Kriya Yoga Techniques
P.S – The below information is taken from books written by different Kriya Yoga Masters.
According to Lahiri Mahasaya Kriya Yoga teachings, there are seven Kriyas. There are different levels of Kriya. Every Kriya consists of a set of techniques not just one technique.
During the time of initiation, First Kriya (set of 6 techniques) is given to the disciple by the Guru. Second kriya, third kriya, fourth kriya, fifth kriya, sixth kriya and seventh kriya are given depending on the regular practice and progress of the disciple.
Swami Satyananda Giri
According to Swami Satyananda Giri, a famous disciple of Sri Yukteswar Giri in his book Acharya Sangalp, (Kriya quotes by Swami Satyananda) mentioned about higher kriyas.
1. Second Kriya is given to disciple once Kechari Mudra is successful and goal of second kriya is to break heart knot.
2. Third Kriya is given to disciple to stabilize Pranava the OM sound and break naval knot.
3. Fourth Kriya is given to experience Chakras and breaking Muladhar Knot.
Per H. Wibe
According to Per H. Wibe, who is connected to Swami Shankarananda Giri in the lineage of Sri Yukteswar Giri and present Kriya Master who conducts regular Kriya Yoga retreats at Austria, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, India – Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Nainital, Himalayas, Pondicherry, Pune, Nashik, Kolkata, Mumbai, Goa wrote in his article “Yearning of the Soul” which provides deep insight of Higher Kriyas
“The higher Kriyas are available to those who make great efforts on the spiritual path. Only personal meditation experiences give meaning to higher Kriya practices.
To be initiated into the third Kriya, stable, long-term practice of the first and second Kriyas is required. It is not beneficial to receive the third Kriya too early as it may lead to a cessation of practice. In reality, the way of thinking is reversed in the third Kriya. If understanding is not latent through long practice, it is not possible to benefit from the technique. The experience of the third Kriya entails more subtle levels of silence in the higher chakras (energy centres).
The fourth Kriya is the main entrance to the real Kriya and usually requires years of meditation. Stable practice of the first, second and third Kriyas leads the breath to “jump” to the fourth Kriya almost by itself. When this occurs, we are sometimes ready without even knowing it ourselves. In any case, if you have practised for a long time, you may feel that something new is happening. A student who had meditated for several decades called me and told about his recent intense experiences of silence. He said that he now understood what Kriya really was and what it meant for him. Strangely, I had just been thinking about him and had already decided to initiate him in the fourth Kriya the next time we were to meet.
The fifth, sixth and seventh Kriyas are fundamentally different from the other techniques. The chakras melt together into a single field at the same time as they move and become integrated into concrete, physical reality. Insight into subtle connections emerges. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and Babaji said, “You understand and your master will confirm”. It is difficult to elaborate on these techniques. I will only add that the seventh Kriya is the end of Yoga. After this, Kriya is the sole focus.”
These Kriyas and Mudras has to be learnt from Guru and practiced accordingly by his/her suggestions. The details are for your knowledge only. It is not a good idea to learn the techniques from kriya yoga books. You will be solely responsible for repercussions if something goes wrong. Kriya Yoga deals with astral body and one might have experiences which intellect cannot answer. So, it is important to have a Guru who understand and guide the disciple properly.
Kriya Yoga Mudras
According to Swami Sadhananda Giri of Jujresa Ashram, (disciple of Bhabananda Giri who is inturn disciple of Sri Yukteswar Giri) in his book Kriya Yoga Mystery and Performing Art mentions about different mudras practised in Kriya Yoga.
Helps to take energy from 1st to 7th center
Helps to establish Silence and in higher kriyas, activate nectar from 7th also
Hang Sa Technique
Takes you to Silence by balancing the breath
Helps to open Ida, Pingala and Sushumna nadis and Kundalini Shakti in higher kriyas
Yoni Mudra also known as Jyothi Mudra
Helps to see the inner light and to visualize spiritual eye in higher kriyas
Helps to establish Pranava the AUM sound
Nabhi Kriya also known as Navi Kriya
Helps to break third knot or Brahma Granthi
Omkara Kriya also known as Thokar Kriya
Different sets of Omkara kriyas are present as one moves to higher kriyas. Helps to open chakras, break knots
Helps to take one to Samadhi the balanced state in higher kriyas
Different stages of Kriya need different Mudras. Kechari Mudra, Maha Mudra and Yoni Mudra are practiced in all Kriyas.
