Kriya Yoga and spiritual evolution


how does one kriya breath equal one year of evolution?

yogananda said that a thousand kriyas equal one year of evolution.

therefore one might be inclined to think "well if i do 1000 kriyas a day,then in one year i should be a full blown saint."but this is not the case.

then yogananda says,if you think you can enslave god by your meditations,you are mistaken.

is this not a contradiction?if kriya is mathematical,then the question appears justified.

tell me what you think

—ryan, trinidad


In our attempt to understand with our minds alone, the intricacies of the spiritual path we inevitably encounter paradox. A master often speaks in ways that confound the student in order to help us go beyond merely thinking.

However, that having been said, it might be helpful to consider that the statement that each kriya breath is equivalent to one year of living has one or more conditions! The kriya must be done correctly. This includes not only the correctness of the technique but of attitude, concentration, AND devotion.

Devotion includes the intention and act, with will power, of offering oneself to God and Guru, to the Divine. Thus we hint at the hidden efficacy of such a technique: the grace of God and Guru. As even “a little practice of this inward religion” reveals, we, by our will power alone, cannot make a deep and uplifting meditation experience happen. There’s a delicate balance between applying our will and opening our hearts to God’s presence and God’s will.

So, it IS, and it ISN’T. You see? It IS mathematical if all the conditions are satisfied but yet it ISN’T mathematical because what is hidden from us are the inner workings of our karma and God’s grace. Just because these are hidden do not mean they are whimsical, only that we are not yet aware of their workings.

Yogananda, by emphasizing the ineluctible efficacy of kriya yoga, seeks to inspire us to apply our will in the right way towards achieving liberation and freedom in God.

As a postscript, the astral anatomy of how a single breath equates to one year of natural living is well described in Chapter 26 (“Kriya Yoga”) of Autobiography of a Yogi. Here he describes the movement of energy (prana) in concert with the physical breath up and down the spinal centers which, by polarity, represent the inner zodiac of karmic tendencies. I refer you back to that passage for an excellent description of this process.