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What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is a synthesis of many different yogic traditions. It
is known as “the lightening path” as it is considered the fastest path to Self-Realization in one
life-time. Kriya Yoga teaches techniques which allow the practitioner to discover the Divine
Like any other yogic tradition,
Kriya Yoga is a metaphysical science and not a religion. It is the science of uniting breath and
mind control to achieve bliss. Kriya Yoga is an ancient pathway for spiritual evolution and was
practiced many thousands of years ago by the ancient rishis and sages of
In modern times yogic techniques which were adapted to the needs and challenges of
modern day life were taught to Lahiri Mahasaya by the immortal Babaji. While other yogic techniques are useful for
those who favour the monastic life, the techniques of Kriya Yoga empower those who choose to live in the world, who
engage in society and establish families. The path to self realisation is followed while fully participating in
every day life.
Rudra-Avatar Yogiraj Siddhanath
The word Kriya is made up of two Sanskrit words – Kri, meaning action, and Ya,
meaning awareness. Kriya Yoga can then be understood as “action with awareness”.
There is a dynamic, active aspect to Kriya Yoga. “Asana” or postures are
practiced. While these postures work to strengthen and rejeuvenate the body, they should not be considered as
gymnastics or keep fit techniques. Their main function is to strengthen the body so that it can sit longer in
meditation. They also help in prolonging life so that the practitioner can dedicate more time to the search for the
The ancient rishis discovered a direct connection between the breath and the state
of the mind – the slower the breath, the slower the mind. Breathing techniques or “Pranayama” are practiced by the
Kriya Yoga practitioner which gradually still the mind and refine the nervous system leading to higher and higher
states of awareness.
Meditation techniques or Dhyana are also taught.
These techniques focus the mind and strengthen concentration. They also cleanse
the subconscious mind from karmic patterns so as to recognise the true Self. All Kriya Yoga techniques work on
Much Kriya Yoga learning is experiential. It is a sacred tradition which is passed
down orally from Master to student. A true Master gives an “experience” and does not need to rely solely on words
and intellectual ideas to impart knowledge. This experiential teaching is given in workshops or initiations.
Kriya Yoga is a system for
Self-Realization that has been taught since time
immemorial and so there is a
lineage and a procession of realized Masters
who have achieved their liberation
through its practice. It is said to be the
practical system that underlies
the Yoga of Patanjali and from which he derived his descriptive sutras. There is a great deathless being called Mahavatar Babaji
who has initiated many Masters such as Shankaracharya and
even some Avatars (manifestations of divinity
to help humanity) into Kriya Yoga.
In modern times, Babaji has once
again graced us with this practice
through his great disciple Yogiraj
Shri Shri Shyamcharan Lahiri Mahasaya
who received it on our behalf in
1861 in the Himalayan ranges. The present
lineage of Masters included Swami
Shri Yuteswara and Paramhansa Yogananda.
The living Himalayan Master,
Yogiraj Siddhanath is from this lineage.
The lives and teachings of these
Masters attest to the efficiency and effectiveness of Kriya Yoga. One of the distinctive marks of Kriya Yoga is its power
and simplicity to achieve Self-Realization. It utilizes both meditation on the primal sound of
spinal breathing techniques. According to Lahiri Mahasaya, “Aum and Kriya constitute the secret of meditation. By meditation on Aum and
the practice of Kriya pranayama, the
fulfillment of the highest spiritual aspiration is attained.” The spinal breathing meditation works on the spinal energy centers
which evolve human consciousness to superhuman
consciousness, speeding up our spiritual
As Yogananda explains in his
Autobiography of a Yogi, "The Kriya Yogi
mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical,
dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal
plexuses) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man. One half-minute of
revolution of energy around the
sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural
spiritual unfoldment." Kriya Yoga is a scientific process to enable our evolving soul to gradually realize
its fundamental unity with the immortal Spirit.
Satyananda, another disciple of Shri
Yukteshwar is quoted as saying, “Kriya sadhana (spiritual practice) may be thought of as the sadhana of the practice of being in
Atman (Spirit)” The process of Kriya Yoga
requires the raising of our dormant potentiality called Kundalini.
A modern Master, Yogiraj
Siddhanath has said, “By the ceaseless movement of the Kriya lifeforce breath, one’s prana, breath, vital fluid
and mind become one to form the evolutionary life-force energy called kundalini.” Kriya Yoga is a means of
overcoming all our karmic obstacles to happiness and contentment.
It is the path towards liberation
from suffering, a goal that can be achieved within a single life-time if performed with dedication and
perseverance. Unlike some other paths, it
does not require its practitioners to leave their family, friends and vocation to stay in the hidden caves of the Himalayas. Kriya Yoga is
meant for contemporary householders and to
help them to be in the world but not of the
world while pursuing life’s greatest goal.
The Power Of Initiation
by Rudra Shivananda
One of the hallmarks of almost all spiritual traditions is that of the rite of
initiation. It is also something that is hardly explained or couched in so much mystery that either one is in awe
or one becomes extremely skeptical. In the yogic tradition, initiation is a
necessary preliminary to entry on the chosen path of spiritual
realization because of the power and protection that it confers on the initiate. At the most primal level,
physical birth is our initiation into the present life – it confers
on us all the benefits of being a human being and with it, the... read more