The following information is presented as a service to those who are interested in learning more about Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), the Ananda Church and the Ananda communities. We want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions especially if you are thinking about involvement with Ananda . In the spirit of full disclosure, this information is offered for your consideration.
3-10-04 New Italian News Article Translated: "Leader sought....vast circle of illegal funds..."
3-10-04 Not the first time Ananda in trouble with the Italian police: Ananda raided also for making fraudulent claims about herbal preparations in 2002
3-3-04 Breaking News:
3-4-04 Now with professional translation:
Introduction - Ananda Lawsuit and Kriyananda's Expulsion From SRF.
Trial: Closing Statement- Part I , Part II
Kriyananda - Connection to New Times Article
Overveiw 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 recomends 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 relevations of his sexual activities with young Ananda women, some of whom considered themselves celibate nuns in the Ananda renunciate order, they leave shocked and disappointed. Often after years of dedicated service to Ananda, of investing their whole lives in Ananda, as encouraged by the Ananda 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 the Ananda community as "lies" and "distortions".
Ananda has no sexual harassment policy, as many other modern churches do. Ananda does not believe this is neccasary, even after 7 women testified about sexual abuse at the hands of Swami Kriyananda.
Since the Ananda trial, Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, has fled to Italy, to avoid the embarassment of the verdict. Kriyananda and the Ananda leadership has yet to publicly apologize for his and Ananda's actions. The judge in the case described the harm done to the plaintiff by Swami Kriyananda and Ananda as having a "devastating impact" on her life. The jurors in the Ananda case, interveiwed afterward, said they felt Swami Kriyananda was a liar and a "scumbag". They felt sorry for the people of Ananda who had been lied to by the Ananda leadership. One ex-member wrote the Ananda Awareness Network saying, "I and my husband are outraged, we gave thousands of dollars to the Ananda church to help with their legal defense. We had no idea what was really going on."
Never being able to accept responsibility for their actions, Swami Kriyananda and Ananda have continued to blame others for the consequences.
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