I received this question today for the Ananda column: “Ask an Expert.” I share it here as general healing information that can be used by others if this question ever comes up.
Dear brothers and sisters in One,
Recently I read “Autobiography” and I really felt in love with the amazing guru Yogananda. In my heart I feel a strong desire to follow Him.
My question is: I am Reiki practitioner for many years (I’m Reiki Master-Teacher). Reiki helped me very much with my health condition, but most with my spiritual growth. Is it ok to practice Kriya yoga and Reiki?
I owe Reiki so much and I don’t feel ready to abandon it.
Thank you in advance for your time and effort!
Thank you for your question, for it is one that often comes up. First — listen to your heart. You read his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and “fell in love with the amazing Guru, Yogananda.”
That is wonderful! That is a precious gift to feel that connection with the Master!
Swami Kriyananda often mentioned that Shankaracharya, the great Master who lived many centuries ago in India, said that the greatest blessing in all the three worlds — the causal, the astral, and the physical universes — is the guidance of a true guru.
So it is important in these matters to keep a sense of spiritual priority. There is another saying from the teachings of India, “When a lower dharma (right action) conflicts with a higher dharma, it ceases to be a dharma.”
So, as you travel this journey of discipleship, let that be your guide. There is another quote from Paramhansa Yogananda that helped me very much, after I had come out of a time of spiritual testing:
“The greatest miracle is when the devotee no longer says, ‘I want what I want,’ but instead says, ‘I want what You want for me’.”
What is remarkable about that statement is that he says “the devotee”…not the worldly man, etc. Presumably the devotee, by definition, is one who is seeking God and true discipleship. So this implies it is fairly common for people to want to qualify their terms of discipleship in the beginning. It also explains why Babaji originally said that Kriya Yoga was only going to be offered to those disciples willing to drop everything and seek God alone. Lahiri Mahasaya asked him to soften his stance, and so it was…
Follow the highest instincts of your spiritual heart, and He will guide you. At this stage, simply ask for the Guru’s grace to be able and willing to follow his guidance in all things. If you are ever inwardly given the guidance to give up Reiki — know that he would only ask that of you to give you something even better.
I practiced Reiki I & II many years ago, and then I felt guided to pray that the Reiki initiation be revoked, so I could be purely an instrument of healing through the grace of our line of Gurus. I had to take it as a “leap of faith”… and I prayed powerfully for it to be removed. I did not know what the outcome would be, but overnight I felt a very strong increase in both healing power and intuition, for now the Gurus could flow through me more directly. I go into it more here:
God Is the Doer: A Healer’s Journey :An Interview with Mary Kretzmann
For now, simply allow it to be a question for the future. It is not a requirement to give up Reiki in order to take Kriya. But you may feel guided to do so at some point, to feel closer to the Guru in all things. And you needn’t feel that you were somehow being disloyal to the Reiki journey, and the blessings it has given you. Feel instead that your own inner journey and good karma has now led you to this extraordinary opportunity to have the greatest gift in all the three worlds: a true Guru…and in that know that even greater blessings await you.
I wish you the utmost blessings and soul healing on your journey!