Mother Founder The Theosophical Fellowship & Heart Flow Worldwide
Written by Mary-Faeth Chenery, Ph.D. Past General Secretary, Heart Flow Worldwide
Mother Founder Ananda Tara Shan founded The Theosophical Fellowship and Heart Flow Worldwide and personally guided their development until her passing to the inner levels in November 2002. Ananda remains the guiding light of the work of the Fellowship and Heart Flow Worldwide, inspiring through the teachings she brought and through her living example that remains very much present in our hearts.
This booklet offers a very brief description of Ananda’s life and work. We hope you will gain a sense of Ananda’s presence and contribution in these pages. This booklet was written shortly after her passing, with just a few updates for this edition.
If you would like to know more about the work of The Theosophical Fellowship or Heart Flow Worldwide, you are welcome to visit the respective websites or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The thoughts contained in this booklet are the author’s impressions and reflections, except where quotations are used, and are simply offered as one portrait of the Mother Founder.
A few biographical details Ananda Tara Shan, the Reverend Jeanne Dara De Murashkin, was born in Denmark in 1946. In 1975, Ananda began her work for the Spiritual Hierarchy, the Inner Government of Earth. This work brought her to Australia, and led to the founding of The Theosophical Fellowship in 1994 and Heart Flow Worldwide in 2001.
Her family recently described her this way:
“Ananda was the mother incarnate. As a child she was nicknamed ‘Jeanne mor’ – ‘Jeanne mum’ – because she had a natural mothering instinct. She couldn’t help taking care of not only her own family but also those who came into contact with her. On occasion we would be introduced to our brother or sister, as she didn’t think twice about adopting people into our family who needed a mother. Nor could you enter Ananda’s home without being offered refreshments, and she rarely took no for an answer. One of her concerns was always ensuring that people were well fed.
Among her family Ananda was renowned for her curiosity, which stemmed from her desire to always help others. First thing in the morning she would call her mother to check how she was. This call was the first of several she would make throughout the day, and her little angel covered address book was always near at hand.”
Ananda is the mother of two daughters and three sons. Again, some thoughts from her family:
“Ananda always wished she had taken a degree in psychology, yet in reality she was a natural psychologist. People gravitated towards her when they had a problem and Ananda knew how to listen and she loved to give advice. No subject was too personal or too embarrassing to bring up with Ananda, maybe because nothing could surprise her, being an old soul.
Ananda’s personal motto used to be ‘everything will be all right’ but this quite recently changed to ‘love is all there is.’ It is clear how this motto applies to her. Ananda has touched everyone she has ever come in contact with, and to many, she will be unforgettable.”
This is one of her many texts about love:
Do not be afraid to love, even though love often causes suffering to the personality; for when you close off to love to avoid pain, you close off to God and Master and also to the most wonderful feelings and experiences. Throughout many lives we have loved and we have hated. Both qualities survive death.
Let us decide to love and love only, for love gives life and hatred destroys life. Master loves unconditionally.
One day you will come to love unconditionally, but not without trying and trying. I know, because I try my very best to love like Master loves. One day I shall succeed, and you shall succeed; then life has taught its lessons, and you are free.
It is, however, impossible to talk about Ananda and not describe the one thing that more than anything else defined her, and that was her unshakable faith. Whether times were tough or easier, she managed to maintain a firm belief in the power of goodness and chose to see the good in every human being, no matter their actions.
As with all great leaders, Ananda showed the rare ability to turn her heart to the smallest task while working tirelessly for the greater good. Whether writing articles for the local newspaper about important issues locally or globally, or writing the week’s menu for her family, her interests, passions, and care were unaltered.
Her family can attest to the fact that although Ananda was rarely out of physical pain, she wasn’t one to complain. Instead she focused outward on others and was eager to lend a healing hand to anyone in need.”
Ananda Tara Shan was an ordained Minister of Religion, and the churches she founded, the Church of the Resurrected Life and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Maitreya, are affiliated with the Associated Christian Spiritual Churches of Australia.
The Teachings Ananda taught that we should love the teachings and focus on the teachings, not the teacher. The teachings of Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom, were her great love, alongside her love of her Master and Teacher, the Lord Maitreya. The teachings, the Divine Law, the Master Who represents the Law and the Wisdom – these are the essence of what the student should focus on.
As she wrote, The Heart of the Universe flows through the Heart of Maitreya, Whose Heart encompasses all of the Earth. From Maitreya’s Heart, the Love of the greater Heart flows to all hearts on Earth.
