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snehasis chatterjee
india(kolkata)

Question

Sir,

please enlighten whether there is any relation or connection of Kriya yoga with the teachings of Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa.

with regards & pranam

Dr Snehasis Chatterjee.

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Friend,

There isn't a formal connection between the two teachings, but of course they are related, in two significant ways.

The first is that Paramhansa Yogananda and Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa were both from Kolkata. Even though they never met, Yogananda had a deep love and fondness for Ramakrishna, often visiting the temple at Dakshineswar, and meditating there for many hours at a time.

Yogananda also had a great friendship with Mahendranath Gupta (called "Master Mahashaya" in Autobiography of a Yogi), who wrote the beautiful Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita) as "M."

I've personally enjoyed that book tremendously over the years, and have always seen the Ramakrishna lineage as our spiritual cousins, in a way.

The other deep connection is that the devotional aspect of the Kriya teachings is rooted in the same love for God that Ramakrishna taught - devotion to God in all forms, and also notably to God as the Divine Mother. It isn't very well understood by many people, but this deep devotion is an integral part of the path of Kriya Yoga.

Kriya Yoga also works with a very specific set of techniques, with the actual Kriya technique being just one of them. Ramakrishna didn't commonly teach techniques, even though he did practice them at various times in some of the different sadhanas (spiritual practices) he performed.

So yes, there is both a relation and connection in what is perhaps the most important way: a common and deep bhakti (devotion) for God, and the understanding that the goal of all life is to seek God and final union with the Divine.

Joy and blessings to you,
Devarshi

Jan Jerome
USA

Question

My Kriya practice has become very important to me and I fear losing the discipline to continue meditating consistently due to my outer life creating distractions. My question is how to keep strong attunement to God and Gurus while maintaining a demanding outer life of service.

Nayaswami Jaya

Answer

I think most kriyabans experience a tug-of-war between the outward pull of responsibilities and an inner call to maintain attunement and a regular sadhana. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Try to keep God and Gurus in your consciousness during your outward service. Serve them through whatever it is you are called to do. Include them and ask for their guidance in your outer duties. Let them work with you and through you as your partner during the day. In other words, don't make too rigid a separation between your inner and outer life.

2. Spiritual indifference can be our greatest enemy on the spiritual path. Fan your desire for God and feed it. If it burns brightly, the rest will follow naturally and you need not worry. Ask yourself, "Is my love for God growing? Is it strong within me?" Keep in mind why you came to these teachings in the first place and don't be satisfied until your heart's true longing is satisfied.

3. Dive even more deeply into your kriya practice to experience joy. As Paramhansa Yogananda used to say, "Once you taste good cheese, you will no longer be satisfied with stale cheese." If you feel God's blessings in meditation, you will want to return again and again to experience more. The temptation to become distracted with outer duties will lessen.

4. I can't emphasize enough the importance of spiritual company - satsanga. Associate as much as possible with others who share your spiritual ideals. You will be carried over the rough spots. But even if you are without such friends and company, remember what Yoganandaji asked a disciple, "Am I not always with you?"

I hope these few thoughts prove helpful.

Nayaswami Jaya

D p
USA

Question

Are you able to tell me the differences and similarities between bhastrika pranayam & kriya yoga.

I know some people who do bhastrika pranayam and I wonder which is the superior pranayam?

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

It's hard to compare the two at all, since bhastrika is a single technique, and Kriya Yoga is a comprehensive spiritual path-which includes several techniques, along with discipleship, devotion, and attunement to the Guru.

The Kriya technique itself, which is one of four main techniques on the path of Kriya Yoga, works with the life force in the deep astral spine. One of the effects that makes Kriya so powerful is that it gives one pranayama, or control over the life force.

Many people think that pranayama refers to breathing exercises, but in fact it refers to having the condition of pranayama. When one has complete control of the life force, one has gained the condition of pranayama.

Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, was referring to pranayama in that way. Just as asana (singular!) in the Yoga Sutras refers to the perfect still posture required for deep meditation - rather than to the countless asanas (plural) that have evolved in modern times.

So, bhastrika and Kriya Yoga serve two very different purposes. Both have benefits, but Kriya Yoga is a comprehensive spiritual path - even a way of life - so the two can't really be compared to each other.

October 12
2011

CJ
USA

Question

I have recently finished reading Swami Kriyananda's book "The New Path" and have thought of taking Kriya Yoga course. Somehow, part of me is not sure if I am ready to take them, even with your free online offer of the overview course. I have been meditating for quite sometime and really would like to have proper intructions to help me improve. Is there a way I would know that I am ready for the work of Kriya Yoga ? Or, any other suggestions? Thank you.

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear CJ,

It's good that you are approaching this thoughtfully. You don't need to decide at this point about your readiness. The full course takes about 1 year, culminating in the Kriya initiation.

During that year you will be learning several of our preliminary techniques, which are general and can be applied to many meditation types. About half way through you will be asked if you want to become a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and this line of gurus ( a requirement for the intiation). If so, your studies will continue.

But whether or not you become a disciple, these beginning techniques will help in improving your ability to concentrate and still the body and the breath. They will become a foundation for your practice, whether you take the Kriya initiation or follow another path.

If, after you have taken some of the course, you don't feel ready to continue, that is fine too. We give this course all the time, and Kriya initiations are offered many times throughout the year. So, take your time and give yourself the chance to find out if this is your path.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

D. P.
USA

Question

In terms of a daily habitual meditation routine, what should be the order?

I know your suppose to do the Hong-Sau then Aum Meditation and then Kriya.

But can you reverse the order?

If Kriya calms the breath and heart, then shouldn't Kriya be done first then Aum meditation and then Hong-Sau?

