Our Spiritual Lineage

Those who join us on this path of Self-realization are not connected to some printing press, but to a line of God-realized masters.

God Himself, through them, overshadows this work. All who follow it sincerely, with devotion, will be brought to Him.

—Paramhansa Yogananda

The first thing you notice when you enter the Ananda Temple is an altar with five photographs and paintings of the gurus who form Ananda’s spiritual lineage.

Kriyananda voices an oft-unspoken question, “If the state of consciousness we’re seeking is formless and omnipresent, something we’re supposed to commune with in our own selves, doesn’t it hinder our development to have our attention diverted outwardly, to individuals?”

He goes on to say, “Our Masters have that state of consciousness. For us, it is difficult even to visualize such a state! By attuning ourselves to them, we begin to sense what it is they have, and to develop that same consciousness in ourselves. That is what is meant in the Bible by the words, ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God’” [John 1:12]

“The guru gives his disciple not only teaching and guidance; He also transmits to him spiritual power.”

—Paramhansa Yogananda


Paramhansa Yogananda
1893 – 1952

Yogananda was the first great master of yoga to make his home in the West, coming to the U.S. from India in 1920 and living here until his passing.

Swami Sri Yukteswar GiriSwami Sri Yukteswar
1855 – 1936

Paramhansa Yogananda was trained for his mission in the West by his Guru Swami Sri Yukteswar of Serampore, India.


lahiri-mahasaya1Lahiri Mahasaya
1828 – 1895

Shyama Charan Lahiri was the birth name of the great yoga master. His disciples lovingly added “Mahasaya,” which means “great-minded one.” Born in Bengal, India, to a pious brahmin family, Lahiri Mahasaya was the one who made the ancient science of Kriya Yoga available not just to those who had renounced the world, but to all sincere souls.


Babaji1Mahavatar Babaji

Babaji simply means “revered father.” Though the great master’s birth name and date are unknown, his subtle spiritual influence is felt throughout the world. It was he who re-introduced the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, which had been lost through the dark ages due to “priestly secrecy and man’s indifference,” as Yogananda put it.

Christ in FrameJesus Christ

“In the divine plan, Jesus Christ was responsible for the evolution of the West, and Krishna (later, Babaji), for that of the East. It was intended that the West specialize in developing objectively, through logic and reason, and that the East specialize in inner, intuitive development. But in the cosmic plan the time has come to combine these two lines into one. East and West must unite.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

swami2012-medSwami Kriyananda
1926 –2013

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) was the founder of Ananda. He was one of the foremost proponents of yogic teachings in the world until his passing in 2013. In 1948, at the age of 22, he became a disciple of the Indian yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda.  Though not one of our gurus, Swami Kriyananda was a saint and continues to be a spiritual guide.