In a 1996 interview, Swami Kriyananda stated, “When I was 15, World War II was beginning to get underway. I thought I could envision a time when civilization would be dealt a very serious blow. If we could have a community of people that would preserve the values of civilization, it would be the means by which civilization could build again in the future. I saw a community with engineers, doctors and people of all modern skills, who could bring those skills back.
“Today I think civilization is going to desperately need communities like this, not so much to preserve skills such as engineering, but rather to preserve spiritual values. When you have people scattered, it’s very hard to uphold spiritual values. Seeing one person who is calm, for example, is not going to draw people, but seeing a community of people who are calm, you have to say that it’s what they are doing that makes them that way.”
During Paramhansa Yogananda’s lifetime, he often talked about World Brotherhood Colonies and said, “Thousands of youths must go North, South, East, and West to spread these ideas. I am sowing these thoughts in the ether, and my words shall not die!”
As a young disciple of Yogananda, Kriyananda was thrilled and inspired by this idea and vowed to help his guru make these communities a reality. After Yogananda’s passing in 1952, Kriyananda made several fruitless attempts to interest others in his guru’s organization in the idea of World Brotherhood Colonies. However, during this decade Swami Kriyananda saw much upheaval in his own life as well. He was forced to leave the organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, and spent a good deal of time searching for a way to continue serving his guru. (For more, see the books Faith is My Armor and A Place Called Ananda.)
In 1966, he began teaching classes in yoga and meditation at the Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco. He gave several training seminars on Indian culture to Peace Corps volunteers and also had a radio show on two local radio stations. One of his first meditation students was Jyotish (John Novak), who became his secretary and later a teacher of meditation, himself.