Swami Kriyananda’s birthday was May 19—he would have been 90 this year. Often on his birthday a rainbow would appear, sometimes in a nearly clear sky, as if the heavens themselves wanted to celebrate his birth.

Swami Kriyananda: A Model for Life by Nayaswami Jyotish, disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda

Swami Kriyananda. A photo taken in India by Nayaswami Jyotish.

Although he had many gifts and talents, he always thought of himself as simply a disciple of his great guru, Paramhansa Yogananda. Swamiji did more than just follow his guru. He modeled his life after him, trying to attune himself completely with the Guru’s divine example. I, in turn, have tried to model my life after Swamiji, and, through him, to attune myself more deeply to Yoganandaji.

Swamiji often emphasized the impersonal nature of attunement. He taught us to imitate the divine qualities expressed rather than the personality that was expressing them. Swamiji’s form and personality, that we so loved, were only one expression of soul qualities that manifested in many other ways throughout the countless roles that his soul had played. Here are some of these divine qualities as Swamiji expressed them in this life.

Discipleship: This was Swamiji’s main self-definition. He sought constantly to manifest the will of his guru. Once he said, “I have long tried to attune my thoughts and actions with Master. But I came to realize that this is not enough. Now I try to attune every feeling also, every breath, with him.” His thoughts were often about Master. One time, while we were walking, he stopped and said, “Oh, that’s what he meant.” He was remembering a moment more than fifty years earlier, and had just understood, from the way Master had raised an eyebrow, that the advice he was apparently giving to another disciple was, in fact, meant for Swamiji. I try to emulate Swamiji by attuning, to the best of my ability, every facet of my life with Master and with him.

Creating New Realities: Most people, resigned to this world as a reality they cannot change, merely grumble about those things they find displeasing. Swamiji was not content with such passivity. Like a king of old, if he saw something that was wrong, he was prepared if necessary to create something entirely new to rectify it. The environment in which most people live is not spiritually helpful, so he created the Ananda communities as a whole new way of life. Since he saw traditional schooling as unbalanced, even unhealthy, he created a whole new educational system, Education for Life. Popular music, he felt, was too often downward pulling, so he wrote more than 450 of his own soul-inspired compositions. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Endless Kindness and Support: He was the kindest, most supportive person I’ve ever met. He loved and cherished not only his friends, but also strangers, who then quickly became his friends. His acceptance of us didn’t mean that he ignored our flaws. But he saw past our personalities to our soul qualities, and would go to great lengths to help us grow.

Supremely Non-attached: He was not attached to anything except God and Guru. He didn’t care a hoot about money, except as a vehicle to help others. Nor did he identify with his body and its many problems. In serving his guru he had an amazing ability to rise above illness or pain.

There are many other qualities that he modeled for us, too many even to list. If you want to know him better, read his autobiography, The New Path. And listen to his music. You will find a divine friend, and a model for your life.

In discipleship,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Here is a short video about Swamiji that was made for his birthday celebration this year.


  1. Thank you so much, Jyotish-ji, for this inspiration!

  2. Pranam Ji

    Thanks for Sharing, what a Guidance one can spread tirelessly Through out. Jai Swamiji .

    with Gratitude
    R sundararajan

  3. Dear Jyotishji

    The article is guiding and inspiring.Listening to Swamiji’s voice was emotional moment.

    Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Thank you so much for being there as Swamiji’s channel of Love and Light, and for keeping the” Torch of Light” alive of Guru Disciple relationship.

    With God’s Love,

  5. mm

    Dear Jyotish and Devi,
    We at Ananda House were so touched by these words and the birthday presentation last night. Gyandevi and Joe had their eyes wide open the entire time. We hope you have time to stop by to say hello during your visit.

  6. I am honored that the day this beautiful being entered into this realm and that it is recognized as a day on which the brightness of wakefulness became brighter in this world.

    as time progresses on this planet, the attitudes and conditional stations of the people change. Each generations births into this world a new resistance to spirituality as the ego struggles to survive in its new surroundings. I remember once, when I sought to find a collective consciousness wherein to experience other than my then isolated ( at least I assumed it was isolated) consciousness not shared. I sense, then that in group chanting and singing a new awareness awaited me that would spin me off into new realms and bliss. I found a SRC and began attending. it was a hollow shell of ritualistic drama that left everyone isolated within an ego dressed as spirit. Surely their were some not drunk with that Maya, my point being that spiritual evolution is an ever-changing change that never changes, but reveals that which is constant yet hidden by the veils of Maya. In that realization, we are spun into bliss that is yet was not seen therefore, not active , though always active.

    Today the world around us waits for this new injection that will cure the darkness and rid the being of illusion. the ego has created a resistance to the cure of yesterday. This is a new day, a new world, a different challenge. Swami Kriyananda would speak this way, for what we are or who we are is uncontainable. Let us remember properly and honor that memory with right action.

  7. Wonderful Jyotish-ji and thank you from the bottom of my heart

  8. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for sharing the inspiration with us . Swamiji is our role model on how to be a disciple and attune ourselves to our Great Guru.
    Founding Ananda, Creating Brotherhood colonies, Education, music, books.. We are blessed to part of Ananda and follow his teachings.
    It was a joy to watch the video. Thank you
    Happy Swamiji Birthday :)


  9. Thank you for this happy reminder of Swamiji’s life. Your talk and the movie were so lovely!

  10. It so happens I’m rereading the New Path presently, including all the new stuff he put in since my last reading. :-)
    Thanks, as always, Joytish, and for the wonderful program Thursday!

  11. This is a welcome inspiration. Thank you for making this Touch of Light a little longer and also offering the video. Those of us who were unable to attend events, can be inspired because what both you and Swamiji expressed is eternal. It’s a perfect overview of Swami’s essence. On your first meeting with Swami when he captured your heart, that event became the long domino effect for all of us who wish to join in this grand project of self-realization for all.

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