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 1969 by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. Paramhansa Yogananda was the last in a line of Self-realized gurus starting with Jesus Christ. Before his passing, Swami Kriyananda named Nayaswami Jyotish as his spiritual successor. He and his wife, Nayaswami Devi, serve as Ananda’s spiritual directors, and travel frequently giving classes. See their program schedule.

Ananda's Line of Gurus


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. Ananda is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his line of gurus. Read More


Swami Sri Yukteswar is the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda and a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. He met Babaji in 1894, who told him that one of his disciples was to be sent to America to share the teachings of yoga with the West. He did not have many disciples, as he was known for his strictness. He had two ashrams, one in Serampore and one in Puri. He is author of The Holy Science. Read More



Lahiri Mahasaya is a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji and known for making Kriya Yoga widely available. He met Babaji in 1861 when he was 33 and received the technique of Kriya Yoga from him. He wished to become a monk, but he was married with children and Babaji told him that his mission was to be a householder yogi. He had many disciples, including Swami Sri Yukteswar and the parents of Paramhansa Yogananda. Read More

Mahavatar Babaji is the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya and the one who re-introduced the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, which was lost during the Dark Ages. Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi introduced the world to this mysterious master. Still alive and residing in the Himalayas for centuries or even thousands of years, Babaji has been a guide for great spiritual teachers to carry out their special dispensations. For this reason he is called a mahavatar, a great incarnation of God. Read More

Jesus Christ appeared to Mahavatar Babaji and asked him to send someone to the West to spread the teachings of original Christianity. Jesus told Babaji that his followers needed to learn how to receive him through deep meditation, as beautifully described in the verse, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become children of God.” (John 1:12). Read More

Ananda's Founder and Spiritual Directors


Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) is the founder of Ananda. In 1948, at the age of 22, he became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. He bought property in Northern California in the late 1960’s and started Ananda Village. Now there are several more communities, including one in India and one in Italy, and many more centers and meditation groups. Swami Kriyananda is also the author of 150 books and over 400 pieces of music. Read More

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi

Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi are spiritual directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide, and Nayaswami Jyotish is the spiritual successor of Swami Kriyananda. Jyotish met Swami Kriyananda in 1966, and Devi in 1969. They worked closely with him to build Ananda’s work around the world. Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi travel throughout the United States, India, and Europe speaking on the practice of Kriya Yoga meditation and spiritualizing daily life. They have separately and together written and edited several books. Read More

What Are Ananda and Swami Kriyananda’s Roles in Yogananda’s Mission?

We often receive questions about Ananda, Swami Kriyananda, and Self-Realization Fellowship (the organization that Yogananda founded), and have compiled our answers to each of these questions on this linked page. Read More