Worship is one aspect of Ananda. Yogananda also taught a practical balance between outward and inward activity. “One must be actively calm and calmly active,” he said. “When along with meditation you offer your work to God, then meditation helps your work and work helps your meditation.” To strengthen the devotee in his efforts to realize God, Yogananda encouraged people of like mind to join together in what he called “world-brotherhood colonies,” demonstrating by their example “that simplicity of living plus high thinking lead to the greatest happiness.” He said these colonies would be the “social pattern of the future.” (Paramhansa Yogananda, The Path)
The first community, Ananda Village, was begun near Nevada City, California in 1968. This rural community of some 240 people is the heart of Ananda’s work today, from which all the other communities have sprung.
Urban communities are the model for Ananda communities in Sacramento, Palo Alto, Portland, and Seattle. Ananda has established master leases on apartment complexes, and manages them as householder ashrams. The urban communities allow devotees from all walks of life the opportunity to live and meditate together in an environment supportive of their spiritual practices.
Ananda Europa, located near Assisi, Italy, is developing more along the lines of Ananda Village in a similar rural environment with 60 resident members. Ananda’s newest community and retreat is in rural Rhode Island.