The Origin of Kriya Yoga
The Kriya technique was hidden in secrecy for many centuries. It was revived in 1861, when the great yogi Mahavatar Babaji taught the technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri then taught the technique to his disciple Sri Yukteswar, who taught it to his disciples, including Paramhansa Yogananda.
Yogananda then popularized Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and through his public teaching in the West. Kriya has been taught in an unbroken link of spiritual succession to this day.
The Spiritual Lineage of Paramhansa Yogananda
Paramhansa Yogananda, born in 1893, was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. Yogananda arrived in America in 1920, and proceeded to travel throughout the United States on what he called his “spiritual campaigns.”
Hundreds of thousands filled the largest halls in major American cities to see the yoga master from India. Yogananda continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952.
Yogananda’s initial impact on the western culture was truly impressive. But his lasting spiritual legacy has been even greater. His Autobiography of a Yogi, first published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution in the West. Translated into more than a dozen languages, it remains a best-selling spiritual classic to this day.
Swami Sri Yukteswar
Paramhansa Yogananda was trained for his mission in the West by his Guru Swami Sri Yukteswar of Serampore, India.
Swami Sri Yukteswar’s Guru
Born in Bengal, India, to a pious brahmin family, Lahiri Mahasaya was the one who made the ancient science of Kriya Yoga available not just to those who had renounced the world, but to all sincere souls.
Lahiri Mahasaya’s Guru
Babaji simply means “revered father.” Though the great master’s birth name and date are unknown, his subtle spiritual influence is felt throughout the world.
Appeared to Babaji
“Babaji,” Yogananda said, “is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age.”
In the next lesson, you’ll learn about Swami Kriyananda — the founder of Ananda and a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda whom he authorized to teach Kriya Yoga on his behalf.