What are Kriyananda's teachings?
This is an important page.
It shows clearly how many ceremonies and teachings are currently observed
in the community. We only marked in orange those ceremonies that have replaced Yogananda's.
What teachings are
actually studied at Ananda?
Superconscious Attunement Ceremony - created by J. Donald Walters.
Purification Ceremony - created by J. Donald Walters.
Ananda Wedding Ceremony - created by J. Donald Walters. (replaces Yogananda's)
Kriya Yoga ceremony - created by J. Donald Walters. (replaces Yogananda's format)
Rules of Conduct for Members - (known as "The Rule") "The rule" was created by J. Donald Walters. Includes directives that members should seek permission from a special comittee of community leaders before marrying, changing jobs, or even having children.
Membership Vows- created by J. Donald Walters. (includes vow of "coopertive obedience and loyalty, above all" to the spiritual director of Ananda. (J. Donald Walters)
Discipleship ceremonies - Created by J. Donald Walters (Does not include Kriya Yoga, the traditional discipleship initiation taught by Paramahansa Yogananda)
Vows taking ceremonies - village member, monastic training, postulant, novice, renunciant and final vows; (most membership vows include vow of "cooperative obedience and loyalty, above all, to the spiritual director of Ananda church; J. Donald Walters) Created by J. Donald Walters.
Ministers pledge ceremonies - for ministers and lightbearers. (senior ministers) Created by J. Donald Walters
Astral ascension ceremony -Format created by J. Donald Walters (replaces Yogananda's. Christening ceremony)
Shiva Ratri ceremony - traditional
Other community ceremonies or holidays
Two day (weekend) celebration of J. Donald Walter's birthday. Theme: gratitude to Mr.Walters, Open house, people come up from centers, some classes about Mr.Walters, musical show of Mr.Walters music. Usually the topic of the Sunday Service for this weekend also follows this theme.
Easter: Combination of Walters and Christ; Example: includes walk from market to Expanding Light temple singing Walters Christian style chants and songs.
Christmas: Includes musical evening of J.Donald Walters music. Usually 2 or 3 Christmas parties at J.Donald Walters house by invitation only.
Music: Mr.Walters discourages music other than his own.
Spiritual renewal week: created by J. Donald Walters. (Created as substitute for Yogananda's yearly Convocation)
County wide open house: focus on what Ananda and J. Donald Walters have accomplished.
Schools: An article in the Palo Alto Weekly reported that, "The Ananda School uses the education techniques of J. Donald Walters" (Swami Kriyananda)
Written teachings required or recommended for membership at Ananda
Ananda Course in Self-Realization, created by J. Donald Walters. (replaces Yogananda's "SRF Lessons")
By a member of the community
This piece compares Walters
veiws with Yogananda and other spiritual leaders on the issue of a swami
falling from his vows. It shows how Walters makes up his own "teachings"
to suit his own desires and to cover up his failings.
What if a swami
"slips"? Is a "slip not a fall"?
Donald Walters, Article, Yoga International magazine, July/August 1995,
"Gurus and the Inner Eperience of Truth" Page 42.
Paramahansa Yogananda, SRF magazine, May, 1951, pg. 30, "Spiritual Interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita," Chapter 5, Stanza 2 and
"God talks with Arjuna," Bhagavad Gita translation, pg. 533, 534.
The Bhagavad Gita,
translation by Paramahansa Yogananda, "God Talks With Arjuna", p. 195.
Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri and Lahiri Mahasaya:
Yogananda wrote in his autobiography:
Yogananda quoting Sri Yukteswar and Lahiri Mahasaya in the Autobiography
of a Yogi, pg. 130, 1981, pg. 138, 1959 edition.
From page 195 of
"The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna", by Master Mahasaya. The author, a brother
disciple of the renowned Swami Vivekananda, is the saint Paramahansa
Yogananda meets in his "Autobiography of a Yogi", in the chapter "The
Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance."
