenerational Hispanic family: bright-eyed, energetic children; patient, slower-moving grandparents; and bustling, organizing parents all happily gathered together to enjoy a picnic in this haven of peace and beauty.

The place they chose to eat was an outdoor patio table—a table at which Swami Kriyananda would often sit to rest during his afternoon walks through the garden. So many memories of happy, precious moments came flooding back to me of times spent with Swamiji at this table.

Thinking of the Hispanic families in America now living in fear of being deported and separated, my heart was filled with joy seeing their happy faces. Inwardly I thought, “Swamiji, you’ve created a little oasis of peace for this family at your table.” And in response I felt his smile in my heart.

These gardens are a microcosm of the natural beauty which shines equally on everyone. Rain, sun, wind, clouds, trees, and flowers—all of nature—are expressions of God’s love and grace shining without boundaries on all His children. They are messengers to awaken us to our unity with all people, all life, and, ultimately, with God.

For even the beauty of the Hermitage Gardens is only a dim reflection of the divine garden of God’s kingdom. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in his Whispers from Eternity:

O Flower of Fragrance! Send us the scent of love, to inspire us always in our search for Thee with longing to climb ever higher into the stratosphere of divine realization. May dreams of Thy perfect garden, far above all space and time—but near to us always, in our hearts!—speed our souls’ journey and quench our thirst in Thee.

May we all find that sacred, hidden garden of divine beauty within.

Your friend in God,

Nayaswami Devi


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  1. Hi Devi,

    Your description of the gardens as an oasis is perfect. We have had over 10,000 people so far. It is beautiful to see the transformation that takes place. Many enter with worry, tension and stress and leave happy and joyful. What people express most is the gratitude they feel for the opportunity to have this experience and be in this oasis of peace and beauty. It is a way to touch the larger world and share the vibration of what we at Ananda have been given.

    Love, lalita

  2. Thank you Devi, for your beautiful description of what you experienced.

    Let me quote from Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth, regarding flowers and their meaning. Please forgive if this doesn’t flow with keeping commentary specifically to Ananda…

    “Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word ‘enlightenment’ in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.”

  3. Timely message for me, Devi. Thanks! I’m thinking more and more about bliss, and how to nurture it. Beauty feels like a great form/ expression of it.

  4. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for the blog :).
    The video is Majestic. How wonderful place Swami has created for us where many souls are touched by peace
    Someday we hope to make a pilgrimage to Crystal Hermitage and witness these beautiful flowers in person.

    In Master’s Love
    Prem

    1. Dear Devi,
      I too was surprised and enchanted at the diversity of the people visiting the garden last Sunday morning. I came early, had a deep meditation in the mandir and then wandered the gardens observing the beauty of this annual display. I come every year and never grow tired of the “astral” vibe there. That vibe falling on everyone whether they pick up on it or not. Lovely to see all the little ones and their families. Always a joy!

      Om, Shanti, Peggy

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