Season 2. These talks are based on the book: “The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita by Paramhansa Yogananda as remembered by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda.” Rarely in a lifetime does a new spiritual classic appear that has the power to change people’s lives and transform future generations. This is such a book. “The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda” shares the profound insights of Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, as remembered by one of his close and direct disciples, Swami Kriyananda. This revelation of India’s best-loved scripture approaches it from an entirely fresh perspective, showing its deep allegorical meaning and also its down-to-earth practicality. The themes presented are universal, including how to achieve victory in life in union with the divine; how to prepare for life’s “final exam,” death, and what happens afterward; and how to triumph overall pain and suffering. This book is itself a triumph. Swami Kriyananda worked with Paramhansa Yogananda in 1950 while the Master completed his commentary.
ABOUT SWAMI KRIYANANDA In 1948 at the age of twenty-two, Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) became a disciple of the Indian yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda. At Yogananda’s request, Swami Kriyananda devoted his life to lecturing and writing, helping others to experience the living presence of God within. He taught on four continents in seven languages over the course of 65 years. His talks, his music, and his many books have touched the lives of millions. An advocate of simple living and high thinking, his more than 150 books emphasize the need to live wisely by one’s own experience of life, and not by abstract theories or dogmas. A composer since 1964, Walters has written over 400 musical works. His music is inspiring, soothing, and uplifting. His books and teachings on spiritualizing nearly every field of human endeavor include business life, leadership, education, the arts, community, and science. He wrote extensive commentaries on the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, both based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
He is known as the “father of the intentional communities movement,” which began in the United States in the late 1960s, fulfilling Yogananda's dream. He founded the first of what are now 10 Ananda communities worldwide in 1967 near Nevada City, California. Other Ananda communities have developed over the years to include Ananda Palo Alto, Ananda Sacramento, Ananda Portland, Ananda Seattle, Ananda Los Angeles, Ananda Assisi in Italy, and Ananda India near Delhi and Pune. Each community has a spiritual focus (a teaching center and temple) and a community (homes where members live). More than 1,000 people live in these intentional spiritual communities. Swami Kriyananda’s example of inspired leadership was the reason for Ananda’s success. He uplifted and encouraged people through personal example, spiritual counseling, writing, lecturing, music, and prayer. He trained the current Ananda leaders in much the same way: free from egoic motivation, always placing the spiritual needs of others foremost in all decisions. He was a patient and sensitive teacher, allowing people to learn by experience, and never placing institutional needs ahead of the needs of an individual. “People are more important than things” is one of the foremost guiding principles of Ananda. And “Where there is adherence to dharma [right action], there is victory,” is another.
ABOUT PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA Paramhansa Yogananda, born in 1893, was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. Yogananda arrived in America in 1920, and proceeded to travel throughout the United States on what he called his “spiritual campaigns.” Hundreds of thousands filled the largest halls in major American cities to see the yoga master from India. Yogananda continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952. Paramhansa Yogananda’s initial impact on the western culture was truly impressive. But his lasting spiritual legacy has been even greater. His *Autobiography of a Yogi*, first published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution in the West. Translated into more than a dozen languages, it remains a best-selling spiritual classic to this day. [Read free at https://ananda.org/autobiography/.]
The path of Kriya Yoga, which combines the practice of advanced yogic techniques with spirituality in daily life, can be learned at https://ananda.org/kriya-yoga/.