This one is an interveiw with an actual member of the jury that convicted Walters. The trial went on for 4 months. Many hours of testimony were heard from both sides. And in the end, ordinary people saw clearly that Walters was a liar and guilty.
An Interview with a Member of the Jury
What were the real reasons J. Donald Walters and his church were found
guilty of fraud and fined over 1.6 million dollars? Ananda has offered
many excuses for their defeat; Do any of them match what the jury actually
experienced and felt?
Post-trial quotes and excerpts
Interveiwer: What was your
impression of Swami Kriyananda?
Interveiwer: Did you hear there
was another court case brought against Ananda by SRF earlier, and that
Ananda said SRF might be staging this whole thing?
Interveiwer: Do you think that meditation itself and chanting always lead
Interveiwer: So it wasn't so much meditation and chanting, it was more
suggestions from everyone?
Interveiwer: What did you think of [Woman #1]?
Interveiwer: What did you think of [Woman #15]?
Interveiwer: What did you think of [Woman #3] and her testimony? Juror A: It was a boundary issue. I can't imagine, myself, you know, "Oh, come on in. Take your clothes off. Lay on top of me." It just takes something just a little bit -- I don't know what -- what brings a person to say something like that to another person, you know? It's way over the boundary. Way over....Because of the illusion that he has given about his own superiority, he oversteps everyone else's boundaries.
Interveiwer: Did you ever see the
plaintiff's lawyers treating it like a case
of religious persecution?
Interveiwer: What did you think of the punitive damages testimony?
Interveiwer: What did you think of Swami Kriyananda's testimony?
Interveiwer: Do you know that
every day when the trial was over for the day, Ananda would have a hotline
update, where they'd talk about the trial?
Interveiwer: What was your opinion
on the use in the trial of the word "cult"?
Interveiwer: Here's a quote from
Ananda since the trial ended: "Ananda does not condone or tolerate sexual
harassment or sexual abuse in any form by any of its members or leaders."
Do you have any comments on that?
Interveiwer: Here's another quote
from Ananda since the trial ended: "Mike Flynn and Ford Greene repeatedly
compared Ananda to groups like Waco and Jonestown in a calculated attempt
to engender fear and anger in the jury."
Did you ever feel fear and anger during the trial?
Interveiwer: Ananda says the other
side's case was full of "terrible lies" about them; did you feel that one
side or the other was lying?
Interveiwer: What did you think
when people from Ananda said that they had no idea that Swami had been
doing this for years?
Interveiwer: Even, like, Jyotish?
Interveiwer: That he didn't know
what a swami was?
Interveiwer: What did you think of
Interveiwer: What did you think of
Interveiwer: When Devi showed that
film about Ananda, what did you think of that?
Interveiwer: Do you think Swami
Kriyananda told any truth? Do you think he was lying, covering up?
Interveiwer: Do you think he should apologize, to the women or to Ananda? Juror A: I think if he apologized, it wouldn't mean a damn thing. Because I don't think he could be sincere about apologizing. What good would that do? Everything else he's done -- He's manipulated with words. He is so good with words, that an apology would be worth s---. And you can quote me on that one.
Interveiwer: Do you think the
leadership should apologize?
Interveiwer: What changes do you
think Ananda should make?
Interveiwer: Do you think the
ministers should develop a code of ethics?
Interveiwer: On the Ananda phone
hotline, Ananda leadership would say, "Our witnesses were very powerful."
Interveiwer: Do you think there is
anything that Ananda should do or say for the other women who were abused
by Swami Kriyananda?
Interveiwer: Do you think some of
the Ananda leaders should be removed from their positions?
Interveiwer: If you were an Ananda
member, what would you do about the present situation? Leave? Stay and
Interveiwer: Was there anything
that most struck you about Ananda's presentation?
Interveiwer: Any last thoughts on
Swami Kriyananda? Janice Moreno had said that he opened up to her unlike
he did to anyone else.
