The Science of Kriya Yoga - A High Powered Meditation Practice That Accelerates Evolution
"The man who can reform himself, can transform the world." ~Paramahansa Yogananda
The following article was written by Paramahansa Yogananda, a Divine Master and Yogi whose mission was to show the underlying unity in various world religions and spiritual belief systems; as well as to demonstrate the scientific principles of meditation through Kriya Yoga, and many other techniques known only to few. He lectured and wrote extensively during his time embodied here. You can learn more about his life from the award winning documentary that was released in 2014 Awake: The Life of Paramahansa Yogananda:
Defining 'Guru' - A Very Misunderstood Term
Before delving into this richly composed article, and because this term is mentioned in the first paragraph, let us explain the real meaning of the term 'guru' as this will surely ease comprehension. This term has been greatly misunderstood in the west. So many have falsely associated those looking to gurus for guidance and inspiration with being a blind follower or they've assumed that the guru's intent is merely self serving.
And that is, in fact, the case with many teachers and self-professed leaders of days past onto this very moment who have either called themselves gurus or have had followers who falsely referred to them as such - and in these cases, there is blindness and only egoic service to ones self involved.
But the guru, the real ones - and few they are - only follow and enact Divine will. And they will be clearly recognized by those who have awakened that great aspect of themselves as well.
They are not interested in worship or followers. They would rather have one sincere devotee than millions of blind followers. Their soul mission is to to turn people to God.
How did this confusion around the term 'guru' become so bastardized and an actual reality for so many here in the west? Is there a larger agenda at hand? Yes. There are dark forces that have had a certain degree of power and one of their primary agendas is to ensure that the majority believe that they are disconnected from source. This obviously has given them the upper hand for eons.
They have found their way into just about every spiritual and religious sect in the world and have wielded their influence; all the while darkening minds and attempting to cut us off from the light we are. Attempting, but never completely succeeding.
Now is the time, more than ever, to permanently dislodge these distorted habits of thinking from our mind and really start to embrace who we really are.
We are Divine beings with the same creative abilities as our creator. And what a real 'guru' can do, since they are God embodied and therefore know all of your thoughts and feelings, is show you personally what exactly your unique self needs to do in order to improve yourself and find the peace that so many seek but never find but a few brief moments of. That's pretty mind blowing and awesome when you really take the time to sit with it.
People spend so much time asking questions and seeking answers that never fully satisfy them. We research and research looking for clues as to understand this world, why we are here, and how we can resolve the conflicts in our lives. When one can demonstrate humbleness and humility, many gifts can arise in our lives.
Gurus are the Divine lighthouses with real knowledge that comes directly from God and it can easily be felt in their extraordinarily powerful vibration.
They help guide those who have had enough of the drama of the many worlds, and who are ready to go back to God. There are so many souls crying out from their depths of their being for real Truth, for God, for a greater understanding of it all.
Thankfully, the creator has heard these cries and has sent his guru's to help. So to go against the Guru, and to speak in ill ways of them, is to go directly against God. This is not at all in anyone's best interest and will only create more suffering.
This writer is not aware of any real gurus currently embodied here today as they have in the past; as was the case with Jesus the Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Paramahansa Yogananda, and a handful of others - with the exception of Babaji whose unique situation you can read about here. And because they are not limited by the smokescreen of death, the guru continually aids their devotees and disciples where ever they are and assists those who who are spiritually ready to transition into higher spiritual realms.
The guru's role is about being a pure living example of someone who has attained self mastery and who now lives in omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient oneness with God ~ a pure all loving manifestation . All real guru's have attained this greatness. They have the ability to perform all the so-called "miracles" that Jesus did, but they will never demonstrate this for the mere satisfaction of curious onlookers. They can read minds, project themselves anyone in the cosmos they want, among many other things; and they can also take on the karma of their devotees and disciples such as Jesus did when he died on the cross.
If anyone thinks they are a guru and they are not yet self mastered in this way, then they are either being dishonest, delusional, or they simply do not understand the proper definition of a guru. Please pass on this article to them.
Imagine, if your dream was to become a master violinist, how wonderful would it be to discover that there was a violin teacher available to you who had herself mastered the violin! So it goes with guru.
