Swami Kriyananda trained and authorized as “Ministers” many experienced Ananda teachers. About them, he says:
“Ananda ministers must do their best to speak from God’s inspiration within, and from the Ananda teachings, and not from their own merely human opinions…Our job as ministers is to guide people on this inward path of Kriya.”
In addition to teaching, the “Lightbearers” officiate at such ceremonies as “The Festival of Light,” the “Purification Ceremony,” weddings, baptisms, the Astral Ascension and funeral services.
What are ministers and Lightbearers?
In the Ananda Sangha community, minister is used in the original and essential meaning of the word: one whose role it is to serve.
For many Sangha members, the core motivation for their spiritual quest becomes union with God. Their path includes attunement with the Guru, cooperative service to his cause, and Kriya yoga meditation. The outward position one holds within the Sangha makes little difference. Regardless of their place within the community, each individual’s spiritual advancement creates its own magnetism that will beneficially influence others. In this broader sense, many of us are ministers, even without that official title.
Nevertheless, our spiritual leaders always look for ways to give individuals the opportunity to serve more fully. When extended observation of a devotee substantiates their dharma to serve in a more public function, the prospect of confirming their ministry in an official way arises naturally. Swami Kriyananda offered the following criterion: “We observe them over a long period of time, and when we see that in times of severe trials, they do not lose their commitment to their service and the highest good for all, we consider them ready.”
This wisdom really applies to all of us. Spirit is exactly that which makes us rise above personal concerns, emotions, and setbacks. The more we have of transcendent Spirit, the more naturally we want to see and serve it in others. Sri Gyanamata, Yogananda’s most advanced woman disciple, wrote in one of her letters: “I have come to measure spiritual advancement, not alone by the light that surrounds one when he meditates or by the visions he has of saints, but by what he is able to endure in the hard, cold light of day.”
In community life a particular function is allotted to Lightbearers. These individuals are empowered by our spiritual directors to act as channels for the Masters, when they bless devotees or spiritual seekers by touching their spiritual eye or their heart chakra. Naturally, all Lightbearers are ministers, but not all ministers need to become Lightbearers. Here is the way that Swami Kriyananda has described this form of service:
A Lightbearer is one whose very presence uplifts the consciousness of others.
Initially ministers and Lightbearers were “created” only in the “nursery” of geographically circumscribed Ananda communities. But as meditation groups and Ananda centers were formed in cities all over the world, Kriyananda expanded this practice to include kriyabans who serve in more heterogeneous settings.
In Europe, the decision to empower devotees to be ministers or Lightbearers is made, ultimately, by Kirtani and Anand, the spiritual directors of Ananda Europe. All the ministers and Lightbearers by them appointed have proven their dharma of service.
So, dear friends, if you need help or counseling in your spiritual life, feel free to turn to one of the ministers or Lightbearers you will find in the list below. They are there to serve you!
Nicola Fiorini (Druva), minister:
fiorino.nicola at gmail.com
Maria Grazia Scalchi (Medavati), Lightbearer:
mariagraziascalchi at gmail.com
Alberto Rinieri (Dayalan), Lightbearer:
albertoananda at gmail.com
Gabriella Ricci (Gitama), Lightbearer:
Gabriella.yoga at yahoo.it
Ornella (Rijumati), Lightbearer:
yogahamsa at libero.it
Janaka e Bharati (Lightbearer):
tempiobabaji at libero.it
anthonyfranciscoconnell at gmail.com
nalini at anandauk.org
milaji.ananda at gmail.com
sunitalight at mail.ru
guelena at list.ru