In today's Information Age, there is much that can be learned
about a wide variety of spiritual paths. The curious will
easily find more than enough to satisfy their curiosity.
The step beyond curiosity is "investigation,"
and the most fruitful form of investigation is through personal
experience. If one wants to know, for example, about ayurvedic
massage, he goes to an ayurvedic center and has one. The
Eiffel Tower is known by seeing it; a mango by tasting it.
Thus if you would like to know Kriya Yoga, you will want
to experience the techniques of Self-realisation and evaluate
for yourself their effects on your consciousness and your
daily life. Here are some suggestions for how you can become
familiar with these teachings and with the Kriya masters.
1. Studying the Teachings of Self-realisation
Kriya Yoga belongs to a body of teachings called Sanatan
Dharma in India, which Yoganandaji called "Self-realisation".
Swami Kriyananda explains:
Sanatan Dharma, rightly understood, is rooted in
the foundations of the universe. As a teaching, it excludes
no practice that is designed to ennoble and uplift the
mind, to awaken selfless love in the heart, to inspire
longing for the truth, to loosen the bonds of egotism
and selfishness, and to deepen our awareness of what is
as opposed to what merely appears to be.
Put more simply still, the goal of Sanatan Dharma is twofold:
the upliftment of human consciousness, on the one hand,
and the expansion of our self-identity through love, on
the other, that we embrace all life and all reality as
our own. Any practice that inspires people in this direction,
even if it doesn't define the goal so specifically, belongs
rightfully within the domain of Sanatan Dharma.
—Swami Kriyananda, The Hindu Way of Awakening
The following books by Yoganandaji and Kriyanandaji will
give you both an idea and a feeling for this approach to
enlightenment. They are essential for Kriya Yoga initiation.
- Autobiography of a Yogi, original 1946 edition, by
- The Essence of Self-realization, by Paramhansa Yogananda,
edited by Swami Kriyananda
- Awaken to Superconsciousness, by Swami Kriyananda
- The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, by Swami Kriyananda
- The New Path, by Swami Kriyananda
- Conversations with Yogananda, by Swami Kriyananda
2. Practicing Two Basic Techniques on the Path of Kriya
Yoganandaji taught two basic techniques that can be learned
and practiced by anyone, of any faith, on any path. These
techniques bring spiritual and practical benefits to everyone.
They are even recommended by some doctors as an aid to improving
a wide variety of physical and mental/emotional conditions.
The Hong-Sau technique of concentration is an ancient and
well known practice used widely throughout India. It involves
the observation of the breath in conjunction with a mantra
to quiet the mind and focus it at a single point.
As a youth, Yoganandaji would practice this technique for
up to eight hours a day.
Experience and expertise in this technique are necessary
for the successful practice of the more advanced technique
of Kriya, which requires deep concentration. Hong-Sau is
practiced two times a day on the path of Kriya Yoga.
The Energisation Exercises were formulated by Yoganandaji
himself, initially as a means by which the boys at his school
in Ranchi (India) could focus their youthful energies and
develop their will power. He called this practice the "Tissue-Will
System of Body and Mind Perfection". It consists of
thirty-nine exercises to be practiced each day in a specific
order. Practice takes about twelve minutes. It furnishes
the body tissues, muscles, and organs with fresh, vital
energy (prana), while at the same time developing will power
3. Preparing for Kriya Yoga Initiation
You can learn all the practices of the path of Kriya Yoga
at Ananda Sangha (Gurgaon) and at Ananda programmes in various
locations around India. Through our courses, you will be
guided in your preparation for Kriya Yoga Initiation by
Ananda acharyas. Classes are held on a regular basis during
the year, the details of which you can find on our Web site,
Level I: Energisation Exercises and the Hong-Sau
Technique, as described earlier. Energisation is
practiced once a day; Hong-Sau twice a day.
Level II: Raja Yoga, provides a practical
experiential approach to meditation, yoga philosophy, the
Energisation Exercises, yoga postures, affirmations, diet,
and healing techniques. (Required for Kriya Yoga initiation.)
Level III: Discipleship Initiation and the AUM Technique,
is for those who feel a deep inward connection with the
masters of Kriya Yoga and who want to explore the guru-disciple
relationship, which is explained in the next chapter. Discipleship
initiation ceremonies are performed through Ananda Sangha.
On receiving discipleship, the initiate is taught the AUM
meditation technique which he adds to his daily meditation
practice in preparation for Kriya initiation.
Level IV: Kriya Yoga Preparation and Initiation,
includes the history, purpose, and benefits of Kriya Yoga
as well as advanced instruction and practice of meditation
using specific Kriya preparation techniques. The AUM technique
and the Kriya preparation technique are practiced for several
months before one is eligible for Kriya Yoga initiation.
Kriya Yoga initiation is given in person through Ananda
Sangha around India several times a year. After about one
year of preparation and upon approval by an Ananda Kriyacharya,
one can take initiation. The technique is given in an initiation
ceremony. A Kriya technique review, checking, and question
and answer session is held after the initiation. The kriyaban
one who receives Kriya initiation) is given study materials—Kriya
Yoga lessons, a question and answer booklet, and inspirational
CDs—at that time.
Ananda Sangha offers continued support to all its Kriya
initiates through a monthly inspirational newsletter, individual
guidance by phone, e-mail or in person, as well as through
guided Kriya meditations and retreats with Ananda Kriyacharyas.
We also provide a kriyaban Web site updated regularly with
a library of inspirational articles and streaming videos.
is Kriya Yoga?
Your Questions on Kriya Yoga
The Kriya Yoga Masters
What Kriyabans Say
Quotes on Kriya from Paramhansa