It just feels like doing Kriya FIRST would make the AUM and Hong-Sau more effective.

Thanks for your help.

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear D.P.

The order of the techniques was taught this way by Paramhansa Yogananda as a beginning practice. After one has established a stable routine, and has reached a point where he is regularly sitting longer and doing a larger number of Kriyas, he can go on to practicing in a different order if his intuition and experience call for it.

The Energization Exercises help the body to relax and become calm; Hong Sau helps to quiet the breath and focus the mind, and the Aum technique helps to continue the process of interiorization. All these are necessary before one can successfully practice Kriya. Trying to do Kriya with a restless mind and body is usually counterproductive.

That said, you won't do any harm to yourself if you practice Kriya first, but it probably won't be very helpful to you either. We often counsel people to practice the way the guru has told us so that we can increase our attunement and draw his grace.

And, if we awaken devotion by asking the guru to practice through us, in this way we make ourselves more aware of his inner guidance. Then we can more easily discern whether or not to make changes in the routine.

I hope this helps. Many blessings on your practice!

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

anitha
India

Question

Is it okay to offer our guests non-vegetarian feasts? Do we gain bad karma by offering them such dishes? What can we do when they are very particular about having non-vegetarian dishes?

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Anitha,

Your question is a common one here in America, where vegetarianism is still rare in some parts of the country.

If you respect others' dietary preferences they are more likely to respect yours. You can always offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and let your guests choose. Sometimes they will be willing to try the vegetarian options and find that they like them. (Some of my non-vegetarian relatives now ask me to make vegetarian food for them!)

Paramhansa Yogananda occasionally recommended a small amount of meat in the diet for those who had not yet become accustomed to a completely vegetarian diet.

I think it is more important to be considerate of your guests' wishes than it is to try to convert them to your kind of diet. If you have established a friendly relationship with them they will be more accepting of differences. Bad karma results more from having a poor attitude, such as being judgemental. There are times when we can't avoid making mistakes and just have to do what we think is best. Having an attitude of service will help you make the right decisions.

What happens when you are the guest and are served non-vegetarian food? Keeping in mind the principle of being considerate, it is probably better to eat what is served until you have established that friendly relationship. Later, you may have the opportunity to invite them to your home and to serve them some vegetarian dishes.

Much joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

n.mathan kumar
india

Question

I am Mathan form Chennai, India.

very interested in Kriya yoga, i heard doing kriya ther will be finance loss as side effect of burning karma?, can kriya yoga will help me to improve in material world too?, i having hypertension and dyslexia will kriya yoga help me? can i practice with reiki or pranic healing?

please clear my doubt, iam search very long

Thank you

mathan

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

Goodness, no - Kriya does not cause financial problems. To the contrary, all of the practices that are part of the Path of Kriya Yoga help one over time to become more magnetic, concentrated, joyful, energetic, and therefore successful. Kriya does hasten the working out of past bad karma, so it can also alleviate bad financial karma at the same time.

Kriya can also help with various health problems. It doesn't always 'cure' them, but it can help us in dealing with them and compensating for them in other ways.

There is no conflict between Kriya and some other healing methods, such as Reiki. Kriya does require a comittment of time and energy, so people tend to have less time for other practices - but generally less of a need for them also.

Ryan
United States

Question

Hello, for the past 6 months my life has been completely derailed by depression. I understand you are not a doctor, but I believe suffering is a reason many turn towards spirituality. I was curious if you'd had experience with anyone who has been relieved of their depression by investing their life in kriya yoga. I want desperately to turn my life around.

Thank you.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Ryan,

Yours is an excellent question and comes up from time to time. Let me start with a caveat that is important. This in turns starts with a "story."

From time to time, students of meditation come with precisely the same hope and question that you are presenting. In a meditation training setting, however, the question doesn't necessarily always get asked (whether aloud or privately).

What is sometimes being contemplated or hoped for is to cease taking one's medications in favor of the results and benefits of meditation.

So here's where the concern arises: I have seen too often that a person who unilaterally stops taking his "meds" while learning or practicing meditation (which includes kriya yoga), ends up with an episode or regresses. In such a case the meditation practice ceases and with no medication to stabilize the person's mental outlook, the result is most unfortunate. (I have never seen the result be tragic, but of course it could be.)

Therefore, I must start by saying that one must not embark upon the practice of meditation with the expectation of stopping one's medications. Yes, ok, to go back to your question, of course meditation can help with improving one's mental outlook, stability, calmness, reduced anxiety and so on. All of this has been clinically proven.

But just as the medications which are prescribed vary widely as to whether and how they help a person, and how much should be taken, so too one cannot say in advance or with any certainty what the effects of meditation will be on a person's struggle with clinical depression.

Therefore, I say, yes, be hopeful that kriya yoga will improve your life. That is a reasonable general expectation. For all the reasons that are given for why meditation (and kriya yoga) will help one on every level (body, mind, and soul), meditation should improve the quality of life.

But can one say when, to what degree, and whether one can expect anything specific, or to stop taking medications? No, absolutely not.

In fact, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishan counsels us that even with respect to the benefits of meditation and the spiritual life, one must exercise nonattachment and be sufficiently mindful not to burden the spiritual path with expectations, lest we appear to God and our higher Self as a kind of merchant, trading one thing for another.

We meditate to please God, to learn to love God, to live more simply, more authentically, and in harmony with grace, truth, and the Divine Will. That, and that alone and not the gifts of health and well-being must be our motivation.

Yes, that's not easy and the path follows a razor's edge between affirmation and contentment. But an attitude of faith, hope, and love for God and charity for all is the only true spiritual life one can lead.

In God all of our troubles will cease but we must seek Him for His love, nothing else!

Blessings,
Nayaswami Hriman

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