© copyright Alfred Ballabene, Wien, 1998 


History of the yoga community ANANDA

The Guru Line

The origin of Ashrams (yoga community) derives from Sri Ramakrishna (an Indian Yogi
and Saint of the past century);
in Vienna, it has been existing since about 1948, where
it was founded and led by the Guru Ananda.


Guru Ananda was born in 1902 and stemmed from a Polish, Chassidism family through
which she became very religious. She was trained in yoga by a partially blind, Guru
Vayuananda, who grew up in India in a Ramakrishna-Ashram. Guru Vayuananda had a
high level of realization. He gathered 10 disciples around him whom he trained first in
Germany (Hamburg). As soon as the political climate deteriorated (his father was
Jewish, his mother an Indian), he emigrated with his disciples to Czechoslovakia
(Prague). Years later also there the political situation changed. Some of the Yogis died
as German soldiers at the front, others in concentration camps. Guru Vayuananda who
tried to flee to the Netherlands also died in a concentration camp.

A section of the only photograph  which exists of Guru Vayuananda, the teacher of Guru Ananda.

Guru Ananda was the only one to survive (she was classified as quarter-Jewish and
was married to an Aryan). At the end of the war she and her husband, the painter R.R.
Ballabene, had to flee from Czechoslovakia, since the Czech saw them both as

In Vienna, Guru Ananda led a small yoga community. In 1964, she accepted me as her
disciple. After about four years, I was adopted by my yoga teacher and we then spent
many years together with yoga activities (I worked only part time, in order to be present
at the yoga in discussions and preparations in afternoons).
In 1985, Guru Ananda died.


Guru Ananda

Guru Vayu carried on with the Ashram after the death of Guru Ananda.

"I was born in 1937 in Vienna. After the school-leaving examination I had lived abroad
(Germany, Netherlands, France) for 5 years. Aalsmeer had been the place of my
choice for some time, because I loved the place and the people there; I had many
friends there, whereas I became more and more estranged from Austria.
Back in Vienna, I found my guru who has trained me for 20 years in yoga to become
her successor.
Right from the beginning in the yoga I enjoyed a special protection: shortly before I
came, Guru Ananda, my guru, had a vision (appearance of an otherworldly guru) in
which she was informed that a "returning disciple" will join the Ashram (yoga community)
in the near future. This disciple was me, as was soon found out, and this
meant a special protection for me - I was only taught by the guru herself and I was
specially promoted by her; no teaching disciple had the right to expel me (they often did
expel people, because the yoga training was free-of-charge and based on an idealistic
foundation). Half a year after my entering the group, I moved in with my Guru Ananda
(before I lived in a 25 m2 flat with one room and a kitchen); 2 years later I was adopted
by my guru. The Ashram, where I acted first as assistant to my guru, later
independently as teacher and guru, had many yoga disciples, sometimes up to 200.
My out of body experiences started 3 months after I had come to the yoga: during an
astral travel the otherworldly Guru St. presented me to the members of the otherworldly
part of the Ashram (Aruna Sangha). One month later, during an astral travel I met my
Satguru who has been leading and guiding me for quite some time. He is my home and
my longing.
I acquired the capability to willfully leave the body after one year of yoga. Meditations,
energetic exercises and deep relaxation paved the way for that. In the meantime I had
many a hundred astral travels, if also counting the short leavings of the body lasting
often only for half a minute up to one minute (there were also longer ones), then there
were more than 2000 OBEs. There are still periods in which willful OBEs come easily
and there are times in which they are absolutely impossible."

