The Philosophy of Kriya Yoga

The Philosophy of Kriya Yoga
Masterkey for transforming human society
Yoga may be defined as "the scientific art of God union and perfection" (Ramaiah, 1968). Kriya Yoga is that tradition or Yoga which has been developed and promulgated by Babaji directly or through his disciples. It is a crystallization of the teachings and techniques of Tamil Yoga Siddhantham, the ancient teachings of the Tamil Yoga Siddhas. The word "Kriya" literally means, an activity performed with awareness. It is taught as a series of practical yoga techniques, or "Kriyas", which can assist the individual to realize his potential. Kriya Yoga will help the individual to tap latent sources of inspiration and higher states of consciousness. When applied by its practitioners in their respective fields of endeavor and circles of influence, such inspiration and higher consciousness can help to bring about a transformation inhuman society. Regular and sincere practice of Kriya Yoga brings about an increasingly wider perspective of "selfhood". "Self-realization" replaces ego consciousness, and activity becomes a means or expressing loving service to the Divinity, seen in everyone and in everything, in an unfolding "universal vision of love". As described in earlier chapters, all of the 18 Siddhas, rather than renouncing involvement in the world, made valuable contributions to their society in various fields and dedicated themselves to assisting the world's evolution in consciousness.

Kriya Yoga contains all of the elements of the scientific method. Each technique is like a working hypothesis. The Kriya Yoga student ("sadhaka"), practicing the techniques on a regular basis, conducts experiments and records his or her own experiences. Kriya Yoga students meet together regularly to discuss their experiences, like the scientists in their conferences. The student of Kriya Yoga comes to some verifiable conclusions about the techniques. It is also an "art" as it requires sincere and regular practice and skill to realize the fruits of the techniques. Since "Absolute reality" can never be adequately defined, it can only be experienced as the essence of Being. Kriya Yoga reveals one's "Union" with "God" or "Truth".

An Integral Yoga
The practice of Babaji's Kriya Yoga is known as an "integral yoga" because it brings about an integral, or complete, transformation of the individual in all of the rive major planes or existence: physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. It gradually strips away the layers of conditioning which prevent the individual from having the a universal vision. The body is seen as a vehicle or temple of Divine manifestation. One cares for the body not for its own sake, but as an expression of the Divinity.

Babaji's Kriya Yoga consists of a series or techniques, which are grouped into rive major categories: Kriya Hatha Yoga, Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, Kriya Dhyana Yoga, Kriya Mantra Yoga and Kriya Bhakti Yoga. Each of these techniques described below corresponds to one of the five bodies with which we are endowed: physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. These may be thought of as concentric sheaths of life force, manifesting themselves at progressively subtler levels in each individual.
Kriya Hatha Yoga
Kriya Hatha Yoga, the scientific art of mastering the physical body, through postures of relaxation, known as "asanas", muscular locks, "bandahs", and psycho-physical gestures, known as "mudras", is the point or departure for the student of Kriya Yoga. It is relatively easy to control the physical body in comparison to the mental or vital bodies, as the latter are much subtler and less subject to the exercise of human will. The postures, bandahs and mudras bring about a state of relaxation on all five planes. They massage the internal organs and glands and stabilize the physical body. They are effective in the prevention and cure of many diseases, functional disorders such as diabetes, respiratory conditions and hypertension, as well as emotional instability. They can thus eliminate one or humanity's most common sources or misery, "poor health". They also help the physical body to be calm during meditation. The postures enable one to regulate the debilitating effects of stress and maintain one's balance in all situations. Their practice with continuous awareness introduces the student to meditation. The psycho physiological effects of Kriya Hatha Yoga were described in Chapter 11

There are 18 essential asanas (postures) in Babaji's Kriya Yoga. These are listed below:

