Ever since the early days of Ananda, and even before that, Swami Kriyananda knew that he was bringing into manifestation the new expression of religion Yogananda said Self Realization was supposed to be in this new era of energy awareness. Swami’s own definition of the process must have been clear from the very beginning: free flowing spirituality, consistent with the ancient teachings of yogic discipline and philosophy as taught by his Guru, and applicable in all aspects of daily life; contents rather than form; renunciation with the emphasis on ego transcendence rather than ego suppression.
But what name, what denomintation could cover all this?
Well yes, Self Realization and Ananda are fundamental words on the spiritual path, but they refer to inner, individual growth rather than being a social definition that presents a new religious expression to the world.
Is Ananda a group of communities? But what about the thousands of people all over the world who don’t live in an Ananda community, and yet feel in tune with Ananda’s particular ray?
Is it a Church? In the USA, where everyone can start a new religion, Ananda actually has this legal status, to make it easier for people to associate socially and financially. But in places like India or Europe the word is easily associated with old fashion religion and even colonial suppression.
Is it an organization? Like in any social movement, organization is important also for Ananda, but it is always understood as a means, to the end of sharing Yogananda’s teachings and vibration with spiritual seekers everywhere.
Movement comes closer to it, but movements, literary, artistic, political, are usually short lived and fashion bound: there is no lasting link with essential realities of consciousness in man.
The final word that came up and still stands to be counted in the world then, was Sangha, which means company, but could also be translated as family: a new concept of family, no longer based on biological ties, but on an intuitively recognized sense of soul affinity and shared ideals. Ananda Sangha then, means fellowship in and for bliss.
In her biography of Swami, Nayaswami Asha tells the story of how, sometime in 2003, during a vacation in Kerala, he woke up at 3:00 am with ideas so powerful and coming with such a force, that he had to get up immediately and begin writing.
What came out of his pen then, he called The Way of Ananda Sanghis. You can read the article here. May these statements inspire you to explore the bliss of your own being, and may they foster in you the courage of your innermost convictions!