At the end of May 2018, James Kovalenko became the first of his generation to answer the most profound summons of the heart: to dive without reservation into the bliss of renunciation and dedication in the form of pre-sannyas (pre-monastic) initiation. He woke up James Kovalenko and after a two-hour initiation, he emerged as Brother Arjavan Chaitanya. It seems like only yesterday that James Kovalenko (from the Ukraine) arrived in Yogaville on fire, lit up by Spirit itself. The former self-proclaimed “beach bum” woke up one day to the exquisite call of his own heart, his own true Self. That call kept getting louder and louder and led him to Satchidananda Ashram. From the minute James first walked onto the Quad, he began a remarkable adventure. Everything that he did at the Ashram took him deeper and higher. He became a chef, an administrative assistant at Resident Services, and he joined the team at Shakticom, Yogaville’s multimedia department. It became clear to many that young James was truly an ancient soul—a devotee of peace and joy, love and light who also has a delightful sense of humor. A video was filmed when he was invited to say a few words at the lunch in honor of his initiation.

(photo: Br. Arjavan wearing orange scarf and posing with the swamis; photo by Bill Geoghegan and video/reporting by Jeff Ananda Kamen)