What is Kriya Yoga?

In 1861, the immortal Mahavatar Babaji reintroduced Kriya Yoga, the ancient and divinely provided method of living and meditation. The teaching and techniques of Kriya Yoga have been directly handed down through a lineage of kriya masters from master to disciple.

Currently, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda Maharaj succeeds Paramahamsa Hariharananda Maharaj, who left his physical body in 2002, as the head of this lineage.

Kriya Yoga simultaneously cultivates body, mind, and intellect using powerful meditative and yogic disciplines. The guiding principle of Kriya Yoga is that each human being is a miniature version of the whole cosmos, a microcosm, an evolving universe within the macrocosm. Furthermore, Kriya Yoga teaches that the all-pervading Supreme Creator is hiding within us, activating our every action via our breath. Hence the name “Kriya”. All activity, “kri,” is done by the power of the indwelling Creator or soul, “ya.” Kriya Yoga helps us to realize the truth of the union of the microcosm and the macrocosm, so we can experience ourselves as the supreme self.

Kriya Yoga

The Benefits of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga helps us to cultivate and observe the three divine qualities of light, vibration, and sound by using ancient techniques of concentration, posture, and breathing, this develops a one-pointed mind, which enables us to penetrate the deepest levels of consciousness.

Diligent practice evolves us in three ways. First, the mind is clamed and freed from internal chatter by the practice and manifestation of clam breathing, Second, observing the triple divine qualities helps us eradicate the bondage of subtle desire. Third, through the cultivation of body, mind, and intellect it is possible to attain better health, a more effective intellect, and increasing inner peace, love, and joy.

Kriya Yoga Initiation

Each seeker is initiated as an individual through direct contact with a yogacharya of the lineage.

At the time of initiation, the seeker offers three symbolic gifts to God and the Kriya Yoga masters: five fruits represent the five senses; and a financial donation represents the physical body.

The yogacharya purifies and energizes the spine and the body of the seeker and infuses the triple divine qualities.

With practice, the seeker will learn to perceive the inner light of the soul, to hear divine sound, and to feel the divine movement throughout the body. Scared mantras are chanted throughout the initiation ceremony and the meanings are explained.

At the completion of the sacred initiation ceremony, Kriya technique is thoroughly taught so that new initiates can meditate correctly and continue the process of purification on their own. New initiates attend at least three follow-up meditation sessions with the yogacharya. To support initiates in their practices, weekly-guided group meditations are held at numerous centers.

Frequently Asked Questions

I understand that the practice of Kriya Yoga has nothing to do with monasticism. However, I have a desire to live the life of a renunciate. What should I do?

Practice of Kriya Yoga has nothing to do Sannyasa. The life of a monk is not for all. If you have a selfless streak in you, no desire to live a householder’s life and you desire to serve humanity and make this world a better place then you can consider to pursue a monastic life provided that

  • you have met with success in academics and professional career and are now willing to put your speciality to good use in the service of the Master. Monastic life is more demanding than a worldly life.
  • you are not much interested in the pleasures of the world. Unfulfilled desires can derail your monastic life.
  • you are willing to lead a life filled with selfless Seva, Sadhana and Svadhyaya.
  • you are willing to lead a life of simplicity in a community, sharing space with others, eating simple food and adjusting with various situations your might encounter.

The life of a monk is not for one who has met with failures in life and is looking for an easy living.

How much time do I need to spend everyday?

Kriya Yoga meditation is highly accommodative. If you have time you can practice for 45 minutes. If the time is short, one can also practice the techniques within 15 minutes. However, regularity in practice is highly recommended.

What support is available to me after I am initiated into Kriya Yoga?

Guided group meditations are organised in centres, where you can go regularly (usually once every week) and practice the techniques. Every year a program is held in the same centre and where possible sadhana shibirs or retreats are held once in a while. You are also welcome to Gurudev’s ashram, Hariharananda Gurukulam at Balighai, Puri which serves as the mother centre in India. You can enrich your life by Seva, Sadhana and Svadhyaya at this holy place. Frequent programs are also held at Balighai ashram to intensify our practice, clarify doubts and help us in our spiritual growth.

Is it necessary to renounce the worldly life and become an ascetic to practice Kriya Yoga?

On the contrary, the practice of Kriya Yoga is most suited to one living in this world as a householder. Practising the techniques of Kriya Yoga, he can live effectively in the real world and yet make incredible spiritual progress. Lahiri Mahashaya, Sannyal Mahashaya and Priyanath Karar (Swami Shriyukteswarji) were all householders with families and associated challenges of a householder’s life. Yet they attained the highest state of realisation. Raja Janaka is an ideal example of a householder who attained so high a state of realization, that a monk like Shukadev accepted him as his Guru.

There are many schools of Kriya Yoga. How do I know if you are teaching the authentic Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga as taught by us is the Kriya Yoga that has been handed down by a lineage of Kriya Yoga Masters from Mahavatar Babaji to Shyamacharana Lahiri and so on and so forth through a lineage of masters to our current master Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. The fact that the knowledge has been handed down by a Guru Parampara ensures the authenticity and purity of the techniques.

Why is initiation necessary to learn Kriya Yoga? Can I not learn Kriya Yoga without being initiated?

Initiation is a process where the body mind field is prepared to begin the practice of Kriya Yoga. During the initiation process the spine and the body are purified, divine energy is infused and the experience of the triple divine qualities of light, sound and vibration is made available to the initiate. Unless the body-mind field is prepared, it cannot accommodate the power generated by the practice of Kriya Yoga.