Interveiwer: What would you like
to say to Swami?
Interveiwer: What message did you
hope to communicate to Ananda by your verdict?
Interveiwer: What message did you
hope to communicate to the larger society?
"I felt no bias against the religious group. It wouldn't have been my choice [of religious group] but if somebody else wants to do that with their life, fine."
"I think that people [on the jury] felt very strongly about the fact that these [Ananda] people had a right to their religion, and that this was not up to us. But the taking advantage of individuals was inappropriate."
"I didn't believe that it [the trial] was an SRF thing at all."
"They [the attorneys] didn't stress the word 'cult.'"
"Because of the illusion that he [Swami Kriyananda] has given about his own superiority, he oversteps everyone else's boundaries."
"They [Ananda people] can easily say that they don't condone it [sexual harassment or sexual abuse], but do they turn their backs and close their eyes if they know it's happening?....You can SAY that you don't condone it, but if you aren't doing anything about it, then it's...kind of like lying by omission."
"The only women who were powerful
were married to men who were also in leadership positions...And I think
about the rest of you, who were just a bunch of...you're like scullery
maids running around, to serve Swami and the
letter was sent to Ananda leaders years ago but which did no good in
getting Kriyananda to admit his mistakes but instead pushed into a further
hiding. It is a heartbreaking account.
We want to reflect
on this situation by focusing on the experience of woman #10 as a
representative of each woman who felt hurt and damaged by sexual
interaction with Swami Kriyananda. Why woman #100? We think woman #100 has
a sweet vulnerable nature and our sympathy naturally goes out to her.
Since she harbors no motive of retaliation or revenge, woman #100 is
exceptionally believable.We have talked to woman #100 many hours about her
Woman #100 was 22 years old when she came to Ananda in May, 1980. Swami Kriyananda was 54 years old. Like all new Ananda residents, she learned that it was a privilege to live in close proximity to Swami Kriyananda- a direct disciple of Yogananda. Being near to Swami Kriyananda, "tuning in" to him in love and service, was a way to be closer to Yogananda. Feeling great enthusiasm for the spiritual path, woman #100 joined the Ananda convent in October '80 and remained there as a nun until February '82. So far, so good.
During June 1981, Kriyananda asked woman #100 to massage his sore shoulder. After about three months of massages, Kriyananda asked if it would embarrass woman #100 if he didn't use a towel to cover himself during massage sessions. Shortly after Thanksgiving 1981, Kriyananda began placing woman #100's hand on his genitals and directing her to masturbate him and and also initiated her in oral sex. Although it appears obviously inappropriate now, woman #100 considered these sexual acts as a continuation of her service and devotion to the spiritual leader of Ananda. Kriyananda advised woman #100 to take advantage of this special opportunity for spiritual advancement.
Woman #100 did not
have a reciprocal romantic relationship with Kriyananda-an affair. She
simply sexually serviced him by masturbating him to ejaculation and then
left. Rather than just briefly slipping into delusion, Kriyananda
maintained woman #100 in his sexual service for two years. During the
first month (December '81) of woman #100's sexual service, Kriyananda
requested and received manual masturbation or oral sex virtually every
night. Woman #100
Woman #100 moved back in with her parents in Los Angeles during March-May '82. During a visit to LA to give classes, Kriyananda called woman #100, and arranged a meeting to receive oral sex. When woman #100 returned to the community in June '82, Keshava thoughtfully offered her a trailer to live in right next to Kriyananda's dome. Instead, woman #100 ended up living in a room at EM's house. After a party there, Kriyananda invited her back to his dome to give him massage and sexual service. Woman #100 masturbated Kriyananda or performed oral sex several times from June '82 to August '82.
