This website refers to “Swami” Kriyananda with quotation marks around “swami” on purpose. In what we feel is a shocking degree of fraudulent misrepresentation by Kriyananda, it turns out he is not, repeat not, a member of the Swami Order. He is using the title “Swami” without actually being one and misleading his followers and the public into thinking he is an actual swami. He attracts followers, solicits donations and sells books all based on duping people into thinking he has a title, status, and membership that he does not.
For those who don’t understand what a swami actually is and why this is HUGE deal:
* A “Swami” is an official thing like being Catholic monk (Benedictine, Jesuit, etc), priest/minister, Lama, or from a secular point of view like being part of the Masons/Rotarians or what not. No one can just self-declare that they are a “swami” just like you can’t self-declare yourself a Catholic priest or a Mason. It’s a real thing, a real monastic order, with real headquarters and real indoctrination and acceptance processes in India. Someone else has to make, allow or grant you into the official Swami monastic orders of India. If no one does this, you are not a swami and you can’t call yourself one. It’s that simple and there is no ambiguity, gray area or middle ground about it.
* Kriyananda was technically a swami from 1955-1985 though he has confessed that he NEVER, EVER actually obeyed the rules of the Swami order which included poverty, chastity, and obedience. see the sections of this site about his constant 40 years of sexual partners and his lavish lifestyle for more on that. he has also admitted under oath in one of his jury trials that he was not celibate while claiming to be a swami which is celibate by definition.
* though he has not been an official swami since 1985 he still signs all of his books, public announcements, introductions, private letters as “Swami” Kriyananda. All the leaders and members of Ananda do the same.
* It should also be mentioned here that Paramahansa Yogananda never made nor encouraged Kriyananda to be a Swami or even minister. That happened years after Yogananda died.
* Yogananda was dead-set against Kriyananda, who was then known as Donald Walters, becoming a Swami and DECLINED to induct him in the Swami monastic order though he could have if he wanted to since Yogananda himself was an official member in good standing. In multiple places including court documents, Kriyananda/Walters admits that he secretly told Yogananda about his sexual weakness and problems.We know for a fact that in Yogananda’s mind and world view this confession which Kriyananda admits he had nowhere near overcome by 1955 when he made himself a swami the first time would have disqualified him from admission into the swami order. Yogananda wrote clearly about qualifications for making someone a swami and why someone like Kriyananda didn’t qualify:
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda writes, ““On several occasions Sri Yukteswar, like Lahiri Mahasaya, discouraged “unripe” students who wished to join the Swami Order: “To wear the ochre robe when one lacks God- Realization is misleading to society“, the two masters said. “Forget the outward symbols of renunciation which may injure you by inducing a false pride.” Paramahansa Yogananda quoting Sri Yukteswar and Lahiri Mahasaya in the Autobiography of a Yogi, pg. 130, 1981, pg. 138, 1959 edition.
Yogananda also wrote that ““Even the outer donning of the swami’s robe or the monk’s habit is not proper (lest worldly people lose respect for the religious orders) until one is a monk at heart, has renounced all worldly desires, and is immersed in God. There is no meaning in monasticism without the inward joy of God.”Paramahansa Yogananda, SRF magazine, May, 1951, pg. 30, “Spiritual Interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita,” Chapter 5, Stanza 2
* Kriyananda specifically dropped out of the Swami monastic order in 1985. He admits that he went to Daya Mata of SRF who is the one who made him a swami in the first place in 1955 and offiicially dropped out of the monastic order so that he could get married.
* In a recent letter to a woman named Erina which is included on this website here, Kriyananda admits that in the early 1990’s after both of his second wife left and divorced him he just decided to start calling himself a “Swami” again. He did NOT actually get reinitiated into the Swami order which he knows would not have accepted him for a variety of reasons including that by this time he had been convicted of fraud, malice, and sexual abuse in US courts of law.
* He justifies his decision to start calling himself a Swami again by saying that some unnamed person who himself was not a swami offered the advice “once a swami, always a swami” and Kriyananda decided that this advice from a random unnamed person was good enough to start calling himself a Swami again.
* Kriyananda now publicly tells people he is a “Swami”. He puts it on all of his books, his public lecture announcements, fundraising pieces, and all kinds of public and private materials and correspondence. He never, ever publicly discloses that he is in fact not really an offiicial swami and instead self-bestowed the title on himself when he felt like for marketing and esteem issues. This is FRAUD pure and simple. Remember this is already someone who was previously convicted of fraud in a court of law. It shows you how arrogant he is.
Do his followers or the public realize that Kriyananda is not a member of the Swami order and is using the title unethically and without permission? We highly doubt it.
Read excerpts from court documents and letters where Kriyananda admits he is no longer a swami.