Kriya Yoga Initiation
Different Kriya Yoga masters might follow the initiation ceremony in different ways. But, according to Lahiri Mahasaya Kriya Yoga tradition a disciple has to bring the following things
– Five fruits which is symbol of Casual body
– Five flowers including a rose which is symbol of Astral body
– Initiation fee or donation which is a symbol of Physical body
Love towards Divine, Utmost faith in Guru and Sincerity in practice will help the disciple to reach a stage of Non-Duality.
“AHAM BRAHMA ASMI – I am the Infinite Consciousness”. This is the answer one can get at the end of Kriya Yoga Journey.
Source – Sanskrit Classics
Important features of Original Kriya Yoga
According to Swami Satyeswarananda Vidyaratna, direct disciple of Mahavatar Babaji in his Original Kriya article mentioned kriya in great depth
The below content is copied from his website.
The following are the special features of Original Kriya. If these are not observed then one must know that Kriya and the practice are not according to Babaji and Lahiri Mahasay.
1. Original Kriya Tradition is Guru-Param-Para, that is, the disciple receives Kriya initiation personally from his or her Gurudev, the Master. The initiate learns the Kriya discipline having a personal relationship with his or her Gurudev or the Master.
2. Original Kriya Tradition is free from an organizational way of teaching. It is free from organizations.
3. Kriya initiation is given in private and in strict confidence, personally and secretly, with closed door and not in public or in a group. The Kriya initiation ceremony is neither a public affair nor a matter of public display.
4. The initiate has to have his or her Kriya practice checked every six months personally by the Master. If the disciple misses two consecutive checkups he or she would be treated as non-Kriyanwita. This rule was introduced by Lahiri Mahasay.
5. Lahiri Mahasay initiated his disciples personally on a one to one basis. Only in a few cases he initiated husband and wife together. In such a situation, if either of the spouses required additional Kriya which the other did not, then he initiated that Kriya separately.
6. Original Kriya is practiced in strict secrecy. Occasional practice among the close Kriyanwita, the followers of Kriya, is the exceptional. The group Kriya practice in public are prohibited.
7. Although Babaji himself is a renunciate Swami, in fact, there is no necessary connection that one has to be a renunciate to practice Kriya discipline.
Original Kriya is suited for both renunciate and householders.
Lahiri Mahasay, the polestar of Kriya, became the role model of the householders Kriyanwitas, while Babaji remains as the role model of the renunciates.
Pre-reverse Order and the Reverse Order in the Original Kriya Discipline
Order of Creation
Let us mention at the outset that when the breath becomes restless from the tranquil state, creation begins. In the order of creation, sound (sabda, or the sound of Om) is produced first from the soundless state (eternal Tranquility). Now from sound, as a corollory state in an orderly manner produced are air, then fire, water, and earth.
From the vibrational level, ethereal (ether), gaseous (air), sub-gaseous (fire), liquid (water) and solid (earth).
The tranquil breath rests on the seventh day solidifying the creation.
If the centers are counted from the head, the coccygeal will be the 7th center.
Gen. 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His works which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.”
The entire spectrum of meditation regardless of any discipline is to attain Eternal Tranquility (sthirattva), to go back in the reverse order to dissolve from the lowest state of vibration beginning with earth.
That’s why in ordinary perception in yoga discipline the readers find the references to awaken the Kundalini at the coccygeal center with the spirit of the reverse order.
But the mystery is, it’s in the hand of the Master who personally unlocks the secrecy and instructs the disciple (Kriyanwit) in the original Kriya discipline, to prepare for the prereverse order. With that foundation, it becomes easier to awaken the Kundalini at the base. Without this, it becomes enormously difficult.
The secret feature in the Original Kriya is not to rush to awaken the Kundalini at the coccygeal center. Rather a “Definite Order,” is followed. It has two parts:
1. The Pre-Reverse Order, or the Downward Journey, and
2. The Reverse Order, or the Upward Journey.
The Pre-Reverse Order, or the Downward Journey
The Pre-Reverse Order, or the downward Journey, is the most secret aspect of the Original Kriya. This Pre-Reverse Order is not known to the practitioners of traditional Vedic Pranayam, Raja Yoga followers, and the practitioners of Modified Kriya Yoga (Yogananda’s teachings).
It is called Pre-Reverse Order simply because before the Reverse Order begins the preconditions of the Pre-Reverse Order of the Original Kriya must be practiced to prepare the “grounds and foundation” for approaching the Kundalini Energy to awaken at the base of the spine.
