5 Images


Sudha Puri Devi, right, the swamini of the Temple of the Universal Spirit in La Crescenta, greets Sister Linda Snow from Encino. The compound is dedicated to Vedanta, a Hindu philosophy that honors all of the world’s religions. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
After the Sunday service, congregants line up to greet Sudha Puri Devi, who used to be known as Susan Schrager and who was once an Episcopal nun. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Shayna LaBeouf of Sunland prays after the Sunday service. The temple is the spiritual seat of Ananda Ashrama, founded in 1923 by a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, the man credited with introducing Vedanta — and yoga — to the United States in the late 19th century. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Sudha Puri Devi, known to her congregants as Sudha Ma, listens to the choir at the beginning of the Sunday service. “Vedanta is about turning inward and dealing with it all,” she says. “Do what nourishes you and be with the people you love.” (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Stained glass
The temple’s stained-glass windows depict various houses of worship. This one honors Buddhism. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)