On the morning of the 25th, with overwhelming joy, the 15 of us left Naples, all with the same great desire to return to Ananda, our Home.

I had often spoken with Darshan and Santoshi who are always loving and caring, about  organizing something to enable a flow of energy from one heart to another. It had been a long time since I had gone to Ananda, too long, and the thought of this departure was filling me more and more with an inner happiness that was, at the same time, contagious because my eyes were reflecting what my Soul was feeling. Every time I pass through the last archway of Assisi, the one that leaves Francesco’s city behind, and from which our journey will continue for just a few more kilometers, I always chant “Door of my heart”. And this time, too, we all sang this very moving chant. As we reach the last curves of our journey we see our Rifugio, all the places so dear to us, and the joy of meeting all our friends who are so happy to see us. It seems as if we were there just yesterday, as if we had never left.

I had asked Darshan if we could have a weekend of satsangs just for our group so as to create cohesive moments for further growth, and he organized a very intense and extraordinary one.

Friday evening after dinner we went to the Temple and as I was speaking with Kirtani, Peter arrived and started discussing something with her. Then he came up to me and asked, “are you sure you want us to sing? Are they here from Naples?”. I told him that would be nice. He said, however, that they hadn’t sung it for about two years. I thought about it, then I told him that Swami loved Naples and Sorrento very much. Then Peter smiled and said they would sing it, but added that we had to participate. And when he asked the Neapolitans to raise their hands, I loved it when I saw Darshan and Clarita raise theirs as well. I smiled and laughed at this spontaneous gesture that made me feel the union that exists among us even more strongly.

Afterwards, we met with Clarita who spoke about the importance of bringing peace within, of working on inner conflicts and those with family members which would truly enable us to bring Peace to the world. When we recited the Mtralini mantra together, it seemed to me that sounds full of harmony were flowing through the room to then continue on, with determination, to bring Light and comfort to the suffering hearts of our brothers everywhere it is needed.

And how can I describe the unbelievable beauty of the snow that presented us with a charming landscape on Saturday morning, just like the Nordic fables whose characters are the Snow Queen and the talking reindeer? But Swamiji’s house is warm, and it’s so alive that it was as if we could see him opening the door to welcome us, smiling and friendly as ever. It warmed our hands, and our hearts that were filled with his tangible presence, and we meditated with him and Gopala who welcomed us. Santoshi, had to leave early but she surprised us by offering each one of us a coffee at the bar. I sipped it as I silently thanked her for this sweet gesture. I know it sounds as if we had already been at Ananda for days, but it was actually only a few hours since we had arrived. But, as you know, when we are in the Kingdom of Ananda, time expands and it seems like a week has already gone by when in fact it’s only been a few hours.

Well, here we are at our next satsang with Kirtani and Anand. I saw him shoveling snow this morning and thought about the simplicity and humility of doing this, the “spiritual director” of Ananda, and I realized that it was Kriyananda who set an example by doing whatever was necessary with modesty and without ostentation.

At 11 o’clock on Saturday, we walked on a snow-covered path to the Krishna hall for an invaluable satsang during which time different stories were shared, including the one, recounted with a smile, in which some of the Ananda members, along with Anand and Kirtani, were incarcerated.  I recalled the time we were at Assisi for Master’s Mahasamadhi.  As we left the hotel with Jayadev to sing “Joy, joy, joy” together, we saw Anand and Kirtani drive by to say hello to us – they were finally free.

We continued our satsang with all the fascinating stories. The time passed in a sweet, harmonious way among our knowing smiles and ever lighter hearts.

Our program of satsangs was full, and after lunch we had the pleasure of having another one with Darshan, our travel companion who is sensitive and profound, always so available and close to us. His invaluable advice on meditation and aspects of daily life always comes at the right moment, and I know that whenever I need him, he is always there, ready to listen and understand me.

Time has flown and it’s already Sunday when we’ll have our last satsang, with Narya.  We shed a lot of tears, knots are dissolved, and I felt that I was being lulled, reassured and protected. I remember when he and Laura invited me to Swamiji’s house at Ananda Village, just the three of us in that magical place that I hold dear in my heart – one of the places that I abounds with Swamiji’s energy.

Another special moment of the weekend was when Mahiya invited me to read during the Festival of Light ceremony. It was special because I felt even more welcomed and included, a drop of the same Ocean.

When it was time for us to leave, Bikram asked if he could sing a chant that I love immensely. We were all so moved when, hearing the first words, light as butterflies, everyone’s blessings showered us: “Go with love, may joyful blessings speed you safely on your way…”. We were more enriched when we left than when we arrived – so many gifts received. We were sad that we had to leave, but we were bursting with Joy from all the blessings we received from everyone – from the members in the office, from Shiva in the small oasis of Rasamayi’s bar, from those who prepared and offered us the delicious meals, and from the Masters, from Swami Kriyananda to whom my eternal gratitude goes for having shown me the way that brought me home. We came as Neapolitans but left as cosmopolitans, one great Soul, citizens of one great kingdom that knows no boundaries – the Kingdom of Ananda.


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