WORLD BROTHERHOOD COLONIES
Mr. Walters has also objected to the removal from Autobiography of a Yogi of the references to the world brotherhood colonies. Not having been on the Board of Directors during the Guru’s lifetime, he was not aware of all the organizational guidelines and priorities that Paramahansaji gave, including those about spiritual communities.
[Yogananda Site: As noted elsewhere in this Letter, unlike the others of the Board of Directors, Mr. Walters was not made a member of the Board by Paramahansaji himself, but was elected by the Board in 1960 upon the passing of Dr. M.W. Lewis. In 1962 he was removed from the Board by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors.]
Throughout the 1940’s, Paramahansaji’s ideas for spiritual communities underwent considerable evolution. In the beginning he accepted for residence in the Encinitas colony married couples and families in addition to the renunciants who were already there. However, it wasn’t long before he determined that to properly organize spiritual communities for families along the lines he envisioned would take much more time than he then had available—time that he felt needed to be devoted to the more important aspects of his work.
For details of this more important work see The Final Years ~ Completing the Writings; Revision of Earlier Works, Mrinalini Mata
From then on, the Encinitas center, like the Mt. Washington headquarters, became primarily a community of monks and nuns wholly dedicated to the monastic ideal. Paramahansaji did, however, continue to speak of his ashrams as model “world-brotherhood colonies”—demonstrating the life of outer simplicity and inner searching for God that would bring the greatest happiness and fulfillment whether one were pursuing the monastic path or that of the householder. After his plans for the Encinitas World Brotherhood Colony had changed, Paramahansaji removed from the Autobiography of a Yogi the passage describing world brotherhood colonies, and replaced it in the 1951 edition with a much briefer description of activities at the monastic ashram center.
In a satsanga with members in 1975, Sri Daya Mata was asked about SRF’s plans to found world brotherhood colonies. After describing the evolution of the Guru’s plans with regard to such communities, she concluded:
He said to us that his mission was to bring the message of kriya yoga. There will be plenty of time in the future when such colonies and other ideas can be put into effect. His mission was to bring the teachings; our duty is to spread them. He told us this will require a great deal of time and effort. Our duty is to establish his message, to build his work, and to spread it—and that is what we are doing.
How vital it is that we concentrate on this as our first priority. The world is hungry for what Master gave. Look at the state that the world is in today. Master’s message was not just for communities of two or three hundred individuals; his is a mission for the whole world, and people are hungry for it!
[From elsewhere in this letter, describing the more important priorities in Paramahansaji’s work: SRF monastics continue to fulfill Paramahansa Yogananda’s mission through the various services and activities he initiated many years ago: publishing and distributing Paramahansaji’s teachings; overseeing temples, meditation centers, retreats, and youth programs; providing spiritual counsel and guidance by letter, telephone, and in person to students of the Self-Realization teachings; conducting lecture and class series in cities all over the world; and coordinating the Worldwide Prayer Circle, a network of individuals and groups dedicated to praying for those in need of physical, mental, or spiritual aid and for global peace and harmony.]
Self-sustaining SRF communities for families will come into being in the future, when the time is right. In the meantime, Paramahansaji did encourage householder “communities” in another sense: he urged members to settle in the vicinity of our temples and centers, having their own homes and businesses, participating in SRF activities and creating a helpful spiritual environment through mutual association and fellowship. This has indeed come to pass. Communities of hundreds of SRF families have developed around our temples in Encinitas, Hollywood and Richmond, as well as near our Hidden Valley and Front Royal retreats.