Swami Kriyananda’s Last Will, Testament, and Legacy states: “My spiritual successor shall be John E. Novak (generally known by his spiritual name, Jyotish).”

Nayaswami Jyotish became a student of Swami Kriyananda in 1967 in San Francisco, California and soon after began assisting him in a variety of ways, including teaching meditation classes in San Francisco.

Nayaswami Jyotish

Nayaswami Jyotish

Working closely with Kriyananda, Jyotish became one of the founding members of Ananda Village, which officially started July 4, 1969, and for ten years served as the community’s general manager. Jyotish has lived and taught in Ananda communities throughout the world, and has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Russia, and India.

Jyotish and his wife, Devi, who has also worked closely with Kriyananda since the early years of Ananda, currently serve as Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide. Jyotish and Devi are ministers and also Kriyacharyas, those designated by Swami Kriyananda to initiate people into Kriya Yoga.

Jyotish and Swami Kriyananda greeting a older man

In Los Angeles with Swami Kriyananda

Swami Kriyananda’s Last Will, Testament, and Legacy provides that the nine-stone astrological bangle, which Kriyananda has worn in his capacity of Spiritual Director of Ananda, should be “worn by my spiritual successor and his successors.”

During a simple ceremony at Ananda Village on May 19, 2013, Jyotish formally received the nine-stone astrological bangle reflective of his new position as Kriyananda’s spiritual successor.


  1. Unceasing blessings, Jyotish. You are the perfect choice to head this amazing work.

  2. May God and Gurus bless you and guide you, and fill you with their guiding Light and Love.
    We are all blessed by your presence in our lives.
    AUM, Shanti

  3. May the blessing of God rest upon thee
    May His peace abide with you
    May Loves Blessings illuminate your heart
    Now and forever more

    We will direct our prayers to you to help you in our modest ways where ever we can in this task Jyotish. We will include Devi who is at your side.

    In God, Guru and Disciple, Jikai
    Alçay France

  4. Many, many blessings to you Jyotish. With deepest gratitude for your service, humility and compassion all these years.

  5. Joytish: congradualtions on your new title as spiritual director. While the new responsibilities are significant, you certainly will handle them well and will make Swamis Yogananda and Kriyananda proud of you. My best regards to Devi and the Ananda community.

  6. Jyotish,

    Blessings to you and Devi. I recently visited the Hermitage where Kriyananda’s was located prior to his memorial. I was immersed for close to an hour in meditation. I looked out at the mountains and remembered flying over them in my dreams. I pray that Divine Mother’s grace, wisdom and love continue to flow through you and Devi in Ananda’s new chapter of spreading Yogananda’s valuable teachings. My visit to Ananda Village for initation deeply moved and humbled me.
    LJ, Boise, ID

  7. Blessings Jyotish.
    My you continue to be guided and inspired by God and Guru.
    With Love, Josette
    Kingston, NY

  8. This is as it should be. It is a thrill to see Jyotish’s life from the beginning of meeting Swamiji and of his carrying the breifcase for Swamiji after that first meeting and Jyotish’s continued serving from that day onward. This made the simple gesture of service reveal great symbolic meaning for the life of helping Swamiji to fulfill his Guru’s work for this world.
    Events like this are no coinsidence. In the study of desciple’s experiences with Yognanda’ji, the same bell rings again and again with the same resonance.
    God bless you Jyotish! God bless you!

  9. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi – may the jewel of deep attunement continue to enrich you, and Master’s work, with your loving guidance and sincere commitment. Thank you.

  10. Dear Jyotish,
    Many blessings upon you. I am confident that the spiritual legacy of Yoganandaji and Swamiji will continue to flower through you as the spiritual successor.

  11. Poojya Jyotishji,
    Gurudev & Swamiji”s blessings & guidance are with you forever and ever.
    May their love and light be showered through you always,
    Yours humbly,

  12. Namaste dear Nayaswami Jyotish,

    congratulations and lot of respect for all you and Nayaswami Devi already accomplished so far. We are absolutely faithful you will succeed this new way of service to spread the teachings of Master and to continue the work Swamiji started. We wish you, and Devi, all the support and divine blessings needed. Aum Guru.

