of Ananda Sanghis
We invite you to join our worldwide family of like-minded
souls. Below you can read “The Way of Ananda Sanghis”
statement, which outlines our spiritual principles. The
membership in Ananda Sangha Worldwide is free. We ask from
you no outward commitment, but an inward dedication to helping
us bring a new concisousness into the world.
The Way of Ananda Sanghis
"May the Divine Light awaken and purify my heart,
and bring enlightenment to all beings."
We believe in a single, blissful, eternal consciousness,
Satchidanandam, which pervades the entire universe, unifying
it and all creatures in a bond of mutual service. This blissful
consciousness is the underlying reality of all existence;
it precedes the very manifestation of the universe.
We believe that man's highest duty is to realize himself
as an expression of all-pervading Satchidanandam.
a) We embrace the way to this Self-realization through
the inner silence, above all, of daily communion with the
b) We embrace, for ourselves, the need to embody this realization
in our own lives by daily performing at least one specific,
conscious, personally selected act of service to our fellow
c) We embrace—again, for ourselves, since we seek
not to impose our understanding on others—the need
to honor all, whether friends or self-named foes, as manifestations
of the eternal Satchidanandam, and to see them as our brothers
and sisters in that Supreme Consciousness which is variously
called God, Ishwara, Allah, or Jehovah. We recognize all
names for that Supreme Being as designating our one, common
d) We embrace the need to give back to our Supreme Source
by offering up every ego-attachment and self-limiting identity
in daily acts of service to others.
e) We seek as our primary goal in life the state of actual,
conscious union with Satchidanandam.
f ) We aspire to make our own lives works of art, whether
through music, through the visual arts, or through the simple
deeds of our daily existence, with a view to expressing
the bliss that is latent in our deeper selves.
g) We seek to make our every thought and action a radiation
outward from the center of our being, and not to allow ourselves
to become superficial reflections of the thoughts and actions
3. We seek never to convert anyone to our specific cause
except, in love, to inspire all with the desire to reclaim
the bliss of their own being.
4. We seek fellowship with others willing to join hands
with us in this loving labor for universal upliftment. Thus,
by our united efforts, our hope is to share inspiration
with ever-increasing effectiveness.
5. We recognize that, whether or not others join us consciously
in this labor, all human beings, each one individually,
serve the Eternal Purpose, doing so by the simple act of
seeking, whether ignorantly or wisely, the bliss of their
own being. We condemn no one, therefore, for ideas he may
hold that are different from our own, but embrace all as
fellow seekers of Ultimate Bliss.
6. In token of our dedication to these principles, the
assumption of which is our guiding rule in life, we undertake
at formal functions of our Order to wear a color expressive
of our hearts' ardor, of the purity of our aspiration, and
of the humility of our intentions. We wear that color not
to set ourselves apart from others, but simply to remind
ourselves to remain focused on our true purpose. The color
is a warm hue of yellow, reminiscent of the sun and symbolic
of the joy of our own being. By donning this color, we demonstrate
our willingness to cooperate with others equally dedicated
to this lofty ideal. The color yellow may be worn in any
shape: a tie, a scarf, a shawl, or even a handkerchief tucked
into the breast pocket of a man's jacket.
7. We recognize that the way of Ananda Sangha is primarily
inward, not outward; that it leads one by the universal
pathway of the spine to the high state of communion with
God at that point in the forehead which lies between the
eyebrows. We follow this path by the daily practice, after
receiving it, of the non-sectarian science of Kriya Yoga,
as it was named by its reviver in the nineteenth century,
Yogavatar Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi. The aim of Kriya
Yoga is to withdraw one's energy and consciousness from
the senses to the spine, and to lift the awareness to conscious
union with the Supreme Reality: Satchidanandam. Those who
practice this sacred science are known as Kriyabans. The
Kriyabans of Ananda Sangha offer special respect, honor,
and reverence to those who inspired the promulgation of
Kriya Yoga in modern times: Jesus Christ, Mahavatar Babaji
(who was, as he has informed his close disciples, Bhagavan
Krishna in a former incarnation), Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami
Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda, ambassador of Kriya
Yoga to the West and promoter of the underlying oneness
of Hinduism, Christianity, and, consequently, of all the
great religions of the world. Kriyabans revere the great
saints of all religions, but give special reverence and
obedience to the line of gurus on whose lives and teachings
we pattern our own lives.
