Ananda is a global spiritual movement to help you realize the joy of your own higher Self. It is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Ananda was founded by Swami Kriyananda on 4 July 1969. It spans many countries and serves several thousand spiritual seekers through its communities, meditation groups, and online offerings.
Our communities and centers welcome all sincere seekers, regardless of color, race, religion, national origin, gender, age, or different ability.
We are committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming environment for everyone to pursue their search for happiness through ancient practical techniques of meditation, Kriya Yoga, Hatha yoga, music, education & much more.
You Can Live In Joy
Founder of Ananda-Swami Kriyananda
Swami Kriyananda (1926–2013) the founder of Ananda and its worldwide movement. He was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Swami Kriyananda’s example of inspired leadership was the reason for Ananda’s success. He uplifted and encouraged people through personal example, spiritual counseling, writing, lecturing, music, and prayer. He trained the current Ananda leaders in much the same way: free from egoic motivation, always placing the spiritual needs of others foremost in all decisions.
He was a patient and sensitive teacher, allowing people to learn by experience, and never placing institutional needs ahead of the needs of an individual. “People are more important than things” is one of the foremost guiding principles of Ananda. And “Where there is adherence to dharma [right action], there is victory,” is another.
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With Swami Kriyananda’s leadership and contribution of hundreds of Ananda Members, Ananda achieved some milestones over the span of 50 years.
From building spiritual communities, meditation retreats, alternative education systems, publishing houses, expansion into different countries to founding a renunciate order for the new age.
Following are the brief details
of each milestone that truly represents Ananda’s mission worldwide.
Dream of Spiritual Communities
Since his youth, Kriyananda had dreamed of utopian communities. But few shared his enthusiasm, and he gradually put his dreams aside. He was surprised, then, to discover Yogananda speaking often about the need for “World Brotherhood Colonies” as places to foster spiritual attitudes and friendly cooperation.
“This day marks the birth of a new era. My spoken words are registered in the ether, in the Spirit of God, and they shall move the West. “We must go on — not only those who are here, but thousands of youths must go North, South, East, and West to cover the earth with little colonies, demonstrating that simplicity of living plus high thinking leads to the greatest happiness!”
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Beverly Hills, California, July 1949
It was at a garden party on July 31, 1949, that Yogananda gave a talk quoted above that changed the course of Swami Kriyananda’s life. “Moved to his core” by the tremendous energy with which Yogananda made his pronouncement, Kriyananda later wrote: “Deeply, I vowed that day to do my utmost to make his words a reality.” The opportunity to do so came in 1967.
With the help of a few friends and many miracles, Swami Kriyananda was able to purchase a small piece of land in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Nevada City, California. Thus was started a spiritual community, which is now known as Ananda Village. More than 200 people live in this intentional spiritual community dedicated to Yogananda’s ideals. A variety of Ananda-owned and private businesses form the economic backbone of the community.
Inspired by Yogananda’s dream of establishing spiritual communities, in 1969 he founded the first of what are now 9 Ananda communities worldwide. They provide a supportive environment of “simple living and high thinking” where over 1,000 full-time residents live, work, and worship together.
of Meditation Retreat
and Addition of New Spiritual Offerings
The Expanding Light Retreat, United States
By the early 1980s, the original facility for the Ananda Meditation Retreat had been outgrown. There were only a handful of small cabins, kindly described as “charming,” a dormitory, and tent sites, all of which could no longer accommodate the increasing number of visitors.
In 1984, the Ananda Meditation Retreat was relocated to the new land, and a new facility, enjoying close proximity to the residents and activities of Ananda Village.
It was also renamed The Expanding Light, and it serves guests 365 days a year, with classes and
programs to inspire them to live strong, inner-directed spiritual lives. Since opening in 1984, thousands of guests have come to The Expanding Light from well over 50 countries.
