Kriyananda / Yogananda

Kriyananda / Yogananda

By Reza Ganjavi

I just came upon some disturbing information about Swami Kriyananda, which was very disappointing since I really liked his hatha yoga book which was my first one, and my first yoga teacher studied with him. He was the right-hand man of Swami Yogananda. He started Ananda Village which is a very nice place and I've met many nice people there. It's a huge retreat center and community in California, with their own goat farm, etc., and GREAT organic food... but it's also unpleasant because it has ghosts, probably the Yogananda chelas who are waiting their turn to get beamed up ;)...

Kriyananda wrote the first yoga postures book I used. He died not long ago. This is what I just read about him that was a shocker... but then again, corruption and power seem to go hand in hand...

"In 1997–98, a former resident of Ananda filed suit against Ananda, an Ananda minister, and Swami Kriyananda. In the course of the trial, eight women testified under oath that Kriyananda had used his power as the leader of Ananda to obtain sexual gratification from them when they were in their 20s. Kriyananda admitted sexual contacts with most of the women [25] but denied it constituted sexual abuse. 

The jury found the church (Ananda), and Kriyananda liable for "constructive fraud", with a finding of "malice and fraudulent conduct". The church, Kriyananda and the Ananda minister were found liable for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" with a finding of "malice" and a finding of "despicable conduct" against the church. The church was found liable for "negligent supervision" of Kriyananda, with a finding of "malice and fraud" on the part of the church. Swami Kriyananda was judged to have misrepresented himself as a monk and to have caused emotional trauma, and was ordered to pay $285,000 in compensatory damages, and another $1 million in punitive damages (the punitive damages were reduced to $400,000 on appeal). The jury also found that the Ananda minister had made "unwelcome sexual advances"."

Also, the Autobiography of Yoga is heavily criticized for having lots of inaccuracies and outright lies. Yogananda talks about mermaids etc. as being real. 

Not all gurus are crooks. I've known a few who are not. But power seems to do something to the mind of those who are not as spiritually rooted (for lack of better words... or anchored in the divine) as they claim to be.

We also have a history before us of corruption of great minds via their followers or distortions of facts after they died, in the forms of myths and lies, by people who were supposedly close to them. Why would Mark Lee for example who knew Krishnamurti personally (although as some of the friends of Krishnamurti put it he was in the "background") say a false story and outrageous opinions on relationship to him? To be exotic? To get power of being a desired speaker? The more exotic stories the more interesting for people who fall for them as entertainment since humans have a habit of focusing on the person instead what he points to. In my opinion, Krishnamurti made his own personality irrelevant by saying, don't follow me, find out for yourself. He was not a guru.

I also wanted to find out how he lived, what he ate, what exercises he do, what was his morality, how he felt, etc. -- he referred to this as a story of the man from Seattle, who comes to the Krishnamurti library... and wants to know these things from people who knew him.

He was very weary of organizations too so not surprising, unfortunately, today I don't think there's much of that spirit there. It's given its way to the same old story of power, money, circus, convenience, etc., like the path of history dictates. But Krishnamurti's teachings are archived and are available in an authentic form for those who are interested, and they contain many gems, tremendous insights.


Do you really think people are like this? Most decent people I know are not like this. They have the integrity that some gurus who are supposed to be spiritual guides, don't have.

I'm not sure I understand the latter part of your message. Crooks are judged and rightfully so.

Bernie Ebbers is serving a 25-year prison sentence didn't have the integrity to speak the truth, the society found his guilty of fraud and put him behind bars.

Can one person talk for everyone? Do you know people who are not lonely, fearful, hurt, sad? I do! They're not the majority. The majority live in a subtle fear -- at least physical when one's a meat eater! And other burdens ... fear of public opinion etc...

"Your insight is out and your outside is in" John Lennon. So we're talking the whole person... yes, it's hard to know the inner state so my question "do you know anyone who..." should have been qualified as any good close friends... b/c strangers put on facades ... "Oh look what a great life I have" and boom the next day they could kill themselves! Happens in Switzerland -- every other day someone jumps in front of the train.

I'm not afraid of death. I live with it all the time it seems... it's a part of life and love.

