6/21/2012

The Kriya Yoga Path of Meditation Leads to Self-Realization of the I AM




Meditation Shrine, Ranchi

“By the definite science of meditation known for millenniums to the yogis and sages of India, and to Jesus, any seeker of God can enlarge the caliber of his consciousness to omniscience to receive within himself the Universal Intelligence of God.”
— Paramahansa Yogananda
Wisdom, creativity, security, happiness, unconditional love — is it really possible to find that which will bring us real and lasting joy?

Experiencing the divinity within our own souls, claiming divine joy as our own joy — this is what the Kriya Yoga teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda offer to each of us.

The sacred science of Kriya Yoga consists of advanced techniques of meditation whose devoted practice leads to realization of God and liberation of the soul from all forms of bondage. It is the royal or supreme technique of yoga, divine union. (Read “What Is Yoga, Really?”)


Kriya Yoga’s History

The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita
The illumined sages of India discovered the spiritual science of Kriya Yoga in the long forgotten past. Lord Krishna extols it in the Bhagavad Gita. The sage Patanjali speaks of it in his Yoga Sutras. Paramahansa Yogananda has stated that this ancient meditation method was also known to Jesus Christ, as well as to disciples such as St. John, St. Paul, and others.

Kriya Yoga was lost for centuries in the dark ages, and reintroduced in modern times by Mahavatar Babaji, whose disciple Lahiri Mahasaya (1828–1895) was the first to teach it openly in our era. Later, Babaji asked Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciple, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855–1936), to train Paramahansa Yogananda and send him to the West to give this soul-revealing technique to the world.

The Yoga of Jesus
Paramahansa Yogananda was chosen by his venerable line of gurus to bring the ancient science of Kriya Yoga to the West, and it was for this purpose that he established Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920.

Formerly available only to a faithful few who renounced the world and lived solitary lives as ascetics, the great ones of India have now made the ancient Kriya science available to all sincere seekers worldwide through the instrumentality of Paramahansa Yogananda and the spiritual organization he established (SRF/YSS).
Mahavatar Babaji Lahiri Mahasaya Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri Paramahansa Yogananda
Yogananda wrote: “In bestowing his blessings on me before I came to America in 1920, Mahavatar Babaji told me that I had been chosen for this sacred mission: ‘You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West. Long ago I met your guru Yukteswar at a Kumbha Mela; I told him then I would send you to him for training.’ Babaji then predicted: ‘Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man’s personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father.’ ”




Meditation Techniques of the Kriya Yoga Path 

Paramahansa Yogananda provides a description of Kriya Yoga in his Autobiography of a Yogi. The actual technique is given to students of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons after a preliminary period of study and practice of the three preparatory techniques taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Taken together as a comprehensive system, these meditation techniques enable the practitioner to achieve the highest benefits and divine goal of the ancient yoga science.

1. Energization Exercises: A series of psychophysical exercises developed by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1916 to prepare the body for meditation. Regular practice promotes mental and physical relaxation and develops dynamic will power. Making use of the breath, life force, and concentrated attention, the technique enables one to draw abundant energy consciously into the body, purifying and strengthening all the body parts systematically in turn. The Energization Exercises, which take about fifteen minutes to perform, are one of the most effective means of eliminating stress and nervous tension. Practicing them prior to meditation is a great help in entering a calm, interiorized state of awareness.

Meditation Posture2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration helps to develop one’s latent powers of concentration. Through practice of this technique one learns to withdraw thought and energy from outward distractions so that they may be focused on any goal to be achieved or problem to be solved. Or one may direct that concentrated attention toward realizing the Divine Consciousness within.

3. Aum Technique of Meditation shows one how to use the power of concentration in the highest way to discover and develop the divine qualities of one’s own true Self. This ancient method teaches how to experience the all-pervading Divine Presence as Aum, the Word or Holy Ghost that underlies and sustains all creation. The technique expands the awareness beyond limitations of body and mind to the joyous realization of one’s infinite potential.

4. Kriya Yoga Technique
Kriya is an advanced Raja Yoga technique of pranayama (life-energy control). Kriya reinforces and revitalizes subtle currents of life energy (prana) in the spine and brain. The ancient seers of India (rishis) perceived the brain and spine as the tree of life. Out of the subtle cerebrospinal centers of life and consciousness (chakras) flow the energies that enliven all the nerves and every organ and tissue of the body. The yogis discovered that by revolving the life current continuously up and down the spine by the special technique of Kriya Yoga, it is possible to greatly accelerate one’s spiritual evolution and awareness.