Alfred Ballabene

Yoga teacher Sundara,
born in Vienna (disciple of Guru Ananda and Guru Vayu) now leads upon order of Guru Vayu a yoga and meditation circle which mainly deals with RAJA-Yoga. It is his vision to develop in future the yoga circle into a yoga community "Ananda-Vienna"in Austria. The basis for this is the order given by Paramahansa Yogananda, the Satguru of Yogi Sundara.
In the last years of his earthly life, the great teacher Paramahansa Yogananda often and emphatically spoke of a plan which, according to him, is destined to become a basic social model for the new era: the formation of idealistic communities:

 "The day will come", he predicted, "when this idea will spread like wildfire all over the world. Come
together, all you people having the same high ideals; pool your money; buy arable land.
A simple life will bring you inner peace. Harmony with nature will present you a luck
which only some city people know. In a society of other truth-seekers, it will be easier
for you to meditate and think of God."
In the New Testament you may read in the Acts of the Apostles: "...and they pooled
their money and lived close together." These early Christian communities are exactly
what is my ideal and this is diametrical to a commerce yoga.
It was only through the different contributions in the forum that I recognized where my
path is, and it is not to build-up an open circle and cash in on it. I teach in a private
circle and later on I would like to form out of this basic unit an Ashram ("Ananda-Vienna");
those who want to participate, are always welcome.

The first Ananda community, "Ananda Village", was founded by Swami Kriyananda, a
direct disciple of Yogananda, in 1968 (at that time I was only 10 years old ...). In the
meantime, there are some communities in the United States, a larger community near
the Middle Italian Assisi and some starting communities and many meditation groups
which have been founded by Ananda all over the world.
The basis of Ananda are the lectures of Yogananda who not only showed the
fundamental same truths which may be found in all religions (however, in many put
aside, suppressed or forgotten), but who also brought to the West the age-old nearly
forgotten technique of the Kriya-Yoga, in order to give the people methods leading to
the experience of these truths. By founding the Ananda, Kriyananda realized
Yogananda's ideal of a simple life with high spiritual principles. (.. knows the community
"Ananda Assisi" in Italy. For him, as well as for many other people whom he met during
his stays there and in groups in Germany, one of the most important moments of life
was to have met Ananda and to have got to know the doctrines which are taught there
and lived according to. For many people, it is one of the most transforming experiences
of their lives which can hardly be explained here.

Swami Kriyananda

In 1948, Swami Kriyananda became disciple of Yogananda and stayed with him during
the last years of the latter's life. He is one of Yogananda's direct disciples still being
alive and the only one living and teaching in Europe. Kriyananda is the founder of six
communities in America and Europe. He is a renown spiritual teacher and has taught
many a thousand seekers the practices and principles of Kriya Yoga. As author of more
than seventy books and hundred pieces of music he is an internationally known author
and composer.
Swami Kriyananda lives in "Ananda Assisi" and devotes most of his time to writing further
books. Sometimes he holds a lecture on a Saturday afternoon and organizes the "Feast
of the Light” on Sunday mornings.

Yogi Sundara

Yoga and meditation circles of Aruna Sangha

(The instruction methods and contents show considerable differences - all Yogis are individualists and do not follow a strict dogma)


Yoga- and Meditation Circle (c)

Place, costs:
The yoga instruction is free of charge and is given in an Ashram in Vienna, Austria 

Purpose of the yoga instruction:
In our gathering we promote our internal progress by means of meditation (yoga), exchange of experience and proposals. In the center is a spiritual development which is integrated into life.

each Thursday, 07.00 p.m. - 08.30 p.m., free of charge, it is anytime possible to receive newcomers, as long as there is sufficient place.

Meditation guidance:
Yoga teacher Sundara (disciple of Guru Ananda and Guru Vayu) leads a meditation and yoga circle since 2001. In his circle he is able to bring in an experience of more than 25 years. The yoga circle is small. There are beginners (triangle disciples), mandala (circle) disciples and Yogis.

It is the aim of the teaching to pass on the yoga to interested people. It is a meditation and yoga circle which above all concerns itself with RAJA-Yoga and comes together regularly once a week.

Yogi Sundara, yoga-teacher
SOLARIS - Yoga Circle
Vienna, Austria - Europe 

SSE - SOLARIS Edition  (c)
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