In preparing the Pre-Reverse Order Journey, the Kriyanwit (male) or Kriyanwita (female) practices certain definite mudras and Kriyas which is the first step of Kriya; often Lahiri Mahasay referred to these as the First Kriya.
Speaking of the First Kriya, it would be pertinent to clarify something here; a misunderstanding arises especially in the minds of many modified Kriya followers regarding reference in a letter of Lahiri Mahasay to the First Kriya. One of the special features of Lahiri Mahasay’s teaching was to keep the practice of Kriya secret; in that way, the seeker’s dedication and sincerity are increased to help destroy his ego.
In this connection, the author felt to make it clear about Lahiri Mahasay’s following letter written to one of his disciples.
Letter Number 29
Lahiri Mahasay replied, “All (complete Realization) can be attained by the First Kriya; only sincerity is needed.
“The After-effect-poise of Kriya and addiction are there at the very first Kriya. Go on practicing Kriya.
“Do not worry for anything. Whoever will keep attention on Gurudev, Guru will keep his attention on that disciple. If the disciple does not keep attention, who will notice the attention of the Guru?”
To maintain the secrecy, Lahiri Mahasay used previously instructed “codes” to communicate with his disciples: For example, if he said, “Om mantra,” it did not mean simply the chanting of Om, or the Om technique, as some propagate. It has built-in secret code; it meant practicing the Dwadasakshari Mantra, the Twelve-accented Mantra, which requires special instruction given personally by the Gurudev.
In replying to the letter, Lahiri Mahasay mentioned the “First Kriya.” It did not necessarily and literally mean Kriya number 1 alone. The reference of Kriya number 1 means the First Step, or the entire package which includes the following:
2. Talabya Kriya or Khechari mudra,
3. Navi Kriya,
4. Kriya number 1 (some call it Kriya Proper), and
5. Yoni Mudra (not Jyoti mudra as some propagate).
This is the definition of the First Kriya according to Lahiri Mahasay. It is pertinent to mention here that the practice of Talabya Kriya, or Khecharimudra, by raising the tongue to the head tranquilizes the air and connects the seeker with his eternal Master, the cosmic state of Consciousness of Kutastha, qualifying him to be able to practice the Kriya of the Sthira bayu [Tranquil Breath].
Thus after being successful of the above-mentioned five, especially the Talabya Kriya or Khecharimudra, then and only then is Thokkar Kriya, the Kriya of the Tranquil Breath, [Sthira bayur Kriya], the Second Kriya, instructed personally by the Guru in the Original Kriya. The Second Kriya, or Thokkar (striking) Kriya, is to cross the knot at the dorsal, or the heart, in the Pre-Reverse Order to march on towards to the coccygeal.
That is why in the original Kriya tradition the Omkar Kriyas are not introduced until the Kriyanwit is successful in Talabya Kriya, or Khechari mudra.
Whoever practices Omkar Kriyas without being advised by a permitted Master in the practice of Khecharimudra and without succeeding in this practice is neither following the Guru-Param-Para nor the original Kriya tradition. For example, the Pre-Reverse Order is not followed in the Modified Kriya, and as a result, the question does not arise for introducing the Second Kriya and so on and so forth. Needless to say, such a practice is in vain because the “foundation is not made” in the proper and righteous way.
It should be pointed out that quite a number of people in the Original Kriya, practice the second Kriya; the third Kriya practitioners are few, the fourth Kriya practitioner is rare and the fifth Kriya practitioner is very rare. Only a couple of Masters (gentlemen) remain who are capable of teaching the entire Original Kriya today.
The Scriptural Reference of the Pre-Reverse Order
The scriptural reference of the “Pre-Reverse Order” is pointed out by Lahiri Mahasay himself in the following verse:
Chatuspat sakalo dharma Satyanchaiba krite yuge.
Nadharmenagama kaschinmanusyan pratibarttate. Manu Sanghita 1:81
The verse says, “Dharma or religion is divided into four steps:
“1. Raising the tongue
“2. Crossing of knot of the dorsal center
“3. Crossing of knot of the navel
“4. Crossing of knot of the coccygeal center
“These are the four steps of religion.” Manu Sanghita 1:81 Commentary by Lahiri Mahasay.
Perhaps keeping in mind the above verse, Lahiri Mahasay regrouped (did not modify) the entire Kriya discipline of one hundred eight (108) steps of Original Kriya into four steps as he received from Mahamuni Babaji at Dunagiri Hill, Himalayas, in 1861. As mentioned before, the “first step is referred to as the first Kriya and it includes the five definite mudras and Kriyas that he received on the very first day he was initiated.”
