Last autumn I was asked to work part time in a relatively new area of Ananda, the Ananda Archives. This grand term “archives” – summoning up visions of the Smithsonian or the Library of Congress – refers here at Ananda Village to a very small room, crammed to the rafters with file cabinets and innumerable boxes. Tumbling from every drawer and surface are photos, slides, newsletters, transcribed talks, hand-corrected manuscripts of Swami Kriyananda’s many books, mementoes of hundreds of tours in the U.S. and around the world undertaken by Swamiji and many other Ananda ministers.
Ananda is, after all, closing in on its 50th birthday!
So far, my work has consisted of me standing at a tiny table (there’s no room to sit down) and going through thousands of photos, and just as many papers. Meditation group members from the early 1970s and onward, resident members from over the decades, attendees of worldwide classes with Swami Kriyananda, and the faces of so many Expanding Light guests over the years – all smile back at me from old photos “in the Eternal Now,” as I’ve come to think of it.
As I pour over the decades of posters, newsletters, and program fliers, I marvel at the great Divine Love that responded to all of us who cried out for teachings and techniques that would enable us to commune with God. Equally moving is the realization that many of us were, if we were willing, given ways to serve God that would transform us. Whether we were highly skilled or simply sincere, we were entrusted with tasks that opened our hearts, and helped us break free from the clamoring of the little self.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “I do not believe in the big way of doing things.” Her point was that the light of the Christ is passed from the heart on one devotee to another. Swami Kriyananda also reminded us frequently of this truth. Each time I close the door of the archive room at the end of the day, I’m grateful to have been reminded that every small act of love and service – no matter how many or how few responded – taken together has resulted in a great flood into the world of love, hope, and high purpose.