The kriya yoga is in fact an occult technique which is always taught by a Guru to his disciples. As I know, most sacred and secret techniques of occultism are never generally published or recorded in black and white. They are preserved and passed on through oral instructions transpiring between the disciples and the Gurus. Those who come in this chain have to act as custodians of Vidya.
No one knows how old the techniques of kriya yoga is and who was the first exponent. Not one kriya, but a combination of many yogic techniques constitute as final kriya yoga. Only in parts, their origin could be traced in scriptures, but no chronological evidence was found anywhere.
Some claim that this technique was introduced and given to spiritual seekers by one Babaji who is said to appear very often from time to time. Who is the Babaji and where does he live, nobody yet claims to know and even those Mahatmas who are very highly spiritually evolved prefer to remain silent on this point, of course, with a meaningful smile as if at our credulous superstition. While we may agree that he, the Babaji, initiated Lahiri Mahashaya into kriya yoga, we, due to sufficient occult and traditional evidences, know that not only he, but various other divine souls have from time immemorial initiated sadhakas into the secret practices of kriya yoga, of course with a little variation, according to the adhikaritva or qualifications of each aspirant. In fact, kriya yogais very much popular among real sadhaks of raja yoga and even today there are many Gurus who teach nothing except kriya yoga.
Similarly, all types of students of yoga also practise the same kriya without the knowledge and without deriving the maximum benefits of the techniques. The reason is that, like music, if the techniques are practised in proper sequence, then only they will create good effect. Permutation and combination in a correct proportion and way is the root of all creation. Anything put in its proper place, in proper context and proper order will make out some sense. But when they are not like that, chaos, pralaya, disharmony and destruction prevails. Therefore, the technique of kriya yoga, though it is not altogether new, it has never gone out of the circle of sadhakas due to strict discipline.
Kabir and Mira, Tulsi and Nanak, Arvind and Dadu and many Sufi saints knew this kriya and expressed their feelings and disclosed their experiences in their devotional songs which were later on collected and compiled by their disciples.
Whatever saints speak, their words become immortal. Sound is indestructible, specially words of wisdom and truth have their own part to play in the evolution of the souls of this universe. Through the medium of those sayings they instigate and inspire the ignorant slumbering souls by giving message of the divine and everlasting truths.
When a poise-poet-saint says that he knows the four states of consciousness – jagrata, swapna, sushupti and turiya, and that he can hold his conscious-existence in a plane where he needs no material base – it means, he is vouching for some extra-ordinary experience, which is desirable or imperative for all men. It is a fact that our consciousness travels at not less than four planes. The first is waking consciousness, second is dream consciousness, the third is deep sleep consciousness and the fourth is beyond the third, known as superconsciousness. The fourth place of consciousness is the divine abode of the Egg of Consciousness, known as Atman or Hiranyagarbha.
The purpose of quoting and explaining the above is to prove that man’s real personality exists in the functioning of his consciousness which governs, dictates and directs the limbs and sense organs and disagrees, frowns, feels unhappy and suffers when the body groups are not obeying the Master.
Since creation this has been the problem of man that he has no control over himself and has no correct knowledge about himself. He knows everything but he himself does not know what he is, and like a donkey follows the beaten tracks of society without knowing where his destiny or destination lies.
To scientists and materialists there is nothing beyond this body and universe, and to doctors nothing but the biological and organic bases come under thoughtful consideration. Although these opinions are subjects to be reformed with the advance of science, knowledge and time, let us make a start from where the world stands today.
If the world is not prepared to accept the hypothesis based on scriptures, (though in the medieval period all the pandits used to establish a truth by force of logic and evidence of shastras), the time is now near when we need to adopt a method of approaching the truth other than the historical analytical, comparative and philosophical methods. The individual’s experience, based on sincere practice and the mass-scale experimentation of ancient yogic techniques is now essential.
Since the necessity of improving strict disciplines, which create conditional effect on mind and body, cannot be denied, kriya yoga should also be taught by an expert under conditional circumstances. Kriya yoga is, in fact, a very scientific and effective technique, essentially based on the functions of the endocrine glands, the plexus of the body and on the fabrication of consciousness in desired proportions in desired parts of the body. In this technique, with the euphony of kriyas, the mind is compelled to re-form itself. Without practising hard meditation and causing tension, without much mental exertion, the mind is conditioned and brought into a state of sublime equanimity through the biological techniques of yoga.
