Kriya Yoga – The Ultimate Key To Spiritual Evolution

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Of all the types of yoga, Kriya Yoga is said to be the most potent. It is certainly not for the faint of heart; the inner journey is not an easy one to undertake. It comes with a powerful spiritual component that had been kept secret for eons, but now has been made available to all those who want to explore their core self. Although available for those thirsty for spiritual experiences, one is indoctrinated into the discipline only after one has gone through a thorough preparatory period.

The period of preparation is also not something one takes on casually. This may be considered an incubation period to test the resilience and discipline of the spiritual aspirant to adhere to the path. As with anything that needs tenacity, rigor, and discipline, only a small number of seekers continue on the path for a lifetime.

Kriya yoga was popularized in the West by Paramahansa Yogananda through his book “An Autobiography of a Yogi” and his public teachings.  According to Yogananda, as little as a 30 second Kriya  is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual growth.  In the book he says, “One thousand Kriya practiced in eight hours gives the yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution: 365,000 years of evolution in one year.”

There are primarily 4 different paths to work toward one’s spiritual evolution.  Karma Yoga is the path of action or selfless service, Gyana Yoga is the  path of knowledge, Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion or love towards a deity or an object (generally something that is held higher than oneself) and finally Kriya Yoga is the path of internal action.

Fundamentally, Kriya means internal action i.e. to work with one’s own energies. It does not involve working with the body or the mind.  Kriya yoga is a direct technique to awaken the fundamental energy source within us that lies coiled up in the spine and gives the practitioner mastery over the life force to draw it up and down their spine at will.

It is a powerful way to walk the spiritual path and also the most demanding. As premature awakening of the energy through Kriyas can cause damage, the Gurus make their disciples wait until they have reached a level of physical stability as well as mental and emotional maturity.

The opening up of the energy can be wonderfully explosive process for the prepared and the willing.  Kriya yoga is the most effective technique to unite the individual consciousness with the cosmic or divine consciousness.  The ancient yogis realized that awakening the divine consciousness within is directly connected to the mastery over the breath. So kriya practices incorporate breath practices along with meditation to stoke the dormant energy into action.  People who have evolved spiritually on the path of Kriya yoga, have a completely different presence about them, a certain mastery over themselves that is beyond the grasp of most people.

With the demands of modern life where taking care of our survival needs – like earning a living, feeding the family etc – surmount all else, we barely have the time to think about our spiritual evolution.  Today yoga is pursued mainly for health benefits and as a tool for stress relief, which is a poor use of a technique that was originally developed for attaining mastery over the system and uniting with the ultimate consciousness.

Knowledge is power. Now that we know of our spiritual possibility it is time to think about our higher purpose and take steps towards that realization.  The technique of Kriya Yoga is available to all those who are willing! The question is – are we there yet?

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