Akhanda Mahapeeth, Akhandamahapeeth, Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj, Lahiri Mahasay, Nanga Baba, Kriya Yoga, Yoga, Mata Sharbani Trust, Shibrampur, Kolkata, Spiritual, Durga Puja, Adhyatmik,


(The Science of Kriya Yoga)

Sree Sree Maa

Nowadays everywhere there is a hue and cry about taking up Kriya Yoga. But where do we find an eligible student or an illuminated teacher? Kriya Yoga is Brahma-vidya (knowledge of Brahman or Supreme Consciousness). Other than Brahmarshi, Maharshi, Rajarshi, Devarshi or Rishi-like God-realized Masters (Sadgurus), I do not see anyone else capable of truly imparting or for that matter performing Kriya Yoga. During the time of Shyamacharan Baba, there was no dearth of such perfected souls and therefore no need for any publicity. But now, emptier the vessel, higher the volume of its noise. From all sides we hear drumbeating of Kriya Yoga. There appears no shortage of Acharyas (teachers). But how many are becoming true human beings? That is, how many are being transformed from Jiva (meaning, entrapped in worldly bondage) to Shiva (realized emancipated beings)?

Rishis are fundamentally Shiva-natured, irrespective of male or female embodiments. Only one who has truly realized samadhi as a conscious experience of divine union attains "Shiva-hood". At the origin of creation, Providence (an incomprehensible, fathomless Power) created this world of form. Like the tethering ropes of a cow, all forms of creation — from infinitesimal to infinite — are captivated by encapsulating names and titles. Such worldly form-names are of four types, namely dhwani1, varna2, pada3 and vakya4. Among them dhwani is composed of elements of primordial notes (nadas). The elementary letters form the varnas. 'Sh', 'va', etc., form padas and their union gives rise to the vakyas like "Shiva". These vakyas are also of three types (expressing past, present and future). These have been revealed and accepted through Sruti. Sruti is an ancient Indian philosophy (Shastra) where knowledge revealed through self-realization in Yog-yukta (yogic union) state is directly and automatically expressed to others orally or in written form. Many of our ancient texts are a result of such Sruti revelations — transmitted directly from the Divine. Therefore we understand that "Shiva" describes a special state or stage. In its perfectly purified state, manifesting the highest form of divine love (Ishwariya Madhurya), Shiva becomes Paramshiva, Parashiva or Sadashiva-natured Swayambhu (all names of Shiva referring to various stages of Shiva-hood). Again, this Shiva, in its opposite state of Jiva, constantly revolves in bondage, entrapped within the cycle of worldly birth and death (Kaalchakra, the Wheels of Time). The transformation from Jiva-nature to Shiva-nature is the principal goal of Kriya-vidya.

Do not search for Sadguru — try to be a true shishya (disciple). Guru will automatically arrive. Seek for Divine Power (Bhagwat Shakti), devote to God like an addict. The Force will be with you. Sadguru is no ordinary mortal but veritably Ishwar (God). With the Sadguru being revered as the Divine Godhead, there is little fear of falling astray. "One who opens up the window of the Kutastha (the third or inner eye), separately provides confidential guidance and guides others into new vistas of the internal world is to be considered a suitable Acharya of Sadguru nature." These are the words of Yogiraj Shyamacharan Baba. One who devotedly performs regular Kriya is likely to be blessed with unprecedented divine grace. However, for this, the Kriya Yoga initiation (diksha) must truly encapsulate Divine Consciousness.

Mere perfection (by practice) of external manners and behaviour does not suffice. Behind the Kriya activity lies the power (Shakti) of the compassionate Sadguru's enlightened consciousness (Chaitanya). This interplay of Chaitanya Shakti of the Sadguru does not have the same effect on everyone. It varies depending on the adhara of the disciple. The Sadguru is like a great Sun and the shishya or disciple becomes a ray of that Sun that reflects the divinity of its source. This is the true form of Kriya Yoga. It is a matter of realization and experience. It is not something that can be demonstrated by public speaking.

Sri Sri Shyamacharan Baba's Kriya Yoga is the path towards explicit self-realized knowledge following the accepted tenants of spiritual science. Purnanga or Complete Kriya can lead to all types of spiritual experiences. However, for a fuller realization it must include Omkar Kriya (Namaskara Kriya) and other such Kriyas that are performed in the state of Paravastha ("state beyond" — of breathless equilibrium). Next, we highlight the effective utility of Purnanga Kriya (of the First Stage) from the viewpoint of spiritual science.

