Although physical difficulties in his last years hampered Brother’s ability to serve as actively as before, [Brother Dharmananda] accepted no mental or spiritual limitations. Up to the time of his passing he continued to lead weekly satsangas and guided meditations at Hidden Valley ashram, reiterating his joy in doing so because of the positive changes he could so clearly see brought about in those attending. The doctor who treated him in the latter part of his life wrote this:
“On one occasion when I went to examine Brother Dharamananda I remember feeling saddened by his physical condition. He suffered severe pain; he was nearly bedridden. It seemed that every satsanga and meditation he led required superhuman effort. As I left, I took his hand to say good-bye.
“He looked directly at me and said, ‘Without the ever new Joy of God, you may as well be dead.'”
“I was extremely puzzled by this advice, though I thanked him anyway and left. I wasn’t feeling much ever new Joy! At the same time, I was not feeling depressed–I was probably at about 6 on a 10-point happiness scale. Considering the misery in the world, I thought that was quite good.
“Moments after I started my car to come home I was overcome with tremendous Joy, the extent of which I had never before experienced. I had to focus very hard to drive the car while at the same time holding on to the Joy because I did not wish to lose it. I chanted, “Joy, joy, joy, ever new joy, joy” as I drove home. The joy gradually faded over about one hour, though the memory of that Joy remains with me and uplifts me even today.
“I realized that Brother Dharmananda was sharing with me a taste of what he was feeling inside. I have seen many people near the end of life, in pain and debilitated. Generally they are depressed and in despair. Brother Dharmananda suffered perhaps as much as anyone I have cared for. But inside, he was filled with Joy. His ever new Joy made life worth living, despite all the miseries and limitations of his physical body.
He was willing to tolerate the body a little longer as long as he felt joy inside and as long as he felt he could continue to help people.
Brother Dharmananda served God and Guru in a wide range of capacities. Over the years, he was minister-in-charge at the SRF temples in Long Beach, Fulleton, Encinitas, Lake Shrine, San Diego, Phoenix and Richmond; spoke regularly at the SRF Convocations; traveled throughout the United States giving classes on the SRF teachings and Kriya Yoga initiation. He was also instrumental in organizing the SRF Sunday School program and Summer Youth Programs in the 1960s and ’70s, which have thrived ever since.
In 1979 Brother Dharmanda was asked by Sri Daya Mata to be the monk in charge of the new Hidden Valley Ashram Center–a responsibility he carried for two decades (including the last ten years of his life). Under his direction, this 100-acre ashram, farm and retreat center has grown into the beautiful facility it is today.