Those who are a little mindful about the physical existence of the body and remember by heart the names, structure and function of the organs of the body perfectly well, will very easily follow the science of kriya yoga. Not only this, they will also be able to locate their experience and explain it in a precise language more understandable to modern scientists and critics.
The techniques of kriya yoga are always practised in a prescribed order with perfect ease and lightness. Even the eyes are not required to be closed. The beauty of this technique lies in its do-at-ease theory.
Generally during meditation, one exerts oneself too much mentally which is good in the beginning but harmful afterwards. Hard meditation either makes the mind dull or wears out mental energy. When the samskaras do not release or loosen their grip man is at tug-of-war with his prarabdha and purushartha. In such a critical stage, there is likelihood of man’s fall or destruction mentally or physically. Either the man becomes a siddha or he is completely wrecked. In most cases being a complete wreck is the only destiny, as the Gita supports by proclaiming that only one among crores of people attain the state of enlightenment.
Meditation and concentration are not easy jobs. They require not only extra-ordinary effort, but also need scientifically evolved techniques which very few know. In India nearly all communities have been brought up in a culture and tradition of meditation, but all do not succeed. Thousands get exhausted due to adoption of unnatural, unscientific and anti-psychological techniques.
Kriya yoga does not ask the aspirant to start from a point where he does not stand. It starts with the same waking consciousness which all normal people possess. Like a churner which goes on churning the milk round and round till the end, the kriya yoga goes on rotating the wheel of consciousness till a particular stage of mind and body is achieved. The practice of kriya yoga reminds sadhakas about the upanishadic language of occult practice which compares atman with the butter and body with the milk.
The Upanishads say, ‘Make your working consciousness serve as a pointed arrow and let Supreme Self, the Brahman, be your target and be prepared to shoot the Brahman with the individualized Ego consciousness’. Whatever may be, there is no doubt that man has to evolve and kriya yoga is a wonderful physio-psychological device to develop and sharpen the consciousness. After preliminary practices of yoga, kriya yoga should be adopted.
Kriya yoga, as already mentioned is not one kriya. In fact, the last kriya alone is the proper kriya yoga. But since each kriya is basis for the next kriya, the whole group is termed kriya yoga. Like a ten storied building each floor is equally important in the construction of the mansion. Had it been the wish of the Guru each and every technique could have been easily explained, but the value and importance of the kriya can in no way be minimized in spite of its veil of secrecy.
Thousands do practise them and get cured in the first place and have some supra-mental experience in the second place. The world is a mystery. Life is a mystery and the human mind is a mystery. No one knows who will be blessed with Divine Grace and at what time. Every man is as dear to God as a child is to his father. The Divine entity looks after each and every soul giving him the best he deserves according to his efforts and receptivity. In His creation no animate or inanimate thing goes unnoticed and uncared for, if it was so, the world would not last long. Therefore, while practising kriya yoga, one must have complete faith in the kriya itself. If one practises them properly, gradually some change will take place in the body due to change in the chemical and pathological process in the body.
Contraction and expansion of certain muscles and involuntary organs help the sadhaka in developing glandular strength. The special type of pranayama helps in bringing psychic effect and purification and sedimentation of mind. The super-fluid-consciousness which is inconceivable to the human physical brain contains grits and turbids of samskaras. If those samskaras are not extinguished or filtered out by some process like kriya yoga, it would be difficult to treat the mind which established quick rapport with each and every happening of the world. In kriya yoga, no voluntary effort is made to wipe or filter out the grit of samskaras; they evaporate as the water evaporates from a wet cloth unnoticed.
Evaluation of kriya yoga will not be complete if the disadvantages are also not discussed. The first is that it is not easily available. Adhikaratwa depends on the discretion of the Guru. Secondly, it requires proper attention from its entertainer in the form of regularity and time. Not less than an hour or even more will be required from sadhakas for its practice every day which sometimes is an impossibility for a grihastha sadhaka. Thirdly, a strong will to be regular, and faithful to one’s sadhana is required.
If these conditions are fulfilled, a kriya yogi can live long for many years and will not suffer from illness. He is cured by its practices from many chronic ailments of chronic serious nature.
Printed in YOGA, Vol.8, No.10, (October 1970)