Our Spiritual Directors

Nayaswami Jyotish

Nayaswami Jyotish became a student of Swami Kriyananda in 1967 in San Francisco, California. Soon he began assisting Swami Kriyananda in a variety of ways, including teaching meditation classes in San Francisco. Working closely with Swami Kriyananda, Nayaswami Jyotish became one of the founding members of Ananda Village, which officially started July 4, 1969, and for ten years served as the community’s general manager

Swami Kriyananda’s Last Will, Testament, and Legacy provides that the nine-stone astrological bangle, which Swami ji has worn in his capacity of Dharmacharya of Ananda, should be “worn by my spiritual successor and his successors.
During a simple ceremony at Ananda Village on May 19, 2013, Nayaswami Jyotish formally received the nine-stone astrological bangle reflective of his new position as Swami Kriyananda’s spiritual successor.

Nayaswami Devi

Nayaswami Devi is one of the founding members of Ananda having lived at Ananda Village and several of its branch communities since 1969. She has served in various functions of community life, including being a community correspondent and a teacher at Ananda’s Expanding Light retreat. Together, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, as the Spiritual Directors of Ananda Worldwide, guide and inspire the spiritual activities of Ananda Village and Ananda Communities throughout the world.

Longtime devotees of Yogananda, Jyotish and Devi worked closely with Swami Kriyananda from 1969 until his passing in 2013 and were personally trained by him to guide Ananda’s work. Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi are both also Kriyacharyas, designated by Swami to initiate people into Kriya Yoga.


Swami Kriyananda, founder of Ananda, had a vision of this symbol. It took some time and multiple attempts to get it in the right form on paper. He wrote:


Mountain Peak

The mountain peak at the bottom symbolizes the soul’s aspiration toward God; the graceful upward curve of the slopes suggests joyous rather than merely arduous ascension.

Bird of Paradise

The sweep upward and outward from the mountaintop, ending in the figure of a bird, symbolizes the Bird of Paradise—the human soul soaring upward and outward in joyous circles to embrace all beings in its quest for enlightenment.


The Bird

The bird itself, finally, is also like an arrow, its shape the complement of that of the mountain below. Thus, every upward aspiration of the soul is met by a corresponding descent of divine grace. The devotee should make a conscious effort to bring down into his daily life the peace and joy he attains in meditation.

The Descending Bird

The descending bird symbolizes, finally, the avatar who, after finding God, descends again to help other aspiring souls. As Paramhansa Yogananda once said: “Lord, give Thyself that I may give Thee to all. That is the highest prayer.”

For our logo, we use this symbol combined with the gold ring and blue field of the spiritual eye.