Ananda – Person and Practice to Reach a Higher Self

Ananda is many things in life, from a companion to Buddha to a spiritual movement in pursuit of bliss in the everyday.  I will discuss the history and meaning of Ananda and the founder of the Ananda movement.

Ananda is a joyful life, a disciple of Buddha, and a religion of God’s presence as tangible and loving.  It is pronounced like the name Amanda and has many benefits, from happiness and joy to enlightenment.  Characteristics of Ananda include calmness, devotion, and positivity.  

Are you interested in practicing yoga but want to know the deeper meaning behind its practice?  Did you ever wonder what Ananda might look like in your life?  Understanding how Ananda reaches various aspects of life can help guide a more peaceful life through the pursuit of bliss.

What/Who is Ananda?

Ananda is the belief that people can live joyfully.  Ananda was also a cousin to Buddha and was his beloved disciple and companion.  During the 6th century BC in India, he was a Buddhist monk who persuaded Buddha to allow women to study to become nuns. 

A Minimalist Man Meditating - Ananda - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Man Meditating

There is also the Ananda religion, based on Paramhansa Yogananda and his teachings on God’s presence in daily life.  Paramhansa translates to highest swan or supreme spirit, and Ananda is a Sanskrit word that translates to bliss as discovered through yoga.  Ananda is the unification of all true religions in Christ’s consciousness. 

How Do You Pronounce Ananda?

Ananda is pronounced uh-naan-duh, similar to the name Amanda.  It is the shortened version of Paramhansa Yogananda, who used interpretations of the Christian Bible through intuition and truths to assist readers in understanding religion and spirituality. 

Benefits of Ananda

Ananda is centered on deep meditation and yoga to discover divine joy.  Therefore, you can imagine the many benefits of Ananda’s practice in everyday life.  Let’s look at some of the benefits of Ananda:

  1. Happiness
  2. Discovery of a higher self
  3. Harmony
  4. Spiritual awareness
  5. Relaxation
  6. Gratefulness
  7. Mindfulness
  8. Inspiration
  9. Compassion
  10. Enlightenment
  11. Awakening

These benefits can be found through practicing yoga in combination with meditation.  Besides all of this, what does Ananda look like in practice?  Let’s look at the characteristics of Ananda.

Characteristics of Ananda

Ananda is considered a spiritual life, bringing joy to those who practice it daily.  It is very closely related to Buddhism, and through practicing yoga and mindfulness, Ananda has many characteristics, including the following:

  1. Calm
  2. Meaningful connections
  3. Devotion
  4. Patience
  5. Positivity
  6. Focus on the present

Five yoga paths can help one achieve Ananda: Ananda, Bhakti, Jhana, Karma, and Raja, all tied to Hinduism through postures and meditation.

A Simple Yoga Stretch - Ananda - Gone Minimal
A Simple Yoga Stretch

Examples of Ananda

Ananda is a yoga series and a way of life.  Ananda lifestyle includes education and community service and is considered a holistic approach to wellbeing.  The use of tantra in Ananda yoga is at its essence, both in philosophy and lifestyle.  Ananda is designed to be a complete lifestyle, including yoga and meditation.

Ananda yoga uses silent affirmations to create attunement through an inward experience.

Ananda Yoga

Ananda Yoga was established in the 1940s by Kriyananda and consists of three postures.  These three postures assist the practicing person with self-realization through awakening, experiencing, and controlling energies in the body, namely chakras, according to the Omega Institute

This practice brings harmony within the body, can uplift the mind, and bring forth awareness at its highest level.  Ananda yoga uses silent affirmations to create attunement through an inward experience.  It is a preparation for meditation rather than an outward athletic activity.

Ananda Buddhism

Buddhism is an essential practice in the Indian lifestyle that originated in China, deeply rooted in Taoism.  Ananda is a primary attendant of the Buddha in the 5th century BC and a principal disciple.  He is highly regarded as a teacher of Ananda Buddhism, devoted to the Buddha, and the intermediary to the people for Buddha.  His practice in Buddhism was centered around his memory, compassion, and intellect. 

A Simple Buddha Statue - Ananda - Gone Minimal
A Simple Buddha Statue

Paramahansa Yogananda

The Ananda religion is a spiritual movement practiced worldwide based on Paramhansa Yogananda and his teachings of God being present in daily life in a tangible and loving reality.  Paramahansa Yogananda, also known as Mukunda Lal Ghosh, was a Hindu monk, guru, and yogi of Indian descent.  

