A Place Called Ananda

The Truth About Swami Kriyananda’s Separation from
Self-Realization Fellowship
and the Founding of the Ananda Communities

In his book A Place Called Ananda, Swami Kriyananda tells the true, inside story of his dismissal by Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and the founding of the original Ananda Community, in fulfillment of a commission assigned to him by Paramhansa Yogananda.

A Place Called Ananda is Swami Kriyananda’s most personal, and many have said, among the most inspiring of his 140-plus books. It is a tale of high drama and a deeply inspiring story of unswerving faith in God in the midst of severe tests and trials.

We will present two or three chapters per week.

Chapter 1: Yogananda’s Mission to the West
The need for outreach; religious institutionalism versus the needs of  the individual seeker
Chapter 2: Master’s Commission to Me
“The Great Work” — Yogananda hints to his beloved disciple of a life outside the organization; The conflicting needs of the work: to share the Master’s teachings as widely as possible with seeking souls, or to cultivate a fortress mentality and seek to protect them against dilution at all cost
Chapter 3: Organizing the Work
Yogananda’s admonition, “Don’t make too many rules, they destroy the spirit,” versus the need for organizational order and efficiency
Chapter 4: The Third Presidency

Death of Rajarshi Janakananda; Daya Mata named SRF President; Differing views of the work: ever-expanding service versus protecting the institution; Increasing rigidity within SRF and a growing hostility toward creative ideas for spreading the teachings; Service outlines become service readings; Challenging an uninformed critic; Sister Tara: her efforts to micromanage and exert control
Chapter 5: Polarization
Tara Mata’s efforts to dictate SRF’s future direction; Her work as an editor of Yogananda’s written works; Tara’s greatness and her flaws were both impressive; Two opposite attitudes toward the work: Tara’s siege mentality and its devastating consequences, versus Kriyananda’s desire to make the teachings available to all. “People, in her view, represented only trouble: a threat to the purity of Master’s teachings.”;

Chapter 6: Six Blind Boys and an Elephant
The disciples of a great avatar can only see one small part of his world mission; Tara telephones Daya almost daily, instructing her in how to run the work – if Daya demurred, Tara would accuse her of disloyalty; In SRF the male teachers were seen as second-class citizens; Yogananda told Swamiji, “Apart from Saint Lynn, every man has disappointed me. And you mustn’t disappoint me!”; Swamiji receives last, loving words of praise from the Guru.
Chapter 7: Rights and Wrongs
Two views of the Master’s mission: both sides were right, in the context of their service to him; The duty of obedience to one’s monastic superiors, versus following the Master’s explicit commission, independently; The harm of blind obedience to an insensitive superior;
Chapter 8: I Go to India
Lessons in spreading the Master’s teachings through public speaking; Arrival in India and first days in Calcutta.
Chapter 9: My First Year in India
Helping Daya Mata; Finding Master’s work in India in slothful disarray; Daya’s efforts are met with sullen opposition; Revised lessons for India rejected by SRF for bureaucratic reasons; Binay Dubey, a difficult character; Master’s Ranchi school accepts government funds, and loses all spiritual instruction; Organization versus outreach; Ananda Moyi Ma, a loving relationship; Ma foresees Swamiji’s dismissal by SRF, and her loving concern
Chapter 10: My First Lecture Tour
Spreading the Master’s work: speaking to people’s souls as a channel for his help to them; The need for publicity; Sharing universal truths rather than trying to convert people to one’s own path; Calming an angry audience of college students protesting China’s incursions; Speaking about yoga to a hostile audience of students most of whom were communists; Timid event organizers in New Delhi are shocked when Swamiji urges them to set up a tent for his lecture that will hold 1800 people.
Chapter 11: Fresh Water for Dirty Drains
Blissful days in India; Praise and words of caution from Ananda Moyi Ma; Institutionalism in YSS/SRF vs satisfying people’s hunger for truth; Binay Dubey
Chapter 12: I Return to America
Dr. Lewis passes, and Bro. Kriyananda takes his place as SRF Vice President; The desire for human warmth — Yogananda’s counsel, his promise — and a difficult test; Tara’s demands, based on her practice of astrology, which Master had told her to drop; Return to India; A visit with Yogi Ramiah, a fully liberated soul;
Chapter 13: The Delhi Project
From Delhi, Yogananda will quickly become known throughout India; Land-ho!; Making connections; A meeting with Indira Gandhi; Nehru spends an exceptional amount of time discussing the project; Nehru gives his approval; The truth is very different from the host of self-serving rumors about the reasons for Swami Kriyananda’s dismissal by SRF.
Chapter 14: The Reaction
Swami Kriyananda relates the events surrounding his dismissal by Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)
Chapter 15: Retrospect
SRF’s unwillingness to develop a world mission of the magnitude Master visualized; Tara and Daya’s very different view of the work: consolidating what Yogananda created, rather than expanding it to serve ever greater numbers of seeking souls; Tara’s deliberate intention to destroy Kriyananda with a single knock-out blow; Tara’s violent opposition gave Ananda the shakti to succeed; Daya said, “It reached the point where I saw she was quite capable of destroying the organization rather than not get her will.” Daya: “I’ve never accepted the things Tara said against you.”; Daya to Kriyananda in 1970: “Master told her [Tara] not to practice astrology, but she kept up her practice. That’s why she fell.”; Tara appears to a man in New York, and he travels to Ananda to ask Kriyananda’s forgiveness on her behalf.