This offering of a new interpretation of the Beatitudes, by Swami Kriyananda (J.Donald Walters), can be used for daily inspiration or meditation to bring timeless wisdom into your life.

Swami Kriyananda

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters, 1926–2013) was a direct disciple of the great spiritual master Paramhansa Yogananda (author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi), a bestselling author, and an internationally known lecturer and composer. Widely recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on meditation and yoga, he taught these principles and techniques to hundreds of thousands of students around the world.

In 1968 Kriyananda founded Ananda Village in Nevada City, California, dedicated to spreading the spirit of friendship, service, and community around the globe. Ananda is recognized as one of the most successful intentional communities in the world, and more than 1,000 people reside in Ananda communities in the US, India, and Italy. The European retreat and community located in Assisi, Italy, also serves Ananda meditation groups in Europe and Russia.

Ananda Village is home to The Expanding Light, a world-renowned guest retreat facility where thousands visit annually for renewal or instruction in many aspects of meditation, yoga, and the spiritual life. The nearby Ananda Meditation Retreat, located on Ananda's first property, functions both as a retreat and as the site for Ananda's Institute of Alternative Living.

An advocate of simple living and high thinking, Swami Kriyananda's more than 140 books cover a wide range of subjects emphasizing the need to live wisely by one's own experience of life, and not by abstract theories or dogmas.

A composer since 1964, Kriyananda wrote over 400 musical works. His music is inspiring, soothing, and uplifting. Many of his later albums are instrumental works with brief affirmations or visualizations. Chuck Dilberto of Awareness Magazine wrote, “[His] 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.”

Through Crystal Clarity Publishers, his works have sold over 3 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 25 languages.

To learn more, visit the Swami Kriyananda website.


Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes. Tradition depicts him as delivering this sermon to the multitudes. It is more likely that he was addressing his disciples. His statement, for example, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), would hardly have been directed at everybody.

The Beatitudes are an “inner” teaching, given to the few who deeply longed to know God. Worldly people, enmeshed in selfish desires, would have considered the teaching irrelevant to their needs. What would they have understood, for instance, from the words, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you”? A more pertinent counsel for them might have been, “Don’t participate in the reviling.”

That Jesus was speaking to a more intimate group is implied at the very outset of the Beatitudes:

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying:

Stanza 1:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Blessed are they who rejoice in their own unimportance in the great scheme of things. By their non-attachment to ego, they live even now in a state of heavenly bliss.