A little Nirvana before you go? If Nirvana exists in Los Angeles, it’s here. In 1950, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the seminal memoir Autobiography of a Yogi, dedicated 10 acres of prime L.A. real estate to the wacky agenda of raising human consciousness. Yogananda counseled presidents and heads of state and is most credited for bringing the discipline of yoga to the West. But when he brought a humble sanctuary of peace, love and understanding to a community founded on the broad shoulders of Hollywood hubris, no one thought it was ironic. And judging from the immense growth in the fellowship’s popularity — not to mention the meteoric rise in yogic practices throughout the Southland (and country, or world for that matter) — prosperity of spirit is at an all-time high. Walk the path around the grounds’ lake and you’ll come across subtle, clandestine spots carved out of the flora where benches overlook the water. Sit down and consciously breathe away the toxic thoughts and innumerable idiots you are forced to endure during your daily struggle. The grounds include a Court of Religions, honoring the five principal faiths of the world and the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes is enshrined. There are also a small museum and a gift shop stocked with New Age texts and arts and crafts from India. The hilltop temple with the golden dome that overlooks a lake opened in 1996. Sunday services are free and uplifting. Enter with an open mind. Leave with an open heart.
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17190 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, (310) 454-4114.