Because God must be realized, in time, as the soul's only
Friend and Companion-indeed, as the only Reality—those
who seek the Divine Companion above all, if they are free
from family ties, would do well to consider the path of
All Sanghis must realize that human relationships, since
they are outward, pertain to the realm of duality. For those
Sanghis, therefore, who are able to remain unattached, even
solitary, in their search for God the spiritual gains are
potentially great. As Paramhansa Yogananda often stated,
"Seclusion is the price of greatness." One is
therefore "on the safe side," as a saint once
put it to him when he was young, if he seeks God without
This is not to say that, to find God, it is mandatory that
one be single. Great saints are to be found in both the
single and the married states. Those devotees, however,
who are free to make God their only Companion must ever
recognize that in Him lies all the fulfillment their souls
crave. No lesser love can ever fill that deepest craving.
Outward renunciation is an aid, therefore, in the spiritual
search. One cannot "have his cake and eat it, too."
Ultimately, the choice one faces is absolute. To find God,
the life of outer, as well as inner, renunciation is safer
than involvement in family. For the spiritual path is, at
best, supremely difficult. If formal renunciation is an
option, therefore, it would be wise to consider embracing
it. At the same time, it should be remembered that Lahiri
Mahasaya was slow to give disciples his permission to embrace
this state, for it too presents difficulties and challenges.
There are many possible gradations of formal renunciation—from
partial or conditional to complete. Happiest is that one
who can declare firmly, "Away with these carefully
drawn distinctions! I want God alone." In Ananda Sangha,
for those who are not fettered by family ties, two stages
of formal renunciation are available: Brahmacharya, and
It should be kept in mind that all Ananda Sanghis are renunciates
in the deeper sense that we try to sublimate our ego-identity
by expanding it to identity with the universal Self. Our
means of purifying every desire and attachment is, above
all, to offer these up in meditation for consummation by
the Infinite Bliss.
Ananda Sanghis who devote themselves wholly to these ideals,
and particularly if they live and serve with others in community,
are called Sevakas. More formal paths of renunciation are
available also, but are not intended to be seen as qualitatively
better. For true renunciation is inward, primarily. No institution
can determine a person's progress on the path to perfection,
for this is determined by God alone, and consists in personal
self-offering to the Creator. Ananda Sangha, therefore,
does not presume to gauge the actual quality of anyone's
Sanghis who are free from family ties may affirm their
inner resolution by assuming outwardly the garb of renunciation
as a constant reminder to themselves of their desire to
be free from all further ego-involvement. Such persons,
already unencumbered in an outward sense, may more fully
affirm their inner renunciation by formally embracing the
stages of brahmacharya and (later on) of sannyas.
These stages are not intended to confer greater respect
or authority on anyone, for the only qualifications worthy
of these are humility, and an absence of self-interest.
Where renunciation is at issue, honor in God's work is due
not to the individual renunciate, but only to the principle
of renunciation itself.
Brahmacharis of Ananda Sangha are free, as previously
indicated, of family ties and obligations. In obedience
to the directives of their spiritual guide or counselor,
they should endeavor always to direct their energy inward
toward the bliss of their own being. To enter the stage
of brahmacharya, no novitiate period is needed. A brahmachari
(or brahmacharini) is entitled, with the approval of his
guide or counsellor, to wear a yellow robe indicating his,
or her, undivided commitment to self-transcendence and to
the other ideals of Ananda Sangha.
Sannyas: One may be considered a Sannyasin, or
Swami, of the Ananda Sangha Order who, having, for an acceptable
period of time, demonstrated his commitment to the principles
that govern the life of a brahmachari, has shown himself
to be centered in the divine Self to the point of being
guided primarily from that center. A swami is obligated
to view all human beings as his own brothers, sisters, fathers,
mothers, and friends. He may not accept personal family
ties for himself. A swami is entitled to wear the color
orange, symbolic of the fire of inner renunciation which,
he prays, will burn away every egoic attachment. As an Ananda
Sanghi he should also, in token of this affiliation, wear
in some form the color yellow—whether in a belt, a
shawl, a cap, or some other article of clothing.
Ananda Sangha began with the founding of Ananda Village
in 1968, near Nevada City, California, USA, by Swami Kriyananda
(J. Donald Walters), a direct disciple since 1948 of Paramhansa
Yogananda of Bengal, India. Ananda Village has, since its
founding, given birth to six other communities: five of
them in the United States of America and the sixth in Italy.
An eighth Ananda community is being planned at this time
Residing in these communities there are a total of about
one thousand sevakas. Most of the children of these residents
attend Ananda's own schools, but are not considered members
until they themselves reach the age of discernment and make
the decision to join.
Swami Kriyananda, in addition to founding these communities,
has written and published seventy-nine books and composed
over 400 pieces of music. Many of his songs have been sung
in countries around the world. His books and recordings,
which have appeared in twenty-seven foreign translations,
have sold some three million copies to date.
Ananda Sangha, with the blessings of God and Gurus, is
dedicated to the spiritual upliftment of our planet, Earth.
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