How Long Does It Take From Now To Achieve Liberation?


Hello, I am aware that it takes approximately 1 million years of life in a human body without any practice to reach liberation, and that Kriya Yoga shortens this period. However, on average, how many life times in a human body have most souls already have had? I would like to know an approximation of how many of those 1 million years do I have left? Do people with spiritual interest have less years? What might be an average for those people? Thank you.

—Ariana Nelson, United Kingdom


Dear Ariana,

To complete the evolutionary picture: Swami Kriyananda writes in The New Path: “The Hindu scriptures state that to reach the human level requires from five to eight million incarnations in lower life forms [minerals, plants, animals].”

That’s in our past!

Yes, once the human level is reached, about one million years are required, if a person lives a harmonious existence: “The ancient rishis discovered that man’s earthly and heavenly environment, in twelve-year cycles, push him forward on his natural path. The scriptures aver that man requires a million years of normal, diseaseless evolution to perfect his human brain sufficiently to express cosmic consciousness.” (Autobiography of a Yogi).

For ordinary people, this number is doubled: “This numerical periphery is enlarged for the ordinary man, who lives in harmony not even with nature, let alone his soul, but pursues instead unnatural complexities, thus offending in his body and thoughts the sweet sanities of nature. For him, two times a million years can scarce suffice for liberation.”

Each single practice of Kriya Yoga results in an inner revolution equalling 1 year, according to Yogananda. If you do 108 Kriyas each day, twice a day, you have, in one day, evolved for 216 years. If you do this each of the 365 days of the year, you will be at a evolution of 78840 years (just in one year of practice!). If you do that for the next, say, 30 years, you will be at over 2 million years.

In other words, if you practice Kriya Yoga faithfully and regularly, you can achieve liberation in this very lifetime. Your Kriya Yoga, however, must be coupled with devotion, because it attracts grace, and the grace of God and Guru are essential.

That is what Yogananda promised.

In divine friendship,