The Ananda Awareness Network is a large, loosely connected group of individuals who have had the misfortune to come across Swami Kriyananda at some point in our lives. All our stories our unique. We are different ages, genders, political parties, and now even religions. What we have in common is that we are shocked and saddened about what we encountered at Ananda, with Ananda’s inner circle of leaders and most of all “Swami” Kriyananda.
The Ananda Awareness Network’s primary goal is to provide information to those who have concerns about the Swami Kriyananda and the Ananda Church of Self-Realization. “Swami” Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), the Ananda Church and the Ananda communities operate across the United States, Europe and India. It’s an organization that’s got it’s hands in many communities, business, and families across the globe, operating under many different names. Ananda locations include Nevada City, California, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Seattle, Bothell, Portland, Dallas, Rhode Island, and many more across the United States. Also in Assisi, Italy, Gurgaon and Pune, India and in dozens of other countries. Kriyananda / Ananda also operates The Expanding Light Meditation and Yoga Retreat, Living Wisdom Schools, Ananda Yoga, Crystal Clarity, and much more. We want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions especially if you are thinking about involvement with Ananda or one of it’s subsidiaries or disguised organizations.
AAN recognizes and respects all people, groups and religions, including Ananda, in their pursuit of high ideals and in their right to practice their chosen religion as they see fit. AAN believes information and alternative views should be available to those who wish, so a more fully informed choice can be made about one’s current or future relationship with Kriyananda and Ananda.
Here’s some more FAQ about us and these sites:
1. Why are you anonymous? We took a group vote about this and the majority decided that we needed stay anonymous to protect us from reprisals by Kriyananda / Ananda. Kriyananda is a vicious and vindictive person as other pages on these sites prove. He has been known and sanctioned by a judge for hiring Private Instigators to break into his “enemies” houses and offices and steal their files and information. Another strategy of his is to invent false charges against his accusers to try to discredit them. At various times he has claimed that we have beaten our wives, raped and impregnated mentally challenged women, and stole money from him or Ananda. None of this is true and never, ever, ever is their any kind of proof he just says these things or writes them and his followers blindly believe the smears. We are trying to protect our families and children from him and prevent him from blame-shifting by making this about us when it is about him.
Keep in mind that all claims on this site are supported by written documents or by accusers who have named themselves and written sworn legal affadavits on the penalty of perjury. The only people that are anonymous hear are the people who wrote and produced the site not the people who are giving their actual testimony which is the important part.
2. Is this a smear campaign by a rival religious organization? We are not all members of Self-Realization Fellowship, aka SRF, which is the spiritual organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda and who Kriyananda uses to give himself legitimacy. Kriyananda typically lies in his defense by claiming his critics are all members of SRF, the organization that tossed him out in 1963, and have a vested interested in going after him and Ananda so as to boost SRF. Very few of us are members of any religious organization of any kind, including SRF. NONE of us have a leadership position with SRF or have in way discussed this site with anyone in power at SRF or the SRF Board of Directors. SRF knows nothing about this website. Most of us are not members of any religious organization at all. Frankly, after experiencing Kriyananda and Ananda most of us are so burned out by formal religious organizations that we would never think of joining another one ever again. The majority bunch of us have moved on to being either agnostic, Christian, or with other Hindu/Yoga teachers, in part cause “Swami” Kriyananda devastated our faith in Paramahansa Yogananda and his teachings.
This is important because the first thing that “Swami” Kriyananda and his leaders always do is to claim that SRF is really behind any “attack” on him. This is Kriyananda’s standard deflection and defense strategy to pretend he is being persecuted by SRF. The truth is that it is he and only he is obsessed with SRF. No one there ever thinks about him and they know nothing about this. Don’t fall for yet more of his lies.
3. If Kriyananda is so awful why are there so many good people at Ananda? There are many fine people at Ananda. They are victims to. Almost all of them came to Ananda because they were told it was a Yogananda based community. They didn’t come for Kriyananda. Only after they were there for awhile and subtly indoctrinated into believing that Kriyananda is a great saint did many of them start to change their focus from Yogananda to Kriyananda. Most importantly, Only the leaders and inner circle of Ananda know how depraved he is. Most of the regular people there don’t. They’ve been told he’s a great man and will help them attain salvation. They are lied to just as much as the general population. Our experience is that the regular folks of Ananda are mostly good and sincere people because they have little daily contact with Kriyananda, most don’t know him at all, and because they are the ones who genuinely practice the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda even though Kriyananda and the leadership does not. Our hope is that truth will help them break free so that they can more accurately know theyre leaders and keep focused on Yogananda and not Kriyananda’s false teachings. Or if they feel disillusioned with their path they can learn from the truth, get on with their lives and find a new more honest and genuine path. Remember John 8:32: The truth shall set you free!
