Chapter 1 – The Beginning

In Spring 2005, after the Paramhansa Yogananda Mahasamadhi celebration in India, Kent and Sraddha Williams, longtime Ananda residents, journeyed to Rishikesh where they visited the Kriya Yoga Ashram of Swami Shankarananda. Sraddha had been there the previous Fall on spiritual pilgrimage and discovered these incredible life size marble statues of the Ananda line of Gurus.

The Original Kriya Yoga Masters in Rishikesh

Later that spring, Sraddha along with Durga and Vidura Smallen (who now run the Ananda Meditation Retreat) traveled South with Swami Shankarananda, from Delhi to Jaipur, where they met with the artist who had carved the original statues. As a result, the artist was commissioned to carve a set of statues for Ananda Village. We wanted two sizes: life size and about 24 inches tall.

Swami Shankarananda in Jaipur visiting with Vidura Smallen and Sraddha Williams

Since Ananda Village already had life size statues here of Babaji and Lahiri from other sources, they agreed to carve life size statues of Sri Yukteswar and Paramhansa Yogananda as well as 4 – 24 inch statues of Babaji, Lahiri, Sri Yukteswar and Paramhansa Yogananda.

Already had a large statue of Lahiri in the Lahiri Mandir near Expanding Light guest retreat.

The large statues were carved from pure white marble and now reside in Ananda Village in Hansa Mandir. We already have a beautiful mandir devoted to Lahiri Mahasaya and a garden mandir with a statue of Babaji at the Crystal Hermitage.

Marble statue of Babaji in carving mode