“Ceremonies are a means of getting groups of people to unite their thoughts and energies.”
— Swami Kriyananda
At Ananda, we often express our inner experience of God’s presence, outwardly as well, through simple, beautiful, and uplifting ceremonies.
This beautiful ceremony helps us open to divine grace to obtain purification from any particular trait, tendency or event that is causing an obstacle to our spiritual growth. The ceremony involves writing that quality or habit that we are seeking purification from on a piece of paper and burning it at the altar after receiving a blessing from the presiding Acharya. We offer this ceremony every Thursday evening as part of the meditation.
In this ceremony, we light a fire (havan) and offer into it all our love, service and devotion, and also our desires and attachments, while chanting Gayatri Mantra and Maha Mrityunjaya mantra. This is a symbolic ceremony outwardly representing our inner fire ceremony, where in deep meditation, and through the practice of kriya yoga, we offer all seeds of past karma, tendencies and desires to be burnt in the fire of enlightenment at our spiritual eye. The Gayatri Mantra brings enlightenment, and the Mahamrityunjaya is for liberation. Ghee is used in the fire ceremony to represent the heart’s pure aspiration and devotion and rice represents the seeds of our past karma.
Festival of Light
The Festival of Light expresses the core of what we stand for in a moving and poetic way. It involves people in a way they’ll remember. When you have something that’s rhythmic, with images that are alive, people absorb the words. Weeks later, they will remember a particular phrase. These things, especially when heard repeatedly, enter the subconscious mind and affect the way people look at the whole world. During the festival we invoke God’s light to flow down to earth, and into the hearts of worshipers both present and afar, through the channels of our line of masters, and the great saints of all religions.