The Expanding Light Retreat, a non-profit organization, offers many public retreat programs – spiritual growth retreats, spiritual travels, yoga training – based on the universal teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda
and Innovating Alternative Education
The Living Wisdom School, United States
In 1917 the model for future Education for Life schools was founded in Ranchi, India, by Paramhansa Yogananda. He described some of his ideas in two documents, the Psychological Chart and The Balanced Life, along with chapter 27 of his autobiography. After Yogananda was called to the United States, the school flourished for several years, but gradually lost its focus without the direct guidance of its founder.
In 1972 a fortuitous confluence of events made it possible to revive Yogananda’s educational ideals. Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Yogananda, had founded Ananda, the first World Brotherhood Colony, along the lines suggested by Yogananda.
The families that gathered there were eager to provide their children with a school based on the principles from Ranchi.
The Ananda Living Wisdom School™ located at Ananda Village was founded in 1972 on the belief that students need inspiration and training for life – in addition to preparation for employment and intellectual pursuits. There are unique programs, based on Education for Life Philosophy, are carefully designed to meet each individual’s need, to prepare students for life’s inner and outer challenges, and to encourage a rich, lifelong journey of adventure and self-discovery.
Today the Ananda Living Wisdom School (which goes through 12th grade) is attended not only by the children of Ananda Village residents, but by children from the surrounding community, and boarding students from around the world.
In 2003, the Ananda College of Living Wisdom, an alternative to traditional college education, began offering A.A. and B.A. degree programs.
More schools, founded on the Education for Life approach, have been started in Palo Alto, California, Seattle, Washington, Portland Oregon, Gurgaon, India, and, most recently, Gaston, Oregon.
Education for Life, India
Living Wisdom School in Pune is Education for Life’s only school in India, joining a growing number of schools worldwide based on Paramhansa Yogananda’s educational principles and practices.
It began in 2020 similarly to how Paramhansa Yogananda’s own schools began 100 years ago, at a time of globally compromised health. Amidst the pandemic, it started as a pre-primary school from which it could grow further.
One year later, the ‘seed school’ has already sprouted, as upper standards were added at parents’ request. Testimonies have been enthusiastic, even if the student total is only seven (two in pre-primary, two in Grade 1, one in Grade 4, two in Grade 7). Currently, enthusiastic teachers outnumber the children!
In-House Publishing Houses
Crystal Clarity Publishers
In 1967, Swami Kriyananda was living in San Francisco, California. He had been teaching yoga classes in the area for about two years. He was offered a job teaching about the culture of India to Peace Corps volunteers headed to serve in that country. The income from this unexpected job gave him the money to print three little books that helped him to better convey the posture and meditation techniques he was teaching. Thus, Hansa Publications, a precursor to Crystal Clarity came into being.
In 2020 the business relocated to Los Angeles under the auspices of Ananda Los Angeles. Now located in the City of Angels, the business has the blessings of operating in the region Paramhansa Yogananda described as “the Benares of the West.”
Over the years of service to Yogananda’s teachings and techniques, nearly 150 books by Swami Kriyananda have been published. Swami Kriyananda’s books are printed in 28 languages and sold in 100 countries. Crystal Clarity also publishes over 10 books by Paramhansa Yogananda and a variety of books and video and audio recordings by Ananda teachers.
Ananda Sangha Publications, India
Ananda Sangha Publications is the publishing arm of Ananda India dedicated to sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
The books and music have touched millions of lives around the world, have received international acclaim, with many being award-winners.
For the last two decades, it has been fulfilling requests from India and South-East Asia regions There teams in Delhi and Pune attending to everyday logistics and serving.
Now, its focus is on translating these treasures into regional languages and spurring the expansion to the remotest corners of India.
Expansion in other Countries and launch of Renunciate Order for the New Age
Ananda’s presence in Europe began in 1983 with the establishment of its first center near Lake Como, Italy. In 1986 it transferred to Assisi, and on 5 May 1987, it opened its permanent center outside of Assisi, in the Umbrian hills. About 100 adults and children comprise the greater Ananda community, which includes a guest retreat, a family school, organic farms, and various spiritual businesses.
