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Swami Kriyananda

In the Master's Footsteps

Directly after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, young Donald Walters (soon to become Swami Kriyananda) traveled from New York City to Los Angeles to meet the author, Paramhansa Yogananda. Yogananda accepted him as a disciple at their first meeting. For the next three and a half years Kriyananda was trained by Yogananda in the two missions the master gave him: to write and to lecture. To prepare him for these responsibilities, Yogananda had Kriyananda study all of his writings, including his books, correspondence lessons, and his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and the Christian Bible.

Yogananda appointed him as head of the monks, as a main speaker at his churches, and conferred on him the authority to give initiation into Kriya Yoga. Faithful to his Guru’s wishes, Kriyananda gave thousands of lectures, and published more than 140 books teaching people everywhere how they can integrate their daily lives with spiritual ideals. He taught on four continents in seven languages over the course of 65 years, publishing 150 books and 400 musical compositions.

His books*


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 numerous fields of human endeavor include business life, leadership, education, the arts, community, and science.

His autobiography, The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, is a sequel to Yogananda’s autobiography. In Yogananda’s book we see him as a young spiritual seeker, receiving darshan from many spiritual masters of his time, and during his years of training in the ashram of his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar. In The New Path we see Yogananda as the great spiritual master that he was, through the eyes of a close disciple, one who wrote down Yogananda’s words of wisdom on every occasion. Another collection of Yogananda’s wisdom is found in Kriyananda’s book, Conversations with Yogananda.

Of special note are his books The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, and Awaken to Superconsciousness, incisive presentations of the essential elements of the pathway to spiritual enlightenment.

* Kriyananda’s books and musical compositions are available from: India: USA:



His music


One of his most enduring legacies, Kriyananda’s music expresses not only words of wisdom, but vibrations of sound that in themselves are transformative. The musical forms include choral arrangements, instrumentals, music for the sonnets of Shakespeare, melodies that capture the essence of different cultures, an Egyptian Suite, and an oratorio, “Christ Lives in You,” that includes choral, instrumental and recitatives that convey the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Some years ago I got the idea to write the philosophy that we teach in song form, so that it could be sung & when listened to more easily absorbed than in a sermon…Writing music has been one of the great joys in my life. Often, tears of joy have flowed down my cheeks as a melody or a sequence of beautiful harmonies poured through me like a mountain stream, effortlessly.”

Education for Life


Based on Yogananda’s guidelines for child education, Kriyananda developed a system of education called “Education for Life,” a system that prepares the child to face the challenges of living as a human being, and helps him to achieve balance and harmony in all he does.

“Any educational system that teaches only job skills or offers only intellectual information is neglecting the essential needs of human beings. The solution is a form of education that trains us in that which is most relevant to us—how to find lasting happiness in life.”

Schools dedicated to this system of education are thriving in the United States, Italy and India, where this system is being taught in some public schools by Education-for-Life trained teachers.

Father of the spiritual communities’ movement


The fulfillment of Yogananda’s Dream of “world brotherhood colonies.

Kriyananda was present when Yogananda spoke passionately about the importance of establishing “world brotherhood colonies,” based on principles of “simple living and high thinking.” He silently vowed to make Yogananda’s vision a reality, and in 1969 he founded the first such community, the Ananda World Brotherhood Village in northern California, to be followed years later by sister communities in America, Italy, and India. They provide a supportive environment of “simple living and high thinking,” where a thousand full-time residents live, work, and worship together. Kriyananda’s books, based on decades to experience — The Need for Spiritual Communities and How to Start Them, and Cities of Light — offer practical guidelines for developing spiritual communities

Italy and India


( Temple of Light at Ananda Assisi )

( Interview on Sadhna Channel )

In 1996 Swami Kriyananda moved his primary residence to Ananda Assisi, giving a spiritual boost to the European work that started in 1984. He wrote some his most important books during his years in Italy, and gave regular talks and satsangs, travelling throughout the country as a guest speaker.

In 2003 he moved his primary residence to India, inwardly feeling that the time was ripe to bring Yogananda’s teachings back to his motherland. His daily talks on Indian television were viewed by millions. They include “A Way to Awakening” based on his book Conversations with Yogananda, and a second series of talks based on Yogananda’s commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. He lectured widely throughout India up until just months before his passing. With his guidance and the training of Indian teachers, Ananda centers have come up in twelve cities, with others in the offing.

While visiting the Ananda Assisi community in 2013, Swami Kriyananda passed away at the age of 86 at his home there on April 21. During his lifetime he empowered others with responsibility and authority, consciously preparing leaders who carry on the work of Ananda in countries around the world.

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