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Our Spiritual Lineage

Those who join us on this path of Self-realization are not connected to some printing press, but to a line of God-realized masters.

God Himself, through them, overshadows this work. All who follow it sincerely, with devotion, will be brought to Him.

—Paramhansa Yogananda

Ananda was founded in 1968 by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. Ananda members adhere to the spiritual path of Kriya Yoga as taught by Yogananda, who they regard as their Guru, or savior.

As a direct disciple of Yogananda and a founder of Ananda, Swami Kriyananda serves as a teacher, spiritual guide, and divine friend to Ananda members worldwide.

Yogananda

Paramhansa Yogananda
1893 – 1952

Yogananda was the first great master of yoga to make his home in the West, coming to the U.S. from India in 1920 and living here until his passing.

Swami Kriyananda
1926 – 2013

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) is the founder of Ananda. He is one of the foremost proponents of yogic teachings in the world today. In 1948, at the age of 22, he became a disciple of the Indian yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda. He is one of a few remaining direct disciples of Yogananda active today.

Swami Sri Yukteswar
1855 – 1936

Paramhansa Yogananda was trained for his mission in the West by his Guru Swami Sri Yukteswar of Serampore, India.

Lahiri Mahasaya
1828 – 1895

Shyama Charan Lahiri was the birth name of the great yoga master. His disciples lovingly added “Mahasaya,” which means “great-minded one.” Born in Bengal, India, to a pious brahmin family, Lahiri Mahasaya was the one who made the ancient science of Kriya Yoga available not just to those who had renounced the world, but to all sincere souls.

Mahavatar Babaji

Babaji simply means “revered father.” Though the great master’s birth name and date are unknown, his subtle spiritual influence is felt throughout the world. It was he who re-introduced the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, which had been lost through the dark ages due to “priestly secrecy and man’s indifference,” as Yogananda put it.

Jesus Christ

Why is there a picture of Jesus on Ananda’s altars? What connection is there between the Ananda’s line of Gurus and Christ?

Ananda Altar

Ananda altar