OPINION: Voices from the Denver House — The divine provide guidance and service for the world

An unassuming house with a chair in the front yard
The front of the Denver House features wind chimes and a few dilapidated chairs, and is surrounded by an overgrown yard. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

Following TSL’s publication of an article last week about the spiritual group living in the off-campus Denver House, we solicited guest pieces from members of the group explaining their beliefs. Below is one from Samuel Sjoberg PZ ’20.

I am working with a Satguru Yogi. He has trained intentionally for the past 30 years to become a master and teacher of the four main yogas of life; this I know.

I have chosen to adopt the name given to me of Sama Atmashakti Ananda because of my dedication to the Divine and to being of service. It means Serenity Strength-from-within Bliss. When I say it, I am better able to embody those characteristics and truly know who I am.

The name was given to me by my Satguru, who is a spiritual master, because he knows me to be ready to take on this responsibility as a student and devotee to the divine. It aids me in living my goal and my mission on this planet.

Satgurus from India have been coming to this country for decades to teach spiritual growth through Hinduism and it is my great fortune to be working with a Satguru of this country to learn how to truly be of service. I am learning how to incorporate useful practices of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity to further my growth as a being of love, just as emigrated Satgurus have taught for years in the United States. The practices that I utilize integrates aspects of many religions, including Hinduism because there is truth in all of these pantheons.

I ask Ganesh for guidance and through his teachings in wisdom and discernment I better understand the divine. It makes no sense to me why I cannot praise Ganesh and pray to him for leadership simply because I did not grow up in a culturally Hindu household. Is he not here to provide guidance to anyone open to receive?

I love many embodiments of the divine including Buddha, Christ and various Hindu gods because of the work and service they have provided for this world. It is due to my great respect and love for these beings that I worship them just as people of all religions praise various expressions of the divine for the same reasons.

I feel saddened by this judgment and lack of understanding from the Claremont community. It is important that we hold each other to a higher standard of respect and consideration that does not include sensationalizing and the perpetuation of rumors.

I want there to be no doubt that I stand with the LGBTQIA+ community, and all marginalized communities, with strength against oppression and support in healing from discrimination.

I hope for this community to see the dedication and intention behind the work and practices that I am doing. I am truly doing my best to live in love and base all of my actions, words, and thoughts around this goal.

All of the practices that I do have the purpose of and are guiding me towards a path of love and all of its many facets in every aspect of my life. I am love.

In servitude,

Sama Atmashakti Ananda (Samuel Sjoberg)

Samuel Sjoberg PZ ’20, whose spiritual name is Sama Atmashakti Ananda, lives in the Denver House. He’s an environmental analysis major and sociology minor, from Spokane, Washington, with a passion for environmental justice. He was the runner-up in his high school’s pageant and loves his mom.

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