| it is the same root of the word ‘karma’, the natural principle of cause and effect. Kriya Yoga is the “union with the Infinite through a certain action or rite (kriya).”
What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga has been around for millennia but was lost for several hundred years during the Dark Ages. It was Babaji Maharaj (also known as the Avatar – enlightened teacher) who rediscovered and clarified the technique. He renamed it Kriya Yoga and passed it on to his chosen disciples. The traditional way to learn Kriya is to be initiated by an appointed Self-Realised yogi of Babaji’s direct lineage. Kriya is the revival of the same technique that the Bagavad Gita informs us Krishna gave to Arjuna , and that was later known to Patanjali (of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) and Christ (and to St John, St. Paul and other Disciples of Christ). Kriya Yoga is twice referred to by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita - the Bible of the Hindus. The Gita describes human life metaphorically and with eloquence as a battle between the human mind and the Eternal Soul. The Gita is set on a battlefield and describes a historical, as well as mystical, event. This event actually took place at Kurukshetra, near present-day New Delhi. The metaphor for the battlefield at Kurukshetra is a battle inside the body between biological and spiritual forces - and the Soul’s constant struggle to attain self-realization while in the human body. The Gita’s depiction of human struggle from bondage is very creative in its metaphors but it is also very practical, by offering spiritual advice and strategies for the Eternal Soul to win the battle and regain the lost kingdom of joy, eternal peace, and gain freedom from human bondage.
What makes Kriya different from other yogic techniques?
Kriya combines the simultaneous flow of breath control and movement in its aim to harness the life force and direct our awareness towards the cranium and up to the fontanel (focus point for the crown chakra at the top of the skull). While all yogic practices aim to direct our chi, or life force in a positive way, Kriya does it without the hardship often associated with some asanas that require meticulous practice and repetition of difficult physical postures. In Kriya practice, there are several breath-control techniques associated with some specific stretches and movements of the limbs. Each breath phase and movement/pose, while appearing simple, is precise and scientific in its aim to merge the mind and the soul at a point beyond the senses. Kriya is a yoga of compassion because it addresses our chit-chat, ever-busy mind with respect, while calming its restless nature. Kriya acknowledges that human beings, by design, are naturally endowed with a mind that helps make sense of the world and allows the Soul to experience itself in the world of matter and duality.
What is The Mind according to Kriya?
The mind controls and governs the five major senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Hence, the mind is the King of the senses. Just like a king needs to reign over his domain to establish supremacy, in a similar manner, the mind is preoccupied with gratifying the five senses in the daily experience of life. The key to moving beyond these physical limitations is found in following the breath. The mind might be king of the five senses but the breath is the conqueror of the mind. Even the ancient yogis discovered that the path to Self-Realisation and cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with mastering of the breath. We come into this life with our first breath and we leave our body with our last breath. The Bhagavad Gita offers a sound solution to this eternal struggle between the mind and the Soul by making several references to Kriya Yoga: “Offering the inhaling breath into the exhaling breath, the yogi neutralizes both breaths; thus he releases prana from the heart and brings life force under his control”. (Bhagavad Gita IV: 29) The interpretation is that the yogi arrests decay in the body by securing an additional supply of prana through quieting the action of the lungs and heart; he also arrests mutations of growth in the body by control of apana (eliminating current). Thus neutralising decay and growth, the yogi learns life-force control. Paramahamsa Hariharananda , a Self-Realised yogi and Kriya master, describes the human brain as the Kingdom of God. The living human brain is the mightiest power in (temporal) creation. The life of every human being depends on it and is controlled by it. The “Cave of Brahman” is an etheric chamber where Brahman, the creative essence of the universal spirit, manifests itself and radiates pranic life to the twenty-four gross body elements via the medulla, cerebellum and the spinal chord. The pituitary and pineal glands, at opposite ends of the cave, are the positive and negative poles of Self-knowledge: male-female, solar-lunar, night-day; the duality that we experience in the human form.
Why is Kriya called the Science of Self-Realisation?
