Many people are interested in their ancestry and the qualities they have inherited. There is a popular movement to have one’s DNA analyzed, in order to see what diseases and other traits run in one’s family. But, those of us who are drawn to Ananda are spiritual brothers and sisters and have DNA that is common to all of us, common qualities that run through the whole Ananda family. What traits have we inherited from Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda? Here are a few that come quickly to mind:

Paramhansa Yogananda, guru of Swami Kriyananda. Yogananda is author of "Autobiography of a Yogi"

Paramhansa Yogananda

1) A sincere desire to achieve Self-realization and to know God. This may take different forms. Some may define it as a desire to know truth. Others as a deep devotional love and desire to be close to Yogananda. Others, still, long for peace or bliss. Some of us tend to feel guilty as if we didn’t get much of this particular gene. Yogananda had and answer for this type of despondency. “Remember,” he told a despairing disciple, “it takes very, very, very good karma even to want to know God.”

2) A commitment to practicing those techniques and attitudes that helps us achieve Self-realization. This includes the self-discipline required to meditate daily and practice the other techniques of this path. Yes, the degree of self-discipline may vary from person to person, but even the least of us at least has gotten the gene that wants to want to do our sadhana. Even the sleepy-heads are trying to wake up and get out of bed.

3) A willingness to actively serve. As a general rule, we are a very high-energy clan. Starting communities takes a lot of work, and we seem to enjoy challenges. Serving also takes the form of  a willingness to give money. As a group, we are incredibly generous.

4) A desire to share these wonderful teachings with others. After reading the Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Kriyananda took the next bus across the country. He had two burning thoughts: To know God, and to share Him with everyone. He passed this tendency on to us and, in many ways, it defines life at Ananda.

5) A certain social instinct. Most of us enjoy being part of a family and sharing the path with others. I haven’t met many true hermits in the long history of Ananda and, quite honestly, the few that I have met didn’t seem all that balanced or integrated. I think Master knew that he had to attract people who like people if he was going to launch a communities movement. While we are social, we also tend to be strong-minded individualists. We are a little like a table loaded with good crème brulees – a bit crunchy on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.

6) Intelligence, creativity, and the ability to enjoy a good joke. We like to laugh. At life. At problems. Even at ourselves.

All in all we have inherited wonderful DNA: It is a great family and a splendid life!

In joy,
Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Thankful to you bothMasters light shine upon you forever

    1. Dear Jyotish,
      Spiritual DNA is a wonderful idea, and by describing us this way, I think you have touched a nerve that will help awaken and energize those who hear about it. It’s amazing to me how vital, how alive this simple metaphor feels. If I may, I’d like to add that we are also honest, kind, courageous, humble, and growing in wisdom. I realize that one can only say so much in a short letter, and besides, these qualities could be distilled from your list. Thanks and blessings, Kalyani

  2. This is fabulous! What a great idea to talk about our family DNA and every word is right on!

  3. Great & useful article, Jyotish! :) Thanks. Cute about the crème brulees.

  4. You are beautiful people, and I am so glad to have found you. In a world that is portrayed by the media as always troublesome, it is lovely to find your light shining.

  5. Thanks jyotishji,
    We should paste it on our centre noticeboard.
    What a blessing to be a part of this family!
    Divine mother bless all anandi’s,

  6. mm

    What a delightful article! So filled with humor, wisdom, and cleverness! Thanks for the reminder of why we incarnated to be a part of this dear family. It’s both a blessing and an honor to live here. . .

  7. Could not have read this at a better time, thank you.

  8. Thanks so much for this. I felt the gene really come to life when I came to Expanding Light but this explains it so well.

  9. Excellent article that sums up Ananda’s values! :-)
    Happy to be associated with Ananda’s loving family of friends!

  10. Thank you Jyotish! Having lived in 2 other spiritual communities (including one that Swamiji stayed at for a brief period) besides my brief stay at Ananda, I can say without a doubt that Ananda has a wonderful and unique spiritual vibe–very powerful, very sincere, and very attractive!

  11. Even though I live in Montreal, Canada and I have never met Swamiji or anyone else, I feel a deep deep connection with Ananda. It has been this way from the beginning. I guess it must be the DNA… Thank so much for just being there. You are a guiding light house on the vast sea of the internet. Blessings to all.

  12. Wow!!! I never thought of it that way, although I’ve referred to “us” as spiritual family for years. Sharing DNA is a very exciting concept, and it does make sense because we do have so many qualities in common. And yes, we do want to spread and share our good stuff :-)

  13. It is so uplifting to think of the qualities I value and desire to cultivate most in myself as being “intrinsic.” And it is equally uplifting, as well as delightful and comforting, to think that I actually share this “spiritual makeup” with others! What better way to draw out and develop the good qualities you list here than by conceptualizing them this way!
    Since I found Ananda last November, I have felt a deep kinship with this special ray, as well as waves of relief at hearing many words of Yogananda and the his line of gurus, Kriyananda, and the Ananda ministers about their attitudes, thoughts, experiences, and even personal quirks, that made me exult at finding so many things that had seemed virtually unique to me, reflected so closely and in such detail by others.
    Are you sure, though, that we have really just “inherited” all these particular traits from the Masters, like children? Or is it also–or maybe even more–true that we”share” these characteristics with the Masters like brothers and sisters? You do seem to suggest this when you say, “I think Master knew that he had to attract people who like people if he was going to launch a communities movement.” That is to say, would we have been drawn to these Masters in the first place if we didn’t already possess something of these tendencies within ourselves?

  14. Thank You, Jyotish. Today I needed to hear this and to be reminded that my Spiritual DNA is more powerful than the familial. I am grateful to be a part of such a “Family”.

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