What is Ananda?
Ananda Sangha – fellowship of divine joy – is a worldwide group of individuals who share the search for higher consciousness and the ideal of service to others by following the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.Yogananda’s teachings emphasize: “Self-realization” the direct inner experience of God. They are based on the timeless universal truths of India, are nonsectarian, and offer practical solutions to the challenges of modern life.Ananda was founded in 1968 by Swami Kriyananda to support others in their quest for spiritual growth. Ananda Sangha offers classes, events, satsangs, study materials, and other resources to introduce Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda and their teachings to aspiring devotees around the world.
Paramhansa Yogananda was the first yoga master of India to permanently live and teach in the West. Before his birth in 1893, Babaji and Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi laid out his mission. Swami Sri Yukteswar of Serampore and Puri was given the responsibility of preparing his young disciple for the unknown rigors of introducing meditation, Kriya Yoga, and Sanaatan Dharma to the West.After establishing a school for boys in Ranchi, Yogananda set out from India in 1920 for America. His guru, Swami Sri Yukteshwar, sent him off on his life’s mission with the following admonition: “The West is high in material attainments, but lackingin spiritual understanding. It is God’s will that you play a role in teaching mankind the value in balancing the material with an inner, spiritual life.”
Yogananda spent the following decade crisscrossing the United States on extensive lecture tours. Thousands thronged to hear the yoga master from India; his enthusiastic audiences filled the largest halls of America. Many became his students and took initiation into Kriya Yoga.
He lived the rest of his life teaching, lecturing, and writing from his base in California, returning to India only a single time to see his guru and be close by at the time of his mahasamadhi. In 1946 he published what has become a spiritual classic and one of the best-loved books of the 20th century, Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies, in eighteen translations. Now, more than a century after his birth, this great master remains one of the world’s most highly venerated proponents of India’s ancient spiritual tradition to mankind at large.
Direct Disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda
Swami Kriyananda was born in Romania of American parents, and educated in England, continental Europe, and the United States. Artistically and philosophically inclined from youth, he questioned life’s meaning and society values.During a period of intense inner reflection, he discovered and read Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, and the next day traveled 3000 miles from New York to California to meet the Master, who accepted him as a monastic disciple. Yogananda soon appointed him head of the monastery, and authorized him to teach in his name and give initiation into Kriya Yoga. His guru also entrusted him with two primary missions: writing, editing, and lecturing; and founding what he called “world brotherhood colonies.”
Swami Kriyananda dedicated his life to spreading his guru’s teachings. He traveled around the world lecturing in five languages, writing more than hundred books, and composing hundreds of pieces of music. His books are published in one hundred countries and in twenty-eight languages.
Recognized as the “father of the modern spiritual communities movement” in the United States, Kriyananda founded the first Ananda World Brotherhood Colony in 1968 in Northern California. It has served as a model for five residential communities founded subsequently in the United States and Europe.
A prolific author, accompalished composer, playwright, and artist, and a world renowned spiritual teacher, Swami Kriyananda always referred to himself as “a humble disciple” of the great God-realized master, Paramhansa Yogananda.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Ananda Sangha?
Ananda Sangha is a spiritual movement based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. It was founded by Swami Kriyananda in the year 1968 in California. The main ideal of Ananda is to help us realize our highest potential through meditation and spiritual living. Ananda India started her chapter in 2003 at Gurgaon, near New Delhi. Ananda India’s Kriya Yoga Ashram is located near Pune. All around India, Ananda Sangha is increasingly attracting friends, devotees, and committed members. Many of these locations offer a full curriculum of studies based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
2. Is it different from YSS/SRF?
Ans. The answer is both yes and no 🙂. Paramhansa Yogananda founded SRF(Self Realization fellowship in America)/YSS (Yogada Satsanga Society in India). His disciple Swami Kriyananda founded Ananda Sangha. Both the sister organisations spread the teachings of the same guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, but the emphasis and the way of presenting them differs. For eg, YSS offers correspondence courses for Kriya Yoga, where as Acharyas from Ananda Sangha conduct classes in person.
3. Who is Swami Kriyananda?
Swami Kriyananda is a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. He met Paramhansa Yogananda on Sep 12, 1948, when he was just 22 years of age. For over 60 years he has shared his Guru’s teachings and is widely recognized as one of the leading spiritual leaders in the world today. Kriyananda is accomplished as an author, composer and song writer, poet, playwright, lecturer, photographer, linguist, TV and radio broadcaster, and founder of spiritual communities on three continents. He has authored over 145 books on spirituality and composed over 400 pieces of music. Most recently he ventured into screen play writing and has written scripts for three movies to spread the teachings of his guru to the masses. His illuminating talks and insightful writings has inspired millions of people to grow spiritually. Many of you would have seen him in Aastha channel a few years ago. You can watch many of his Bhagawad gita commentaries on Youtube. He passed away on April 21, 2013.