Letters from Ananda members, Part 5

Swami Kriyananda,

Beloved Disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda

Boris (Jayadev) Jaerschky

15 September 2001

God alone is real. “Lord,” I pray silently, “may I never become attached to Thy dream of creation, nor yet to the path that leads out of the dream, but only to Thee: to Thy love, to Thy eternal joy!”
—Swami Kriyananda


I dedicate this letter with love to Swami Kriyananda, the most shining,
serviceful and inspiring soul I have known in this lifetime.

Part 1 is objective: Little known and recognized information about a beloved
devotee of Yogananda.

Part 2 tries to objectively answer to accusations against Swami Kriyananda.

Part 3 is subjective: My own impression and experiences with Swami

Joy in God, Jayadev

[Jayadev is a long-time resident and minister with Ananda Assisi, who teaches regularly throughout Europe.]

Part 1: Unusual facts about a close disciple

Kriyananda wasn’t (and isn’t) a usual disciple. When he first met his Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda in September 1948, the great Master immediately accepted him in his flock, as his disciple, while others aspirants had been waiting months for their acceptance. To Kriyananda the great Master said twice: “You have good karma.” “Many times,” he said, “you have been my disciple.” “Many times,” also “a yogi.”

The divine love between Master and disciple
During discipleship initiation during that blessed day, Yogananda promised Kriyananda his unconditional love and Kriyananda, too, gave his Master his devoted love. Such a divine bond can never be taken away, for it is made in heaven, more than any marriage. Since then, Kriyananda’s complete devotion and dedication is for his Master: “I just want to be a good disciple!” To Yogananda his life and service are dedicated.

An amazing task for his young disciple
After only 8 months (!) of being with his Master, Yogananda already authorized Kriyananda to perform the sacred Kriya Yoga-initiation. At the same time, he asked Kriyananda to lecture in his place. From then on Kriyananda lectured regularly in different SRF churches. Later, he became SRF’s’ main Kriya minister and was well known as a disciple and teacher.

Becoming the head monk at Mount Washington
After being with Yogananda for about one year, the Master appointed
Kriyananda to be the head of the monks, a position he held for the rest of his time at Mount Washington, Yogananda’s headquarters.

Entrusting responsibility
Again and again the Master repeated to Kriyananda: “You have a great work to do!” After the Master’s passing, his illumined successor Rajarsi Janakananda, also, repeated: “Master has a great work to do through you, and he will give you the strength to do it!”

His Master’s final words of blessing and reassurance
Some of the last words of Yogananda, shortly before his passing, to Kriyananda, were: “You have pleased me very much, I want you to know that!” How beautiful to have heard these words from the Master himself!

Further responsibilities and opportunities
Later Kriyananda became the director of the Center department (directing SRF meditation groups and centers). He also was appointed to be the minister of SRF’s main church, the Hollywood Church.

Kriyananda was given the laborious task to reorganize SRF-procedures, offices, centers-which he did successfully and with Rajarsi’s and Daya Mata’s support.

With Daya Mata and others in India
In 1958 Kriyananda visited India with Daya Mata, Ananda Mata and Sister Revati. Kriyananda stayed there for almost four years, spreading the Kriya teachings in his Master’s homeland. Thousands heard him. A big development was in the air. Today, more than 40 years later, Kriyananda is greatly loved, known and respected in the motherland of all countries, India.

Becoming SRF’s vice-president
In 1960, during a short return visit to the SRF-Mother Center, he was appointed as the first vice-president of SRF, following Dr. Lewis. He also was member of the Board of Directors.

A heartbreaking event
An aggressive pot was brewing behind Kriyananda’s back in SRF. Suddenly, thunder hit unexpectedly out of the blue into his life.

While back in India he was called back to New York and thrown out of SRF violently and irrevocably, without being given any chance to tell his side of the story. The accusations were absolutely groundless, he says, and the style of his ouster cruel and loveless. It happened after 14 years of dedicated service to SRF and his Master. From one day to the next, Kriyananda was left homeless, jobless, directionless. “We want to have nothing to do with you anymore,” was the message given to him by Tara Mata. It was the most desperate time in Kriyananda’s life. Months he passed lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to understand, trying to survive. The world-famous Satya Sai Baba of Bangalore expressed his indignation to Kriyananda: “Very bad!”, he said. “Very, very bad! So many people have tried to hurt you. But don’t care for them. Just selfishness and jealousy! Don’t care for them. You are on the right path. And you are working selflessly! Oh, very, very bad! Even in religious work there is so much selfishness and jealousy. But you are pleasing your Guru. He is always in your heart. Just go your own way.”

Going his “own way” appointed by Yogananda
Yogananda foretold Swami Kriyananda: “Your life will be one of intense activity and meditation!” The specific direction the great Master gave his disciple was: “Your job will be writing and lecturing!” “But haven’t you written all that is needed?” Kriyananda asked. “Don’t say that,” Yogananda replied emphatically, “much more remains to be written.”