He created the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) to introduce millions of people to meditation and self-realization.  He is known for spreading his teachings across the globe and influencing the yoga movement in America, especially in Los Angeles.  In the West, he is known as the Father of Yoga.

Paramahansa Yogananda had a great deal of knowledge and was known for his memory skills, which he put to great use through his writings.

Paramahansa Yogananda Meditations

Paramahansa Yogananda meditations are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship and consist of guided meditations to reconnect with oneself.  These meditations can help you find your blissful and eternal consciousness in about 15-20 minutes.  The following guided meditations are easily accessible online:

  1. Expanding Love
  2. Anchoring Yourself in Calmness
  3. Flame of Divine Love
  4. “Soul Call” to the Divine
  5. Inner Peace
  6. Living Fearlessly
  7. Create an Inner Environment Towards Success
  8. Expansion of Consciousness
  9. God as Light
  10. Expanding Love
  11. Peace
A Guided Meditation - Ananda - Gone Minimal
A Guided Meditation

Books About Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda had a great deal of knowledge and was known for his memory skills, which he put to great use through his writings.  He has written many books about himself, Ananda, yoga, and self-realization to help you find your inner joy.  If you’re interested in learning more about Paramahansa Yogananda and his teachings, the following books are available:

  1. Autobiography of a Yogi
  2. Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels
  3. Man’s Eternal Quest
  4. Metaphysical Meditations
  5. Divine Romance
  6. Scientific Healing Affirmations
  7. Journey to Self-Realization
  8. Whispers from Eternity
  9. Science of Religion
  10. How to Be Happy All the Time
  11. Second Coming of Christ
  12. Essence of Self-Realization
  13. Law of Success
  14. Inner Peace: How to Be Calmly Active
  15. Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation
  16. Where There is Light
  17. The Bhagavad Gita
  18. Inner Reflections
  19. The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita
  20. Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda
  21. Living Fearlessly
A Simple Stack of Books - Ananda - Gone Minimal
A Simple Stack of Books

This is not an all-inclusive list of Paramahansa Yogananda’s works; there are many more.  All are about the importance of spirituality, finding one’s inner peace, and self-realization through meditation and practice.  These books are highly desirable, and some are challenging to find, but all come highly reviewed by customers who found them inspiring and enlightening.  

Some highlights from readers include comments like “spiritual truths,” “gold standard for pursuing enlightenment,” “drop everything and read this on meditation,” “wisdom on every page,” and “moved by this book.”  Many of Paramahansa Yogananda’s books are available in paperback, hardcover, and E-book.

In this helpful video, Nayaswami Diksha, the co-director of the Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation, will guide you through Ananda meditation to help you reduce stress, develop greater concentration and calm the mind.

Related Insights

Is Ananda a religion?

Ananda is not a religion, but rather it is a term with significant spiritual and religious connotations. In various religious and philosophical traditions, “Ananda” refers to a state of supreme bliss, joy, or spiritual ecstasy. The concept is most commonly associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, though it appears in other belief systems as well.

Is Swami Kriyananda still alive?

Born James Donald Walters in 1926, Swami Kriyananda was a religious leader, musician, author, and yoga guru.  He passed away in April of 2013.

What did Buddha teach Ananda?

Buddha taught Ananda many things, from his sermons to the Buddhist ways of life.  He also taught him devotion, comforting presence, how to have an open mind and centeredness. 

What is the philosophy of Ananda yoga?

Ananda yoga combines traditional yoga techniques with spiritual principles, aiming to encourage physical, mental, and spiritual growth. The philosophy of Ananda Yoga incorporates principles such as self-awareness and positivity.

Real People Who Have Heard About Ananda and Where They Learned About It

I asked friends and family if they had heard of Ananda and where they learned about it. I also asked if they’d want to learn more if they had not. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll about what real people know about Ananda.

Knowledge of Ananda
67% of people polled had never heard of Ananda 
33% of people polled had already heard of Ananda
People Who Want to Know More About Ananda or Where They Learned About It
50% of people polled did not want to learn more about Ananda
17% of people polled wanted to learn more about Ananda
33% of people polled had already learned about Ananda from Buddhism
Where Real People Learned About Ananda

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

The history of Ananda and how it relates to yoga and self-realization is long and interesting.  From Buddhism to yoga, Ananda reaches various ways of life and people through the pursuit of bliss.  It may take some time to practice and incorporate into your daily life, but given the benefits of Ananda, it is well worth the time investment.  Which part of Ananda’s history did you find most enlightening?

Similar Posts