Because of this regrouping into four steps, Lahiri Mahasay kept Kriya teaching strictly Guru-param-para (personal relationship with the Master and disciple) in accordance with the Vedic tradition. He gave Kriyas according to the needs of a Kriyanwit and advised to keep them secret; thus he justified the regrouping and for this reason remembering Babaji’s advice, he also warned not to develop organizations around the teachings of Kriya.
The practitioners of modified Kriya are totally unaware of this “Definite Procedure” and “Definite Order.”
It should be mentioned here that in the Original Kriya, there is no standardization of Kriya numbers. The present author received Purna Kriya (complete Kriya) from Mahamuni Babaji at Dunagiri Hill, Himalayas in 1976.
Thus, in the Original Kriya instead of starting from the coccygeal the attempt is made through the practice or Talabya Kriya, or Khecharimudra, to open the knot of tongue (jioha granthi veda) first at the throat. It brings multiple benefits because of attainment of the following:
1. Sthir Bayu, Tranquil Breath, and
2. Connection with the eternal Master.
Let us see what Lahiri Mahasay, the polestar of Kriya, had said in connection with the “Pre-Reverse Order.”
Khechari mudra or Talabya Kriya for Tranquilizing restless Breath
Lahiri Mahasay said, ”It seems there is another uvula above the uvula. When the tongue touches the root of the upper part of the skull, then a cold sensation is felt.
“Om One. It is felt as if the tongue is being raised perfectly and breath comes to a standstill; I (Lahiri Baba) felt as though it was straight. The tongue went to the nostrils and the Voidness of outside is found inside also. Some indication of eternal Tranquility is acquired and even greater than this house [the abode between the Eyebrows] is seen, very clearly.
“When the tongue arrives between the eyebrows, then the tip of the tongue closes the hole of the upper side, and the central portion of the tongue touches the central part, while the root of the tongue touches the bottom portion. At this, the outward air of breath becomes completely tranquil. He to whom this has happened is fortunate.” Babaji Volume II, Lahiri Mahasay, p 99 -101.
Now equipped with the Sthir bayu (Tranquil Breath) and with the blessings of the eternal Master, the Kriyanwit proceeds downwards to the coccygeal center.
As mentioned before, “Pre-Reverse Order” of the practice of the Original Kriya is unknown to the practitioners of traditional Vedic Pranayam and to the followers of Rajayoga as well. This is in fact the most secret aspect and unique feature of the Original Kriya.
The Scriptural Reference of the Complete Procedure:
the Pre-Reverse Order and the Reverse Order
Lahiri Mahasay further explained this “definite procedure of Original Kriya” or “the Pre-Reverse Order and the Reverse Order” in the following verse in the Sankhya Sutras of Sage Kapil:
Sarbesu prithibyupadanamasadharanyadayamupadesa purbabat. Sankhya Darsan 6:102
The Pre-Reverse Order, the Downward Journey
“By the practice of Kriya [the three knots described below] are crossed in the following order, starting from throat to coccygeal:
1. Jioha or [tongue at the throat],
2. Hridaya, or [dorsal, at the chest], and
3. Navi or [at the navel].
“[The coccygeal center]: Then at the muladhar, or the coccygeal center, the bayu, or breath, becomes sthira, or tranquil. Then all aloukik, mysterious things, happen.
[It must be mentioned here that in order to attain sthira bayu, or tranquil breath, at the muladhar, or the coccygeal center, one needs first to cross the “three knots” and “in a definite order”; that is, first the jioha granthi, or tongue at the throat, second the hridaya granthi, at the chest, and third, the navi granthi, at the lumbar center; only then does the sthira bayu, or the tranquil breath, arrive at the coccygeal center, or muladhar.
[Thus all the panchabhutas, elements, have to pass through the coccygeal center. That is why the muladhar center is so very important.
[Surprisingly, it (sthira bayu, or tranquil breath) generates at the throat; it then moves down from the tongue or the throat with inner sound (sound of Om) towards the anahat, or the dorsal center; then crossing it, it moves to the next center down, the lumbar, and crossing through it, it finally arrives at the coccygeal center. Now tranquil Breath backs up again with the rising Kundalini Power with it. This is the process of how the Kundalini is awakened in the Original Kriya.
