“Swami” Kriyananda and Ananda do NOT actually teach much of Paramahansa’s Yogananda’s teachings. If one is associating with Ananda primarily because of a desire to study Yogananda’s teachings, one should know that at the current time, all of Yogananda’s ceremonies, written lessons and most of the books recomended or required for study at Ananda have been replaced by those created by Swami Kriyananda / J. Donald Walters. Former members have stated that of the total material officially used at ceremonies and religious services, including quotes from books, yoga lessons, poems and songs:
* 75 – 80% is created by Kriyananda himself
* 10-15% is of generic Hindu or Christian sources
* Only 5 – 10% is taken from Paramahansa Yogananda
The most shocking thing of all is that Kriyananda / Ananda requires ZERO of Yogananda’s own books to be read, recordings to be listened to, or lessons to be studied in order to call oneself a disciple of Yogananda or live at Ananda or serve as a minster! There is not a single book actually written by Yogananda that is required reading for those claiming to be students of Yogananda! All of the required curriculum at Ananda is Kriyananda’s books articles and lessons alone. One could not only become an Ananda member but a leader and minister and yet never have read or studied a single book or listened to a single lecture given by Yogananda himself!
Ananda is simply not a Yogananda community and members of Ananda are not disciples of Yogananda. That is pure marketing and fund raising spin. Ananda is nothing but a covert Kriyanada worshipping community. Why covert you ask? Because as this site shows Kriyananda is a dishonorable, abusive person and also an unsuccessful one. No one buys Kriyananda’s books, attends his lectures, or gives him money if he doesn’t hide behind Yogananda’s name. He uses Yogananda to whitewash his lies and bad deeds.
Here are just some of many, many examples that would be too numerous to list on this page.
The following are the Ceremonies and religious services studied at Ananda,
Sunday Service & Festival of Light ceremony; Yogananda has a wonderful Sunday morning service that he expressly created for America. Walters/Kriyananda threw it out and instead the entire Sunday Service consists of parts only written by Kriyananda. Ananda people mostly perform Kriyananda chants and music, read Kriyananda’s affirmations, given sermons based on Kriyananda’s books, and end it every week with a Catholic-style mass that Kriyananda admits he took from his time living in Itally attending Catholic events.
Superconscious Attunement Ceremony, created by J. Donald Walters. Yogananda saw no need for this and offered no such thing.
Purification Ceremony, created by J. Donald Walters. Again Yogananda saw no need for this.
Ananda Wedding Ceremony, created by J. Donald Walters.
Wedding Ceremony, Yogananda himself wrote a beautiful and profound wedding ceremony that Kriyananda threw away and replaced with his own.
Kriya Yoga ceremony, created by J. Donald Walters. Yogananda himself created a Kriya Yoga initiation format that Kriyananda through out and replaced with his own. This should be of great concern to people who go to Ananda to get Kriya Yoga or be a sincere disciple. You are not even getting Yogananda’s own Kriya Initiation ceremony which is one of the most important things in the life of a Yogananda disciple!
Rules of Conduct for Members, (known as “The Rule”) “The rule” was created by J. Donald Walters. Includes directives that members should seek permission from a special comittee of community leaders before marrying, changing jobs, or even having children. Kriyananda created this Rule so that he could control Ananda people and force there obedience to him. Yogananda never had or advocated such a document and never would have! It is things like this that turn a beautiful thing like Yogananda’s teachings and morph it into the Kriyananda/Ananda cult.
Membership Vows, created by J. Donald Walters. (includes vow of “coopertive obedience and loyalty, above all” to the spiritual director of Ananda, that is to Kriyananda! SRF does not and has never required anyone to be obedient to anyone but Paramahansa Yogananda himself. This is a total undermining and changing of Yogananda’s teachings that again helps turn Ananda into a Kriyananda cult.
Discipleship ceremonies Created by J. Donald Walters. Yogananda himself created a discipleship ceremony that Kriyananda through out and replaced with his own.
Vows taking ceremonies; village member, monastic training, postulant, novice, renunciant and final vows; (most membership vows include vow of “coopertive obedience and loyalty, above all, to the spiritual director of Ananda church; J. Donald Walters) Created by J. Donald Walters. Kriyananda loves to have as many vow ceremonies as he can create and in which Ananda members are always pledging their obedience to Kriyananda. He is obsessed with making Ananda repeat these vows to him over and over and over again. members have to retake them every single year for life and the more time they spend at Ananda the more hardcore the vows get until the final vow essentially gets people to give everything, every possession and every dollar to Ananda plus surrender 100% of their own decision making and life choices to Kriyananda and the other Ananda leaders appointed by him.
None of these vows have anything to do with joining a traditional “swami” order or being a disciple of Yogananda. These are soley about making people obedient to KRiyananda. Kriyananda completely changes and destroys the original intent and meaning. Those who are taking vows of membership, training, postulant, novice, and life member/final vows are not members of a Swami order and can continue to have as much sex, make money, become millionaires and billionaires, and generally do whatever they want so long as they remain 100% obedient to Kriyananda when he tells them to do something. This is a terrible twisting of the original and authentic concept of vows that Hindus and Yogananda following those traditions practiced.
Ministers pledge ceremonies, for ministers and lightbearers. (senior ministers) Created by J. Donald Walters. Lightbearers is a type of super high ranking minister that Kriyananda created. Yogananda had no such thing.
