What is Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is the highest form of Pranayama. It is an ancient, secret, non-sectarian, universal and absolute scientific meditation technique based on the superior forms of ‘mudras’, ‘pranayama’ (breath regulation) and ‘kumbhaka’ (breath control). It is the fastest and safest process towards spiritual upliftment and Self-realization. Since time immemorial, the greatest Yogis all over the world have been practicing this supreme form of Yoga to attain the ultimate perfection. It is an experimentally and experientially proven and time-tested method to elevate the spiritual seekers and aspirants without any restriction of age, gender, religion, cast, creed and nationality.
The Sanskrit word “Kriya” can be divided into two root words – ‘Kri’ meaning ‘action’ and ‘Ya’ meaning ‘Self’. Thus Kriya is the action guided by the Self, not by the ego, and hence it is the supreme action. One who practices it quickly progresses towards higher consciousness.
This is not a different type of Yoga, but a synthesis of all the different forms of Yoga – Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Nada Yoga and Laya Yoga. The whole process is divided systematically into 6 stages and each stage contains specific techniques. Each of the techniques have been perfectly designed to contain the most essential parts of the different forms of Yoga. Earlier, only the highly advanced renunciate seekers used to get initiation into this form of Yoga, and they used to practice in secluded places. After their bodily liberation, gradually this royal science got lost its sight on Earth. In 1861, this supreme science of Yoga was again revived through Yogiraj Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya as imparted to Him by His divine immortal Guru Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj. However this time it is specifically designed to uplift the householders. Though it is still a secret process, but the awareness has been spread all over the world.
Origin of Kriya Yoga
The origin of Kriya Yoga lies in the most ancient transcendental wisdom. In Bhagavad Gita, chapter 4, verses 1-3, Lord Sri Krishna revealed to His friend as well as devotee Arjuna how this ancient spiritual tradition of the supreme Royal Science of Kriya Yoga passed through ages.
Sri Krishna taught this eternal science to an ancient illuminato, Vivasvan, known as the Sun-God, who passed it on to Manu, the great legislator. He, in turn, instructed this to Ikshvaku, the founder of India’s solar warrior dynasty. Later from Ikshvaku, this indestructible yogic technique was propagated to the saintly kings like King Janaka and other royal sages in a continuous tradition. In the long passage of time, this supreme Yoga got eventually lost, due to the priestly secrecy and man’s indifference.
The mention of Kriya Yoga is also found in The Yoga Sutras, by the great sage Patanjali, in the 1st verse of chapter 2, where Patanjali described Kriya Yoga as the threefold process of ‘Tapah’ (disciplined practice of pranayama and mudras), ‘Svadhyaya’ (internalization of mind in paravastha or meditation) and ‘Ishvara Pranidhana’ (devotion and surrender at the lotus feet of Guru).
After ages, in the year 1861, this supreme yoga was again re-discovered by Yogiraj Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya, one form of Lord Shiva, as imparted to Him by His great Guru Mahavatar Sri Babaji Maharaj, another form of Lord Shiva. This marked the end of Kali Yuga. Sri Babaji Maharaj told to Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, “The Kriya Yoga that I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century, is a revival of the same science that Krishna gave millenniums ago to Arjuna; and was later known to Patanjali, and Christ, and to St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.”
Thus Kriya Yoga was again revived and propagated in this modern world through Sri Lahiri Mahasaya and successive disciples Sri Yukteshwar Giri, Sri Sanyal Mahasaya, Sri Yogananda Paramahamsa, Sri Satyananda Giri, Sri Hariharananda Paramahamsa, Sri Swarupananda Brahmachari and other Gurus. The only difference is, this time it was specially designed to spiritually uplift the householders who were deprived of this royal path since ancient times.
Role of Guru in Kriya Yoga
The entire spiritual process is futile without the grace and blessing of Guru. Kriya is utterly “Gurumukhi Vidya”, meaning, a process that must be learnt from the Guru. There are multiple reasons behind it.
First, the very tradition of spirituality is based on Guru-disciple relationship. As the Guru has already walked on the same path and achieved ultimate perfection, there can’t be any better guide than Him. Second, during the initiation, and it is always one-to-one initiation, Guru activates the dormant Kundalini energy within the practitioner by infusing His own divine energy and that becomes the key towards further sadhana. Third, during initiation Guru purifies the body or the ‘5 great elements’ (Bhuta Sudhhi) of the practitioner which is an absolute necessary pre-requisite for any spiritual practice. Fourth, during initiation Guru absorbs most of the bad karmic results of the practitioner which helps in lowering the karmic obstacles in the sadhana. Finally and most importantly, without the grace of the Guru attaining the highest stage of Samadhi is not possible.
Also as Kriya is purely based on scientific techniques, one must practice it under the strict supervision of the Guru who knows well all the intricacies of the process. If possible, a regular checkup of one’s practice in front of Guru is also highly recommended to ensure proper progress. For practitioners who stay far away (in a different state or country), a regular contact with Guru (over mail or other online means like Skype, Zoom etc.) is highly advisable. However, as Gurus are omnipresent, they can clearly see the level of practice of a practitioner irrespective of their location.
- The seeker must get proper initiation from a Guru of Yogiraj Sri Lahiri Mahasaya lineage.
- Never try to practice Kriya techniques by reading books, or by watching videos.
- Kriya Yoga initiation is a result of good karma of previous births.
- It is not a choice for the devotee but the sole discretion of the Guru when to initiate.
- The initiation happens one-on-one between the Guru and the seeker to maintain secrecy and sacracy.
- Initiation is never possible online (through internet). Physical presence is mandatory.
- No preparation is needed before initiation except willingness, devotion and sincerity.
- The Kriya techniques are self-sufficient. No separate lessons are needed to learn Kriya Yoga.
- There is no restriction of age, sex, caste, creed, religion, nationality, occupation or food-habit.
- One can practice the techniques right from the comfort of his or her home.
- One must never abandon or show reluctance towards the practice of Kriya after initiation.