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Τρίτη, 16 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Kriya Yoga The Real - An Introduction

Kriya Yoga the Ancient system of Tantra
By Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati

All of us have potential which is beyond even
our wildest dreams, but most of this potential
remains untapped. Each person has the
capacity to experience different planes of
consciousness, yet most of us live in the lower
planes, without experiencing higher levels of
existence, or even believing that they exist.

Many people are unhappy in the world,
dissatisfied and yet not sure what is lacking in
their lives. The basic reason for this unhappiness
is our attachment to the material plane
of existence. Once we gain a glimpse of higher
spheres of consciousness, then our unhappiness
and discontent automatically fade away.
There are various systems of yoga, such as
raja yoga, kundalini yoga, etc., which are widely
propagated throughout the world. All are
aiming at transcendental states where one
starts to commune with one's inner being.
Most of the systems emphasize the importance
of concentration as a means of withdrawing
consciousness from the outside surroundings
and directing it into the innermost realms of
the mind.

Without becoming too involved in the field
of semantics, let us first of all define what is
commonly understood by concentration
implies the focussing of one's
consciousness towards one point, either external
or internal, to the exclusion of all other
subjects or thoughts. Now this is not such an
easv process, for our consciousness in connection
with our minds is habituated to movement
from one point to the next, from one object to
another. Any attempt on our part to subjugate
the consciousness and make it dwell on one
point imposes strain on the mind resulting in
tension and frustration at our failure to curb
its wandering tendency.

If you observe yourself you will find that
your consciousness has a natural tendency to
have a diverse perception and to move from
one object to the next. Try to concentrate on
one thing for a few minutes and you will
convince yourself of this fact. You will be conscious
of a never-ending stream of thoughts,
some that seem related to each other and
others that seem totally unconnected. This
occurrence of unconnected thoughts is known
as distraction (vikshepa) and is a limitation of
the mind.

Many systems of yoga tell you to place an
object in front of you or to visualize an internal
image, concentrate on it, and lo and behold
you will start to explore the subconscious
depths of the mind. Although the method is
correct and can bring wonderful experiences,
it takes no consideration of the wandering
tendency of our consciousness, which makes
concentration impossible for most people.

Concentration is possible only if a person is
very relaxed mentally and physically. Most
people cannot relax, or if they do it is on rare
occasions. For this reason the mind continually
projects streams of differing thoughts to
conscious perception. As such, to ask most
people to concentrate is impossible. And if
they try to concentrate, they will tend to try to
suppress the disturbing factors in the mind
and create more tension in themselves.

Concentration is something that occurs
spontaneously in a very relaxed mind and
body. Until relaxation is achieved, concentration,
real concentration that is, remains
impossible. A system is required which progressively
leads a person to deeper states of
relaxation, until concentration becomes the
spontaneous activity of consciousness. This
system is the system of kriya yoga.

Before we talk about kriya yoga, let us briefly
discuss where concentration, relaxed concentration
that is, will lead us. The fruit or
culmination of deep one-pointed concentration
is the occurrence of the spontaneous state of
meditation. Most people have heard of meditation,
yet very few people have actually
experienced it. It arises only under conditions
of almost abnormal relaxation (yes, abnormal
is the right word, for most people never
experience deep states of relaxation; even
during sleep they are plagued by subconscious
worries, phobias, fears, etc.) of both mind and
body, together with a high state of conscious
alertness. Many people think that they are
meditating, but in fact they are probably not.

Modern scientific instruments can even show
whether a person is in a state of meditation or
not. These instruments measure electrical wave
patterns emitted from the brain. The frequency
and amplitude of these brain waves
indicate the inner state of mind.

During concentration there is a continuity
of consciousness and this condition allows our
subconscious forces to rise up. The hidden
psychological patterns in the subconscious
mind start to manifest. Normally, because of
our mental distractions, we are totally unable
to contact or express our inner power. During
deep periods of concentration we start to
understand the deeper aspects of our being.
So the fruits of concentration are substantial.

Many people, whether they have experienced
meditation or not, know that great things are
in store for them if only they can concentrate
deeply. Because they are not relaxed, however,
they force their consciousness to dwell on one
point. Of course they are only following the
instructions of most systems of yoga or yoga
teachers. They don't realize that the systems
of yoga are correct, but that they presuppose
a reasonable level of relaxation, something
that is not attained by most people todav. The
result of this forced concentration is greater
tension and frustration. Meditation eludes
them. To repeat: it is not the method that is
wrong; its failure to bring results in most cases
is due to the fact that people are not ready for
the system. Most people have too many
disturbances in their minds to be able to
concentrate. Once the deep-rooted complexes
have been removed, the ones that most of us
are not aware of, then relaxation becomes
possible; it becomes natural and deep. 
Meditation starts to occur spontaneously. 
No effort is required.

