Elana Joan Cara was born in San Francisco, California. When she was three years old, she was placed in a Catholic home for girls called Mount Saint Joseph’s. Thus began her early religious training. From a young age, she demonstrated an extraordinary musical talent and a fine singing voice. At the age of fifteen she was awarded a scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York City. Too young to enter the world of opera, she continued to develop her music skills and gained valuable performance experience as social director aboard American cruise ships. She also broadened her understanding of religion by visiting temples and holy shrines throughout the South Pacific, India, Japan, Thailand, and Bali.

In 1978 Miss Cara was introduced to Reverend John Laurence, who became her mentor, spiritual advisor, and friend. She became his secretary and driver, since he never learned to drive. For a number of years, she recorded Reverend Laurence’s talks, presentations, and classes on spiritual development. She quickly became a devotee of the great Paramhansa Yogananda, and within a few years, under the direction of Kamala Silva (another disciple of Yogananda) and Reverand John Laurence, she became a devoted kiryaban (practitioner of the Kriya Yoga meditation technique taught by Yogananda). Kamala Silva recognized Elana Joan’s writing talent through the many letters they exchanged. She encouraged her to write about Reverend Laurence as an important part of her life’s work. So, it was with great enthusiasm and a dedicated effort that these talks have become a book titled The Light of the Christ Within.

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