- Category : Art-Photography
- Type : PE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (35)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 2
American writer, composer, playwright, photographer and singer, who is best known as a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, the first Master from India to live and teach in the West. Kriyananda is a prolific author with over 70 books to his credit, including "The Path: A Spiritual Autobiography" and "The Hindu Way of Awakening: Its Revelation, Its Symbols."
After reading Yogananda’s autobiography at age 22, he headed for Los Angeles, where he was accepted as a disciple in the Self-Realization Fellowship. Eventually he was initiated into the order, taking life vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and loyalty. From that point on, Donald Walters became Swami Kriyananda. He spent 3 ½ years in close contact with Yogananda, and as his disciple, he was accorded great respect. He eventually became vice-president of the Fellowship, but in 1968 he left to found Ananda, a worldwide movement dedicated to sharing with others the teachings of Yogananda. From its meager beginnings in the Sierra Nevada foothills, tirelessly promoted by its charismatic founder, Ananda flourished, expanding into a collection of churches, meditation centers, stores and other enterprises. The members describe their leader as thoroughly honest, kind and loving, and in New Age circles, Ananda is referred to as the poster child of cooperative spiritual communities. Others disagree, however, saying that the organization is a cult and the beliefs seem based on self-delusion.
Kriyananda is a popular lecturer, who teaches how to apply spiritual principles to art, music, education, relationships and business, and has written hundreds of pieces of music. These include "The Mystic Harp," and the recently released album "Windows on the World."
In 1994, he was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of a former member, Anne-Marie Berolucci. She charged that he took advantage of her sexually throughout her years with the church, and that as a result, she became depressed and suicidal. Other ex-Ananda members supported her case, saying that Kriyananda would request massages from the impressionable young females who flocked to the community, and that these massages turned into sexual events. When they questioned their leaders about this practice, the women were told that they were "extremely blessed to provide energy to him." Although Kriyananda admitted the sexual contacts, he denied they were sexual abuse. The presiding judge noted the arrogant and uncaring attitude that the defendant exhibited throughout the trial, and the jury found him liable on all counts. The million-plus-dollar judgment is being fought in an unusual manner; the church filed for bankruptcy protection, a move that is being challenged as fraud. During the trial, Kriyananda retired as spiritual director of Ananda.
Despite his heart problems and hip surgeries, his appearance is youthful, even boyish, and he carries himself with Old World grace and refinement.