Questions arise such as "How can most
people learn to explore their minds?" "If they
cannot concentrate what should they do?"
"How can one attain meditational experience?"
This is where kriya yoga comes to the rescue.

Kriya yoga seems to defy or contradict the
basic rules of yoga. It says that you should not
try to concentrate your mind. Don't make any
effort to bring about one-pointedness. Leave
your consciousness freedom of movement, but
let it tiy to follow prescribed internal movements.

Kriya yoga accepts most people's
limitations; if you are unable to concentrate
then another method must be used to accomplish
the same final result.

Kriya yoga is more interested in awareness
than concentration. What do we mean by awareness?
By awareness we mean conscious
attention of thoughts or of objects, either
external or internal, without necessarily being
one-pointed. Simultaneously, and this is most
important, the word awareness implies that
the individual knows that his attention is at a
particular place or on a train of thought. The
word implies a relationship between the activity
of perception and the perceiver. If a person
does not know he is perceiving something,
then he is not aware. Awareness implies that
the individual does not try to suppress an
ever-arising stream of thoughts, even if they
have nothing to do with his direction of
perception; he merely lets the thoughts arise
and disappear, remaining as a witness to them.
Other people might understand something
different by the word awareness, but the previous
explanation is what we mean. When a
person is sufficiently relaxed, especially in the
deeper layers of the subconscious mind, then
awareness will lead to one-pointedness or

Kriya yoga does not presuppose concentration
or even withdrawal of your awareness
from the outside surroundings. As such, it is
more suitable for most people today, since
they are habituated to extroversion and to an
awareness which tends to move here and there,
and not dwell on one point to the exclusion of
others. If you cannot concentrate and your
conscious perception jumps here and there, it
doesn't matter - just carry on your kriya yoga
practices without becoming worried or frustrated.
Kriya yoga doesn't ask you to withdraw
your mind to one point; it asks you to do just
the opposite - to actually move your awareness,
to rotate your consciousness from one
point to another.

The very word kriya means activity or movement,
and in this context activity or movement
of awareness or consciousness. The word kriya
also means practical or preliminary and in this
sense it means the preliminary practice which
leads to yoga; yoga here meaning the culmination,
the union, the final result of practice, not
the process as we normally understand it. Thus
as we have already explained, in contrast to
other forms of yoga, kriya yoga does not ask
you to curb your mental fluctuations, but asks
you to purposely create activity in your consciousness.
In this way, mental faculties are
harmonized and flower into their fullest
potential, and coordination is brought about
between the nervous system and the brain.

The source of the practices of kriya yoga
goes back into antiquity and slowly evolved
over a period of time through practice and
experience. Eventually the practices, or kriyas,
were written down and can still be found in the
numerous tantric texts. These were written in
Sanskrit, and to date only a few have been
translated into other languages. The full form
of kriya yoga consists of a combination of over
seventy kriyas. Out of these kriyas, about
twenty or so are commonly known.

Kriya yoga has been taught to large numbers
of people throughout the world. Many
people have gained wonderful benefits, yet
others have gained little or nothing even
though they might have practised regularly
and with enthusiasm. The fault generally lies
in the sequence of the practices. If the sequence
is wrong, then the system of kriya yoga loses
its full power, for the different kriyas bear a
close relationship to each other. As an analogy,
consider music. There are a certain number of
musical notes. If these notes are played in a
certain order, then beautiful music can result.

If they are played in another sequence, then
ear-jarring noise can result. The sequence is
of the utmost importance. It is the same with
the kriya yoga practices.

Another important requirement of successful
practice of kriya yoga is the correct preparation. 

Again, many people learn kriya
yoga as their first introduction to yoga practices
in general, and so gain little or no benefit
because their bodies and minds are not ready
and they lack the ability to perform basic yogic

A full preparation is essential and
includes the following:

1. Body control and sound health. This is a
basic aim and is achieved through hatha yoga.
by body control we do not mean the type of
control that people in circuses have developed,
but sufficient to perform yogic practices,
including kriya yoga, with ease. Health, needless
to say, is of utmost importance, not only
for more advanced kriya yoga practices but
for everyday life. If you have some disease or
pain it is very difficult to think of anything else,
let alone try to practise kriya yoga or any
other higher form of yoga practice. For this
reason, the initial aim of yoga should be to
make you radiate health by removing existing
ailments or by improving your present condition
of health. It is by doing asanas, pranayama
and various body cleansing techniques, as
outlined in Book I and II, that we can attain
this required state of vitality.