When we desire to know God and this becomes stronger than any other desire, a guru shall enter our life. This is simply one of the last evolutionary steps on the high path back to God. This all has an incredible cosmic logic and reason to it when you really take the time to think about it.
However, it's not going to be the correct answer now for those who are still predominantly led by their ego or worse, completely controlled by it. And that's fine. We are all loved the same either way. Real gurus do not pressure; they have the same infinite patience as the Divine presence that operates in them. Yet because they are omnipresent, they can tune into anyone's state of being and know about the pain which many silently suppress within.
One day, perhaps after thousands of more lifetimes of sensual pleasures and suffering; when one has had enough of the material and astral worlds and are truly ready to go home, it is as the great illuminate Walter Russell says:
"All men will come to me in due time, but there's is the agony of awaiting."
It certainly helps immensely to have a pure example to gain inspiration and real knowledge from, or our larger evolutionary potential would not be reached. Gurus are a gift to this world and a blessing to those who connect with them.
A real guru leads their devotees through certain principles and disciplines so that they may clearly see and commune with the divine in themselves.
This is so important because their are real scientific methods involved that have been mastered in the East over the course of many thousands of years. And the science behind these techniques has been measured and proven multiple times. But most importantly, the individual who can commit to these practices, will find an increasing amount of joy and peace within.
This is contrary to the extensive array of new age, pseudo-science, feel good, temporary, artificial, baseless, and harmful practices and therapies that have become so popular in this day and age.
The guru is an expert on assisting us in our re-membering. And rest assured, if you are one that has been seeking full disclosure or any other revealing of information, a real guru can tune in with any information he pleases and beyond ~ this is simply a natural result of their omnipresent state of consciousness ~ something available to us all with the right balance of will and devotion.
But don't just take my word for it. Read, research, and feel out for yourselves the deep and interconnected Truth they share, and the Divine love they emit. But be forewarned, their way is not for the weak hearted as it is not an easy one and requires the utmost devotion and discipline ~ of which one will experience the greatest benefits.
"The Sanskrit scriptures describe the guru as “dispeller of darkness” (gu, “darkness,” and ru, “that which dispels.”) The role of the guru is to help his disciples find liberation in God through a very personal spiritual bond formed between guru and disciple, a union of loyal spiritual endeavor on the part of the disciple and divine blessings bestowed by the guru. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna stands as the symbol of the ideal devotee, the perfect disciple."
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Below is an image of the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) Line of Gurus and here you can learn more about each of them.
"I am the Way , the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to my father, except through me."
~Jesus, the Christ
(Please visit our About Page for a direct interpretation of exactly what Jesus meant when he said this. The article, An Important Message About These Epic Times offers more uncommon insights into Jesus's word as well.)
He lived an intensely busy life, with gargantuan accomplishments and massive responsibilities that could not have come without direct Divine aid. This he did in order to leave such a great body of work and knowledge for us to benefit from. (source)
Below Image: "From 1924–1935, Yogananda traveled and lectured widely, speaking to capacity audiences in many of the largest auditoriums in America — from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium. The Los Angeles Times reported: “The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands....being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity.
Yogananda emphasized the underlying unity of the world’s great religions, and taught universally applicable methods for attaining direct personal experience of God. To serious students of his teachings he taught the soul-awakening techniques of Kriya Yoga, initiating more than 100,000 men and women during his thirty years in the West. ” (source)
The Science of Kriya Yoga
By Paramahansa Yogananda
The science of Kriya Yoga, mentioned so often in these pages, became widely known in modern India through the instrumentality of Lahiri Mahasaya, my guru’s guru. The Sanskrit root of Kriya is kri, to do, to act and react; the same root is found in the word karma, the natural principle of cause and effect.
Kriya Yoga is thus “union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite.”
A yogi who faithfully follows its technique is gradually freed from karma or the universal chain of causation.
Because of certain ancient yogic injunctions, I cannot give a full explanation of Kriya Yoga in the pages of a book intended for the general public. The actual technique must be learned from a Kriyaban or Kriya Yogi; here a broad reference must suffice.
