Ananda Sangha Participation Guide
Ananda Sangha is a worldwide spiritual family of people who have joined together to create a unique expression of the tradition of Sanataan Dharma (the Eternal Religion) as expressed by the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. From the very beginning of Ananda Sangha, Swami Kriyananda wanted to help people discover and experience how God can, and should be, a part of all aspects of life. Souls from all walks of life, whether they be householders, singles, or formal renunciates, can share in the joys of the spiritual life according to their own level of spiritual adventurousness.
Our goal as a spiritual family is to support the individual aspirations of every member in the best possible way.
Freedom of choice is highly valued at Ananda. Participants choose how and when they will participate. Members are personally responsible, in attunement to God and Gurus, for their own spiritual growth. The Sangha is designed to help us reach our spiritual potential, but it is ultimately up to each of us as to how much is accomplished.
The amount of time and energy that you give to cultivating your spiritual life and the blending of ways that you participate will be unique to your own nature and circumstance. Although there is a linear path to becoming a Sevaka (Life Member) of Ananda Sangha, each person’s journey along that path and level of participation is determined by their own choices.
6 Key Ways to Participate
There are six key ways to participate in the Sangha: Sadhana, Satsang, Study, Support, Singing, and Seva. Although we look at these areas individually, realize and practice consciously their interconnection within yourself. Each area helps the development of the other areas. Like most things in life, the more you put in it, the more you get out of it.
The daily participation in spiritual practices is essential if we want to move forward in the spiritual life. Learn and practice the four main techniques of the path of Self-Realization: Energization Exercises, Hong-Sau technique of concentration, Aum Technique of Meditation, and Kriya Yoga.
Also include chanting, japa, affirmations and prayer.
Daily meditation on your own should be complimented with group meditation as often as possible. The group energy is extremely beneficial.
Practice consciously keeping silence whenever possible.
Practice the Presence of God during the day. Use Japa (silent repetition of God’s name or a mantra) and/or mentally repeating a chant, as a way to stay inwardly connected.
Spend time in seclusion. An hour, a day, a week or even longer, spent focusing deeply on God is very beneficial. During your seclusion keep silence, read only uplifting books, eat little, and meditate as much as possible. As Yoganandaji said, “Seclusion is the price of greatness.”
Attend activities with other Ananda Sanghis as often as possible.
Consciously be aware of your inner connection to the Ananda Sangha worldwide group energy. The Masters of Self-Realization are trying to use us as instruments to bring light and joy into the world. Identify your individual efforts with that larger flow of energy.
Participate in a local meditation group or center if possible. If there is no group in your area, consider helping to start one.
Consider joining and/or helping to start an Ananda Ashram/Community in your area.
Attend at least one Ananda Sangha retreat per year.
Once you have the Kriya Yoga technique, attend an initiation ceremony at least once a year.
Listen to Yoganandaji’s and Swamiji’s tapes, cd’s and videos. Watch Swami Kriyananda’s daily TV show when possible.
Go on one of the many spiritual pilgrimages offered by the Sangha. Visits to the shrines of self-realization and holy places of east and west will freshen and deepen your inner life.
Reading the writings of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda is an essential component to understanding the path of Self-Realization. Many hours of audio and video programs by Swami Kriyananda are also an incredible resource for your spiritual education and inspiration. There are also videos and books available by long time students of Swami Kriyananda.
Attend ongoing classes. Once you have attended a course you can repeat it for no additional cost.
- The Path of Self-Realization Course – Levels 1, 2 and 3.
- Level 4 Kriya Preparation and Kriya Initiation
- Ongoing Discipleship Training – Spiritual Mentoring with the Achary of your choosing.
- Kriya Yoga Community training program
Often people think that once they have read a book or taken a class, they have completed their understanding of the subject. Years of experience has shown us that we can reach deeper and deeper perceptions about the spiritual life if we continue to open our minds humbly to greater insight.
Focus on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda deeply for an extended period of time, rather than mixing and matching the teachings of different paths. Remember that inner transformation is vibrational, not just intellectual. Concentration on our own path is not a rejection of others, but a way to optimize our spiritual efforts.
The Ananda Sangha is a spiritual family that you can rely on. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your highest spiritual potential in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to us and let us know what is going on in your life: We want to know! We are here to help!
The Sangha Acharyas are available for spiritual mentoring in person, by telephone, or via email. You can arrange to meet with one of the Acharyas by contacting the Sangha office.
Ananda Sangha online is an incredible resource for supporting your spiritual efforts. It isn’t possible to list here the many ways you can use these websites. Our free inspiration page will give you links to many of these sites.
Ananda Sangha has an international Prayer Circle. If you or a friend/family member is in need of prayers you can receive prayers from devotees around the world. You can request healing prayers in person, by phone, by mail or by email.
The music written by Swami Kriyananda has always been an important part of the Ananda Sangha way of life. Swamiji once said, “If you want to know me, listen to my music.”
Singing in the choir and/or listening to Swamiji’s music is a very powerful way to attune yourself to the vibrational essence that is at the core of Ananda Sangha. Experiment by listening only to Swamiji’s music for a period of time and see what effect it has on your consciousness.
If you play an instrument, learn to play some of Swamiji’s songs and then share them with others.
Consider how you can use your own personal interests and talents in order to help others in the Sangha. Start by finding an area of need and apply your creative energies to serving that need. As time goes by, God will guide you and present opportunities to you. As you serve, feel God’s energy and creativity flowing through you. As you give of your time and energy. serving with us side by side, you will find your life transformed.
Here are some of the many ways you could serve in Ananda Sangha:
- Join the healing prayer circle. You can contact the healing prayer coordinator in as many Sangha locations as you want. Then you pray daily for the list of names that you are given.
- Practice offering invisible acts of kindness. Serve others daily as a channel for Divine energy without drawing attention to yourself.
- Offer financial support toward special projects or the Sangha in general. Do this creatively, as spirit move you. The Sangha is a recognized NGO so your donations are tax deductable.
- Tell a friend. As you go through each day, look for opportunities to share with others the blessings that you have received.
- Make sure your local bookshop carries the Autobiography of a Yogi and Swamiji’s books.
- Ask others in the Sangha how you can help and act on their suggestions.
- Share your suggestions as to how we can improve our outreach and service. Focus on solutions rather than problems.
- Check the Sangha website for the current areas of activity and growth. See if you feel drawn to helping one or more of those areas to manifest.
- Invite an Ananda Acharya to speak in your local area.
- Join us in one of the Ananda Businesses or help us start a new business to provide jobs and income for Ananda devotees.
- Come up with your own creative ways to participate.
The Ananda Sangha Way of Life
The Ananda Sangha Path of Kriya Yoga represents a life long commitment to living in attunement on ever deeper levels with God and Gurus. Along the way there are various training programs and milestones that give each member an opportunity to reach new spiritual heights. It should be understood that the goal of this process is not for greater position in the hierarchy of Ananda Sangha, but to experience and express the humility, joy and servicefulness which are natural expressions of the Ananda Sangha way of life.
As your interaction with the Sangha progresses you will find the inner core of your being filled with a joy, light and love that no other approach to life can offer. We look forward to sharing and serving with you.