12/19/1920 — 07/26/2014
In Memoriam – Gordon La Londe, Ananda Sacramento
My Initiation into Kriya Yoga and blessing from Paramhansa Yogananda
Gordon read the Autobiography of a Yogi around 1950 which led him to the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Hollywood. There he met Reverend Bernard and Brother Kriyananda. By 1951 he was invited to take Kriya yoga initiation at the Mt. Washington center in Los Angeles.
This was a very special time as it was the last Kriya initiation where Yogananda blessed the new initiates at the end of the ceremony. It was also at this Kriya initiation that Yogananda introduced Rajarshi Janakananda (who had just received this name and been initiated into sannyas by Yogananda several days before this), as his spiritual successor.
Gordon described the scene on the night of this initiation as follows:
“We all gathered in the living room at Mt. Washington with the monks and nuns lined up on the sides and the back of the room. The first part of the ceremony (which was done by Dr. Lewis and Reverend Bernard) included the teaching of the techniques of Kriya yoga and the mudras. There was a platform in the front of the room for that demonstration so everyone could see how they were done. At the end of that portion of the initiation we were given prasad in a small dixie cup to drink. Then we were told that we were to take a break and leave the room, so we all went outside during that time.
“When we came back in and took our seats, the partition in the front of the room was removed and there sat Yogananda. It was such a surprise to actually see him in person.
“His Indian accent was so strange, that I couldn’t understand the message that he gave.
“Then we were told that we could go up for his blessing one at a time. As each person approached he or she would kneel before Yogananda, and he would bless the person by placing his hand on their head. Most people were told to take some of the rose petals that were on a table to his left just before where we exited out the back door.
“When I approached and knelt waiting for a blessing I didn’t feel his hand on my head. So I looked up at him. That is what he wanted – to look in my eyes for soul to soul contact.
“One woman, after kneeling down, began speaking to Yogananda. She was asking for money. Yogananda indicated to Rajarshi Janakananda, who was standing on his left, the need she had expressed. Then Rajarshi pulled out a number of bills, and handed some to Yogananda, who then gave them to the woman. She then moved on.
“It was quite an unusual experience. It’s one that I have never forgotten, because it is so wonderful to have met a truly great master.”
Gordon LaLonde, who passed away on July 26, 2014 at the Ananda Sacramento community, was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda for 63 years. Gordon was a founding member and resident of the Ananda Sacramento community since 1991 and very generously supported Ananda’s work for the past 23 years.
In the photos below, Gordon has just completed a Charitable Gift Annuity with the Janaka Foundation named as the beneficiary.