[He who does not teach Talabya Kriya, or Khecharimudra, does not teach the Original Kriya Order or Process; the example is Yogananda’s teaching. First, not following the tradition of Guru-param-para, personally to impart Kriya, introducing the correspondence course through lessons, and practicing sitting on a chair hanging the legs have made the Kriya practice a child’s play. In addition, not following the “definite Order” of the Original Kriya, Yogananda’s teaching changed the very basic and fundamental special feature of the Original Kriya Approach; After all these modifications and changes, whether it remains a Kriya discipline at all is an open question.]
The Reverse Order, the Upward Journey
“[The sacral center]: [During the process of backing up, through muladhar only when Sthira bayu, or tranquil breath comes to sadhisthan, or the sacral center, and becomes sthira, or tranquil, can those aloukik, extraordinary things [or the happenings] be understood.
“[The lumbar center]: When the bayu, or air, becomes sthira, or tranquil, at the navel, or the lumbar center, then aloukik, mysterious things, are seen.
“[The dorsal center]: When the bayu, or air, becomes sthira, or tranquil, at the hridaya, or the dorsal center, then one hears ten type of anahat sabda [sound of OM]. For this reason, the sages in the past did not appreciate musical instruments. [Because they found far more greater attraction to the sound of Om, inner sound.]
“[The cervical center]: When the bayu, or air, becomes sthira, or tranquil, at the throat, or the cervical center, then through the divine Eye, the very mysterious things of the jagat, or the world, and the mahabhutas, great elements, are seen.
“[The Ajna Center]: When the bayu, or air, becoming beyond the five elements, that is, becoming tattvatit [beyond the tattvas], or elements, become sthira, or tranquil, at the area between the eyebrows, then the functions are done immediately according to the ajna, or order [that is why this center is called the Ajna Center].
“Nothing of all these are possible till the muladhar granthi, the knot at the coccygeal center, is crossed.
“Thereafter, all are realized staying in the atom of Brahma which is avyakta, inexplicable.” Reference Bhagavad Gita 6:20-22.
This process is Guru-param-para, that is, Gurubaktragamya, and one has to learn then directly from the mouth of the Guru and not from a representative of an organization.
The Upward Journey to dissolve the elements
Lahiri Mahasay again mentioned the Reverse Order in the following verse in Sankhya Darsan:
Muhurttveyapi na sanghatjogantarang taranibat. Sankhya Darsan 3:13
“Murta is Uttam Purusa [the supreme Person]. It is not like breaking the supreme Person to be something else; rather, it is like a boat. In other words, a man may move from one boat to another boat: there is no change of the man. Similarly, if the body changes, there is no change of the supreme Person. He is in all bodies present equally.
“When can one attain this supreme Person? “When the earth or soil enters into water; water enters into fire; fire enters into air; and air enters into sunya or Void; then one achieves the supreme Person.
“Now, whatever you do, whatever you think, all are desires at the muladhar or coccygeal; in other words, the moment desire generates, it goes to the coccygeal center and is expressed through the senses.
“When that air goes to sadhisthan, or the sacral center, and becomes sthira, or tranquil, then buddhi, or intelligence, becomes tranquil; when the buddhi becomes tranquil, then the guna or quality of the earth or soil, that is, desire, does not stay anymore. In other words, when the buddhi determines (I know that) what is the real substance, then mind does not like to go to any other object; and the wandering of the mind stops. When the mind does not go other places, then the desire also stops; because it is the mind that desires. If mind did not desire, then all work or actions could be done by the dead body.
“From the swadhisthan, or sacral, when air becomes sthira, or tranquil, at the manipur, or the lumbar center, then all things begin to be seen or revealed; because the air goes to the navi, or navel, and mixes with the teja, or fire, which is equally everywhere in darkness and in light. Because of our gross manifestation, we cannot enter into the sukshma, or subtle thing; as a result, we cannot see them. From manipur, or lumbar, when air goes to anahat, or the dorsal center, and becomes tranquil, then all arrive without calling for or asking for them.
“From this anahat, or dorsal, when air goes to bisuddhakhya, or the cervical center, and becomes tranquil, then Kutastha, the inner Self, Uttam Purusa, the supreme Person, stands in front of one. [Then one realizes] that I am neither doer nor enjoyer at all; the Lord is standing in front and all work is done according to His orders. Having seen this, the false sense of I-ness and the egoism disappears.
“Therefore, at that time, Sohang Brahma, ‘That I am Brahma,’ is realized.” Reference: Bhagavad Gita 18:61.