We arrived on Wednesday, September 24. Traveling from the USA September 23 vaporized, but we will get back its equivalent with double-length November 4 when we return.
On Wednesday and Thursday we had informal gatherings and met a handful of core people.
Kavita, our host in Hamilton, has been teaching yoga, meditation, and related spiritual subjects for a few years, so we are coming into an established community of seekers.
On Friday, our formal program began -- six sessions from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
First were subject classes: super-consciousness, intuition, karma and reincarnation. Then we showed the movie, Finding Happiness, had a Sunday service, which included initiating three new disciples into this path, and then in the afternoon a beginning meditation, first steps to Kriya class. Some had already learned from Kavita the first techniques, but it was also a chance to explain the essence of this path.
For the subject classes, we had pictures of Master and Swamiji, so people would know we represent a lineage, offering more than just our own ideas.
For Sunday -- service and intro to Kriya -- we had the full altar in place.
Attendance varied from 25-40 people for each program -- wonderful people. Serious truthseekers, open-minded, and open-hearted. They listened thoughtfully and laughed easily. All were fully and appreciatively engaged.
They loved Finding Happiness. No matter how much we try to explain Ananda, words are inadequate. And the movie has Swamiji. After the movie, all that we say makes more sense.
Very promising start for Ananda New Zealand.
That’s the summary. Now the travelogue.
It is a nonstop, 12-hour overnight flight from San Francisco to Auckland. You lose a day, and change hemispheres, but New Zealand is directly south of Hawaii, so the time difference is only a few hours.
The easy flight, plus excellent homeopathic remedy (Jet Lag Relief, from Homeostasis Labs -- accept no substitutes) meant no jet lag. Fabulous.
It was rainy and cold in the days before we arrived -- spring here is unpredictable. Sunshine arrived with us and has kept us company ever since. Breezy, a little cool, but perfect.
Kavita, her husband Aroon, and two teenage daughters, Veda and Devya, live in a marvelous old house right on the Waikato River. At one time the house was the post office for a nearby community. Later it was cut in half, moved, then reassembled in this location.
Aroon is developing lovely orchards and gardens on the open acres around the house. By generously rearranging their own living quarters, they accommodated all of us under one roof. From most of the bedrooms, and two of the showers, we have a view of the river.
Hamilton is in the middle of the north island. We are traveling from end to end, but will come and go from here.
On Wednesday we go North Palmerston, where we will have a Kriya Initiation (for one person), and meet a long-time devotee friend of Kavita’s.
Then on to the Wellington/Hutt Valley area for 10 days -- two big weekends and a smattering of classes and a little sightseeing in between.
Long time devotee friends -- Bryan and Linda Rose -- are hosting us, organizing the events, and spreading the news of our coming. We’ll see what Master has in store.
The traveling group is perfect. I have the laboring oar where the classes are concerned, but we are equal in carrying Master’s ray. Each is eloquent and enthusiastic in his or her unique way.
Dambara is presenting Swamiji’s music. Bryan McSweeney filming the classes with help from Rachel Ebgi who is also taking informal footage for an eventual video about spreading Master around the world.
The second day we were here, we were having an organizational meeting around the breakfast table. I had to announce that Jill (Barker) would not be continuing with us on this journey.
It was touching to see the consternation of the others at this announcement. We bonded deeply very fast.
Their dismay was so great, I was naughty and let the moment go longer than necessary.
“Jill won’t be with us anymore,” I said finally, “but Atmajyoti will be.”
The evening before, the subject of a spiritual name for Jill had come up over the dinner table. I’m not entirely comfortable suggesting names for people but the essence of her name came in a flash of intuition, and it seemed right.
So, no more Jill -- Atmajyoti has taken her place.
The atman is the divine Self within. Jyoti is light, so Atmajyoti is the light of the divine Self.
Atmajyoti has taken on the book sales, the registration, keeping track of the money and making everything beautiful.
From Ananda Publications in India we got a large selection of books, which are all selling well, another indication of the serious interest here.
Dambara arrived a few days early, and met musician friends of Kavita who arranged an “insta-choir” with four excellent singers who learned and performed some of Swamiji’s songs throughout the weekend.
On Friday evening, the official launch of Ananda New Zealand, this local quartet came in singing a Maori song of welcome and blessing.
I’d never heard the melody or the vowel-filled language before, but it was deeply familiar and profoundly moving. With beautiful, heartfelt words, one of the singers then welcomed Master’s teachings and us as his representatives to the country of New Zealand.
A most auspicious beginning.
Much love from all here.