When I was but a wee lad, Mahavatar Babaji reached out to me through time and space, tapped me on the brow and pointed me in the direction of his disciple’s story. Through this story I was told that Babaji lives in the Himalayas and I should go there if I wanted to meet Him and be initiated into the sacred arts of Yoga and Self-realization. And that’s precisely what I did.
Baba was an ascetic yogi, a mystic sadhu – a Jnani. He was also a Raja Yogi like Lahiri Mahasaya or Sri Yukteswar Maharaj and He taught me for two decades in a similar tradition.
It’s been said that Kriya Yoga, while not a traditional school of Yoga along the lines of Karma, Bhakti, Gyana, Raja or Hatha, incorporates knowledge from all the paths including tantra shastra as well.
Kriya means practices or actions and all Yoga employs Kriya in one form or another. The Kriya Yoga of Paramahansa Yogananda’s lineage is also the Kriya Yoga of mine.
Mahavatar Babaji said that the Kriya Yoga He teaches is essentially the same as the Raja Yoga taught by Patanjali according to the concepts extolled in Bagavad Gita viz. pranayama, mantra, mudra, meditation, self-inquiry and the like. And none of this is forbidden to be talked about in any way at all.
But, some things just cannot be explained. For instance:
There is an initiation between guru and chela that cannot be taught online. It cannot be taught to another. It is not that it is forbidden. Simply it is a transmission of knowledge and an induction into a way of life complete with receiving a new name (mine is Devananda), a personal mantra based on one’s orientation (I was actually told straight out not to share it) and lessons begin from the point of predilection of the chela and disposition of the Master – or vice versa. This is why there is no simple catch-all answer to be written. Further, the transmission of gyan is an ongoing activity from the guru. This cannot be summed up in one answer. But the other practices certainly can. The way to Self-realization is not a secret. It is your birthright. Exotic practices however, sometimes called magic, that cannot be shared. Well, it can, but it’s not. That’s a whole different kettle of fish, like putting a loaded gun in the hands of a kid. And there’s also an experience of a real Kundalini awakening, as opposed to what’s often bantered about on these online forums, that simply cannot be written about as well in terms of doing a, b, c, and d to achieve Her blessing. You can:
- Purify the body with Ashtangha Yoga, Service to the Guru, Devotion, Sacrifice and more.
- Strengthen the body and mind with Ashtangha Yoga, Right Knowledge, Service to the Guru, the Ashram, the Life, Devotion, Sacrifice and more.
- Learn by reading some of the scriptures; get a grounding in a different approach to thought through the Bagavad Gita, the Upanishads, Puranas or other.
- Develop a routine from early morning until you go to sleep at night, mindfully engaging in every task, from the filling of the bath water to the serving of the tea. The words of the music, the motivation behind the actions, the intention behind the words…
- You can seek out the life in fire; verily you can recognize each element as part of your very own Self – the koshas. You can go past the gunas to touch the ineffable, every moment of every day.
- You can read for five minutes, meditate for ten minutes, breathe for fifteen minutes in a pattern of this, that or the other, with your finger placed here and your thumb placed there. You can adopt a mudra with your interlocking fingers and focus really hard.
And yes, you may get there eventually. But the Grace of the Guru is that He whispers the truth into your ear for a few seconds and then spends years expounding on that while you wipe away your samskaras with ever-increasing clarity – this is the benefit of the guru-chela relationship. He’s your best friend who’s walked the path before you and is guiding you along the same path now to take you to the same place.
So yes, Kriya Yoga is no big secret and there are a lot of You Tube videos I think, and a lot more You Tube videos and online articles and books and this and that and so much all over the net and in libraries and book stores. But a first-person relationship with a realized sage – ah, that my friend is what you should really be looking for if you want a shortcut.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.