Letters from Ananda members, Part 30

Swami Kriyananda: A Loyal Disciple
Greg Dyal

My name is Greg Dyal. I have been involved with Ananda since 1979 and significantly active for the last twelve years at Ananda Palo Alto where I live in the community. I am employed as an Electrical Engineering Manager and have been working in Silicon Valley for the past 12 years. I read all of the posted letters on the Ananda Awareness website and want to respond to at least some of it. Not that all of it doesn’t deserve honest treatment. I was acquainted with the handful of former Ananda members that the site represents and I lived at Ananda Village, Nevada City for some of the time they lived there.

I strongly disagree with the recent posting on the Ananda Awareness web site stating that Ananda members, particularly Mr. Walters (Swami Kriyananda), was the driving force behind the Los Angeles New Times article, in which it was alleged Yogananda sired a son. In a manner typical of these few former members, Mr. Walters’ letter to the New Times author was grossly misrepresented. The Ananda Awareness writer describes (they never say who they are lest you find out the same few people write all the contributing letters) Walters’ letter, which is filled with praise of the greatness of Yogananda’s character, much of which Walters experienced first hand, as “tepid?” That statement alone should put their integrity and motivations in doubt once you read Mr. Walters’ letter. To state that Walters was the “driving force behind their allegation” is also incorrect and implies that Walters sold out his own Guru out of self-interest. Walters was one of several people whose words were twisted and misquoted after granting the New Times author an interview. Nor was Mr. Walters trying to distance himself, as Ananda Awareness states, from the New Times piece in his letter. Walters’ letter was a direct rebuttal to the author of the New Times article about the many “liberties” taken with unconfirmed “facts” and quotes. Mr. Walters defended his Guru as the man of God Yogananda was, quite unequivocally. Please read Mr. Walters letter which is also on this website, and decide for yourself.

The Ananda Awareness posting also states that Mr. Walters has, in the past, hinted that Paramhansa Yogananda had sexual encounters (except they spelled Paramhansa incorrectly). This statement has no basis in truth that I know of and is, as far as I can tell, completely made up. I have attended thousands of services, classes, social functions and ceremonies at Ananda. Many of these were led or attended by Mr. Walters and other Ananda ministers and teachers. I have personal conversations with Ananda ministers and teachers frequently. I have read most of what Mr. Walters has published. Never, in twenty-two years, did I ever hear or read anything from any Ananda member of any position suggesting that Yogananda had sexual relations or sired a child, much less use it as justification for personal actions or to put another organization down, including SRF. On the contrary, Ananda members, especially Mr. Walters, have always revered and portrayed Yogananda as an Avatar and spiritual being of the highest attainment. Ananda has always let SRF’s actions speak for SRF rather then make things up about them or Yogananda. Only recently have we become more vocal about SRF actions as a last resort for self-preservation, since they seem intent on suing us out of existence.

Greg lives at the Ananda Palo Alto community with his wife Sidny. He works as a manager/engineer in a Silicon Valley company.

More thoughts:

There is more I could refute on the Ananda Awareness web site since I was resident at Ananda Village during events cited in some of the letters. Let me leave you with one or two thoughts to keep in mind if you read the inaccurate, misleading, slanderous, and unsubstantiated postings on their web site.

Ananda was never the way it is narrowly and inaccurately characterized on the AA web site. For instance there is the myth about the “inner circle.” This is supposed to be a close-knit group of secretive confidants reporting to Swami Kriyananda who enact Swami Kriyananda’s every wish without question and exclude newer members in order to retain power. Put yourself in Swami Kriyananda’s place. If you wanted to successfully complete a major life project wouldn’t you spend most of your time and effort working with the people who shared your vision and were willing to learn the skills necessary to achieve success. That is basically what the “inner circle” is. I’ve seen those who shared the vision and had the willingness to learn the skills “join” the “inner circle.” It has happened with many people over the years. Those who viewed Ananda merely as a place to have their sense of self worth validated based on their position relative to the people doing the actual work have sometimes been disappointed and felt excluded. This is more an issue of personal character development than a problem with the Ananda organization.

The most current personal account I can find cited in the AA letters posted is seven years old. Most of the letters deal with events 10, 20 or even 30 years old, and mostly refer to events at Ananda Village, Nevada City. The individuals that make up Ananda change and grow over time and were never what AA postings characterize them to be. It has been a long time since many of the events written about occurred. Ananda is much bigger then the Nevada City ashram. AA would have you believe they know Ananda and Swami Kriyananda not having set foot on any Ananda property or interacting with Swami Kriyananda for years. Of the people I know that make up the AA “group,” they had little interaction with Swami Kriyananda even when they lived at Ananda.

What SRF and Ananda’s detractors don’t realize is that Ananda is virtually indestructible at this point. We consist of 100’s of Yogananda devotees that have direct experience of the benefits of living in spiritual communities over many years. If we were driven to financial ruin by SRF we would have no other choice then to start again, rebuild, and prosper. More teachers and authors would spring forth and SRF would have to start all over with suing us out of existence. Is it reasonable to perpetuate this activity over generations of Yogananda disciples? Or will SRF finally recognize that there are more fruitful ways to engage with Ananda then in the courts?