The guest facility (known as “Ananda Association”) has been serving thousands of spiritual seekers every year for the past 30 years. In addition to a wide variety of programs in practical spirituality, it also offers training programs through the Yogananda Academy of Europe, which includes the Schools of Ananda Yoga, Ananda Raja Yoga, and Ananda Life Therapy for self-healing.
Swami Kriyananda came to India in December 2003. He came with a small group of Ananda Members to Gurgaon.
Swami Kriyananda foresaw a big future for Ananda’s work in India. Besides spreading the teachings of Kriya Yoga and meditation, among the many projects he envisioned were Spiritual Communities, a universal Temple of All-religions based on Paramhansa Yogananda’s ideals, How-to-live Schools for the all-round education of children, a Yoga University, Monasteries for men and women, a Hospice for the elderly and an Orphanage for the young.
Swami Kriyananda lived in India from 2003 until his passing in 2013.
Meditation Retreat India
This Ashram and retreat center was established in 2009 by Swami Kriyananda.
About an hour outside Pune, India in the beautiful Sahyadri foothills, our peaceful facilities include 32 private acres near the foot of a forest-covered mountain, overlooking fields tilled by neighboring villagers.
Swamiji created this property for sincere devotees, it remains a powerful and popular pilgrimage spot. Devotees from all over the world come to spend some time in the natural surroundings, feel Swami Kriyananda’s vibrations, meditate in his house and walk along the pathways where he would take his evening strolls.
A Renunciate Order
for the New Age
The Nayaswami Order is a new movement in renunciation launched in late 2009 by Nayaswami Kriyananda.
This new renunciate order is very much like the ancient swami order in spirit but is a new expression for our age of higher consciousness. Its emphasis is on “positive” renunciation—a joyful expansion to Infinity.
In his book, A Renunciate Order for the New Age, Nayaswami Kriyananda describes a new model based on positive aspects of renunciation — rather than the traditional world-negating approach. It is intended for people from all walks of life, married or single, who are committed to finding God and are open to people of every religious affiliation.
Freedom from anger, hate, pride, and desire is more important than the renunciation of outer, material involvements.
“Renunciation, as practiced in the past, no longer appeals to people in this age of greater freedom of thought and consciousness. It is more uplifting nowadays to concentrate on the positive aspects of renunciation.”
Spiritual Directors of Ananda
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi are dynamic emissaries of Paramhansa Yogananda and Global Peace Ambassadors.
As Spiritual Directors of Ananda, and living examples of spiritual values in action, Jyotish and Devi travel throughout the United States, India, and Europe speaking on spiritualizing daily life and the practice of Kriya Yoga meditation.
Nayaswami Jyotish, Dharmarcharya of Ananda Worldwide, is named spiritual successor of Swami Kriyananda. He is the author of several books on meditation and related subjects, including How to Meditate, Lessons in Meditation, along with thirty Day Essentials for Career and Thirty Day Essentials for Marriage.
Nayaswami Devi is the author of Faith is My Armor: The Life of Swami Kriyananda and the editor of The Light of Superconsciousness and Intuition for Starters, both by Swami Kriyananda.
Longtime devotees of Yogananda, Jyotish, and Devi worked closely with Swami Kriyananda from 1969 until his passing in 2013 and were personally trained by him to guide Ananda’s work. Both of them are also Kriyacharyas, designated by Swami Kriyananda to initiate people into Kriya Yoga.
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About Our Logo
One day when Swami Kriyananda was meditating, this unusual image came to him. After dozens of sketches, he was able to capture the delicate curves on paper. The movement upward represents each of us, soaring in spirit. Coming down again, we are actively trying to bring that grace back into our lives. Whenever you see this symbol, it means “Joy is within you.”