Kriya Yoga is a simple, psychophysiological method by which the human blood is decarbonized and recharged with oxygen. The atoms of this extra oxygen are transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and spinal centers. By stopping the accumulation of venous blood, the yogi is able to lessen or prevent the decay of tissues; the advanced yogi transmutes his cells into pure energy. Elijah, Jesus, Kabir and other prophets were past masters in the use of Kriya or a similar technique, by which they caused their bodies to dematerialize at will.
Kriya is an ancient science. Lahiri Mahasaya received it from his guru, Babaji, who rediscovered and clarified the technique after it had been lost in the Dark Ages.
“The Kriya Yoga which I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century,” Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, “is a revival of the same science which Krishna gave, millenniums ago, to Arjuna, and which was later known to Patanjali, and to Christ, St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.”
Kriya Yoga is referred to by Krishna, India’s greatest prophet, in a stanza of the Bhagavad Gita: “Offering inhaling breath into the outgoing breath, and offering the outgoing breath into the inhaling breath, the yogi neutralizes both these breaths; he thus releases the life force from the heart and brings it under his control.” The interpretation is:
“The yogi arrests decay in the body by an addition of life force, and arrests the mutations of growth in the body by apan (eliminating current). Thus neutralizing decay and growth, by quieting the heart, the yogi learns life control.”
Krishna also relates that it was he, in a former incarnation, who communicated the indestructible yoga to an ancient illuminato, Vivasvat, who gave it to Manu, the great legislator. He, in turn, instructed Ikshwaku, the father of India’s solar warrior dynasty.
Passing thus from one to another, the royal yoga was guarded by the rishis until the coming of the materialistic ages. Then, due to priestly secrecy and man’s indifference, the sacred knowledge gradually became inaccessible. Kriya Yoga is mentioned twice by the ancient sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of yoga, who wrote:
“Kriya Yoga consists of body discipline, mental control, and meditating on Aum.” Patanjali speaks of God as the actual Cosmic Sound of Aum heard in meditation. Aum is the Creative Word, the sound of the Vibratory Motor. Even the yoga-beginner soon inwardly hears the wondrous sound of Aum. Receiving this blissful spiritual encouragement, the devotee becomes assured that he is in actual touch with divine realms.
Patanjali refers a second time to the life-control or Kriya technique thus:
“Liberation can be accomplished by that pranayama which is attained by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration.”
St. Paul knew Kriya Yoga, or a technique very similar to it, by which he could switch life currents to and from the senses. He was therefore able to say:
“Verily, I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ, I die daily.”
By daily withdrawing his bodily life force, he united it by yoga union with the rejoicing (eternal bliss) of the Christ consciousness. In that felicitous state, he was consciously aware of being dead to the delusive sensory world of maya. In the initial states of God-contact (sabikalpa samadhi) the devotee’s consciousness merges with the Cosmic Spirit; his life force is withdrawn from the body, which appears “dead,” or motionless and rigid. The yogi is fully aware of his bodily condition of suspended animation. As he progresses to higher spiritual states (nirbikalpa samadhi), however, he communes with God without bodily fixation, and in his ordinary waking consciousness, even in the midst of exacting worldly duties.11
“Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened,” Sri Yukteswar explained to his students.
“The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart-pump, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.”
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.
The astral system of a human being, with six (twelve by polarity) inner constellations revolving around the sun of the omniscient spiritual eye, is interrelated with the physical sun and the twelve zodiacal signs. All men are thus affected by an inner and an outer universe. The ancient rishis discovered that man’s earthly and heavenly environment, in twelve-year cycles, push him forward on his natural path. The scriptures aver that man requires a million years of normal, diseaseless evolution to perfect his human brain sufficiently to express cosmic consciousness.
One thousand Kriya practiced in eight hours gives the yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution: 365,000 years of evolution in one year. In three years, a Kriya Yogi can thus accomplish by intelligent self-effort the same result which nature brings to pass in a million years. The Kriya short cut, of course, can be taken only by deeply developed yogis. With the guidance of a guru, such yogis have carefully prepared their bodies and brains to receive the power created by intensive practice.
