Disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda width=

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), the founder of Ananda, was a direct disciple of the great Indian master, Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. He is an internationally known author, lecturer and composer, and is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on meditation and yoga.

Kriyananda spent 3-1/2 years living closely with and serving his guru up to the moment of Yogananda’s passing in 1952. He went on to become vice-president of Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization Yogananda founded.


Founder of Ananda

Swami Kriyananda, was one of the last remaining (and best known) direct disciples of Yogananda.  Ananda, which he founded in 1968, is recognized as the most successful spiritual community in the world. As Yogananda had spoken frequently about the need for “World Brotherhood Colonies,” Kriyananda took this on as his unique contribution towards the fulfillment of his guru’s ideals. 

Swami Kriyananda founded intentional, spiritual communities in America, Europe and India, which have grown and flourished, offering hope for a better world.

Swami Kriyananda’s books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 32 languages. His published works, which number more than 140, explore the application of Yogananda’s teachings to daily life. Topics include meditation, yoga, leadership, education, creativity, moral values and more. For more information, visit Crystal Clarity Publishers.

Kriyananda has also written over 300 pieces of music. His music is soothing, uplifting, and inspiring. Chuck Dilberto, of Awareness Magazine says, “Kriyananda’s words and music are full of his life and light. His sole intention is to heal, something we could all use during these chaotic times.”  Swami Kriyananda’s musical compositions figure prominently in programs and services at Ananda.

Musically, he is best known for composing the music on the albums Mystic Harp and Mystic Harp 2, featuring the legendary harpist Derek Bell, of the 5-time Grammy Award-winning group The Chieftains.

In April 2013, Swami Kriyananda left his physical body and this earth, leaving the spiritual guidance of the work of Ananda in the hands of those whom he has trained for decades. His designated successors and now the spiritual directors of Ananda worldwide are Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi (who live at Ananda Village in California). Visit this page for more on Swamiji’s passing

For an exploration of Ananda’s and Swami Kriyananda’s role in the work of Paramhansa Yogananda, you can visit the question and answer pages on Ananda.org as follows: https://www.ananda.org/about-ananda-sangha/questions/ Included on this page are questions we receive from students regarding distorted allegations against Ananda and Swami Kriyananda that took place in legal proceedings nearly thirty years ago.