1) Talabya — Kriya of the Tongue — with its help, it is possible to become a siddha (or accomplished) in Khechari Mudra. However, this does not automatically imply attaining siddhi (accomplishment) in Khechari itself. Khechari siddhi is achieved only when a sadhaka can willfully transport his or her being in air and travel through the skies. Khechari Mudra makes it possible to overcome lower carnal instincts and engage in heavenly mingling by placing the tongue in the Ashta-bindu5 located in the head. This Ashta-bindu symbolizes the Ashta-sakhis or eight-companions of the Divine Power. If this nodal centre can be aroused by keeping the tongue steadfast at its central point, Amrita (nectar of immortality) begins to rain down from Sahasrara (the thousand-petalled lotus in the head) and a surging tide of boundless joy and emotion floods the physical and astral beings. However, this is also a form of inert Samadhi. Uncontrolled attachment to engaging in such heavenly pleasures often becomes a barrier to spiritual progress for a sadhaka. On the other hand, for many advanced adharas it is observed that even without fully accomplishing Khechari Mudra, through the grace of the Sadguru, they are able to overcome the Brahma-granthi making it possible for skyward travel in their astral embodiments. Mastering Khechari Mudra and then being unattached to it is considered beneficial for a sadhaka's spiritual life. Since Japa accompanies specialized forms of tongue Kriya, prana vayu transfuses into the central triangle (trikuti or triputi) of the kutastha and the doors of central passage (Brahma-randhra) in the spinal chord begin to loosen. Due to this, Pranayama begins to take an inward direction. Thereafter breath begins to flow into the inner paths of Ida, Pingala and Shushumna. However, behind all this, the infinite grace and presence of the Sadguru is essential.

2) Nabhi Kriya — Meditative Kriya — an extremely difficult aspect. Single-minded devotion and concentration are essential for this Kriya. The fire-power or energy of Brahma (Brahma-tej) lies latent within the navel region (Nabhi-chakra and Brahma-chakra) of every being. Arousing this latent energy through meditation and Japa, and awakening the divine consciousness and its vital power in these chakras is the sadhaka's objective. There are two chakras in the centre of the navel region — the Manipura Chakra in front and the five-petalled (like the red hibiscus used in Shakti puja) Brahma Chakra behind. It is not possible to fully awaken the Muladhara Chakra without properly enlivening the Brahma Chakra. For this it is also required to bring the samaan vayu to equilibrium within the navel region. Through a process of continued interaction of the praan and apaan vayus in the "mula" region, this Kriya helps the samaan vayu attain equilibrium and move into kebali (or still) state, making it possible for the Brahma Chakra to open up. Again, to obtain the full realization of Nabhi Kriya, it is essential for the sadhaka to repose complete faith in the Sadguru.