The Kriya beginner employs his yogic exercise only fourteen to twenty-eight times, twice daily. A number of yogis achieve emancipation in six or twelve or twenty-four or forty-eight years. A yogi who dies before achieving full realization carries with him the good karma of his past Kriya effort; in his new life he is harmoniously propelled toward his Infinite Goal. The body of the average man is like a fifty-watt lamp, which cannot accommodate the billion watts of power roused by an excessive practice of Kriya.
Through gradual and regular increase of the simple and “foolproof” methods of Kriya, man’s body becomes astrally transformed day by day, and is finally fitted to express the infinite potentials of cosmic energy—the first materially active expression of Spirit.
Kriya Yoga has nothing in common with the unscientific breathing exercises taught by a number of misguided zealots. Their attempts to forcibly hold breath in the lungs is not only unnatural but decidedly unpleasant. Kriya, on the other hand, is accompanied from the very beginning by an accession of peace, and by soothing sensations of regenerative effect in the spine.
The ancient yogic technique converts the breath into mind. By spiritual advancement, one is able to cognize the breath as an act of mind—a dream-breath.
Many illustrations could be given of the mathematical relationship between man’s respiratory rate and the variations in his states of consciousness. A person whose attention is wholly engrossed, as in following some closely knit intellectual argument, or in attempting some delicate or difficult physical feat, automatically breathes very slowly. Fixity of attention depends on slow breathing; quick or uneven breaths are an inevitable accompaniment of harmful emotional states: fear, lust, anger. The restless monkey breathes at the rate of 32 times a minute, in contrast to man’s average of 18 times. The elephant, tortoise, snake and other animals noted for their longevity have a respiratory rate which is less than man’s. The tortoise, for instance, who may attain the age of 300 years,1breathes only 4 times per minute.
The rejuvenating effects of sleep are due to man’s temporary unawareness of body and breathing. The sleeping man becomes a yogi; each night he unconsciously performs the yogic rite of releasing himself from bodily identification, and of merging the life force with healing currents in the main brain region and the six sub-dynamos of his spinal centers. The sleeper thus dips unknowingly into the reservoir of cosmic energy which sustains all life. The voluntary yogi performs a simple, natural process consciously, not unconsciously like the slow-paced sleeper. The Kriya Yogi uses his technique to saturate and feed all his physical cells with undecaying light and keep them in a magnetized state. He scientifically makes breath unnecessary, without producing the states of subconscious sleep or unconsciousness.
By Kriya, the outgoing life force is not wasted and abused in the senses, but constrained to reunite with subtler spinal energies. By such reinforcement of life, the yogi’s body and brain cells are electrified with the spiritual elixir. Thus he removes himself from studied observance of natural laws, which can only take him—by circuitous means as given by proper food, sunlight, and harmonious thoughts—to a million-year Goal. It needs twelve years of normal healthful living to effect even slight perceptible change in brain structure, and a million solar returns are exacted to sufficiently refine the cerebral tenement for manifestation of cosmic consciousness.
Untying the cord of breath which binds the soul to the body, Kriya serves to prolong life and enlarge the consciousness to infinity. The yoga method overcomes the tug of war between the mind and the matter-bound senses, and frees the devotee to re-inherit his eternal kingdom. He knows his real nature is bound neither by physical encasement nor by breath, symbol of the mortal enslavement to air, to nature’s elemental compulsions.
Introspection, or “sitting in the silence,” is an unscientific way of trying to force apart the mind and senses, tied together by the life force. The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents. Kriya, controlling the mind directly through the life force, is the easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite. In contrast to the slow, uncertain “bullock cart” theological path to God, Kriya may justly be called the “airplane” route.
The yogic science is based on an empirical consideration of all forms of concentration and meditation exercises. Yoga enables the devotee to switch off or on, at will, life current from the five sense telephones of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Attaining this power of sense-disconnection, the yogi finds it simple to unite his mind at will with divine realms or with the world of matter. No longer is he unwillingly brought back by the life force to the mundane sphere of rowdy sensations and restless thoughts. Master of his body and mind, the Kriya Yogi ultimately achieves victory over the “last enemy,” death.
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men:
And Death once dead, there’s no more dying then
The life of an advanced Kriya Yogi is influenced, not by effects of past actions, but solely by directions from the soul. The devotee thus avoids the slow, evolutionary monitors of egoistic actions, good and bad, of common life, cumbrous and snail-like to the eagle hearts.
