J Donald Walters or Swami Kriyananda is a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and the founder of Ananda. Ananda is recognized as the most successful intentional community in the world. Today, over 800 people reside in six Ananda communities throughout the U.S. (Seattle, Palo Alto, Portland, Sacramento and Dallas) and in Europe. The European retreat and community located in Assisi, Italy, also serves Ananda meditation groups in Europe, Croatia, and Russia.
Both the Nevada City and Assisi communities have world-renowned guest retreat facilities where thousands of visitors annually visit for renewal or instruction in many aspects of meditation, yoga, and the spiritual life. Kriyananda has also established "Living Wisdom" schools for grades K-8 in Nevada City, Sacramento, Portland, and Palo Alto.
Swami Kriyananda spent 3 1/2 years living closely with his Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, the great Indian master and author of Autobiography of a Yogi . He went on to become vice-president of Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization Yogananda founded. After leaving SRF, he founded Ananda in 1968.
Kriyananda's books and music have sold over 3 million copies worldwide and been translated into 24 languages. He is the author of 80 books on a variety of topics including leadership, education, creativity, and moral values. His best-selling titles include Meditation for Starters, The Path - A Spiritual Autobiography, Money Magnetism, The Essence of Self-Realization, Affirmations for Self-Healing, Education for Life, and his best-selling Secrets gift books.
A composer since 1964, Kriyananda has written over 400 musical works. His music is soothing, uplifting, and inspiring. Many of his new albums are instrumental works that contain brief affirmations or visualizations. Chuck Dilberto of Awareness Magazine says, "Kriyananda's words and music are full of his life and light. His sole intention is to heal, something we could all use during these chaotic times."
His recent albums include Secrets of Life, Mantra, Life is a Quest for Joy, and I, Omar. As a composer, Walters is best known for the top-selling albums Mystic Harp and Mystic Harp 2, featuring the legendary harpist Derek Bell, of the 5-time Grammy Award-winning group The Chieftains.