Astral ascenscion ceremony (funeral); Format created by Walters/Kriyananda. Replaces Yogananda’s beautiful and profound ceremony.
Shiva Ratri ceremony; traditional Hindu ceremony that they do at Ananda but has nothing to do with Yogananda.
Other community ceremonies or holidays,
Two day (weekend) celebration of Kriyananda/ J. Donald Walter’s birthday. This event takes place at EVERY location that Ananda has an outpost including throughout America, India, and Europe. Typically, Kriyananda travels from one to another to another (most are not held on Kriyananda’s actual birthday). This is to ensure that every year there is a giant party centered around personally celebrating Kriyananda where members express their gratitude to him and give him gifts, specially large amounts of cash. He holds multiple birthday parties around the world so that he can rake in big bucks. One former member of Ananda who worked in the main Ministry Office said that its not unusual for Kriyananda to be given tens of thousands of dollars in cash, PER Birthday party. In some years, he had as many as ten different parties for himself.
Easter Ceremonies, Combination of Kriyananda and Christianity; Example; includes walk from market to Expanding Light temple singing Walters Christian style chants and songs.
Christmas, Includes musical evening of Kriyananda’s music. The Christmas Eve ceremony at Ananda was written by Kriyananda and incorporates none of Yogananda’s original material. Ananda members are again expected to express their love and gratitude to Kriyananda and to give him large amounts of cash similar to his birthday!
Music and Chanting, Mr.Walters forbids any music at Ananda public events other than his own. Very occasionally he will take someone else’s idea and change/rewrite it and then allow it to be performed. Very few of Yogananda’s own chants are even performed at Ananda. the majority of the chants performed at Ananda were written by Kriyananda. So few of Yogananda’s chants get performed that many long time Ananda members tell us that when they leave Ananda and go to a true Yogananda event hear some of Yogananda’s most favorite and beautiful chants for the very first time! Kriyananda writes virtually all of the choir and supplemental/non-chanting music as well. All musicians at Ananda are discouraged from writing or attempting to perform their own music. They are told the only music that will be played at Ananda is that written by Kriyananda in order to keep the “vibration pure.”
Spiritual Renewal Week, created by J. Donald Walters. (Created as substitute for Yogananda’s yearly Convocation). This is a week of celebrating Kriyananda and his teachings every August. During this week, the leaders and ministers talk about Kriyananda, tell “spiritual” stories about him, perform his plays and music and generally create a 24/7 Kriyananda immersion experience. All for a nice big fee! This is one of the Retreat centers big profit events for the year.
County wide open house, a PR event focusing on what Ananda and J. Donald Walters have accomplished.
Schools, Kriyananda/Ananda has created his own school system from kindergarten through college. Despite Kriyananda having no training in education and no degrees, the curriculum is based on his own books and writings on the subject. An article in the Palo Alto Weekly reported that; “The Ananda School uses the education techniques of J. Donald Walters” (Swami Kriyananda).
Written teachings required or recomended for membership at Ananda:
Ananda Course in Self-Realization, created by J. Donald Walters. (replaces Yogananda’s “SRF Lessons” which Yogananda specifically wrote and felt were THE core part to being his student especially for those who couldnt be with him personally.) Over 60 books written by J. Donald Walters. The biggest shock as has been pointed out is that someone coming to Ananda to be supposedly a student/disciple of Yogananda is not required to read any of Yogananda’s own books or listen to any of his own talks! Its all been replaced by Kriyananda. Even Autobiography of a Yogi has now been replaced by Kriyananda’s own shoddy, innacurate and false “biography” of Yogananda despite the fact that Kriyananda didn’t even know Yogananda then and did no new or original research when he wrote it. A sham!
Photos in private homes. On official public altars Kriyananda adheres to a semi-traditional altar that Yogananda used during his lifetime (though there is controversy about even this since even in public there are always multiple large sized photos of Kriyananda near the altar if not quite on it). But in every Ananda members private homes most especially all of the leadership, things look radically different. Kriyananda’s photo is always on every leaders private altar. All senior and long-time members of the community are expected to have Kriyananda’s photo on the altar and worship him equally or more than the other line of gurus. In most Ananda households including all of the leadership, there are FAR MORE photos and misc objects of worship of Kriyananda than of Yogananda. Every one of us at Ananda Awareness Network either lived at Ananda or visited many of the homes including the leaders and can personally vouch for this. No matter what things look like in public this is the private and real truth of Ananda.
Secret Guru. Most of the leaders and long time members of Ananda will tell you in private once you get to know them that they actually consider Kriyananda their guru not Yogananda. Or they will say something to the effect that there is no difference to them between Kriyananda and Yogananda. Or they will say that one must “attune” oneself and be in perfect harmony and obedience to Kriyananda in order to know or reach Yogananda. Kriyananda has completely inserted himself as not only the middle man in the relationship between disciples and Yoganadna but as the primary person in the relationship. It is EXPECTED at Ananda that to rise higher in the organization you must privately be indoctrinated into the belief that Kriyananda is the real guru, not Yogananda. Yogananda is used to get people in the door but over time Kriyananda systematically replaces Yogananda with worshipping himself instead. Yogananda made it very clear that he was to be the only and last of the line of the gurus. It is straight up blasphemy, not to mention cult-like behavior, the way that Kriyananda substitutes himself or holds himself as a required channel to Yogananda or the Divine. Anyone who believes this is going 100% against Yogananda’s teachings.