The superior method of soul living frees the yogi who, shorn of his ego-prison, tastes the deep air of omnipresence. The thralldom of natural living is, in contrast, set in a pace humiliating. Conforming his life to the evolutionary order, a man can command no concessionary haste from nature but, living without error against the laws of his physical and mental endowment, still requires about a million years of incarnating masquerades to know final emancipation. The telescopic methods of yogis, disengaging themselves from physical and mental identifications in favor of soul-individuality, thus commend themselves to those who eye with revolt a thousand thousand years.
This numerical periphery is enlarged for the ordinary man, who lives in harmony not even with nature, let alone his soul, but pursues instead unnatural complexities, thus offending in his body and thoughts the sweet sanities of nature. For him, two times a million years can scarce suffice for liberation.
Gross man seldom or never realizes that his body is a kingdom, governed by Emperor Soul on the throne of the cranium, with subsidiary regents in the six spinal centers or spheres of consciousness. This theocracy extends over a throng of obedient subjects: twenty-seven thousand billion cells—endowed with a sure if automatic intelligence by which they perform all duties of bodily growths, transformations, and dissolutions—and fifty million substratal thoughts, emotions, and variations of alternating phases in man’s consciousness in an average life of sixty years. Any apparent insurrection of bodily or cerebral cells toward Emperor Soul, manifesting as disease or depression, is due to no disloyalty among the humble citizens, but to past or present misuse by man of his individuality or free will, given to him simultaneous with a soul, and revocable never.
Identifying himself with a shallow ego, man takes for granted that it is he who thinks, wills, feels, digests meals, and keeps himself alive, never admitting through reflection (only a little would suffice!) that in his ordinary life he is naught but a puppet of past actions (karma) and of nature or environment. Each man’s intellectual reactions, feelings, moods, and habits are circumscribed by effects of past causes, whether of this or a prior life. Lofty above such influences, however, is his regal soul. Spurning the transitory truths and freedoms, the Kriya Yogi passes beyond all disillusionment into his unfettered Being. All scriptures declare man to be not a corruptible body, but a living soul; by Kriya he is given a method to prove the scriptural truth.
“Outward ritual cannot destroy ignorance, because they are not mutually contradictory,” wrote Shankara in his famous Century of Verses. “Realized knowledge alone destroys ignorance. . . . Knowledge cannot spring up by any other means than inquiry. ‘Who am I? How was this universe born? Who is its maker? What is its material cause?’ This is the kind of inquiry referred to.”
The intellect has no answer for these questions; hence the rishis evolved yoga as the technique of spiritual inquiry.
Kriya Yoga is the real “fire rite” often extolled in the Bhagavad Gita. The purifying fires of yoga bring eternal illumination, and thus differ much from outward and little-effective religious fire ceremonies, where perception of truth is oft burnt, to solemn chanted accompaniment, along with the incense!
The advanced yogi, withholding all his mind, will, and feeling from false identification with bodily desires, uniting his mind with superconscious forces in the spinal shrines, thus lives in this world as God hath planned, not impelled by impulses from the past nor by new witlessnesses of fresh human motivations. Such a yogi receives fulfillment of his Supreme Desire, safe in the final haven of inexhaustibly blissful Spirit.
The yogi offers his labyrinthine human longings to a monotheistic bonfire dedicated to the unparalleled God. This is indeed the true yogic fire ceremony, in which all past and present desires are fuel consumed by love divine. The Ultimate Flame receives the sacrifice of all human madness, and man is pure of dross. His bones stripped of all desirous flesh, his karmic skeleton bleached in the antiseptic suns of wisdom, he is clean at last, inoffensive before man and Maker.
Referring to yoga’s sure and methodical efficacy, Lord Krishna praises the technological yogi in the following words:
“The yogi is greater than body-disciplining ascetics, greater even than the followers of the path of wisdom (Jnana Yoga), or of the path of action (Karma Yoga); be thou, O disciple Arjuna, a yogi!”
VIDEO: Essence of Kriya Yoga by Paramahansa Yogananda
“You may control a mad elephant;
You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”
“Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable.”