When the Master talked about the “ego-trap” for teachers, Kriyananda told him: “That’s why I don’t want to be a minister”! “You’ll never fall due to ego,” Yogananda promised him. At another moment, too, Kriyananda resisted to be a public teacher and lecturer, but his Master told him smilingly: “You better learn to like it, because that’s what you will have to do.”

After the great Master’s passing, Rajarsi Janakananda told Kriyananda of “the great work” Master had to do through him. Kriyananda remonstrated: “But I don’t want to do a great work.” Rajarsi answered brusquely: “Living for God is martyrdom!”

The message was clear.

Kriyananda starts the “great work”
After years of pain and suffering, due to his dismissal in 1962, Kriyananda started to fulfill his Masters dream of “world-brotherhood colonies.” It was a life-long dream of Yogananda that he even stated in his 11 basic “aims and ideals” (which were still printed in the Autobiography of a Yogi in 1959, seven years after the Master’s passing)

According to Swami Kriyananda and other disciples who are not within SRF, Yogananda talked with greatest enthusiasm and zeal, again and again, about this dream of “simple living and high thinking” in spiritual communities. The first 1946 edition of his Autobiography of a Yogi actually ends with Yogananda’s expressed hope for a better world-future through these “world-brotherhood-colonies.”

Even Yogananda himself tried to start such a community for families in Encinitas. His project, unfortunately, had to be abandoned due to the effects of the depression years.

Following their Masters dream, however, different direct disciples have later started communities. Yogacharya Oliver Black, of whom Yogananda said he was the second in spiritual advancement after Rajarsi Janakananda, founded Song of the Morning-Ranch in Michigan, which today is guided by another direct disciple, Bob Raymor.

Roy Eugene Davis, a minister appointed by Yogananda, founded CSA (Center for Spiritual Awareness) in Georgia.

Swami Kriyananda, in 1968, founded what has become the largest and perhaps best-known community, Ananda. Ananda has grown and flourished, has developed schools, creativity, arts, businesses, markets, spiritual retreat centers, different communities within cities where Yogananda’s teachings are lived and taught, and has brought meaning, hope and inner joy into the lives of thousands of seekers.

Visiting guests, among them SRF-members, are delighted and touched by the love, beauty and inspiration they find. Yogananda’s presence and blessings are tangible.

Ananda is worth a visit!

“Lecturing and writing!”
Swami Kriyananda, following his Guru’s instructions, has written over 70 books, published in dozens of languages and countries. All of them are his Masters teachings, applied to different life situations and interests: parenting, business, meditation, yoga, astrology, school teachers, fulfilled living, and much more.

He has composed over 300 musical pieces, instrumental, choral, songs, with the hope of inspiring and elevating people of many walks of life, in many

He has given thousands of lectures.

At the moment he resides in the Ananda Assisi community in his hermitage, continuing to follow his Gurus commandment to write and teach.

Part 2: About sexual accusations

As always, both sides need to be taken into consideration: These accusations must be weighed against with what he himself says (which paints a totally different picture) and what people say who know him well. They should also be weighed with your own fair and impartial impression of him: If you meet him, you know he is a good man—a gentleman—and not somebody immoral, passion-guided or selfish.

Could a sensual man write books like one of his latest: The Promise of Immortality? Please read it, and if you are fair-minded, I believe it is answer enough.

Swami Kriyananda had obviously to put out enormous amounts of energy in order to create Ananda from nothing, with no money, no support, no models to follow. (To understand, anyone may try something smaller himself!) New developments simply don’t come easily, especially if they go against the mainstream current of a materialistic society and are heavily opposed by another, not well-wishing, influential organization. So, look at any sexual libertine, if you know any: What level of energy do they have? Overindulgence automatically drains energy. Could such a libertine have ever done what Swami Kriyananda has accomplished?

The accusers, even if they write on their internet pages “we are not connected with any group” are most likely to be connected with SRF (quoting their literature etc.), which treats Kriyananda as an enemy. Even the lawyer Mr. Flynn, who was a lawyer in the Bertolucci case against Swami Kriyananda, is now known to be SRF’s own lawyer and a member of SRF.

Will their statement be fair and noble?

An experiment: spiritual people in time become sensitive. They know that writings carry a vibration. You may touch a book and it just feels good or not so good. Padre Pio and others just touched letters and knew everything. So: Just feel these accusing pages out: Do they carry beauty, inspiration, nobility or some questionable energy?

What do others say, who are not involved in conflict?
Swami Kriyananda is loved and respected by Yogananda’s own family in Calcutta, at Gurpar Road, and in Serampore, as you will find out if you should visit there: Hare Krishna Gosh, Meera Gosh and all others of Yogananda’s family.