1. Salutation pose (asana vanakkam)
2.  Science of sun-worship (suryanamaskaram)
3.  Integral shoulder stand (sarvangasanarn)
4.  Fish pose (meenasanam)
5.  Crane (kokkuasanam)
6.  Bow pose (vilasanam)
7.  Topsy-turvy pose (vibareetakarani)
8.  Half-fish pose (pathi meenasanam)
9.  Plough pose (kalappai asanam)
10.  Serpent (paambu asanam)
11.  Yogic symbol pose (yoga mudrasanam)
12.  Half wheel pose (pathi chakrasanam)
13.  Sitting crane (amarntha kokkuasanam)
14.  Locust (vittil asanam)
15.  Supine pose or firmness and light (vajroli mudrasanam)
16.  Kneeling pose of firmness (supta vajrasanam)
17.  Triangular pose (mukkonasanam)
18.  Complete peace relaxation pose (purna shava shanti asanam) (Rarnaiah, 1990, p. 1-37; Zvolebil, 1983, p. 223-224)

Kriya Kundalini Pranayama
The scientific art of mastering the breath, Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, is the most important and potential tool in Babaji's Kriya Yoga. It awakens the "Kundalini" or latent energy situated in the muladhara chakra, and distributes it through the network of "nadis" or channels. The student, by regular practice, gradually awakens all of the chakras with their corresponding levels or consciousness, and becomes a dynamo in all five planes of existence. This leads to Self-realization and the breathless state of samadhi.

Kriya Dhyana Yoga
The mind may be compared to a monkey, drunk on the wine of desire, and stung by the boos of pride. The scientific art of mastering the mind, Kriya Dhyana Yoga, consists of a series of meditation techniques to master the unruly mind. It includes the five senses and their subtle counterparts, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience.

The first technique in Kriya Dhyana Yoga brings about the cleansing of the subconscious mind, with all of its repressed desires, fears, and memories. Subsequent techniques gradually enable one to concentrate and to awaken the latent faculties of the mind through concentration, contemplation and continuous awareness. Ultimately one realizes the Self and finds happiness in all five planes of existence.

Kriya Mantra Yoga
The word "man" in the word "mantra" means "to think" and the word "tra" comes from the word "trai", meaning "to protect", or "to free". It refers to freeing one from the bondage of "samsara", our habitual tendencies. Most persons are bound by such habitual tendencies, but when the mantra is substituted for these, one becomes liberated from them. Instead of feeding the habit, one's energies are channeled into repeating the mantra, and the habit gradually withers anvay. Repetition or a mantra removes those desires which obscure one's vision, such as anger, fear, greed and lust. Just as the mirror is able to clearly reflect reality, once it is cleaned, so the mind is able to reflect the higher spiritual truths when such desires have been removed.

The mantras have been discovered by the Siddhas during profound states of meditation. As the mind becomes quiet and sublime, one hears subtle sounds corresponding to various chakras and levels of consciousness. As Jesus said with reference to hearing the "word or God": "Those who have ears to hear, lot them hear" (Luke 8:8). There are two kinds of languages: (a) those which are used to communicate between people, such as English, French, Hindi, etc., and (b) those which are used to communicate between the different levels of consciousness. Most persons are only interested in the first kind. The second kind exists in many religious traditions: the invocations or the Christian priest during the Eucharist, for example, to transform the wine into the blood of Christ; or in Eastern Orthodoxy's "Prayer of the Heart", or the Gregorian monks chants. Unlike prayers, they ask for nothing, and leave the mind one-pointed and pure.
People draw to themselves events and circumstances based upon their repeated thoughts. One who conceives thoughts regarding the design of a "dream" home and the steps necessary to realize it, gradually draws to himself or herself the requirements and opportunities needed. Those who frequently dwell upon fears of being mugged set in motion forces which draw towards them the feared attack.

Thoughts frequently involve desires. But when desires are not fulfilled, frustration results. Frustration brings about confusion in the mind. The confusion leads to absence of self awareness. As a result, one loses sight of the inner Divine power and consciousness, becoming a victim of circumstance and habit.

