Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Yogananda in America was limited mainly to online events. Foremost among these was a 10-minute narrated slide show of Yogananda in Portland in 1924 and 1925, featuring archival newspaper clippings, advertisements promoting his lectures, photographs and postcards from the Multnomah Hotel where he spoke to thousands, and pictures of where he may have visited during his stay.
Also part of this evening program on September 5 was a 30-minute recorded talk by Jyotish and Devi about Yogananda’s two visits to Portland, and especially highlighting the public debut he made there of his Divine Healing techniques.
The original plan for this event had been to hold a one-day Saturday festival on July 16th in a city park just one block from our temple. This is also adjacent to a popular Farmers’ Market. Our intent was to hand out copies of the Autobiography of a Yogi book, to offer live music featuring our choir, and to direct interested passers-by to our yoga and meditation classes throughout the day, along with tours of our temple.
Most of this became impossible due to the pandemic. But, we were still able to do something very nice! We set up a booth at the Farmers’ Market, played Ananda music, and visited with many of the Market’s shoppers, and, in addition, we handed out copies of the Autobiography to those who wanted them. All that we had to forego were the meditation classes and tours of our temple.
Most of the $5,000 donation from the Ananda Janaka Foundation was used to upgrade our audio and video systems. We had previously not been livestreaming our Sunday services and other events for lack of technical skill and proper equipment. Among our purchases have been lighting and sound equipment; a high-performance laptop, camera, and accessories; and a Zoom webinar subscription.
Since we had purchased 100 copies of the Autobiography to give away, we included about thirty of them in gratitude-gift packets that were mailed to various leaders on the frontline of Oregon’s response to the coronavirus: the governor and key members of her staff, local city officials, school superintendents, first responders, etc.
Below are photos of some of the items were have purchased with Ananda Janaka’s generous donation.
Blessings and thanks…
Surendra Conti, spiritual director, Ananda Portland