The chakras in Kriya Yogi meditationCorrect practice of Kriya Yoga enables the normal activities of the heart and lungs and nervous system to slow down naturally, producing deep inner stillness of body and mind and freeing the attention from the usual turbulence of thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. In the clarity of that inner stillness, one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and attunement with one’s soul and with God.
How to Learn Kriya Yoga

The first step is to apply for the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. In the first year of Lesson study at home, students learn three basic techniques of meditation (described above) and Paramahansaji’s principles of balanced spiritual living.

This gradual introduction has a purpose. A mountain climber seeking to scale the Himalayas must first acclimatize and condition himself before ascending the peaks. So the seeker needs this initial period to acclimatize his or her habits and thoughts, condition the mind with concentration and devotion, and practice directing the body’s life energy. Then the yogi is prepared to ascend the spinal highway of realization. After one year of preparation and practice, students are eligible to apply for initiation in the technique of Kriya Yoga, and formally establish the time-honored guru-disciple relationship with Paramahansa Yogananda and his lineage of enlightened masters.

If you have not yet enrolled for the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, you will find on these pages some initial instructions on how to meditate, which you can use right away to begin experiencing the benefits that meditation brings.


"Meditating at the feet of the Guru", Smriti Mandir, Ranchi, IndiaGuru-Disciple Relationship

Kriya Yoga is the diksha (initiation) or spiritual baptism of Self-Realization Fellowship. By receiving Kriya initiation, students enter into the sacred guru-disciple relationship, accepting Paramahansa Yogananda as their guru (spiritual guide).

Read more on the guru-disciple relationship.




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Autobiography of a Yogi

Book Cover Self-Realization Fellowship Publisher
In 1946, Yogananda published his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. It has since been translated into twenty-eight languages. In 1999, it was designated one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a panel of spiritual authors convened by Philip Zaleski and HarperCollins publishers.[25] In 2006, the publisher, Self-Realization Fellowship, honored the 60th anniversary of Autobiography of a Yogi "with a series of projects designed to promote the legacy of the man thousands of disciples still refer to as 'master.'" [26]

Autobiography of a Yogi
describes Yogananda's spiritual search for enlightenment, in addition to encounters with notable spiritual figures such as Therese Neumann, Anandamayi Ma, Mohandas Gandhi, Nobel laureate in literature Rabindranath Tagore, noted plant scientist Luther Burbank (the book is 'Dedicated to the Memory of Luther Burbank, An American Saint'), famous Indian scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman. One notable chapter of this book is "The Law of Miracles", where he gives scientific explanations for seemingly miraculous feats. He writes: "the word 'impossible' is becoming less prominent in man's vocabulary."[3]

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Kriya Yoga

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Kriya Yoga
Founder Mahavatar Babaji gave to Lahiri Mahasaya
Practice emphases
Kriya Yoga Pranayama
Kriya Yoga is described by its practitioners as the ancient Yoga system revived in modern times by Mahavatar Babaji through his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya, c. 1861, and brought into popular awareness through Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi.[1] The system consists of a number of levels of Pranayama based on techniques that are intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development[1] and engender a profound state of tranquility and God-communion.[2]
Yogananda attributes Kriya Yoga to his lineage of gurus, deriving it via Swami Sriyukteswar Giri and Shyamacharan Lahiri from Mahavatar Babaji (fl. 1860s). The latter is reported to have introduced the concept as essentially identical to the Raja Yoga of Patanjali and the concept of Yoga as described in the Bhagavadgita.[3]



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Mahavatar Babaji

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Mahavatar Babaji - a drawing from Autobiography of a Yogi, commissioned by Yogananda and based on his own meeting with Babaji
Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint by Lahiri Mahasaya and several of his disciples[1] who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. Some of these meetings were described by Paramhansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), including a first hand telling of Yogananda’s own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.[2] Another first hand account was given by Sri Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science.[3] All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies[4][5][6] of those mentioned by Yogananda.
Mahavatar Babaji’s given name and date of birth are not known, so those who met him during that period all called him by the title first given to him by Lahiri Mahasaya.[2][6] "Mahavatar" means "great avatar", and "Babaji" simply means "revered father". Some of the encounters included two or more witnesses—discussions between those who met Mahavatar Babaji indicate that they all met the same person.[2][4][5]

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