At the end of the summer, Seva encouraged woman #100 to move to Ananda House in San Francisco. From September '82 to January '84, whenever Kriyananda visited Ananda House, he would solicit sex from woman #100, often being masturbated or receiving oral sex every night during his visits. During this period, Kriyananda initiated sexual intercourse as part of woman #100's sexual service. About half the time he would ask for masturbation or oral sex, the other times for sexual intercourse. Kriyananda asked for one last sexual service from woman #100 after she moved back to Ananda Village in January '84. At that time, Rosanna was coming on the scene and Kriyananda no longer needed woman #100.
Woman #100 eventually moved back to Ananda House in San Francisco to return to school. She completed her Science degree in June '88 and moved to Los Angeles. In the early '90s, woman #100 gradually began to recognize the obligation of teachers to act only for the well-being of those in their charge. She realized it was wrong for a spiritual teacher to ask for sex from a student. Only during the current lawsuit did she finally acknowledge to herself how much Swami Kriyananda had hurt her and how little he had her interests at heart. Her enthusiasm for spiritual life had been undermined; she had recurring bouts of depression; and she found that at the core of her being, she was afraid of Swami Kriyananda. Even at present, woman #100 is struggling with the damage inflicted by Kriyananda.
In early 1995, woman #100 decided not to become involved in the Bertolucci lawsuit. She distrusted litigation as a method of solving problems. She knew and liked Danny Levin. However, she then read Kriyananda's November 25, 1994 letter to the Ananda community denying he had ever harassed anyone, protesting that he even closed his eyes and meditated during movie love scenes. woman #100 knew Kriyananda was representing himself untruthfully and suspected that he was still preying on Ananda women. She assumed that if Ananda leaders knew that Kriyananda was secretly having sex with his students, Ananda's public denials would cease and Kriyananda would be prevented from hurting anyone else.
During March 1995, woman #100 called four Ananda friends and four Ananda ministers. She let them know what had happened to her between November '81 and January '84.
Seva conceded that what Kriyananda did to woman #100 was wrong but Seva urged her not to tell others. Seva's advice: don't cause people to lose their faith; don't be negative; come back to Ananda and heal.
Haridas instructed woman #100 to look at her own motives and warned of the serious karma she would incur by telling the truth about Kriyananda. That knowledge could knock devotees off the spiritual path entirely and woman #100 would be responsible. Haridas did admit that he hadn't figured out what to make of Kriyananda lying to the community about his sexual life. Haridas related a message from Swami Kriyananda to woman #100: keep what happened just between you and God.
Ram, the leader of woman #100's Apprentice Program, sternly informed woman #100 that she was not an injured party because she was a consenting adult. Battle lines were drawn; this was war. He warned woman #100 that if she continued to call Ananda residents, Ananda's law team would sue her.
Jyotish confessed that he had heard rumors about Kriyananda's sexual activity with woman #100. He stated that Swami had sexual problems, and that because of those problems, Swami may have interpreted woman #100's massage as seductive.
Why didn't Jyotish, the head of Ananda ministers, investigate those rumors? Why didn't he talk to woman #100? Why didn't he confront Swami Kriyananda? Why didn't he bring this serious violation to the Village Council? Why did he not protect woman #100? Why did he let the sexual servicing continue?
Surely, Swami Kriyananda had an obligation to act in the best interests of those who came to Ananda and placed their spiritual lives in his care. He had a profound responsibility not to use these devotees for his own sexual satisfaction. How can sexually using a woman who lacked healthy boundary distinctions be considered friendship? Why didn't these senior Ananda ministers bring disciplinary action against the Spiritual Director?
We understand that it is extremely difficult to take an ethical stand in the midst of a militant culture which sharply divides the world into camps of light and darkness and populates the surrounding darkness with unseen enemies plotting Ananda's annihilation. So what is the Ananda community to do now? How can we help Swami accept responsibility for what he has done and make amends?
1) Should a
public written apology be extended to woman #100 and the other
Please make sure that the harm done to woman #100 is never again inflicted on a vulnerable 22-year-old spiritual aspirant at Ananda.