Kriya Yoga is often referred to as “the science and practice of Self-Realisation” and its succinct science is also described in The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda. Kriya invigorates the brain and settles the mind, which has a calming effect on the whole nervous system. Our nervous system not only regulates all the biochemical processes in the body; it also dictates how we experience life in the physicality.
Kriya Yoga regulates the positive and negative fluctuations in the nervous system by magnetizing the spine. This opens the sushumna channel (literally the “chimney inside our spine”) that makes use of universal energy ie. life force, for biological functions of the body. This opening of the sushumna also produces tremendous calm as the spinal column becomes an open channel to experience more life force and divine vibration.
Regular practice of Kriya Yoga with Kriya meditation allows us to become aware of our breath in a way that facilitates direct experience of our true Self. From infancy until death, in every moment, all human beings are engrossed in activity, according to their stage of life. In addition, the three qualities of nature known as tamas (dullness, inertia), rajas (extroversion, movement) and satva (essence, peace and calm) remain in the ida, pingala and sushumna energic channels, respectively. Depending upon a person’s stage of evolution, the prana will flow differently through these channels in the astral body. The force flowing in the ida leads people to idleness and gossip; in the pingala, it leads to extreme activity, prosperity, worldly involvement and restlessness; in the sushumna it leads people to Self-Realisation, the ultimate goal of every human being. Because of gravity, the currents of ida and pingala enmesh and cause agitation in the spine. After practicing the Kriya Yoga breath technique, the flow is directed upward to the cranium and fontanel, which magnetizes the spine and opens up the sushumna.
Bhagavad Gita translates the importance of breath control in meditation as: “When you gain self-control and self awareness by mastering the breath with meditation, you will feel divine bliss and all your sorrows will perish”. The minds and intellects of contented people are firmly established in the Self. With the help of Kriya Yoga inhalation, by magnetizing the spine, one will discover the Self in the pituitary. The Soul becomes the conductor of the mind and the senses - and life is established in wisdom, free from attachment and delusion.
Another relevant translation of the Gita is offered in Chapter 3, 33 as: “Human beings are under the control of eight aspects of the body nature: ether, air, light, water, earth, mind, intellect, and ego. By law of nature, human beings are always absorbed in the body consciousness and guided by their instincts. They do not see that the in-dwelling Self is working through them, because the soul nature has been absorbed into the body nature”. It is incomplete to approach our spirituality from the mind, as our mind is only a part of us, whereas our spirituality is our wholeness. Hence, regular practice of Kriya, by its technique of mastering the breath allows us to go beyond the mind’s control of the senses and experience our inner Self.
Attachment and aversion for objects of the senses abide in the senses. To clear the path to Self-Realisation, these are the main obstacles to conquer. Our senses are gifts from Universal creation (God) and, if used properly, will bring us joy.
The Bhagavad Gita describes life as a creative journey. People travel through it carrying the baggage of their karma, the seed impressions of all their previous activity, the total sum of all their pleasure and pain, and the results of all their interactions through time and space with other souls. Some may experience life as a pilgrimage; others see it as a vacation, yet its true purpose is to fulfill the cherished goal of Self-Realisation. When this goal is achieved, one has returned to where the journey began. Like a circle, the journey of life is complete only when it reaches its starting point. When we return to our Source, the Dao, the Brahman - the place from whence all things come and must therefore return - our Soul’s purpose is fulfilled and we experience eternal love, joy and bliss. We are always creating and re-creating moments of our existence on earth and, if we choose to wisely direct our innate powers of creation, we then co-create with the Universe that which the soul desires and seeks to experience for its evolution on earth and the journey ‘back home’.
Teya Skae M.A. B.A
Teya is the founder of Empowered Living specialising in practical solutions for your optimal wellbeing and balancing multiple symptoms of stress. She is the author of Stress and Adrenal Exhaustion How to Perform in the Storm. Teya offers phone/skype consultations/sessions worldwide for balancing stress, balancing emotional eating issues and unresolved relationships stress. In Wellness.
Contributed by: Teya Skae M.A.B.A