3) Pranayama — Pranayama in Kriya Yoga is a completely internal process consisting of rechaka, puraka and kumbhaka. Other than the external asanas (physical postures and body movements) all other aspects are internal in nature. Pranayama is related to the five principal vayus that exist within the body. Therefore there is no concept of external Pranayama in the science of Kriya Yoga. After Kriya Yoga initiation, the Sadguru, through untiring perseverance, effort and internal Yogic techniques, closely supervises and helps uplift the disciple to become capable of true Pranayama. Here again, this takes place through a personalized interplay of the Sadguru's divine consciousness and power on the disciple's adhara. The sadhaka, with whom this interaction takes place, steadily progresses through the stages of Anubhava (explicit spiritual experiences and realizations), thereby becoming capable of internal self-experiences. Once Pranayama begins to take the inward route, the sadhaka must follow the path carefully charted out by the Sadguru. Otherwise, some key faculties essential for sadhana, namely mental Pratyahara (renunciation, detachment and mental withdrawal) and Dharana (power of conception, perception and comprehension) begin to recede into oblivion. In the initial stages, extraordinary darshans (visual experiences in the kutastha) occur. As the mind recedes inwards and becomes steadfast in the kutastha, such darshans gradually diminish. This usually implies that the quality of Kriya is improving. For an advanced Kriyaban, the application of external force during Pranayama reduces and a "Shhnee", "Shhnee" like sound (which is the sound of the Brahma-randra in the head), can be experienced through the internal auditory senses. The occurrence of any sort of physical distress usually means that Pranayama is not being performed correctly. During Pranayama, everyone is required to perform Mantra Japa on the chakras. However, many are unable to perform Mantra Japa on each and every chakra during the process of Pranayama. This imperfection results in an increase of tamasic vritti (urge) within the sadhaka. Therefore Kriya is to be performed according to the prescribed method. Pranayama is to be accompanied by an alert mind concentrating on all the Chakras and (in the first stage of Kriya sadhana) it is essential to draw the attention of the mind to the location of the six chakras within the spine and perform Japa at these centres during Pranayama. Behind every inch of progress lies the infinite grace of Guru-Shakti (force of the Guru). That is why one who accomplishes perfection in Pranayama is greatly blessed. The Sadguru, through the strength of his/her own shakti helps arouse this internalized spinal consciousness within the disciple. This enables the disciple to experience consciousness within the spine and perform Pranayama accurately. As a result, it becomes very easy for the mind to concentrate on the internal world. When a Kriyaban performs Kriya in the august presence of the Master (to be able to turn the mind inwards), the Sadguru uses his/her purified mental consciousness to continually help push the flow of breath (that usually flows through the Ida and Pingala) towards the Shushumna. Along the spinal chord, the Ida and Pingala naadis (astral nerves) wrap around the Shushumna, upwards from the muladhara to the triputi in the agna padma, where these three "rivers" (namely, Ida, Pingala and Shushumna) meet. Here, on hitting the mastak granthi, their flow takes an external direction and depending on the state of the mind, breath flows out from the right or left nostril. This results in mind's movement towards the external. The Ida and Pingala nerves wrap around the Shushumna like the numeral 8, meeting at the chakras or granthis. This has been observed by various sadhakas in their kutastha. During Pranayama performed in presence of the Master, the Sadguru takes up any one of the numerous granthis and at such a meeting point, guides the direction of internal breath into the Shushumna, thereby making it easy for natural movement of the prana vayu in the Shushumna. Progressively the sadhaka learns to attain the state of stillness with its related self-experiences and eventually the flow of Pranayama becomes permanently internalized. Then the external restlessness of the Kriyaban diminishes and due to the virtues of Pranayama, the luster of the physical body improves.

4) Yoni Mudra — Darshan Kriya — this is predominantly a Kumbhaka (held breath) based Kriya. This Kriya helps the sadhaka attain a stage of natural breathlessness (Sahajiya Kumbhaka). Visualization of jyoti (light) provides ananda (joy/happiness). This mudra is also called Shambhavi Mudra in the shashtras (scriptures). Kutastha is Vishwa-yoni (Womb or creative matrix of the Universe). The Yogi's mind visualizes this universe as it reflects in the kutastha. This is why this mudra is called Yoni Mudra. Regular sadhana of this mudra eventually helps attain a state when prana constantly permeates into and circulates within the kutastha. Thereby the sadhaka is able to have continuous darshan (of various forms of jyoti and other views of the internal sky) even without performing the mudra. Due to sadhan of Yoni Mudra, the sadhaka is able to generate enormous Dharana-Shakti (perceptive power) in the heart. Through the influence of Dharana Shakti, several kinds of Yog-Aishwariya (yogic wealth) are expressed in the sadhaka. However, unless the Sadguru generates the required capacitive power within, it is not possible to increase the period of Kumbhaka. Here again, the grace (kripa) of the Sadguru is desirable.

5) Maha Mudra — The Kulakundalini Shakti is awakened through this Kriya. Continued impact of breath from the Ida and Pingala nerves on the power centre of the Muladhara awakens the Kulakundalini Shakti, which then acquires the central path — that is towards the Shushumna. Due to this, the restive rajasic and tamasic gunas calm down and satwic guna becomes expressed within the satta (being). As a result, the sadhaka's mind delves deeper into the internal world. Performed through a combination of special asanas, Mahamudra contains three mudras. That is why Mahamudra is especially beneficial for a sadhaka's spiritual life. Without arousal of the Kulakundalini Shakti, Vivek (conscience and power of discretion and appropriate, accurate judgment) does not awaken within the being. Without active Vivek and Buddhi Shakti (that is, intelligent discerning power), there is great possibility of a sadhaka straying away from the true spiritual path. There are two ways to perform Mahamudra. Both are received directly from the Sadguru.

