Whenever the subject of communities and communal living comes uo, a variety of doubts and suspicions is usually aroused. The possible brainwashing of impressionable young people is frequently mentioned. Although the idea itself is centuries old, it has yet to be accepted as an approved method of living, even in this so-called New Age.
Of the many hundreds that have been started, very few have proven successful. The fact that Ananda has done so remarkably well against terrifying odds, and that at every time of crisis help always seems to come in some extraordinary way, invites attention. During his lifetime, which ended in 1952, Yogananda called for the founding of spiritual communities dedicated to world brotherhood and to "simple living and high thinking." Ananda is the first response to this directive. Its remarkable history, and its present expanding horizons, are the subject of this work.