This flow is Heart Flow, and it is felt like a stream of goodness and loving-kindness to all those who will accept it and who will happily and joyfully allow it to bring them to the centre of their inner being where all is clear and peaceful.
Nor are the teachings only theoretical: “Heart Flow is no theory, it just is.”
Ultimately, as Ananda told us, “love is all there is,” and love should be lived.
Ananda sought to make the teachings practical, alive in one’s life. She wrote Guidelines for Living a Spiritual Life, an expression of the Lord Maitreya’s advice about how students can live a Theosophical life. When a student came to her with a problem, she would often take the person back to the guidelines, to see if the teachings were being lived, as failing to put the guidelines into practice is the source of many, if not most, problems.
Ananda taught that the work of The Theosophical Fellowship is the work of world service, and the Fellowship shares that work with many other groups in the world. She spoke of the Maitreya Sangha:
There is a spiritual community on Earth composed of souls who on the physical plane belong to a varied spectrum of origins and groups, but who on the inner are motivated by the same purpose and goal – that of preserving the Earth for the coming generations. These people seek to know more about the Divine Wisdom so they can be part of creating the Way of the Heart with the Lord Maitreya, the Bodhisattva and Risen Christ.
The members of this community, the Maitreya Sangha, are the practical mystics, the intellects who are nourished by the heart, those who deal with others in fairness and justice. They are the ones who will do anything, as long as it is based on the principles of good, to lead humanity towards a new world built upon the Laws of the Heart. They are found in all walks of life, and their desire to live a higher life makes them co-creators with great Beings of Light, as they bring forth from their own inner a deep sense of responsibility and caring attitudes for all life on the planet.
Ananda has a special dharma to help the work of the Lord Maitreya unfold on Earth; this is referred to as the Ananda-Maitreya Impulse. The teachings speak of the Lord Maitreya embodying on Earth in 500 years, and part of Ananda’s work is to prepare for this blessed event in the evolution of humanity, the externalisation of the Hierarchy.
Working for Peace The work of The Theosophical Fellowship is dedicated to the bringing about of peace and the healing of humanity and the Earth. Ananda was totally committed to the work for peace, being almost constantly in prayer for this purpose. She created meditations, mantras, prayers, journeys, and vigils focused on working for peace.
A keynote of the work of the Fellowship is voluntary service, giving freely from one’s heart for the cause of the healing of humanity and the Earth. This Ananda did: give freely, with courage and fearlessness, to pursue the cause of peace and justice. She was completely honest and spoke her mind, writing to world political and spiritual leaders as a fellow human being, petitioning for peace with justice. She understood the esoteric significance of world events, and worked on the inner and the outer levels to preserve the Earth for current and future generations.
Ananda worked constantly to develop new ways for every person to be able to contribute effectively to the mission of peace, healing, and protection of the Earth. Always a new mantra, a prayer, a little service, a guided meditation – ways to reach out to a suffering humanity and a suffering Earth. Always encouraging those who wish to help to learn to become active transmitters of light and love.
Joy! Ananda had a wonderful sense of humour and was full of life and joy. She wanted those around her to feel the joy – joy in the work, joy of life, joy of serving and sharing, joy in beauty, music, nature, joy in meeting new people, joy at the good fortune of others. It was okay to be depressed from time to time, but it is best to limit that to not more than an hour or two. As described by two friends, Ananda was a “laughing bundle of power and presence, humour and tenderness.”
Ananda wrote, It is healthy to be happy. What, then, when our earthly sufferings become too much, and happiness gives way to sadness and at times despair? How to keep happy when times are tough, and karma, especially the negative karma, catches up with you?
Have your consciousness fixed upon Master. See God reaching down and into you through Master. Ask for perseverance and courage to take what may come. And pray that you have some good friends, a good mother, father, husband, wife, on the physical level to help you.
Ananda often taught through song, singing the words of the Masters as she received impressions in energy.
She wrote poetry, which her husband, Pauli, often set to music, and together they would sing and play, uplifting spirits to exalted levels.
Her family characterises so well her joy in singing: “Ananda brought music to life. In her presence music became otherworldly as angels streamed in to join the party. We think she would agree with us calling her the mantra-singing teacher. Whether Ananda was in the shower, walking down the street, on her way to Melbourne or holding her meditation evenings – these events were punctuated by mantras and there was no sweeter sound than hearing her sing at the top of her lungs, especially when we were somewhere else in the house and she in her office. Who was she kidding when she said she couldn’t sing? Even now hearing her voice brings us joy.”
Openness of the Heart “Open the petals of my heart.”