4. Do you want Ananda to go away? Absolutely not! Most of us believe that Yogananda’s ideal of healthy spiritual communities is a good thing. If Ananda didn’t exist we would have to invent it. But its important for the people of Ananda who claim to be disciples of Yogananda to break free from teh vice grip that Kriyananda has on them. If Ananda were truly about Yogananda and not Kriyananda, it would be a wonderful thing. That’s what we hope happens. That the truths in this website can help the good people of Ananda recapture their voice and power and come back in line with the teachings and intention of Yogananda. Anyone who thinks that Ananda is better served by being a Kriyananda community than a Yogananda community is really deluding themselves and actively helping in the hurting of a lot of people.
5. What should the people of Ananda do? If the innocent and good disciples of Ananda truly love Kriyananda and want whats best for him, they should follow the spiritual guidance that Ananda Moye Ma gave Kriyananda in 1974. She warned him that being involved with Ananda in capacity is terrible for him spiritually and is “keeping [Kriyananda] from enlightenment” and has “stopped” his spiritual growth. So for his own sake if not their own, the right and moral and spiritual thing to do is to cut him loose. It will not hurt him or you, it will help him. Its his only hope at salvation and turning his life around. Its never to late, Gods grace is always possible. They should also take a long hard look at the leadership and inner circle who have known about, participated in and helped coverup and actively enable Kriyananda’s horrible behavior for decades. These leaders who are complicit in the alleged frauds of Kriyananda should resign or be tossed out and new uncorrupt leadership installed.
After cutting all ties with Kriyananda, the people of Ananda should purge all the many ways that Kriyananda has swapped his teachings and ceremonies in place of Yogananda’s. We believe that if Ananda gets back to the fundamentals of Yogananda’s teachings they will thrive like never before individually and as a group.
Finally and most importantly of all, Ananda should publicly apologize for all the people who have been hurt in so many different ways for decades. Admit your errors, even if they were “only” ignorant and blind obedience and then find whatever ways God or Master guides you to make ammends to those youve hurt and the wider community. Then move forward with forgiveness and a clean slate.
Once you de-cultify from Kriyananda, with humility and compassion we have no doubt the greater spiritual community of the world will gladly welcome you back into the fold as a legitimate and positive organization.
6. What if Kriyananda won’t leave or the most corrupt leaders won’t resign? That is your decision to be guided by your conscience. If you really love and cherish the idea of spiritual community don’t be afraid to band together with a few friends and start your own. You don’t need Kriyananda to live Yogananda’s ideals! Remember that not even Yogananda ever needed Kriyananda so you sure don’t either!
Another thing that Kriyananda misleads people about is what Paramahansa Yogananda meant by spiritual communities. Yogananda didn’t describe them anything like what Ananda looks and operate like today. We know this cause Yogananda wrote about it and because Yogananda started one himself in Encinitas and we know the broad outlines of what it looked like and how it operated. When Yoganananda talked about small communities, he meant a handful or few dozen people and probably not more than a 100 max in one place. These communities were intended to be run democratically and with equality not top-down and dictator-style. Each was meant to be independent not part of some mega-church and monolithic organization that exerted international control over a global membership. And not be a “priesthood” lording it over the “regular” householders. Yogananda was very clear about this! No obedience to anyone else required. This is all Kriyananda’s bastardization of Yogananda’s high ideal for his selfish purposes. So don’t be afraid to step out and do it with a small group of friends or people you feel an affinity with. They can be in city apartments, houses in suburbs, the country or anywhere you want. Yogananda’s first community was in a suburban / exurban setting sitting between two of the largest cities in the country. It don’t have to be expensive either. Pool together your current rent or mortgage money and you probably have enough to start. Sound scary? You might love your new freedom, adventure and spiritual challenge! Don’t let Kriyananda trick you into thinking you need him, thats how he digs his claws into people.