THE VISION Paramhansa Yogananda: “Brotherhood is an ideal better understood by example than precept! A small harmonious group may inspire other ideal communities over the earth. “Far into the night my dear friend – the first Kriya Yogi in America – discussed with me the need for world colonies founded on a spiritual basis. Man is a soul, not an institution; his inner reforms alone can lend permanence to outer ones. By stress on spiritual values, Self-realization, a colony exemplifying world brotherhood is empowered to send inspiring vibrations far beyond its locale.” —--Autobiography of a Yogi (first edition 1946)
Swami Kriyananda: “I remember how stirred I was by a talk Paramhansa Yogananda gave at a garden party in Beverly Hills on July 31, 1949. “ ‘This day,’ he thundered, punctuating every word, ‘marks the birth of a new era. My spoken words are registered in the ether, in the spirit of God, and they shall move the West. We must go on — not only those who are here, but thousands of youths must go North, South, East and West to cover the earth with little colonies, demonstrating that simplicity of living plus high thinking lead to the greatest happiness!’ "I vowed to do whatever I could to bring this ideal to fruition. I must have been the only person present who responded to his plea. With Guru’s and God’s grace, I succeeded in founding several communities in America and one in Italy. About 1000 people now live in these communities. My dream now is to launch this concept in India.
"I see the Ananda communities as the way to forge a new pattern of living in which people will help one another to grow in spiritual values. This pattern exists in the communities I have founded, which have thrived and brought harmony to thousands, not only the residents but countless others around the world who have been inspired by what they’ve seen and experienced at Ananda."
1967: Land purchased for a meditation retreat
1968: Ananda Meditation Retreat starts
1969: Land purchased for a community
The dedication of the Ananda Meditation Retreat in August 1968 marked the first start of Ananda. The first Retreat buildings had been built, and a few hardy souls were able to stay there during the winter of 1968-69. The first Retreat season began the summer of 1969, with Swami Kriyananda leading meditations, giving classes, conducting Sunday morning worship services, and leading evening programs. At the end of the 1969 season, Ananda held its first annual Spiritual Renewal Week — seven days of classes, kirtans, satsangs, and concerts, culminating with the first Kriya Yoga Initiation. On July 4, 1969, Kriyananda purchased land six miles down the road from the Retreat for a community. Soon after, a number of people at the Retreat moved to the new land. Today Ananda is one of the most successful spiritual communities in the world.