    Shantanu & Gurupriya,
    Belgium/Ananda Assisi

  13. I know Jyotish and Devi will do an outstanding job as they have done for many years. Joy and many blessings to you both

  14. Please accept my heartfelt felicitations and prayers of support for this new responsibility. The care and spiritual direction of so many will indeed be both a great joy and a great endeavor. I promise to pray for your continued strength, devotion and closeness to God and Gurus to now head this work. I offer my cooperation and continued discipleship.

    Om, Shanti, Peace

    Nayaswami Kripal/Fr. Kyrill

  15. Heavy responsibilty… Swami Kriyananda trusted you to carry on the work…His was a wish no one can refuse…

  16. I have been grieving Swami Kriyananda with a selfish fierceness. He was more important to me than I even realized. His light in this world was a great comfort. I have read many of his books.But, I know little of Ananda or his life beyond the printed page. In my grief I was lead to a picture of Jyotish. I saw how much he resembled the Swami. I read of Swami Kriyanandas wish that he be his spiritual successor. I wanted to say thank you so much for this information. It has given me a peace I haven’t known since his passing. My grief at the loss of such a one as the Swami has known no bounds. I am glad to know he he passed the torch as they say. I finally know some peace, though I will continue to mourn his passing. Thank you for carrying on his great work. With much love -Charisa Brents

  17. God bless you Jyotish as you wear the mantle that Swamiji has placed upon you. Your continuing spiritual counsel is received with gratitude, as is Devi’s, as you guide us along this path.

    Your attunement to Swami and Master is an inspiration and true blessing for us all. Your vision and wisdom will lead us on the path of self-realization, and lead Ananda to ever increasing global outreach – making these teachings available to all Truth-thirsty souls.

    May Master shower unceasing blessings upon you both!

  18. Dear Jyotish,

    May the Light of the Masters continue to guide you and inspire you.

    In Love and Joy,
    Otavio (Orlando, FL)

  19. Jyotish and Devi, You have my good wishes and support as you continue the work that you have been doing for so many years. Ananda is blessed to have you at its directors and spiritual leaders. I know you are perfect for the job. Kathy

  20. Blessed Soul

    May Masters give you strength to bear this enormous responsibility given by Swamiji. May the light of God and Gurus flow through you and you become the perfect navigator of spiritual quest of thousands of ananda sanghis.

    MB Gupta

  21. I feel grateful for your friendship and safe about your guidance. Swamiji will always be with you. Many unceasing blessings and prayers form


  22. Pranams to Jyotishji on his succeding Swami Kriyananda in the parampara of Mahaavatar Babaji, Lahari Mahasya, Sri Yukteshwar, Paramhansa Yogananda,and Swami Kriyananda.May you steer the Ananda Sangha to the next level of spiritual progress.through the channel of our Belowed Masters bringing the Light and Blessings upon all the kriyabans worldwide in fulfillment of the aspirations of Swami Kriyanandaji who showed us this path.
    Narendran Arni and Family

  23. We are wishing you abundant blessings for your years ahead. Thank you (and Devi) for being Masters’s willing channels in guiding this work. His love pours through you to all. Swami is still alive and well and will continue to be as long as you are at the helm. May we all join hands again in the Infinite. janakidevi

  24. Congratulations does not seem quite right, but I mean to express my gladness at this news and offer sincerest wishes for a long and loving life in your new position.

  25. I had n’t thought of Swami ji having a successor. Please let me know more

    1. blank

      Are you wanting to know why Swamiji decided to name a spiritual successor even though he isn’t in the line of Gurus? Generally it’s believed that in order to continue to initiate people as disciples of Yogananda, there needs to be a living representative of him, even if that person is not a guru himself (or herself). They act as a channel for the guru’s vibration to pass on to the new disciple. Does that answer your question?

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