Once we have attained sufficient body control
and health, then the practices of kriya yoga
become very easy, for your awareness can
follow the kriya yoga techniques without being
continually disturbed by body discomfort or
illness. We can actually forget the body and
direct our awareness in other directions.

2. Proficiency in mudras and bandhas. These
will be fully discussed in forthcoming lessons.
However, as a brief description, we can say
that both mudras and bandhas are methods
of stimulating nerve plexuses and endocrinal
secretions and for activating bio-energies in
the body. Mudras are also sometimes intended
as symbolic expressions of inner mental or
psychic feelings. This is a very basic description.

3. Development of breath consciousness. What is
breath consciousness? It is very easy and can
be developed by anyone with practice. It is
merely being aware of the fact that: "I am
breathing in and I am breathing out". This can
be done even while you are talking, or working,
or when the mind is engaged in other
directions, as well as when you are sitting
comfortably with your eyes closed. It can be
done at any time and under any circumstances,
even while you are reading these words and
simultaneously understanding everything that
is written. With practice it is possible to
undertake all your daily activities and still
maintain this breath awareness.

Awareness of your breath implies that you
are simultaneously aware of your consciousness.
In other words, if you are aware that you
are breathing then you are automatically aware
of your own awareness. Most people forget
the fact that they are aware or conscious; they
are so wrapped up in their thought processes
and actions that they do these things automatically.
So by being aware of your breath
you continually know that you are aware of
your conscious being; you no longer lose
yourself in mental and physical activity. This is
a very important point to remember.

As a slight digression, consider the difference
between an animal and a human being.
An animal eats food, sleeps and performs
various other activities during the course of its
life. A human being also eats food, sleeps, etc.
but has one distinctive feature: the capacity to
know that he is acting, whereas an animal
performs various actions without knowing it.
There is also a distinct difference between
various stages of human development. All
humans think, yet some who are more aware
are able to watch themselves thinking. They
are able to stand outside themselves and watch
the thinking process occurring within their
mind. This is the aim of breath awareness: to
continually remind you of your ability to be
aware of your consciousness and to be a witness
or a spectator of your mental and physical
activities. Breath awareness is an essential part
of kriya yoga.

4. Location and familiarity with the psychic
passages and chakras. A psychic passage is a
pathway or channel in which your breath
awareness, or psychic consciousness can flow
or move. There are various different pathways,
one of which is in the centre of the spinal
column, from top to bottom. It is easy to
describe the route of the psychic pathway, but
the practitioner must develop and experience
the flow of breath consciousness in the psychic
pathway for himself. One must be aware of the
breath and feel the movement of breath in the

There is a good reason why this rotation or
movement of consciousness is an integral part
of kriya yoga. These psychic passages pass
through various nerve plexuses in the body,
particularly those pertaining to the sympathetic
and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The mere fact that you are aware of these
places has a stimulating influence which
awakens nerve impulses, which bring about
psychological and biochemical changes in the
body. This can be experienced even after a
short period of practice in the form of calmness,
tranquillity and clarity of thought. The reason
for this result is that these plexuses are
connected directly to brain centres and to
endocrinal glands. Of particular significance
are the two parasympathetic nerve outflows in
the region of the base of the spine and the top
of the spine. The parasympathetic nervous
system tends to reduce nervous tension, in
opposition to the sympathetic nervous system,
which tries to produce tension and the readiness
of the mind and body to withstand
external events. 
Awareness of the lower and
upper parts of the spine or the spinal psychic
passages is an important part of kriya yoga.
This brings about relaxation of the body and
mind by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous
system. Additionally there are many other
factors involved, however they will be explained

Kriya yoga has been traditionally associated
with secrecy, since its methods were always
passed on from guru to disciple by word of
mouth. Because of this system of teaching,
many myths have arisen. People have come to
the conclusion that kriya yoga is a secret system,
meant only for the few. Some people have
begun to believe that one must possess many
special qualifications to learn and practise kriya
yoga and that one must be a celibate with strict
abstention from sexual life. All these ideas are
totally wrong. 

Kriya yoga can be practised by
all people without exception. Why should it be
limited to a few chosen persons? We do,
however, emphasize that adequate preparation
is essential for positive results; but in this sense
it is no different from anything else that you
learn or study in life. If you want to perfect any
skill, whether it is mechanical, medical or
whatever, you have to start from basic principles
and techniques.

Kriya yoga does not ask you to abstain from
your sexual life. Why should it? Sexual activity
is a natural part of life, so why abstain from it?

