Kriya Yoga is one of the covert Yoga techniques which were lost in the annals of time. It was the great Kriya Avatar the “immortal Babaji” who re-introduced this subtle purification technique to the world again. His disciple Paramhansa Yogananda known all over the world for his book “The Autobiography of a Yogi” carried the tradition forward and popularised the purification technique worldwide.
Kriya Yoga has five branches-
- Kriya Hatha Yoga – It consists of 18 postures taught in pairs. It also consists of other asanas, bandhas and mudras.
- Kriya Kundalini Pranayama – It is a powerful breathing exercise to awaken the latent energy and circulate it through the 7 Chakras from base of the spine to the crown of the head.
- Kriya Dhyana Yoga – It is an array of techniques to master the mind and clean the sub-conscious mind, develop concentration ability, intuition and bring about the breathless communication with god known as the Samadhi state.
- Kriya mantra Yoga – Mental recitation of certain sounds to awaken the intuition, chakras and the sleeping intellect.
- Kriya Bhakti Yoga – Devotional activities to achieve spiritual bliss which includes actions like chanting, singing, pilgrimage and worship.
The technique was discovered by the sages in India and then forgotten. This unique method of self-purification is mentioned in Bhagwad Gita as the best way to purify body and mind. It is well illustrated in Patanjali Yoga sutras. When Jesus says that “Behold the kingdom of God is within you”, he is actually speaking about the Kriya Yoga.
Meditation a comprehensive technique of the Kriya Yoga path
The Kriya Yoga system comprises of many things and is a comprehensive system which enables the practitioner to achieve self-realisation. The practice is based on breath, brain and spinal cord. Breath mediates between the mind and soul. The brain mediates between mind and sense organs. All the physical actions are reflected in our sense organs with the help of the lower brain called the spinal cord. The sensation is then passed on to the higher brain and vice versa.
The brain and mind are always connected and so are mind and Chitta (Higher mind or subconscious mind). Chitta has five actions to perform and each action has twenty-five qualities. Each quality produces two results known as Vrittis. Hence there are fifty different types of Vrittis which make up the Chitta. The objective of Yoga is to control the actions of the Chitta. The mind is always in motion and thoughts come and go. It is the breath which is affected by the thoughts and controlling the breath can be used to control Chitta and keep the mind calm. Kriya Yoga is based on the science of breath.
Kriya Yoga is divided into six stages known as Pratham Kriya (First Kriya), Dwitiya Kriya (Second Kriya) and so on. Starting with first Kriya which is the basis of going forward, you will learn about soul and the chakras in the body. You can truly learn about the Kriya Yoga only by practising it. For instance, if you really want to learn about oranges, a description will not give you full knowledge. You have to touch it and taste it to know it truly. The same is true for Kriya Yoga.