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Practical Advise on Learning the Kriya Yoga Methods

Paramhansa Yogananda: teacher of Kriya YogaTo someone who wrote describing his experiences in meditation and who was practicing Kriya Yoga from an ebook he had purchased.

The evaluation of meditation experiences is very tricky, because it depends on the meditator’s karma, any past life experience of esoteric development, and the current state of the meditator’s physical, astral and causal bodies. So I really do not feel I should attempt to analyze your experiences. The matter is simply too vast.

The problem with Kriya Yoga and internet and book instructions

Have you been initiated into Kriya Yoga? Do you have the 14-page pdf Art of Super-Realization Initiation from the internet? Even though issued by Yogananda himself in the nineteen-thirties, the instructions in that booklet in no way express the right way the Kriya sounds are made, nor what they actually are, nor even how to do the Kriya breath. It is really necessary to learn these things from an experienced Kriyaban.

Learning from a teacher

Swami Vidyananda (Bidyananda) Giri—teacher of Kriya YogaMy sannyasa guru, Swami Vidyananda Giri, Yoganandaji’s most advanced Indian disciple, would not teach Kriya to anyone who would not promise to stay with him for a minimum of six weeks or a maximum of two months, because he said that no one could master the technique in less than six weeks of daily practice and observation by him.

Kriya Yoga is no breeze. Anandamayi Ma told me that no one should practice Kriya Yoga who does not live with or have daily contact with their guru or teacher. Constant supervision and advice regarding practice and experiences is necessary. This is so crucial that she told me to not accept any Kriyaban as a member of our ashram. [Read Anandamayi Ma’s advice on meditation.]

Mixing practices: a warning

Pleased also be warned against mixing yogic practices. Methods that of themselves are legitimate and beneficial when practiced separately can create subtle conflicts in the meditator’s bodies and even cause harm when combined with other practices.

Twice I have been consulted by people who were experiencing paralysis and spasm in their meditations. The paralysis could last for two or more hours with physical contortions. They could not break out of that condition until it stopped on its own. As you can imagine, they were apprehensive about this. When I questioned them I learned that they were combining Kriya Yoga and TM, two utterly differing methods and processes.

Japa Yoga and Kriya Yoga

Swami Keshabananda–practicioner of Kriya YogaKriya does not conflict with ordinary mantra japa, however. The disciples of Swami Keshabananda, the great disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, usually teach a mantra to a disciple first, and after three years teach them Kriya, having them continue with the japa along with the Kriya. As I say, there is no conflict, and I have known many Kriyabans who practiced both japa and Kriya.

In fact, many of Yoganandaji’s early disciples in the Mount Washington ashram chose a mantra and used it for constant japa throughout the day and in meditation after Kriya practice. Sri Daya Mata spoke of this in a Lay Disciples’ Kriya Initiation at Encinitas in 1963, and told what mantra she had chosen and was still repeating.

Finding a teacher

Please do not think I am trying to get you to join some organization, but I do urge you to find a qualified Kriya teacher you can trust to advise you in your practice. In the beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of his autobiography (later changed by the SRF organization) Yogananda wrote about Kriya: “The actual technique must be learned from a Kriyaban or Kriya Yogi.” So one Kriyaban can teach another, though it is hoped that the teacher will really be able to worthily guide the taught. But it must be face-to-face and of sufficient time.


Coming Very Soon: Satsang with the Abbot

Satsang with the Abbot books on table

We are happy to let you know that Abbot George’s latest book, Satsang with the Abbot: Questions and Answers about Life, Spiritual Liberty, and the Pursuit of Ultimate Happiness, will soon be available on Amazon, and on other online outlets, in both print and ebook formats. We will let you know in a blog post and on social media in the very near future.

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