Most thoughts have a very low force, but when repeated they gain strength. Repeated thoughts become habit forming, and one's behavior is for the most part made up of one's habits. The personality of the individual is the sum total of his or her thoughts, with a unique set of attractions and repulsions. These are stored in the subconscious mind, known as the "chittam" in yoga. The cleansing or this "chittam" is the process of yoga. As Patanjali said Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirothaha, that is, "Yoga consists or cleansing the modifications of the subconscious mind" - Patanjali, Part 1, verse 2. (Ramaiah, 1968, p. 21)

Kriya MantraYoga is known as the silent repetition or potential sounds, to awaken the intellect. Repetition or the mantra is known as "japa" or "mantra sadhana". The mantra bestows peace, bliss, illumination and consciousness. It awakens the intellect by opening the intuition, which in turn inspires the intellect. Creative thinking occurs spontaneously, between any efforts to think. By allowing the mantra to repeat itself, in place of the thinking mind, inspiration can dawn. Mantra japa needs to be done with faith (shraddha), love, (bhava), and concentration (dharana).

A mantra is a word which replaces the "I" centeredness with "God" centeredness. In Babaji's Kriya Yoga, all mantras are oriented towards different aspects of the Divinity. The most potential mantras contain the powerful "bija" (seed) syllables or sounds which were discovered by the Siddhas during profound states of meditation as the keys to higher states of consciousness. The mantras permit one to have the same experience of the corresponding chakras, transcending the ordinary physical consciousness.

A mantra is Divinity. Many people believe that it is a representation or name of Divinity only. In its essence it is the Divinity. In the Bible it is said: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by Him (the Word or Aum); and without him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:1-3). As such, it contains a transformative divine power, or "Shakti", which manifests through sound. A mantra generates creative force and brings one in tune with the Divine by the principle of sympathetic vibrations. Each of the bija mantras has a corresponding pattern, or "yantra", a geometric, mandala like form. Each of the chakras, siddhas and deities has a corresponding mantra and yantra. By repeating the mantra of a particular deity, saint or siddha, one can invoke their presence and blessings.

The mantra is like a candle in a dark room. It is like an immunizing injection for the karmic diseases. One's energies which are generally dissipated through sense distractions are gathered and conserved. One's desires gradually lose their force as a result. Equanimity and self control are the result. During periods of doubt, anxiety, or dispersion, the repetition or the mantra soothes and collects one's consciousness.

To be effective the mantras should be done without desire for personal benefit. This helps to bring about an attitude of inner detachment, wherein one's inner Self can be experienced. For this reason, they frequently end with the word "Namaha", meaning "to surrender" or "salutation" to the Divine.

The learning of mantras from books is inadequate. They should be learned from someone who has experienced them and can impart the subtle vibrations associated with the mantras and such states or consciousness. Mantras should be learned in an "Anthar Kriya Yogam" (or spiritual retreat), where both the student and the atmosphere have been purified by the various yogic practices.
Kriya Bhakti Yoga
Kriya Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion, has been called the jet plane to Self-Realization. Devotional songs, chants, ritual worship and pilgrimage to sacred places open the heart and the mind to the Reality or Love. Gradually, all of one's activities may become soaked with sweetness, as the "Beloved" is perceived in all. Feelings of love and devotion are generally unstable, because of the other tendencies and desires to which human nature is prone, and therefore involvement in the above named activities is required to cultivate it anew. Those drawn to Bhakti yoga, because of their emotional temperament, may find that the emotions may at times be unruly and negative. This is why the other types of yoga, such as Kriya hatha yoga meditation, pranayama, karma yoga and mantra yoga may help stabilize them.

Kriya Karma Yoga
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "Thy business is with action only, never with its fruits; so let not the fruit of action be thy motive, nor be thou to inaction attached. Perform action, O Dhananjaya, dwelling in union with the divine, renouncing attachments, and balanced evenly in success and failure: equilibrium is called yoga"- Gita 11, 47-48. (Besant,1974p.43-44). Kriya Karma Yoga is defined as "selfless service performed with skill". People generally perform activities because they expect to receive something in return. This indicates a fundamental confusion with regards to the source of happiness. In seeking happiness in external things or activities, people ignore the fact that happiness is always something experienced within oneself. People make the mistake of confusing the circumstances under which they find happiness with the happiness itself. In karma yoga, one makes no such mistake. One performs action not because it will bring us happiness - which is already a characteristic of our innate being - but because by performing the activity indicated by our duty in any given situation, in a spirit or loving service, we free ourselves from attachment to the results. Thus we create no new karmas. or desire motivating and captivating actions, and so find continuous peace. We also perform our activities with "skill" because we do it in a spirit of love. Doing it selflessly allows the higher consciousness to work through us without resistance from the petty demands of the ego.

