May 23 – Jun 02, 2018 (10 nights)
(2 nights in Rome, 6 nights at the community in Assisi, 2 nights at La Verna Monastery and a day trip to Florence)
When the Ananda India Brahmacharis had visited Ananda Assis in Summer 2017 (click here for some photos of the monks’ trip) we’d felt that many of our Indian Gurubhais would enjoy and dive deep in the spiritual atmosphere of Assisi. We therefore thought of helping organize a pilgrimage for our India sangha to participate in Summer 2018.
The Ananda Monks, with Assisi in the background
We now have an itinerary and more details. We’re sharing this with you all to gauge interest and numbers. The information below is for now tentative, and we hope to finalize things in the next 3 or so weeks based on the response. Please read the itinerary below and if you are interested in joining us, write us back as soon as mentioned in the ‘Next Steps.’
Details (many of the words ‘in blue’ below are clickable and take you to a Wikipedia page where you can read more):
is the small town made famous by Saint Francis
‘of Assisi’. Yogananda often called Saint Francis his patron saint, and mentioned him as one of the western saints of the same spiritual attainment as the highest Indian Yogis. The poem ‘God! God! God!
‘ was given to Paramhansa Yogananda by Saint Francis one night just as he was about to lecture.
Swami Kriyananda therefore founded Ananda’s European work
in the verisame foothills of Assisi. Ananda Assisi, founded in the late 1980s, shares the Kriya Yoga teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda with thousands of guests every year. We will have the opportunity to interact with several long time devotees and kriya yogis from many countries, meditate in their beautiful ‘Temple of Light’ and in ‘Moksha Kutir’ the beautiful house (now shrine) where Swami Kriyananda left his body.
Interspersed with enjoying many facets of Ananda Assisi will be several trips to the town of Assisi which has several places of deep spiritual significance:
St Francis’s Basilica
(which houses Saint Francis’ Body as well as the cell of Anthony of Padua, the ‘Levitating Saint’)
L’Eremo Hermitage of Caves
, having many little caves where Francis and the other monks meditated. Yogananda wrote that on the entrance way here Jesus and Francis materialised and walked with Yogananda, when he visited in 1935-36.
The remote La Verna monastery
is where St Francis had many deep seclusions. Christ visited him often and talked with him as a friend. St Francis was the first saint to bear the wounds of Christ (stigmata), and he received those here as well. All who stay here feel uplifted. We will spend two nights here, including one day of seclusion and interiorization.
is a video of the monks singing to the Franciscan renunciates at La Verna. The song is Francis’s “Canticle of the Brother Sun
“, set to music by Swami Kriyananda. When Francis’s physical suffering was very severe, and he prayed to Christ for relief, God told him to see the beauty of all creation and even now live in Bliss, and Francis composed the canticle that expressed that Bliss in teh varied aspects of Creation.
We will spend a day in the beautiful city enjoying Italian & Western art, including the Uffizi museum.
We will spend two nights here, seeing the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and many other beautiful places.
Who can Attend?
This pilgrimage is primarily that – a Pilgrimage. The audience we’re looking for is primarily devotees and kriya yogis who want to take time off for spiritual rejuvenation, go deeper into these teachings by satsang with brother disciples and in holy places and get to know the larger Ananda family through Ananda’s sister-work in Assisi.
If parents want to bring their children they are most welcome. The Assisi community has several members who can work with children very well to keep them engrossed, teach them new skills and also develop appropriate spiritual attitudes. The dates have been chosen to coincide with childrens’ summer vacations. Spouses who might not be disciples but would like to partake of this pilgrimage with an open heart are also most welcome.
Who will lead the Pilgrimage?
On the Ananda Assisi side, retreat managers Nayaswamis Shivani and Arjuna, with a team from the Assisi community, will travel with us. On the India side Nayaswami Devarshi ji, Brahmachari Jemal and Brahmachari Sagar will travel to Italy – the brahmacharis will work on the logistics and travel and Devarshi ji will help with the spiritual inspiration and guidance.
The “in-Italy” cost for the pilgrimage would be about Rs 1 lakh per participant for double occupancy. This would include all group stay, travel and meals at the various places in Italy. (Note that this amount might have an additional 12% GST on it, we are still getting clarification on the GST laws).
Not included in this amount are personal expenses like donations, shopping, snack purchases etc. The above price is tentative and will depend on the total number of participants. We hope to have about 40.
The airfare is also separate — about 50,000 Rs or so (we will try to negotiate a group discounted rate), as also is the visa.
To maximise participation the pilgrimage has been kept ‘at-cost’ with a small overhead that will help the Ananda India Monastery.
If you would like to participate, please do write back to us
in the next couple of weeks (by 25 Nov 2017). We hope to receive confirmations by then so as to finalise prices and itinerary and then begin the next steps.