The Kriya yoga line of Lahiri Mahasaya’s family, represented by Lahiri’s great-grandson Shibindu Lahiri, supports and visits Ananda and Kriyananda. A beautiful statement by Shibindu is: “All those who take bath in the Kriya-ganga are my children.” And: “Flowering is important, not the kind of flower.” Organizational disputes are laughed at in India.

David Frawley, well-known authority for Vedic Studies and Hinduism, was asked which ashram is the best in the West. His answer: “Ananda, Ananda, Ananda!”

Satya Sai Baba sends devotees to Ananda and speaks well about it. He actually materialized a letter for Swami Kriyananda, encouraging and supporting him.

Can they all be totally wrong?

Part 3: Swami Kriyananda: A personal statement

To whom it may concern:
Some people have made it a point to publicly write quite nasty things about Swami Kriyananda. To someone who knows him, it not only offends all sentiments of justice and fairness. It also completely puzzles one. Something must be really wrong, because their descriptions are so far off the person I know, that all I can do is shake my head in wonderment. Anyway, their words offend not only him, but hurt all those who love, respect and care for him, and who are naturally grateful for what he is and what he has done. His life has been one of selfless, caring, untiring service. If something like the “Golden Book of Life” existed, certainly his life would be written there in a glowing page in big, beautiful, shining letters.

By the fruit, Jesus said, the tree is known. Well, the fruit can be experienced easily by anyone who sincerely wants to find out.

I have personally known Swami Kriyananda for many years. Nobody has inspired me as he has. Nobody has brought my Master, Paramhansa Yogananda, closer to me than he has. Nobody has, through his life work, Ananda, blessed me more than he has. For none have I more respect than I have for him. No books, apart from Yogananda’s, have inspired me as his. From none I have learned as much as from him. None has taught me universal love as he has. He is great—as a man, as a disciple and as a soul.

Swami Kriyananda is extremely respectful and kind. No, he is not a dictator. He told me he doesn’t want us to be “yes-men.” What is so beautiful is that he always holds up to us the beauty of our inner being. He trusts in us. One never feels judged by him. And no, he has never told us that he is the guru. He always directs us to his Master, Yogananda. He is the greatest friend and father. And he is inspiring, too. Being in his presence I have often felt my upper chakras blooming. Being in his house for some time, for a seclusion, was heavenly bliss. Am I just blinded? Maybe. But what about all the others? Meeting him everyone feels that they are meeting a noble and beautiful person. All people, worldly or spiritual, who meet him without prejudice, spontaneously like him. Why? He is a lovable man, simply. Seeing his eyes, listening to his voice, listening to his music is statement enough. He has even defended his enemies.

Even now he still expresses his love for those who try to destroy him. He is full of love and all who know him know that.

And it is not only normal people who have come to Kriyananda’s defense. Various great saints have supported him: Satya Sai Baba said their (the offender’s) actions are “very, very bad… selfishness and jealousy…but your Guru is pleased.” Anandamoyee Ma praised him, loved him, and talked highly about his attitude and blessed his work. Chidananda (a main disciple of Swami Shivananda and head of the Divine Life Society) is his friend today today. Muktananda said Ananda is the best Ashram in the West. Their words must surely mean something?

And Yogananda, his Master? What did he say? Yogananda gave him his unconditional love. He accepted him immediately as a disciple and told him he has good karma. He soon made him head of the monks. Already after only eight months he had him give Kriya initiation in his place. This all is extraordinary. He made him minister, told him to write and teach and that he would never fall due to ego. He said, before his passing: “You have pleased me very much.” Is that why, when Dr. Lewis died, Swami Kriyananda became the vice-president of his Master’s organization, I wonder?

Anyway, these facts too, I believe, can’t just be brushed aside.

I wish people would find out for themselves. Especially those who have never seen or heard him. Please do, especially if you are tempted to believe negative things someone else says. “He even lost a lawsuit and it was proven…” some might argue heatedly. Swami Kriyananda, in that lawsuit, was not even allowed to defend himself properly. It was not truth and justice that won. Was it prejudice? Was it lawyerly cleverness that worked against Ananda’s naiveness? Or was it even money, I have to wonder…?

Somehow, Yogananda seems very distant from all this. It makes so many devotees sad and bewildered, because we know these people are devotees, good people, with good intentions. “Why?” so many have asked. I, too, ask, “Why?” I know we are good. I know they are good. “Why, Lord?”

Yato dharma, tato jaya—“where there is righteousness, there is victory.” Truth must win in the end. And even if they should succeed in destroying Ananda, it wouldn’t change what a beautiful, lovable and shining soul Swami Kriyananda is—and that God, Yogananda and his many friends will always love him deeply.

God bless you,

Jayadev Jaerschky

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