Circles of Service & Membership at Ananda
Ananda Sangha (Fellowship) in Bothell serves the greater Seattle metropolitan area and outlying areas of western Washington. Our legal and formal name and structure is Ananda Church of Self-Realization of Seattle. We are part of a network of independent but affiliated Ananda centers, retreats and intentional communities throughout the world.
Ananda has no formal membership except by individual participation. All are welcome to classes, group meditations and a wide range of social and spiritual events throughout the year. You may consider yourself a member if you feel in tune with the description of Ananda’s precepts and purpose written by Swami Kriyananda in the “Way of the Sanghis.” (click here to view document)
Notwithstanding a certain informality which reflects our community and family spirit, Ananda could not exist were it not for the lifelong and full-time commitment of individuals who are acknowledged and organized in several concentric circles.
What characterizes Ananda’s work worldwide is that we represent and share the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda as expressed by Ananda’s founder, Swami Kriyananda. We have, over time and through experimentation and with the guidance of Swami Kriyananda, evolved different levels of service and commitment. In this way, the spirit and dedication exhibited by our Preceptor and founder can continue on through the dedicated lives of those who seek daily to live by ideals and guidance given to us.
The Worldwide Sevaka Religious Order
The heart of Ananda’s work is expressed through the worldwide religious order of the Sevaka Order. A corporate sole (recognized as a religious order by the Internal Revenue Service) consisting of the Order’s one member and spiritual director (and appointed successor to Swami Kriyananda), Nayaswami Jyotish Novak, the Sevaka Order is founded upon the Rules of Conduct for Members of the Sevaka Order.
Members, called “Sevakas” (one who serves), live primarily in one of the nine Ananda communities worldwide and have pledged themselves in service to Ananda’s work, its ideals, and the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. From the Sevaka Order are those members who are ordained and commissioned to be local spiritual directors, or ministers and Lightbearers (a form of minister ordained to conduct certain ceremonies). Each must be accepted as such by the local Ananda church.
Sevakas have pledged themselves to serve Ananda wherever needed, and to abide by the precepts of Self-realization (including the practice of Kriya Yoga) with special emphasis upon simplicity of living, moderation in all habits, and cooperative obedience in their service and life as members of the Order. There is no requirement of giving over one’s property to the Order.