The practice of Kriya Karma Yoga begins with the dedication of several hours per week to some activity for the benefit of others. One begins to discriminate between the suggestions of the ego and those of the Divine, which guide us to serve others in a hundred small ways each day. Karma Yoga progressively become all that one does, as one sees that one is not "the doer", but an instrument of the Divine, put here to love and serve others. One sees oneself as but a wave in an ocean of creation. No longer heeding the promptings of ego-based desires, every action becomes motivated by Divine Love.

A Karma Yogi is free of anger, egoism, greed and personal desires. He has a large heart and is always prepared to share and help others. He scrutinizes his motives and does things without a selfish motive. By doing so, the Karma Yogi attains purity of heart, and will see God in all faces, the indwelling Presence everywhere. He lives a simple life, following the motto of the Siddhas: "simple living and high thinking"
Family Life and Tantra
Unlike many spiritual traditions which have viewed the desire for sex and family lire as a serious obstacle to Self-realization, the yoga Siddhas have transformed sex into a domain for yogic practices and divinization. Most of the 18 Siddhas practiced family life and used it as a part of their spiritual sadhana. Kriya Tantra Yoga involves retaining the energies which are generally wasted in sexual activity and moving them up into the higher chakras. It also involves loving one's life partner as the embodiment of the Divine. One regards the objects or the world not as sources or temptation, or obstacles to be avoided in becoming "spiritual", but as latent Divinity. Through love, the worshipper experiences his or her oneness with the object of worship in the tantric path.
  • Family life provides an opportunity to develop a selfless love, first by expanding ones feeling or identity to include a life partner, and then to multiply this with children. This may lead to the "Universal Vision of Love", wherein one sees God in everyone.
  • Kriya Tantra Yoga also provides a rare opportunity for evolved souls to take birth in a family where right from the moment of conception they can benefit from the influences of'yogic practices and orientation.
  • Getting started in Kriya Hatha Yoga, and initiation into the techniques of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, Dhyana, and Mantras.
  • One should start one's training with Kriya Hatha Yoga in order to prepare the body, mind, and nervous system forthe more subtle techniques of pranayama and meditation.
  • Training in Kriya Hatha Yoga may be received from an experienced teacher of the 18 important postures (asanas), bandahs and mudras described previously.
Training in the techniques of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, Dhyana and Mantras should be obtained from someone who has been authorized by Babaji to train others. The training involves a series of initiation classes, in which one is introduced to a number of techniques and guided in their practice. The only condition for learning the techniques is a sincere willingness to regularly practice them, and an agreement to maintain their confidentiality. The requirement or confidentiality helps to ensure that the techniques will not be taught by persons who are unauthorized or unqualified to do so. This helps to ensure that the techniques do not become diluted and that the student receives the training from an experienced source. To prepare for this training one may begin by setting aside 15 minutes in the morning and evening and quietly reflecting on the words "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10), letting go or all thoughts and disturbances. If so inclined, one may also begin to chant with devotion Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum and to follow the guidelines indicated in this chapter.

The reader is invited to contact the author through the publisher's address for information regarding training in Babaji's Kriya Yoga.

Integrating yoga into daily life: the "Anthar Kriya Yoga" experience
The student of Kriya Yoga, after being initiated or trained in Kriya Hatha Yoga, Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, and Kriya Dhyana Yoga, should attend an Anthar Kriya Yoga or spiritual retreat. During it one learns how to integrate Kriya Yoga into ones daily life.

Practicing yoga for a few minutes in the morning and evening and then completely ignoring it at other times "ill provide some relief from the stress of daily life, and some moments of insight, but no lasting transformation occurs. It is therefore important to learn how to integrate Kriya Yoga into all activities, including sleeping, eating, and working.

