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Casey and Anke share their bliss at Temple of Joy in Leucadia. Courtesy photo
ColumnsSoul on Fire

Soul on Fire: Bathing in bliss

Have you ever bathed in bliss?

I had the opportunity to attend a Kirtan featuring Girish in a random Palace Garden at The Temple of Joy in Leucadia the other night.

Did you understand that sentence? Let me explain.

Kirtan is a Sanskrit word, and in the Bhakti Yoga tradition, it means to chant and praise that which is exalted, aka, the Divine.

An accomplished musician, Girish is an Encinitas favorite and found his way to the Temple of Joy to perform for an intimate group in the outside garden of the temple grounds.

His style of Kirtan included his guitar, harmonium, violin, and percussionist with lots of singing along, call and response chanting, and dancing for those who were moved by the beat.

The result was what I called a “bliss bath.”

A song would end, and there would be reverent silence, and that’s where the bliss slipped in. No clapping.

Just a deep soul silence, a kind of knowing that you were in the exact right place at the exact right time.

The audience was a diverse group of locals, neighbors, and fans of Girish, along with regular temple goers.

Everyone was able to release the cares of the week and all that it took to get there so they could each immerse into a communal, well, bliss bath.

It felt like a warm hug from the Universe on a cool, moonlit night with lots of magic in the air. No agendas, no preaching, no formalities.

Only Love and Community and Sangha. A feeling of Oneness in a world divided.

And this place I found myself in? The Temple of Joy has eluded me up until now. I googled it, and I only got glimpses of what this place could possibly be.

No official information site or marketing is being done. It’s not for profit or nonprofit; it’s not branded, there are no labels or affiliations.

It’s a sacred sanctuary. Those that are meant to find this place do.

Entering is reminiscent of many palaces scattered throughout the streets of India.

There is a beautiful gate at the entry of the street directing you to the Palace Garden area.

A white onyx fountain and statues of Yogananda and Jesus in a lotus position, as well as Babaji, are there to greet you.

A pergola that provides a stage, firepit, exotic fruit trees, and ample seating areas to meditate and pray create a sacred container for the soul—a welcome mat for a weary world.

The Palace’s facade is replete with hand-carved teak frames around the windows and a magnificent front door over two hundred years old salvaged from a temple in India.

An ornate spiral staircase leads to the upper floor of the home.

Reclaimed antique teak columns from a palace in Jaipur create a captivating architectural ambiance from exotic places familiar to direct experiences with the Divine.

It is as stunning as the vibration of peace and love that has literally been carved into the pavers of the courtyard and felt by all that enter.

The private residence sits between the Palace Garden and the Temple of Joy.

The Temple is accessible down a pathway leading to the back of the property. This path has lighted carved stone art on the stunning walls. It is an adventure just passing through this area.

Turning the corner —  what a joy it is! Another work of art is the intricately carved teak temple that was custom-designed and brought in from Bali.

All devotees are welcome to take their shoes off and enter the Temple of Joy to give worship in any style they wish.

“Casey and Anke have created a gathering place to serve Encinitas. People can come to get healing, connect back to themselves (their higher selves), and do so without dogma or institutional rules,” said Girish, who extended his stay at the Temple and conducted a harmonium immersion class after the successful kirtan concert the night before.

So who are Casey and Anke? These two beings of light are giving something back to the world that is so sacred and needed for a time such as this.

They are caretakers of souls as well as the temple grounds. They are healers, ultimate truth-seekers, and yogic practitioners with the purest hearts and minds I’ve ever encountered so far on my path of enlightenment.

They are accomplished in worldly affairs and have now dedicated their lives to following Spirit. They are what I aspire to be in the world. They are living in Gods’ embrace. They walk the talk.

You can learn more by attending transformational healing classes held at the grounds Tuesday at 7 pm for a Theta Healing Circle, Wednesday at 7 pm for Satsang and Meditation, and Thursday Hatha Yoga at 10 am.

All classes are available by RSVP at [email protected] and get on their mailing list for future events and gatherings and check out their website at

Come as you are and leave with the Spirit of Divine Expression.