Pravrajika Anandaprana (Ursula Bond)
Pravrajika Anandaprana (Ursula Bond) was born to a wealthy Jewish family of great culture in Berlin. Fleeing the Nazis, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in San Francisco. Extremely intelligent and highly motivated, fluent in multiple languages, she graduated with honors in English literature at UC Berkeley. After graduation, she married Robert Bond and they moved to Pasadena where she worked at the Huntington Library. While there she discovered the Vedanta Society in Hollywood and became keenly interested in its teachings. Eventually her interest deepened to the extent that in 1952, after much soul-searching, she made the wrenching decision to leave her husband and small daughter to join the Vedanta Society’s convent in Hollywood. In 1963 she took final vows of renunciation, sannyasa, and was given the name Pravrajika Anandaprana (“she whose life is in bliss”).
Anandaprana was a dedicated nun throughout her long life. An indefatigable worker, Anandaprana became the private secretary of Swami Prabhavananda, the founder of the Vedanta Society of Southern California. She was equally involved in the Vedanta Society’s literary activities, editing the magazine Vedanta for the West for many years as well as editing Swami Prabhavananda’s Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta. She assisted in the preparation of many Vedanta books; in Christopher Isherwood’s book Ramakrishna and His Disciples, she is acknowledged for her invaluable assistance and insights.
In 1982, Anandaprana moved to Santa Barbara to join its Vedanta convent. Until a debilitating stroke in 2012, she was regularly to be found at the Vedanta bookstore, where she worked until she became quite elderly. After her stroke, Anandaprana needed continual care. Her last months were spent at Casa Rhoda, where the loving staff treated her as an honored member of the family. She passed away on December 29, 2014, her face serene and tranquil. At her death, someone who saw her said, “It looks like she melted into something really beautiful.”
Her memorial will be January 17th at 11:00 am at the Vedanta Temple. Anandaprana is survived by her monastic sisters and brothers and lay devotees in Santa Barbara and Hollywood. She is also survived by her daughter Carolyn Bond (Sumitra).
One of her favorite quotes, from Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination, sums up beautifully her passing: “My mind fell like a hailstone into that vast expanse of Brahman’s ocean. Touching one drop of it, I melted away and became one with Brahman.”