Kriya originated from the ancient system of
tantra, and of all the spiritual systems tantra is
the most understanding regarding sexual life.
In fact, under correct circumstances tantra has
encouraged the use of sex as a means to evolve
spiritually. Of course there is much written
about the conservation of sexual energy and
its sublimation into spiritual power. This idea
has been sadly misunderstood. When people
write about sublimating sexual energy and
directing it into higher channels they generally
miss the whole point. The transformation of
seminal fluid into ojas or spiritual power is
often mentioned but again misunderstood.

Actually it is the transformation of sexual
thoughts into spiritual directions that is implied
here. Many people waste enormous amounts
of mental power and energy continually
dwelling on sexual fantasies and so on. If this
same energy could be channelled into spiritual
pursuits, then many fruits could be gained.
It is not necessary to abstain from sexual
relations. Continue your sexual relations, but
don't dwell continually on sexual thoughts.

Direct your mind in other directions, not
necessarily spiritual; towards work, study or
whatever you are interested in. In this way you
will find new dimensions of power in your
thinking and physical activities. This is the
meaning of sublimation of sexual energy. The
practice of kriya yoga definitely does not ask
you to change your way of life.

From the experience of teaching different
techniques of yoga, we have noticed a distinct
and remarkable difference between people's
reaction to kriya yoga and other systems that
require concentrated effort. When people try
to concentrate they tend to become more tense
and develop headaches, the opposite, of
course, to what is intended. After a short time
they become frustrated, start to lose interest
in the practices and start to scratch, fidget and
generally feel uncomfortable. They start to
pen their eyes and their awareness begins to
wander more than it did before the start of the
practices. There seems to be a reaction to this
concentration and their mind rebels and does
exactly the opposite to what is intended. With
kriva yoga, however, there is a noticeable
difference. Because they are not asked to
concentrate deeply, only to do their practices,
the awareness seems to spontaneously become
one-pointed and relaxed. The mind is like a
naughty child. If you tell it to do one thing it
will do exactly the opposite. So by asking it to
concentrate, it wanders. In kriya yoga, by
asking it to wander if it wishes, it seems to want
to become one-pointed. From this state,
meditation can spontaneously arise and your
awareness can start to explore the vast layers
of the subconscious and unconscious mind.

When you begin to understand and to know
what lies in the deeper recesses of your mind,
the vast mental reservoir about which you are
not normally aware, it is then that you can
start to eradicate the phobias and fears, complexes
and tensions which make your life
unhappy. It is these subconscious, negative
mental samskaras (impressions) which continually
act below the surface of your normal
consciousness and cause mental disturbances.

Often you feel unhappy and depressed.
Sometimes you may know, but generally you
don't understand why you feel this way, only
that you do. The cause lies with these fears,
phobias, bad memories, etc. By becoming
aware of them, by delving into the mind you
automatically start to neutralize their negative
influence on your life. If you don't know what
the root cause of your unhappiness is, how
can you rectify the situation? The more of
these problems that you remove, the happier
your life will become. This is also the way to
cure emotional imbalances, nervous disorders
and all the different types of psychological
problems that plague people throughout the
world. Other methods of making people's lives
happier have been tried but there is only one
sure way - relax your mind, know your mind
and throw out the rubbish that exists there.

The first obstacle in yoga is relaxation of
the mind while being fully aware. If you can
attain a sufficient degree of mental relaxation,
then automatically your awareness will start to
introvert, to explore the mind. This will
probably occur on the superficial levels at first,
but eventually you will start to see your deeper
problems in the form of symbolic visions. This
is the stage at which you really begin to remove
your deeper problems. If you relax the mind
and then sleep, you will gain nothing because
you will not be conscious of your mind and its
contents. Your awareness is not there.

We have found that the ideal method for
the man of today is kriya yoga. Without
suppressing the wandering tendency of the
awareness and thereby causing more tension
in the mind than was there to begin with, kriya
yoga aims at making your awareness spontaneously
one-pointed. In this way, your
awareness automatically introverts and so
starts to reshape the activities of the mind to
eventually bring about a state of equanimity
or tranquillity. Kriya yoga allows you to filter
out the morass, the quagmire of complexes,
fears, etc. in your mind which make life an
unhappy affair. No strain or mental effort is
required to remove these problems. You
merely do your practices and in the course of
time your mind will become clearer.

There are no restrictions or barriers to those
who want to practise kriya yoga. Your age,
diet, social position, religion or whatever, will
not bar you from practising. All you need is
the interest and effort to change your life.
It is our intention to make the system of
kriya yoga available to everyone who is
interested, because large numbers of people
are now ready to reap the benefits of kriya
yoga, yet cannot because they lack knowledge
of the system. If you feel that kriya yoga is for
you, then we hope that you will sincerely take
up the practices systematically illumined in this
book, and will start today to prepare yourself
for the subtle science of kriya yoga.

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