Video and Audio

Brave Were the People

June 13, 2021

Watch and listen to this beautiful song by Swami Kriyananda, performed by members of the Ananda Joy Singers Choir at Ananda Village on June 13th 2021.


Brave were the people who lived in these hills.

Brave, the great warriors who confronted the foe.

To defend what is holy, to defend what is true:

Our Lord on mankind did this duty bestow.


Glad all our children who people these hills.

Glad in the vision their hearts understand.

What became of past struggles?

Now the records are still,

But courage still lingers, giving strength to the land.


Men hunger for riches, for power, and for fame:

By favor they think they will grow.

The battles they fight, the victories they win

Are never the victories they know.

Brave were the people who lived in these hills.

Brave, the great warriors who confronted the foe.

To defend what is holy, to defend what is true:

Our Lord on mankind did this duty bestow.


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Swami Kriyananda (James Donald Walters) was born on May 19, 1926 in Romania, to American parents. He was the oldest of three boys and his father worked in the oil industry. Even as a child, Kriyananda demonstrated calmness and strength of mind. He went to private schools in Switzerland, England and America. As a college student he dedicated himself to the search for Truth. 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.

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