is a school of yoga which concerns itself with psychological
circuits of mind and emphasizes one-pointedness of concentration
in meditation and the withdrawal of the mind from external
objects. This system of yoga has become very popular all over
the world and most people know something about it. The method
is to look at an object, close the eyes, withdraw the mind,
forget everything, enter into meditation and pass into samadhi.
This is a very popular system of meditation, but has anyone
practiced it with success to this day?
the practitioners of this type of meditation were brought
to a scientist and be were to investigate the condition of
their brain during this so-called meditation, it would reveal
no remarkable change from normal consciousness. This would
show that although their mind is withdrawn from external objects,
the state they experience is not meditation but sleep.
of mind or meditation practiced with effort can never lead
to real meditation, but only to tension and deep sleep. This
is the problem of yoga and the problem everybody has come
across who has been trying to practice meditation for a long
time. But now I am going to talk about a different branch
of yoga, which does not presuppose one-pointedness, concentration
of mind or withdrawal of consciousness from external phenomena.
This branch of yoga is kriya yoga.
yoga is one of the easiest and most powerful of the methods
known to us in yoga. The kriya practices neither demand one
steady pose nor concentration of the mind; even if one is
unable to concentrate on one point and the mind is just jumping
all about, it does not matter in kriya; we let it do so. In
fact, in kriya you are not trying to withdraw your mind to
one-pointedness, but you are actually trying to make movements,
you create motion in the realm of your mind. In kriya you
do not concentrate the mind but you move the mind from one
point to another in particular order, which you should not
lose sight of.
word "kriya" means mental activity or activity of
consciousness. In contrast to the other branches of yoga,
in kriya you are not trying to quiet the mind, but to create
activity to the mind. This brings about the development of
certain parts of the brain, activity in the nervious system
and awakening of mental energies.
practices of kriya are described in the Sanskrit texts of
tantric literature, a few of which were translated by Sir
John Woodroffe and which are now available in French, German
and English.The total number of kriya practices is 76. Out
of these, 27 are already known to most teachers of kriya.
We can begin with 5 or 7 kriyas, but those who are eager to
do kriya yoga itself will have to go through much preparation
before they can even plan to learn it, or before they need
preparations for kriya yoga are perfection of breath consciousness,
discovery of the psychic passage and preliminary kriya methods.
Also, the aspirant of kriya yoga should have proficiency in
a few mudras and bandhas.
I will explain breath consciousness in a few words. With your
eyes open or closed, with your mind concentrated or oscillating,
in lotus posture, standing or sitting - as you like, just
become aware of the fact "I am breathing in and l am
breathing out". Keep this consciousness of breath uninterruptedly
for 3 minutes at one stretch and then make a break. You don't
have to sit separately or exclusively for meditation. Even
now while you are listening to my speech you can maintain
this awareness of your breath uninterruptedly and then after
3 minutes you can stop breath awareness.
you are aware of breath you are aware of your mind; awareness
of your breath is awareness of your own consciousness and
it is awareness of your awareness. Whether you concentrate
or not it does not matter, but remember the moment that you
become aware of your mind, of your consciousness, and you
are aware of your awareness. This point you must remember
again and again.
next preparation is to discover the psychic passage, the pathway
or road through which the breath, or psychic consciousness,
can flow up and down. The path is the spinal cord from the
bottom to top, to the point where the pineal gland is situated.
In this psychic path you practice the conscious breathing
with eyes open, and most important you develop a consciousness
of movement. There must be awareness of movement, up and down,
and this movement is called kriya in yoga.
this circulation of mind and consciousness from bottom to
top and from top to bottom of the spinal cord, we awaken vitality
and a magnetic current there; alto we bring about revitalization
of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous syitem which
control the whole nervous balance. So I have described one
of the kriya practices. We pass our awareness from the bottom
to the top of tbe spinal cord 50 times. This practice is vеrу
beneficial for people who suffer from mental breakdown, nervous
imbalance, neurosis, anxiety and nervous trembling.
the base of the spine there is a very important centre which
in yoga is known as mooladbara cbakra, and it is situated
in the perineum, i.e. in the area between tho urinary and
excretory systems. This is a very vital point and organ in
parasympathetic nervous system connects tbe braia with the
rest of tbe body through two centres. One centre is this mooladbara
cbakra, and from here impulses are conducted through tbe parasympathetic
nervous system right into tbe brain. At the top of the spinal
cord is the other very important conducting centre - the pineal
gland, which in yoga we call the ajna chakra. Thus ajna chakra
and mooladbara chakra are both carriers of impulses to the
brain. The impulses travel through the parasympathetic nervous
system, which controls tbe whole endocrine system of tbe body.
addition to these two vital centres at the base and top of
the spine there are other centres situated in the spinal cord;
swadhisthana in the sacral region, manipura in tbe solar plexus
region, anahata in the cardiac region and vishuddbi in the
cervical region. These are four very vital centres in the
body and these connect the brain with the body through tbe
sympathetic nervous system.
influx of our body sensations are carried from these four
spinal centres via the sympathetic nervous system, and from
the mooladhara and ajna centres via the parasympathetic nervous
system to the brain. These centres carry shakti, or vital
energy, and we stimulate this shakti by breathing in and out
through this psychic path of the spine. The name of this practice,
which is preparatory to kriya yoga, is ajapa japa.
