Changes to Discipleship Initiation
from “Who & What is Swami Kriyananda?”
by Swami Kriyananda
Ananda’s Discipleship Initiation
“Why does Ananda have a discipleship initiation separate from Kriya initiation itself?”
Swami Kriyananda answers:
This was what Master himself did. Often he initiated people as disciples before they got Kriya. As a personal example, he initiated me into discipleship on September 12, 1948. He didn’t initiate me into Kriya Yoga until December 26th of that year.
Was Kriya at any time his discipleship initiation also? I’m not really sure. For those who were students only, not disciples—that is, people who hadn’t asked him to guide and discipline them—I suppose Kriya initiation was their closest outward link with the gurus anyway. In fact, discipleship initiation was generally a more intimate exchange than Kriya initiation.
The question, then, is, Why did SRF change this practice? The change came about because, after his death, several of the nuns wanted to emphasize SRF as a church. Having decided on Kriya Yoga as the SRF church baptism ceremony, there seemed no other place for a separate discipleship initiation. Indeed, apart from Master SRF had never contemplated such a thing. Ananda, however, which emphasizes more the member’s attunement with the guru inwardly, and gives less importance to affiliation with an organization, has remained faithful to Master’s practice by stressing this as a spiritual path above formal membership enrollment. SRF is preoccupied with building and strengthening the organization. Ananda is concerned with serving the spiritual needs of the individual members on the assumption that the better those needs are met, the more heartfelt the devotees’ efforts will be. Care for their welfare, rather than attempting to establish control over them and fit them into a system, has proved an effective way of uniting them together in a common spirit. Ananda has a whole ministry devoted to helping people with their Kriyas. SRF has no such special ministry.