Master and Swamiji came with a special mission to uplift human consciousness during a time of confusion and turmoil as we transition into Dwapara Yuga. A group of young people came to Swamiji in the late 1960s and early 1970s to dedicate their lives to serving this mission. Often with no prior spiritual calling or interest, they came from all over America with an inner recognition that this was what they were to do with their life. Without any thought for themselves; ignoring any hardship or personal sacrifice; they gave everything they had to serve God and Guru and to bring Their blessings to everyone.
Nayaswami Anandi was one of the pillars of this generation. Though she had a brilliant and well-trained mind, she served in whatever ways were needed at the time. From gardening to helping build houses, to starting small businesses, to helping with Ananda’s first master plan for the local county, to serving on the publications team, she was one of the builders of Ananda’s work.
In more recent years she focused on writing, editing, and teaching. Though she never took any credit for it, and her name doesn’t even appear in any of the books, she complied the eight-book Wisdom of Yogananda series. Anandi’s classes are treasures of clarity, joy, sparkling wit, and practical advice.
But her true spiritual gifts were in counseling and working with others. The lives that she touched in these ways were blessed and changed by her humble, deep wisdom and love. It was always a joy to walk through The Expanding Light dining room during meals to see Anandi talking with one of the guests (usually someone she had just met). You felt her support and caring for them were tangible as she embraced them in the aura of her joy, wisdom, and love.
“All the world is my friend/When I learn how to share my love” are lyrics from one of Swami Kriyananda’s songs that describe how Anandi related to everyone.
Her marriage to Bharat Joseph Cornell was lived in the same spirit with which she did everything. When they were together, you could feel their deep, unspoken love and appreciation for each other, and see the joy that twinkled in their eyes at being together. She played an essential role in helping him edit his world-renowned Sharing Nature series.
Finally, I will end with a few personal words. When Anandi and I first met in 1970, there was an instant recognition that we had been friends, sisters, and more in many past lifetimes. It turned out that we had grown up within a mile or two of each other, but had to come to Ananda (two thousand miles away) to meet again in this lifetime.
Though we spent a great deal of time together over the years, the beautiful thing was that our friendship (though filled with joy) was basically impersonal. We had both come to know and serve God in this lifetime, and that was the most important thing we shared.
As I sat by her bed shortly after she had left her body, I understood that nothing had changed or ended, but our friendship was now on a deeper, more expanded level. We both would continue on our chosen path, though she was starting a new chapter of her story.
For you, as you read this and think of Anandi, try to remember this. Her life was a victorious one—she faced every challenge and overcame it. She loved God to her last breath, and now she has become one with the meaning of the name that Swamiji gave her: JOY!
With gratitude for the gift of divine friendship,
We invite comments with your own story of inspiration from Nayaswami Anandi’s generous spirit.