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About us

About the Ananda Awareness Network: The Ananda Awareness Network's primary goal is to provide information to those who have concerns about the Ananda Church of Self-Realization.

AAN recognizes and respects all people, groups and religions, including Ananda, in their pursuit of high ideals and in their right to practice their chosen religion as they see fit.

AAN believes information and alternative views should be available to those who wish, so a more fully informed choice can be made about one's current or future relationship with Ananda.

AAN is not affiliated with, funded or directed by, any group or religion.

AAN functions on contributions of time, energy and money from volunteers; ordinary people, many, but not all of whom, are former members of Ananda.


Overview and background: The Ananda Awareness Network offers information about Ananda, also known as the Ananda Church of Self-Realization. Founded by Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters in 1968. Ananda, Swami Kriyananda, and Crystal Clarity, the publishing house for Ananda, were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 1994 alleging sexual harassment and abuse by Swami Kriyananda and the Ananda church of Self-Realization. While Ananda and Swami Kriyananda have denied some of the charges, Swami Kriyananda has admitted to sexual activity with followers under oath. Ananda represents to the public that it follows the teachings of an Indian guru named Paramahansa Yogananda. However, on investigation, it is revealed that all of the ceremonies practiced at Ananda, printed Yoga lessons required for Ananda membership, and most of the books Ananda recommends for study, were created or written wholly by Swami Kriyananda, as replacements for Paramahansa Yogananda's own. Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, was forced to resign from his post at Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors in 1962. The Ananda Awareness Network was created to help a process already in existence for many years: Ex-Ananda members sharing  information and experiences about Ananda. Many people once associated with Ananda now say that going to Ananda was ultimately a destructive force in their lives. Upon discovering the reality of the personality cult of Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, and the revelations of his sexual activities with young women, some of whom considered themselves celibate nuns in the Ananda renunciate order, they leave shocked and disappointed. Often after years of dedicated service, of investing their whole lives in Ananda, as encouraged by the church, people can find themselves devastated financially, emotionally and spiritually. The lawsuit filed against the Ananda church of Self-Realization, known as Ananda, and Swami Kriyananda, includes charges of fraud and deceit, alleging that Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, misrepresented himself to the public as a celibate Hindu priest, known as a swami, while in actuality he was engaging in sexual activity with young women under his spiritual care. Expert witnesses at the trial described the type of sexual activity as "clergy sexual abuse". An abuse of power perpetrated by Swami Kriyananda. While Swami Kriyananda admitted under oath to sexual activity with some followers, he denied it was "abuse". Swami Kriyananda said the young nuns "thrust themselves upon him" and took advantage of "his weakness". Ananda rallied to Swami Kriyananda's defense. Many of their leaders admitted in court that they hadn't even read the women's declarations before they were condemning them to their community as "lies" and "distortions". Ananda has no sexual harassment policy, as many other modern churches do. Ananda does not believe this is necessary, even after 7 women testified about sexual abuse at the hands of Swami Kriyananda. The Ananda Awareness Network's goal is to make alternative information about Ananda Church of Self-Realization, and Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, available to the public, so a fully informed choice about involvement with Ananda can be made.