Ashrams Los Angeles

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1. Inside monastery of Swami Vidyadhishananda, a highly ordained Vedic monk who reveals to us a Himalayan tradition of Vedic wisdom based on his lineage of Sanskrit lineage. It is in Santa Barbara California, high up in the hills & overlooking the Ocean. I reached on a Sunday so could spend quality time with Swamiji. Read about Swamiji

2. Pranams. Left to right is Sri Krishna, Tryambaknath, Lahiri Mahasya, Swami Sriyukteshwar Giri, Paramhansa Yogananda, Srimat Bhupendranath Sanyal, Swami Satyananda Giri, Swami Hariharananda Paramhansa and Swami Vidyadhishananda. Large pic in centre is of Swami Hariharananda Paramhansa. The room is an oasis of peace and positive energy.

3. Santa Barbara is so scenic. Seekers from different backgrounds throng to be in Swami Vidyadhishananda’s divine presence & listen to his presentation of Sanskrit knowledge from a universal perspective. He is a unique combination of mystic, yogi, scholar and Spiritual Founder of Hansavedas, Self-Enquiry Life Fellowship.

4. Santa Barbara-beaches, gardens and lovely walks. It is about a 2 hour drive to Los Angeles. I took a Greyhound bus that left San Jose at 7.30 am to reach by 2.45 pm. By car it is faster. Just loved Santa Barbara for more reasons than one. Enjoyed sattvic vegetarian food at the monastery.

5. Another awesome ocean view. Pics 3,4,5 are courtesy Sonali who is a volunteer with Swamiji’s monastery. Meenakshi was nice enough to drive me down from Santa Barbara to LA airport. Took a Metro to Mohanji’s place. He took me to a nice Indian restaurant that served awesome samosas and alu paranthas.

6. Next morning Dr Vinod took time from his busy schedule (we discussed Baba Ramdev’s products during the long drive) and dropped me to Pasadena from where Savlaji took me to Vivekananda House in South Pasadena. In 1900 Swami Vivekananda House stayed here for 6 weeks. We walked into his bedroom-now a sanctuary for meditation. Call before going. For more

7. Savlaji then drove me to Paramahansa Yogananda Home on Mount Washington for which I shall be ever grateful. It is a steep drive uphill. U see Swamiji home, the second floor is where he lived. It is International Headquarters of the Self Realization Fellowship. The main building, a hip hop hotel earlier, has a meditation hall and library.

8. This is the Temple of Leaves, a small area with benches where Paramahansa meditated. One is not allowed to see Paramahansa’s bedroom but SRF arrange for a conducted tour. “In 1925, a massively successful transcontinental speaking tour led Yogananda to the West Coast and to Los Angeles, whose religious tolerance and diversity reminded him of the Indian spiritual capital of Benaras.”

9. Devotees meditate in Temple of Leaves. “Yogananda saw in Los Angeles a bustling, pioneer city filled with searching souls where he could settle down & teach on a more intimate level. He had long had a vision of a cloistered monastery high on a hill, and when he saw the old Mount Washington Hotel he knew it was the chosen place for him & his disciples to live & work.”

10. Yogananda loved playing tennis. Wish could spend more time there just wandering around let the energy become part of me. To read more about SRF

11. View from Paramahansa Yogananda bedroom. Los Angeles and California in general are so scenic, beautiful is what prompted many Indian Gurus to visit, some made it their home. Santa Barbara also has a Vedanta Society (Ramakrishna Mission).

12. From the spiritual to the material world. Apple Store in Stanford Shopping Centre at Palo Alto. Loved the store design, look and feel. Wish they had pictures of human beings too – adds a personal touch. Current store looks too sanitised.

13. Next Savlaji dropped to Vedanta Society Hollywood. Met Swami Sarvavedananda Maharaj and meditated in the prayer hall. Thereafter, had a sattvic vegetarian meal. To know more about Vedanta Society

14. I started the morning with a visit to the Sanatana Dharma Mandir in LA. It was a church earlier. Loved the place. Besides the temple it has a wedding hall, medical facilities for the poor, talks for senior citizens etc. In fact it is more like a community centre.

15. Murthy inside temple. Spend some time here. LA trip was possible because of Mohanji who in turn introduced me to Vinodji and Savlaji. Pranams to them. It was a short but spiritually rewarding trip. To know from it all started visit Mahavatar Babaji Cave in Dunagiri Kumaon

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