So much of Ananda’s work is focused on the heart, on seeking one’s soul through the heart, on opening the heart, attuning to the heart, allowing Heart Flow to stream through our heart. “Only goodness of the heart is required.” Ananda seeks to link our hearts with the greater Heart, the Heart of the Lord Maitreya. “Do not look for me on the outer, find me in your heart.” “Always find the Heart, Maitreya’s Heart.” She named the summer spiritual forum for 2002, the Festival of the Ceremonial Heart, presenting yet another facet of the work of living by the heart.
The spiritual path of the Ananda-Maitreya Impulse is known as the Way of the Heart. This way leads to the Heart of the Lord Maitreya, to the evolution of humanity towards oneness with the Source of All.
“Understand your heart.”
Discipline, Devotion, Commitment Ananda lived the spiritual discipline to enable her to grow spiritually in order to better serve the Earth and humanity. She was totally committed to the Cause and to her Master. Those around her had no question about her values and where she stood, and she encouraged others not to copy her, but to live their own dharma, to express their own creativity, to connect to their souls, for the good of all.
She was constantly seeking, learning, studying, creating. Everything was of interest, whether food, children – her own and others’, education, philosophy, politics, medicine, psychology, movies, science, flowers, or religion.
Among the key values for Ananda’s life and her work are found ...
love positive action unselfish service peace caring devotion beauty family joy balance clarity global awareness honesty tolerance creativity humility
Ananda recognised the light in all people, and seriously admonished the slightest tendency of those around her to exclude anyone. There is no place for the judgment of others; welcome all to Maitreya’s Heart, she taught – and lived, as one co-worker wrote, “Thank you for your open-hearted acceptance of an Anglican priest.”
Ananda’s Contributions Ananda focused on the work, the next needs ahead, and not on the results. She created so many tools for spiritual development and practice, and her teachings in writing and audio format are now in the process of being catalogued. In addition to written and audio texts of teachings, the majority of which are not yet published, we are grateful for Ananda’s comprehensive system of meditation (Shan Theosophical Meditation System), the system of healing (Udana Spiritual Healing System), and the documentation of Services and Service Conducting, teaching a system of Earth Healing Services, encompassing music, meditation, prayer, ceremonial work, and other aspects of energy work for world service. Ananda was a vehicle of the Lord Maitreya and transmitted the teachings of this great Master as well as many other Masters of Wisdom during her time in embodiment.
Her inspiration, leadership, group-work, and organisational abilities enabled the work to evolve over 25 years and led to the creation of the present vehicles for the work: The Theosophical Fellowship and Heart Flow Worldwide; two churches, the Church of the Resurrected Life and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Maitreya; centres and groups nurturing the work in eight countries; a central physical focus for the work, the New Himalaya Retreat in Australia, including the Sanctuary of the Heart, a shrine and transmitter of the work of the Lord Maitreya; and a strong and loving community of striving world servers.
Many tributes were received upon Ananda’s passing to the inner levels. In these tributes, Ananda’s contributions are often beautifully described.
“Ananda, you have taught me the beauty, the splendour and the ecstasy of the spiritual world, but also that sadness, pain, and disappointment are an inevitable part of walking the path and opening the heart. You also taught me that joy and laughter are the best remedies to see us through the hardships.
You have taught me that the Masters are not in some inaccessible plane but right here within the heart of humanity, ready to help anyone who wishes to work for the Earth and humanity.”
“It is said that one can tell a great teacher by the qualities displayed in her students. The fruits of the teachings manifest in those who gather around to assist in the fulfilment of the teacher's vision. After many journeys to be a guest at The Theosophical Fellowship I can honestly say that I have never encountered a more warm-hearted and mature group of spiritual seekers. A welcoming note was struck the moment of our arrival in the community and sustained throughout our time in their midst. A complex system of care and assistance was arranged to ensure that all our needs were attended to. This kind of detailed consideration is so rare. In Sufism we call it "Adab", our manner of being with each other. There is a level of impeccability present in the community that is so appreciated as we travel the world offering our sacred music and dance. We were so well taken care of that the gifts of the spirit could flow. All of these qualities were exemplified and emanated from Ananda Tara Shan. She always knew of our arrival and always blessed the work that we offer to the world.”
“I see your strength and practicality in the tall green trees Your love, gentleness and compassion I see in the water lilies May we forever carry your love and strength into the world.”
“May all the love, all the joy all the laughter and all the things you gave me and taught me manifest like seeds of things that will grow and become beautiful deeds in service of the Cause of the Christ. May I pay you the respect, honour, and love that you deserve, and thereby become that child of the heart in whom you can keep working.”
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