I subscribed to Dr. Scott H. Forbes' project but have not had much time to read every issue -- have read some and found them brilliant and I hope to catch up at some point. About Mark & a few others in KFA whom I can't stand for very good reasons, I will remain quiet for now until I come back with details of the kind of things these people engage in. What did you read in the MZ memoirs that you referred to about? I'm curious -- please share it -- just off your memory is sufficient. Thank you.

I agree the memoires are indeed a good historical record that should be read by K scholars, etc. -- as for personal or non-personal, it's persons that make an organization. "You are the world"... -- I don't have an issue with KFA separate from issue with a few of its people. It's not my job to protect K's work -- people at the foundations are paid to do it and that job is pretty much done (digitizing/archiving) -- of course if we see they're distorting it becomes our job but so far they've done ok with that. But it is my duty as his friend to call out rubbish that is propagated in his name and stupid actions of some people at his American foundation -- for sake of history -- and soon, I hope, I will be done with the past. I am one publication away. My role is an amateur historian who writes and gives pages to hands of history.

Funny, heard Kriyananda say "As long as you have desires for this world then desires direct energy and they force you back here again and again" -- yet he was found guilty of "despicable conduct" and so on with 25 women at his "church". Talk about hypocrites. I guess there was no desire involved in that (LOL) or the women were so beautiful that he thought, "heck, coming back here again and again is not too bad as long as I have this gurudom & these nice ladies around -- heaven can't be much better!"

As for the "slander" we read, I posted a court's decision. A court of law decides based on evidence if certain accusation is true or not. In the case I posted there were TWENTY FIVE women who came forward with the same accusation, and based on the evidence and testimony the court made the decision it did. So this is not hearsay, gossip, bogus slander. It's a case where the defendants' attorney went out of their way to argue their clients were innocent but failed. 

Back to the gist of what you're trying to say if I understand it right, it's true that sometimes famous people get others to make up stories about them for various motives but that's not what we're talking about here. If it was just one woman, you'd think, ok, maybe it's fake, but 25 is not a small number.

Come on dear - if you want to quote something quote a reliable source. Have you read that book? I had correspondence with the author and ultimately she said because of freedom of speech she can say anything she wants and a dead man can't be defamed so she waited till K died before spewing her nonsense. I have heard different things from different people but even if we assume that they had a sexual relationship (which is nobody else's business) there was no record of any abuse and no accusation of it either. Her book is nevertheless full of internal logical fallacies and she was not able to address the faults I pointed out to her.

Freedom of speech is not absolute by the way. If abused it's lost.

But even in that fallacious book, there is no accusation of abuse. You accused him of having committed "sexual abuse by someone who he had cared for". I met Rosalind by the way. Anyway, there is no record of any sort of abuse. Therefore, unless you can show that there's even an accusal of abuse, your statement is defamatory. Though K is dead, since that statement is harmful and defamatory, I ask that you please remove it or provide a reference for an actual case of abuse. Neither Radha nor anyone else I know accused K of any sort of sexual abuse. Even if Radha is right, a mutually consensual sexual relationship doesn't constitute abuse of the woman.

I don't care about who said what about whom. Just as an Admin here when someone accuses another of an illegal act, I need to see it substantiated otherwise I have to ask them to remove the statement. One of the few rules of this forum is that defamatory statements are not allowed. Defamation has a specific meaning. So since as a substance you quoted Radha but she doesn't accuse K or abusing her mother, therefore, you should remove that sentence "Sexual abuse by someone who he had cared for". Thank you.

Please let's be clear here. We are talking about two different subjects. Let's keep them separate for the sake of clarity. About Kriyananda, the statement I made about him is based on the court ruling as I explained above in depth and it seems credible to me. You might think all those 25 women made up the story etc., etc. and you have the right to your opinion. 

About K, you specifically stated that he was accused of "sexual abuse". I asked you to show where this accusation was made. You said Radha Sloss's book. Nowhere in her book she's accusing K of sexual abuse. Therefore, your statement has not been substantiated and since it's a very serious charge, it is defamatory, therefore I ask that you remove it. Thanks. I would do the exact same thing if anybody accused you of acting against the law and couldn't prove it. That's not tolerated in this forum. Thanks for understanding.

That's what I said Gigs -- it seems that Radha waited to publish her bogus book till after K died because you can't defame a dead person. Pretty sleazy!