Just as our parents or elders before beginning our formal schooling held our hands and helped us write with our finger on a plate of rice or with a chalk on the slate, so too before beginning the practice of Kriya Yoga the teacher, through the process of initiation, prepares the body mind field.

I have pain in my lower back, blood pressure, diabetes, bad knees and other physical ailments. Is Kriya Yoga for me?

Whatever be your physical condition, you can still practice some of the techniques of Kriya Yoga. Regular practice of these techniques can also help you reverse some of your physical ailments.

Are there any restrictions for learning Kriya Yoga?

Anybody above the age of 13 can practice Kriya Yoga. There is no upper age limit.

How can I learn Kriya Yoga?

At Kriya Yoga centres and ashrams, introductory lecture and initiation programs are organised throughout the year where authorised Yogacharyas initiate and teach the technique of Kriya Yoga. You can find a centre convenient to you and call up the contact directly for more information on Kriya Yoga.

I smoke and drink and have a few other vices. Can I practice Kriya Yoga?

Most certainly you can practice Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga does not impose any external restrictions on you or your lifestyle. However, it is good to avoid substances that are injurious to your health. By the regular practice of Kriya Yoga meditation, the habits which are not conducive to your physical and mental health will automatically drop off.

I eat meat. Can I practise Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga does not impose any restriction on food habits. You can continue to eat whatever you are eating while practising Kriya Yoga. One does not have to make any external changes in one’s life style to practice Kriya Yoga.

I am an agnostic and I have no interest in leading a spiritual life. How will Kriya Yoga help me?

Kriya Yoga is a scientific technique and to practice it does not require you to have faith in any God. By the practice of Kriya Yoga you will develop a good body, calm mind and a strong intellect. You will develop concentration of mind and be effective in all your endeavours.

I am not a Hindu. Can I practice Kriya Yoga without going against my religion?

Although Kriya Yoga finds a mention in Hindu scriptures, all the major religions such as the Holy Bible and Torah have references to practices that are techniques of Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga does not require you to change your faith or belief or even your way of life. Kriya Yoga is the essence of all religions. In the words of Paramahamsa Hariharananda, Kriya Yoga is the highway of all religions. A Christian becomes a better Christian, a Muslim becomes a better Muslim and a Hindu becomes a better Hindu by the practise of Kriya Yoga.

What is so special about Kriya Yoga? Is it different from other yoga and meditation systems?

Kriya Yoga is the only Yoga that is mentioned and defined In the most ancient treatise on Yoga, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is the most ancient form of Yoga that encompasses complete development of an individual. Paramahamsa Yogananda, one of the greatest Yogis who popularised Kriya Yoga in the West said that by the practice of Kriya Yoga it is possible to transform a human being with animal traits into a human being with divine traits. Paramahamsa Hariharananda said that it is the fastest means of spiritual evolution known to mankind.

Kriya Yoga is the first system of Yoga from which all other forms were derived and therefore it is unique and superior to all other systems of Yoga. The meditation system of Kriya Yoga involves no difficult practices and anybody practising the techniques can experience a high level of mindfulness and bliss. In a very scientific way, the restless mind is transformed from a state with many thoughts to a state with one or no thought. Meditation is a state of mind where there is no thought.

I am short tempered and emotional. Will Kriya Yoga help me?

Being short tempered and emotional are the states of a Rajasic mind (restless mind).  By the practice of Kriya Yoga, one can develop a calm mind that is Satvic in nature. In such a state, the mind neither loses temper nor does it become emotional. It stays calmly detached. There have been cases where even after one session of Kriya Yoga meditation a person with short temper did not lose temper during a trying situation.

I work from 9 to 6. Quite often I have to stay back late at work. Is Kriya Yoga suitable for people like me? Will it help me to perform better in my job?

The practice of Kriya Yoga is not the sole privilege of the renunciate living in the forest, away from the cares of the modern world. On the other hand it is meant for the active householder executives who often travel long distances to work and toil for long hours in an office to support their family.

Regular practice of Kriya Yoga for 15 minutes a day can make a world of difference to our energy levels and mental states.  Besides the practice of Kriya Yoga techniques for 15 minutes a day, with a little effort, one can practice the philosophy of Kriya Yoga all day long and that too in the midst of all activities.

15 minutes of practice can help you maintain a calm and concentrated mind for a couple of hours thereby greatly improving your efficiency at work.

What is the objective of Kriya Yoga? Who is the founder?

The mind is the most important resource that we have. With a mind free of ku-samskaras, vacillating temperament and restlessness and endowed with good concentration and strong intellect we can achieve success in the material world and the spiritual world. Kriya Yoga helps us to develop that.

In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, chapter 4 verse 1, the Lord says, “I first taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvaan (Sun god)”. So God is the first teacher of Kriya Yoga. In the Satya Yuga, Kriya Yoga was practiced by all. In the Treta Yuga, Lord Rama practiced Kriya Yoga.   Lord Krishna taught this Yoga to Arjuna and many others in the Dvapara Yuga, in the modern times, Babaji Maharaj reintroduced this Yoga to the world by teaching it to Lahiri Mahashaya.

Why should I practise Kriya Yoga? How is it going to change the quality of my life?

Kriya Yoga results in simultaneous physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual progress. It brings all round development touching every aspect of our lives, be it at our workplace, in our home or at the school. It helps to quieten our mental chatter, increase our concentration and maintain good health.

Under the influence of unwanted tendencies, many a time, we act in ways that lead to unpleasant situations and failures in our endeavours. Practice of Kriya Yoga re-engineers our very being by cleaning up these unhealthy tendencies (ku-samskaras) opening for us a whole new world of choices to act in healthy ways that bring happiness and success.

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