The above discussion described the five main parts of the basics of Purnanga Kriya. It requires a long period of sustained dedicated effort to properly assimilate and perform these five forms of Kriya and patiently wait for eventual purification of the naadis. Brahma-vidya is primarily taught in private. Therefore, the discussion here is limited to what can be enunciated in public. Other than this, a special type of pranam (revered salutation) called Guru Pranam is associated with Purnanga Kriya. Pranayama is a primary and fundamental aspect of Kriya Yoga. All Kriya is performed in conjunction with Pranayama.

Without Chaitanya-Diksha (illuminated initiation resulting in the transfer of encapsulated divine consciousness) from the Sadguru, it is impossible to perform Pranayama correctly. This essay is therefore written keeping in mind the good of those who have received Kriya Yoga initiation.

Subsequent Omkar or Namaskara Kriyas contain sixty to sixty-four different progressive steps assimilating various aspects of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Laya Yoga. These are aspects of great tapasya (spiritual self-discipline). Through this the ten vayus within the body attain equilibrium resulting in unlocking the Brahma-granthi. On overcoming the Jiwha-granthi, a sadhaka qualifies to receive Second Kriya. However, as long as the mind does not attain satwic gunas, the Sadguru does not impart Omkar Kriya. At every stage the Sadguru tests whether the sadhaka has attained the requisite qualification before imparting the next step in Kriya. Otherwise, the influence of the asuric (demonic) tendencies within may overcome the sadhaka, leading to the disciple straying away from the path that is shaded by the blessings of the Sadguru. Thokkor Kriya, which is related to transcending the Anahata, comes next. This is taught in strict confidence and has four forms. It helps in crossing the Hriday-granthi (Anahata). Here Pranayama is accompanied by mantras and nyas. (This form of Pranayama includes Japa where the aksharas, that is, syllables or literals of the mantra are circulated around the plexii or chakras.) This Kriya is performed only within the Shushumna. Beyond this lies various Kriyas of Paravastha. All these are received directly from the Sadguru. The Kriya Yoga imparted by Sri Sri Lahiri Mahashay contains 108 different types of techniques. Through these the sadhaka is able to transcend the six chakras. Brahma-granthi and Vishnu-granthi are subsequently overcome and later, through the infinite grace and assistance of the Sadguru, Mahashakti descends on the sadhaka's adhara (akin to a thunderbolt falling in the head) to unlock even the Rudra-granthi. After this the sadhaka progressively attains Shiva-hood. "Through Divine Grace, a sadhaka attains the stage beyond Kriya; and can then remain permanently in that state" — Sri Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri also said — "Through continuous wiping away of layers of floating impurities, jaggery (a kind of brown sugary molasses) attains clarity (becoming bereft of dirt). Similarly through Pranayama, the mind becomes purified and its mirror clear." With the opening of the Shushumna channel, the Yogi remains in a state of constant union. This is known as Brahma-marg or path to Brahman. At this stage, in the pitch dark new-moon-night-like sky of the Kutastha a bright mercury-like silvery dot (bindu) sparkles. Through Kriya, in the state of Kebali Kumbhaka, a sadhaka-Yogi is able to gain all kinds of knowledge and even move around in the astral body at will. He or she continues to retain consciousness of individual existence, and can continue to perform normal worldly duties including interacting with other people. Kebali Kumbhaka increases the attractive power of the body; whatever is willed can be attracted and retained as long as desired. That is why Kebalam is referred to as the Sadguru's grace (Guru Kripa-hi Kebalam). The still unperturbed state of the mind is the state of union with the Atma. The restive mind results in the movement of prana vayu. The vayu that emanates from this "movement" of the Atma is referred to as the "ayu" or life-span of the being. Therefore, one who receives Chaitanya-filled Kriya attains the keys to the door of immortality.

The science of Kriya Yoga spreads across the infinite canvas of consciousness. It is an explicit manifestation of Vedanta. Therefore it is impossible to completely express the realizations experiences in Kriya Yoga by writing or talking about it.


Hari Om Tat Sat

1 Fundamental sound forms, phonemes

2 Fundamental visual forms, letters

3 Syllables that form roots of the grammatical structure

4 Thought expressions produced in a grammatical structure, sentential forms.

5 Eight-pointed centre symbolizing the eight fundamental elements of universal nature. They are kshiti (earth), ap (water), tej (energy), marut (air), byom (sky, ether), mon (mind), buddhi (intellect), ahankar (ego).




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