The Anthar Kriya Yoga also introduces the new student to nutritious, yogic vegetarian diet, periods of silence, wherein one learns how to quiet the mind as well as the voice, and to additional techniques in pranayama and meditation. It is conducted in an ideal setting, close to nature, filled with spiritual vibrations and away from one's home and daily preoccupations. In such an environment, one can experience the potentiality of Kriya Yoga. The Anthar Kriya Yoga also shows the student how to practice Kriya Yoga intensively in a lifestyle which integrates the process of Self-realization into one's daily life. It reaches its climax with the Mantra Yagna (a long fire ceremony), and initiation into the bija mantras, described above.

Guidelines for the student of Kriya Yoga
Patanjali, in the second verse of his "Sutras", has defined yoga as follows: Yoga chittra vritti nirothahah, "Yoga consists or cleansing the modifications of the subconscious mind" (Ramaiah, 1968, p. 21).
One's experience in daily life is colored by the thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes of the subconscious mind. These colorings mask the essential Reality. Integrating yoga into one's daily life consists in seeing things as they are, without such colorings. This now vision develops progressively in the student as he or she practices all of the Kriyas.

In doing so it will be useful for the student to observe the following guidelines:

Love for Sell', the Satguru, and the Universal Vision, Regular practice of Kriya Yoga Sadhana; Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless service; Saisang, fellowship with truth seekers;
Yogic vegetarian diet,

Transformation or sleep into yogic rest;
Mental purity, patience, silence and other observances; Seeking inspiration from Babaji and the 18 Siddhas. Love
"Guru, God and Self are One" is a famous motto in the field of yoga. It also indicates the fastest route to Self Realization: devotion to the Satguru. The word "guru" means "one who dispels darkness". A Satguru, such as Babaji, is one who can directly provide illumination to the student of yoga, by a touch, a word, or even a look. This will be generally preceded by years or indirect influence, during which the student prepares the ground for such an awakening by regularly practicing the yoga techniques. Devotion to the Satguru is manifested by such regular practice and by loving service to others. Gradually, all or one's activities are seen as a manifestation of the Divine, creating the world through oneself. The ordinary human experience of feeling separate from the world is replaced progressively with a consciousness of unity with it. Love begins, however, with oneself. One should love and nourish each part of one's being: the physical, vital, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual. Discrimination needs to be used as to how one nourishes each part. Loving ones (It is the very basis of yoga. It allows one to love others and ultimately to love God.

Regular Kriya Yoga Sadhana
"The amount of joy in life is directly related to the amount of discipline one has" is another famous motto of the yoga siddhas. This is because without self control, or self discipline, one is at the mercy of every fleeting thought, sensory sensation or emotion that comes one's way. Most people are easily invaded by the negative thoughts and feelings of others, because they habitually "own" or identify with every such movement which passes through their consciousness. Another word for "discipline" is "sadhana". It includes all that one does to remember Truth or God, or the true Self, including the live major categories of practice listed above. Such self remembering replaces the ego-centeredness, and involves using one's discrimination towards thoughts, feelings and sense perceptions.

The field of such self discipline is not limited to the above categories of yoga practice, however. It extends to one's work, rest periods, family life and diet, as described above. By dedicating certain periods or the day, however, to practicing the above techniques, one can go deeper within, and tap the latent reservoirs of energy and consciousness. All efforts at self discipline are complimentary and have self-mastery as their goal. A master is one who has mastered himself or herself in one or more aspects. Such mastery begins with the techniques and extends progressively to all of the parts or ones life. Success in disciplining the palate, or craving for food, for example, leads to great powers of self control, according to the teachings or the siddhas. Success in disciplining one self in seemingly insignificant areas paves the way for self control in even the most difficult of circumstances.

The word Satsang means fellowship of truth seekers. One should regularly associate with other students of Kriya Yoga to share experiences, insights, and to encourage one another. The path of Kriya Yoga is long and gradual, and there are many obstacles, including desires, ignorance, laziness, distraction, and confusion, which follow students may help one to overcome at a particular time. No one can attain Self realization for another person; each person must work through his or her own habits and tendencies. But fellow students of Kriya Yoga can often provide encouragement or insights which assist one to progress.

