I recently started practising Kriya yoga from the book The Art and Science of Raja Yoga. As I am into meditation for a year long, I don’t practice the meditation part as mentioned in the book. My two questions: 1. Can I practice the meditation part from a different book? (The book I follow is The Mind Illuminated) 2. Also I am a non-vegetarian, so can i continue the practice?
—Dev , India
The now-classic text, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, was written so as to prepare a student for the subtler technique of kriya yoga.
Yet the text does not have all of the preparatory techniques that Paramhansa Yogananda taught. For example, the Energization Exercises are mentioned in the text but not taught there. There are separate resources, including YouTube videos, that do teach that system.
There are other techniques as well. But the text itself does not teach the kriya yoga technique.
The incomparable Babaji empowered Lahiri Mahasaya in 1861 (at Dronagiri Mountain near Ranikhet) to begin teaching the art and science of kriya. Lahiri spent decades refining both the technique and the preparatory kriyas. Both Babaji and Lahiri gave the kriya initiation only to those willing to take discipleship in the lineage. Lahiri offered it to those of all castes and religions provided they were sincere and accepting of the discipleship relationship (even if they continued in their faith tradition for practical and social purposes).
The life of a kriyaban is centered on the techniques given by the guru through the lineage and their disciples. There is no need for techniques from other sources, and the admixture of unrelated techniques dilutes their power and possibly affirms a lack of faith in their power.
While being vegetarian is the tradition and recommendation, it is not a fixed requirement for kriya initiation or the practice of raja yoga techniques. Purification through adoption of the precepts of yama and niyama (do’s and don’ts) is important, however, even if relative to one’s circumstances.
I have taught a three-month course based on The Art and Science of Raja Yoga over 50 times in the last 25 years. Many, many students have benefited from the lessons, precepts, and techniques of both hatha (postures) and raja yoga that are included in that excellent text.
Most of those students did not take the course for the purposes of continuing on to prepare for kriya initiation, nor did I (we) expect that they would. The text is available and helpful to anyone who is sincere.
So, while there’s an aspect of diluting the power (both subjective and objective) in the Raja Yoga text (in that it does not teach the kriya yoga technique and preparatory techniques), each student is free to take those parts that resonate with them.
But for those students who wish to continue on and prepare for kriya initiation, it is important and necessary to focus one-pointedly on the techniques, as refined by and offered to us by the kriya yoga lineage.
I hope this explanation is helpful to you.
Blessings to you on your journey!