Swami Kriyananda: A Biography
May 19, 2023
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. Swami Kriyananda took the ancient teachings of Raja Yoga and made them practical and immediately useful for people in every walk of life.
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. Inspired by Yogananda’s dream of establishing spiritual communities, in 1969 he founded the first of the Ananda communities worldwide. They provide a supportive environment of “simple living and high thinking” where over 1,000 full-time residents live, work, and worship together. The time has come for people to live lives of even higher dedication than that which inspired monks and nuns of the past. It is time to direct our spiritual awareness also into matter, into everything we do: work, education, family life, friendship, communications with strangers, the way we build our homes — to all the most mundane, practical aspects of daily human life. People need to become God-centered from within, and from that center to see God everywhere, in everything.”
—Swami Kriyananda, Cities of Light
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