What is Kriya Yoga?
Well, first of all I would just like to acknowledge that the fact that you’re reading this says that you have heard of this specific yogic science somewhere and are now actively seeking it out.
This makes you a conscious spiritual seeker if you weren’t aware of that already, and whether or not you are aware of it, you are indeed following the still small voice within you.
So I would just like to acknowledge and congratulate you, and urge you to keep following this still small voice!
It will lead you to the land of undying bliss and eternal fulfillment if you continue to follow it.
Now you may have heard someone talking about Kriya Yoga somewhere, or perhaps you even read about it somewhere, like say…..Autobiography of a Yogi perhaps?
Regardless, you are in good company because I myself am not only familiar with Kriya Yoga as a concept, but am a practitioner myself and am initiated into a living lineage of realized sages.
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Kriya Yoga!
Kriya Yoga – What is it?
Kriya Yoga is said to be the supreme yogic science that was spoken of by both Lord Krishna and Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
In fact, Kriya Yoga is actually the only specific yoga mentioned by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
Yoga itself is mentioned many times but Kriya is the only specific yoga referred to by Sage Patanjali.
So what is Kriya Yoga and why is it said to be the supreme yogic science?
What makes it superior to the other yogic systems?
Kriya Yoga all comes down to breath control.
“Kri” means work and “ya” means soul.
The foundation of Kriya is to be aware of one’s soul in every breath, and to do all work with one’s awareness on one’s soul.
In this way, one is practicing Kriya Yoga at it’s foundation and will steadily experience deeper joy when being able to do this, as well as spiritual liberation within every breath.
The father of Kriya Yoga, Lahiri Mahasaya, said that if one were to only watch and become aware of one’s own breath in every action that they would undoubtedly experience spiritual liberation or self realization.
Self realization is the goal of Kriya Yoga, as it is also the goal of all religions and spiritual paths whether they are aware of it or not.
However, Kriya Yoga is said to be the “airplane route” to God.
While all sages acknowledge that all paths ultimately lead to God, the Kriya Yoga masters all state that this science is the fastest path to God realization or Self Realization.
The traditional methods of uniting ones soul awareness with the infinite spirit of God are Bhakti Yoga, or the yoga of devotion, Karma yoga or the yoga of action, and Jnana yoga or the yoga of knowledge.
Kriya Yoga actually incorporates all of these yogic paths within it’s practice and is a principle reason why this path is so powerful and direct.
Of course there are certain yogic techniques that one learns and practices, and only from a qualified teacher or sage after one is initiated.
These methods will allow you to powerfully turn your attention inward to directly and powerfully experience the light within.
There are six levels of this science and when one practices diligently and keeps close contact with the teacher will they be ready for the successive levels of ever expanding conscious awareness and bliss.
Now where does Kriya Yoga come from, where does it originate?
The History of Kriya Yoga
The truth is, Kriya Yoga is an ancient science.
The exact origins of Kriya Yoga are only whispers in legend from thousands, and some would say even hundreds of thousands of years ago.
The legends state that it was given to mankind by certain celestial beings from the heavens, and given only to the most devout and ardent spiritual seekers.
For the most part it was kept hidden and safe from mankind as a whole so it would not be corrupted or lost.
Through thousands of years and into the dark ages of our most recent history it was lost but to the most devout and serious monks, sadhus, and sages.
Initiation into Kriya Yoga was reserved for highly advanced monks in the eastern traditions.
However, in the modern day the science of Kriya Yoga has been resurrected and is now available for all mankind.
Kriya Yoga Resurrected for the Modern Age
Although the ultimate history of Kriya Yoga is a bit of a mystery, the more modern history of its origins is quite well known.
If you diligently search for the origins of Kriya Yoga you will undoubtedly come across the name of the immortal Babaji Maharaj.
It is said that Kriya Yoga was resurrected by the immortal avatar Babaji at the request of Jesus Christ so it could be given to the world at large and to help hasten the spiritual evolution and liberation of mankind as a whole.
Although this is difficult for some to believe, Babaji gave this supreme science as well as the instructions to carry it out to the world to the father of Kriya Yoga in the modern era, the revered sage Lahiri Mahasaya baba.
Lahiri Mahasaya was given the task of initiating people into Kriya Yoga and of brining this ancient science back to the modern world.
Interestingly Babaji Maharaj, Lahiri Baba’s Guru, told Lahiri that Kriya should be given only to those who are willing to sacrifice everything for God.
In that moment Lahiri Baba asked Babaji if the Kriya Yoga science could be given to everyone freely, even those who were householders or those who weren’t yet ready to give up everything for God.
Babaji replied that God had spoken through Lahiri Baba, and from that moment forward Kriya Yoga has been available to all people and has been spreading through the world through its various teachers and sages.
Kriya Yoga Comes to the West
If Lahiri Mahasaya was commissioned to resurrect Kriya Yoga for India and the eastern world, it was Paramahansa Yogananda who was charged with bringing the Kriya Yoga science to the western world.
You see the idea was not just to bring Kriya Yoga to Hindus and those in the east who have an understanding of yoga meditation, but rather to the whole world.
The idea and plan between Babaji and Jesus Christ was to bridge the east and the west as far as spiritual and technological advancement was concerned.
Traditionally the east specialized in spirituality and spiritual science, whereas the west specialized in material and technological development and advancement.
To merge these two ideals was the overall goal of these advanced beings.
In this way, the spiritual development of the world would be enhanced and hastened to a large degree, and people around the world would be able to experience the divine light of God within them once and for all while at the same time not having to live in the extreme poverty that some in the east have for thousands of years.
Master Yogananda came to the west, America and Europe in 1920.
From there he traveled and taught throughout the Americas and Europe during World War I, the Great Depression and World War II bringing an unbelievable amount of light to the world during this dark time.
Here he founded and established Self Realization Fellowship, or SRF, whose headquarters is in Los Angeles, where Kriya Yoga would be able to spread through America and around the world.
The Second Coming of Kriya to the West
In 1974 a second sage in Yogananda’s lineage came to the west to continue the work of spreading Kriya throughout the world.
This sages name was Paramahamsa Hariharananda, and like Yogananda, he traveled through Europe and the Americas in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and founded ashrams in Vienna, Austria, Miami Fl in the US, and Jagatpur, Orissa, India.
Master Hariharananda’s organization became known as the Kriya Yoga institute, and his successor Paramahamsa Prajnanananda heads the organization today and continues to spread the message of Kriya to the world.
Summing it All Up
So Kriya Yoga is an ancient yogic science designed to allow one to experience the divine light within themselves and thereby to ultimately wake up to one’s union with omnipresent spirit in the eternal bliss of God.
Up until very recently in human history, Kriya Yoga was unavailable but to a handful of highly devout Hindus and monks.
Now, however, it is available to all mankind and is spreading throughout the world quite rapidly and nicely.
As mentioned above I myself am a practitioner of Kriya Yoga and have never experienced anything like it in my life.
The powerful ability of this science to attune one with one’s own inner light and to experience the divine within is unparalleled.
I cannot put into words how much sheer happiness, bliss, and joy I have experienced practicing this yoga.
Nor can I put into words what it’s been like to be in the presence of and learn from a living realized sage in the form of my own Guruji, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda.
Also as mentioned above, if you would like to learn more about this ancient and amazing science, I couldn’t recommend the books Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda or Kriya Yoga: The Scientific Process by Paramahamsa Hariharananda more.
Should your spirit guide you to learning this divine spiritual science, I wish you nothing but the best of luck and God speed on your journey.
And as many like to say in the spiritual communities these days: