Realizing the divinity in one’s soul, attaining divine bliss in one’s soul—this is the treasure that Paramahansa Yogananda gave us through the teachings of Kriya Yoga.
There are four dimensions of our life – sense, intellect, body, and energy. In yoga, there is a path related to every dimension of life – Bhakti yoga associated with emotions, Jnana yoga associated with intellect, Karma yoga associated with the body, and Kriya yoga associated with life energy. What is Kriya Yoga?
What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is an ancient meditation technique, through which we can bring the life force and our breathing under control. This technique is part of a wider spiritual life, which includes other meditation techniques and one’s spiritual growth.
This method consists of several levels of pranayama that are based on techniques that aim to accelerate the process of spiritual growth and create an ultimate state of peace and union with God. Thus, the Kriya Yoga system consists of attaining God-realization, real-knowledge, and self-realization.
In other words- Kriyayoga is a simple, psychophysical method in which highly advanced methods of meditation are available, whose practice with sincerity leads to the realization of God and salvation to the soul from all kinds of bondages. This is the best method of Raja Yoga or Yoga, which establishes an eternal relationship with the Divine Truth.
This yoga is referred to as the “Yoga of Action or Awareness”. An ancient meditation technique often includes a combination of meditation, pranayama, mantra (chanting), asanas (yoga poses), and mudras (hand gestures) to rapidly accelerate spiritual growth.
The quickest and most effective source to achieve success on the yoga path directly uses energy and consciousness. It is the direct path that emphasizes a particular method of enlightenment that has been taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Paramahansa Yogananda declared about his amazing ability to faithfully practice Kriya Yoga; “It works like math; It can never fail.”
It is described by those who practice Kriya Yoga as an ancient yoga technique. This technique was revived in 1861 when the great saint Mahavatar Babaji taught this technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri Mahasaya then taught this technique to his disciples, one of whom was Swami Shri Yukteswar, who taught this technique to his disciples, one of whom was Paramahansa Yogananda.
Yogananda then popularized Kriya Yoga through his book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and through its teaching in Western countries.
Paramhansa Yogananda was chosen by his revered gurus to teach the ancient science of Kriya Yoga to the whole world and for this purpose, he founded the Yogoda Satsanga Society in India in 1917 and the Self-Relationship Fellowship in America in 1920.
How does Kriya Yoga work?
According to Paramahansa Yogananda – to achieve the goal of yoga (oneness with God), Kriya Yoga is the most effective technique available to man today. It is so effective because it works directly with the source of growth – the spiritual power within our spine.
All yoga techniques work with this power, but indirectly. Yogasanas, for example, can help open the passages inside the spine and balance the energy within the spine. Yoga breathing-control techniques, meaning pranayama, can help to make this power-aware.
But Kriya Yoga is more direct than that. This technique helps to control the practitioner’s prana-force, by mentally moving that prana-force up and down the spine when the technique is performed with consciousness and will.
According to Yogananda, one kriya, which takes close to half a minute to perform, is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual development.
Practice of Kriya Yoga
The union (yoga) with the infinite Supreme Being by a specific “Yoga of Action” or Kriya. It is a simple psychophysiological system by which the human blood becomes deoxygenated and supplemented with oxygen. Molecules of this extra oxygen are converted into the life-stream, which infuses new energy in the chakras of the brain and spinal cord. By stopping the accumulation of impure blood flowing in the veins, the yogi can stop or reduce the deterioration in the tissues.
This is the best way for concentration and for self-awakening. Purposeful living, knowledge of the truth, and practice of meditation are needed if you want to experience it.
This practice is synthesized in five kriya yoga techniques:-
Kriya Hatha Yoga: This includes relaxation postures, bandhas, and mudras. They provide good health along with the awakening of nerves and chakras. Mahavatar Babaji has prepared a series of 18 asanas which are taught to do in pairs of two asanas.
Kriya Kundalini Pranayama: This is a powerful breathing exercise to awaken the dormant consciousness and energy of a person and make it flow in the 7 major chakras located from the root to the top of the spine. It awakens the abilities associated with the 7 chakras and transforms the five koshas of existence into a powerful beam.
Kriya Dhyana Yoga: It aims at subduing the mind through various methods of meditation, purification of the subconscious mind, development of concentration, mental clarity, and foresight, growth of intellectual, intuitive, and creative abilities, and communion with God i.e. samadhi and self-knowledge.
Kriya Mantra Yoga: Intuitive knowledge, intellect, and chakras are awakened by silent mental chanting of subtle sounds. Mantra takes the place of constant hustle and bustle in the mind and makes it easy to accumulate energy. The subconscious tendencies of the mind are purified by chanting the mantra.
Kriya Bhakti Yoga: Fertilizes the soul’s aspiration to attain God. It includes chanting, kirtan, worship, Yagya, and pilgrimage as well as selfless service. There is a feeling of unrequited love and joy from them. Gradually, all the work of the seeker becomes sweet and loving and he gets the vision of his beloved in everyone.
Kriya Yoga is a concentration path to spiritual enlightenment and self-awareness. This leads to complete divine knowledge. It also includes the most effective procedures of all systems of yoga. To experience this requires knowledge of one’s true nature, right-thinking, emotional congestion, physical health, purposeful living, and the practice of meditation.
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