Satsang also implies that one should not allow oneself to be ridiculed by those persons who do not share one's appreciation for yoga. While one may dismiss their ridicule intellectually, one may absorb their doubts and prejudices subconsciously. In particular, . one should not", as Jesus said, "cast pearls before swine", meaning one should not try to share one's sublime experiences or yoga with those who will only ridicule them. Sharing with others, even those who are on a similar path, should not become an excuse for inflating one's ego or for converting others to one's own way or thinking.

Teachers of Kriya Yoga do periodically organize gatherings of students for this purpose. Such meetings also provide an opportunity to study together the writings of the Siddhas.

Yogic vegetarian diet
Much has been written in recent years with regards to the benefits of vegetarianism. From the standpoint or yoga, however, what is most important in diet is the effect on one's consciousness. What we consume influences our behavior and thinking. Meat and intoxicants should be avoided by the student or yoga because of the animalistic tendencies and effects on the nervous system which they stimulate. Such consequences will nullify much or the beneficial effects of yoga. Foods which stabilize the consciousness, and which are easy to digest, will permit one to apply one's energies to yoga, rather than to digestion. Giving preference to unprocessed and unrefined whole foods, which are locally grown and in season, and which have a balance or various types or energies, will permit one to avoid the numerous prevalent modern ailments such as cancer and heart disease. The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., in its 1982 report Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, stated that thirty to forty percent of cancers in men and sixty percent in women are caused by diet. An over consumption of saturated fats, sugar and refined food products is to blame (Kushi, 1983, p.14). The rapid increase in modern diseases indicates that modern man is in a degenerative spiral, and faces extinction within a few generations unless a return is made to a simpler diet, which biological man is accustomed to by heredity (Kushi, 1977; Robbins, 1990).

Transform sleep into yogic rest
The practice or "yoga nidra" or "shushupti", translated as "yogic rest" can replace the need for sleep as commonly known. Yoga teaches that there are four states of consciousness:
1.  Physical consciousness: present during daily activities;
2.  Dream consciousness: present during astral experiences or in waking mental activities,
3.  Consciousness during deep sleep without dreams;
4.  Pure consciousness: "turiya", the fourth state. beyond the three others, their source, eternal, infinite without modification.

By practicing yoga nidra one arrives at this fourth state. The practice demands reinforcement of the meditation practices, and analysis and resolution of all desires, feelings and thoughts to enable a state of profound rest.

Such a yogic rest is different from sleep because one remains completely conscious even as the body sleeps. The quality or the rest given by it is superior to that given by meditation. Only by meditation and yoga nidra can rest be given to the totality or the consciousness, including the subconscious mind, which also needs rest. In sleep the awareness is withdrawn. It differs from meditation in that in meditation one does not seek to maintain awareness during deep sleep. By practicing yogic rest the student can study the boundaries between the above four states of consciousness.

Yoga nidra may be learned during an Anthar Kriya Yoga.

Mental purity, patience, silence and other observations
Just as it is important to nourish the physical body with proper food, it is also important to nourish the mind and intellect properly. The student should seek out those sense experiences and sources of intellectual stimulation which will be supportive of yogic discipline and transformation. It would be self defeating to seek out sense gratifications for their own sake, neglecting to maintain a continuous awareness. The mental and vital reactions could cause one to be overwhelmed by self doubts, or other negative emotions.
Sincerity is the most important quality in the field or Babaji's Kriya Yoga. Sincerity means doing what is intended, and being honest with oneself with regards to one's faults and motivations. It includes regular self-examination and correction of one's behavior, whenever one realizes that one has made a mistake, as well as resolving not to repeat it.

Patience is also extremely important in the field of yoga. Those who maintain it, ultimately succeed, even after millions of falls. Those who lack it, give up and settle for a mediocre existence.

Silence refers to "Kriya Mouna Yoga", which includes mental quietude as well as avoidance or unnecessary talk. Its regular observance loads to self realization as well as a recharging of all five bodies with pranic energy. Other important practices and/or attitudes for the student of Kriya Yoga to create the optimal conditions under which Self realization and transformation can occur include: non-violence, truthfulness, equanimity, compassion, non-stealing, self control and moderation with respect to sex, food and work. An equal allotment of time should ideally be given to the following three major classes of daily activity: yogic practices, work in one's chosen field and thirdly, rest and daily routine.

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