The Experience of Religion
Ananda Sangha is based on a universal truth: that the greatest happiness and surest guidance come from God, experienced within us. Ananda follows the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda as interpreted by his direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters).
Yogananda spoke of the need in religion for direct, personal experience. He taught that meditation is the missing link in most people’s practice of religion. Meditation allows us not only to talk to God, but to listen to His answers, which we receive as quiet intuitions.
Meditation stills the mind, removing the noisy static of restless thoughts and worries. Yogananda spoke of the “inner temple” of communion with the divine that one discovers naturally when the restless thoughts have become still.
The meditation method that members of Ananda community practice is Kriya Yoga, an ancient technique that Yogananda describes in his famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda brought Kriya Yoga to America in 1920. He said:
“I wasn’t sent to the West by Christ and the great masters of India to dogmatize you with a new theology, but to teach you the science of Kriya Yoga, that people might learn how to commune with God directly.”
The complete text of Autobiography of a Yogi is now online, at: http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/.
The One Truth Behind All Religions
Yogananda taught the underlying unity of all spiritual teachings. He tirelessly lectured and wrote about the oneness of India’s teachings, as expressed in the Bhagavad Gita, and the original teachings of Christ as presented in the Bible.
Yogananda said, “Self-realization has come to unite all religions.” He didn’t mean that all religions should be united under a single denominational banner, but rather that people can uncover the truth of all religions in their own hearts, using the key of meditation. Yogananda taught a non-dogmatic religion of love:
“Instead of peddling untested dogmas and urging people to ‘Believe! Believe!’, the churches should convert their premises into universities of living, where experiments are conducted in how to find the true fulfillment in life all people seek. Instead of gathering in God’s name theoretically, people need to come together with the firm purpose of invoking His living presence in the temple of meditation.”
Ananda Sangha respects and honors all paths. Ananda is a sanctuary for truth seekers, a place where all can come to experience God, free from proselytizing or narrow religious bigotry.