next preparation is the practice of mudras and bandbas. You
must master them very well. Tbe important bandhas are jalandhara
bandba or locking the chin, uddiyana bandba or withdrawing
tbe sacral plexus, and mooladhara bandba or moola bandha,
or controlling the inflexions of the mooladhara chakra or
the base centre. When one completes these preparations he
can start the practice of kriya yoga with a master who knows
the science very well and who can teach him what he needs
out of the 76, or the 27 kriya techniques.
have been engaged in much research into the influence of yoga
on the human body and brain, and I have had some very encouraging
results. For instance, I have sometimes given kriyas to people
suffering from suicidal complexes and terrific neuroses. I
did not teach them the whole of kriya yoga, but just one or
two kriyas and from their practice they gained a new lease
of life. I shall not go into deeper details of kriya yoga,
but I shall just give you a very simple technique. Sit in
any asana, the lotus or the siddhasana are best. Place both
your hands on the knees and do nothing but concentrate on
the perineum, the area between the excretory and the urinary
systems. Very slowly contract it and then very slowly release
it. Do this 50 times and then see what has happened to your
depression. I wonder if you will suffer from depressions ever
technique of moola bandha is not very difficult and is not
actual kriya yoga, but it is most important in that it awakens
the vitality or the pranashakti, which is lying dormant at
the bottom point of the spine in all of us. This vitality
is known as kundalini or the serpent power. I am giving this
technique especially to those people suffering from nervous
disorders aod breakdowns, and the resulting tendency to commit
suicide and to do all kinds of things to escape from life.
I also suggest that people who have very restless and disturbed
minds, who cannot concentrate even for a fraction of a second,
should practice this technique. If, after practicing this,
their mind is still agitated, they should try another exercise
- vajroli. Here one concentrates on the lower abdomen or at
the base of the urinary system and one slowly draws in the
body there. Draw in the bladder, urinary system, kidneys and
the whole of that area and then slowly relax it. One should
contract and relax that area 25 times. Those who suffer from
serious disorders, physical, mental and emotional, caused
by sex neurosis or from problems with hormones, e. g. blocks
in hormone secretions, should practice this particular kriya
or movement. This is because the pituitary gland, known in
yoga as sahasrara chakra (the thousand petalled lotus) is
directly connected with the functioning of the urinary system,
the kidneys and the genito-ovarian system. The posterior lobe
of the pituitary produces two kinds of set hormones, and by
doing this particular kriya you not only control these particular
organs in the lower body but you also control and regulate
the hormone secretion in the brain.
is nothing secret in kriya yoga. I could tell you everything
about it tonight, but one night is not enough. I need at least
7 days to teach you, and for certain I shall not teach it
to you on this visit.
it is a common idea there is something secret in kriya yoga
which the masters keep to themselves, and that everybody is
not qualified for kriya yoga practice. This is a myth. Also,
it is commonly believed kriya yoga should not be practiced
by householders, by married people who do not keep brahmacharya
or so-called celibacy. If this were so, I think that not only
no man in Denmark but no man in the whole world would be qualified
for kriya yoga.
is my belief the state of celibacy is unrelated to sexual
life, but that brahmacharya means the conservation of the
highest vitality not in the genital region but in the brain.
The posterior pituitary produces hormones which are conducted
to the gonads and ovaries and these produce the whole of what
we call the marital and sexual life. It is therefore what
happens in the brain which is of great importance, not what
you lose in the sexual act. These hormones within the brain
can be preserved not by sо-саlled brahmacharya or philosophy,
but only by concentration or meditation or by the very powerful
forms of vitality generated through kriya yoga.
it is a complete misunderstanding that kriya yoga, or any
other yoga, is only for unmarried people and forbidden for
those leading the marital life. It is not at all so. In tbe
system of tantra, which contains much concerning kriya yoga,
this is stated very clearly. It says, "Whether those
who aspire to the awakening of the great shakti in themselves
are married or unmarried, they are qualified for initiation
into tbe practice» of kriya yoga".
have been conducting classes for years on concentration and
meditation, and also classes in kriya yoga. There seems to
be a remarkable difference between the two. After 5 minutes
of concentration and meditation, people start scratching and
moving, and simply get tired. But when in kriya yoga I ask
them not to close their eyes or concentrate, and to move their
body when they like, you will be surprised to hear that after
12 minutes they close their eyes and go into meditation aod
I have to pull them out of meditation. It is the remarkable
difference between the systems of concentration and meditation
and kriya yoga, which involves the movement of consciousness.
kriya yoga there are certain techniques for movement of consciousness,
when I will ask you: "Please do not close your eyes during
these exercises," but I assure you after 15 minutes your
eyes will be closed and if I ask you what you are doing you
will say "Swamiji, I am in a mood of mediation I cannot
go further with this kriya. It is impossible." I say
"No, please keep your eyes open and do not go into meditation.
Remain out, do not go in." But you will say "Swamiji,
please let me go in, I can't remain out." Have you ever
known a system of meditation like kriya yoga, where in spite
of the pull of the guru, the disciple is just pushing himself
yoga practices are casual, neither very systematic nor very
serious. You do not sit down and tense your body, no! The
kriyas are as casual as when you talk to your son or husband
or wife or when you read some book. In that same casual, relaxed
way you sit down and start moving your consciousness.
I am about to say is not in favour of L.S.D., don't mistake
me, but those who have had L.S.D. experiences, when they practice
kriya yoga, say that at the end of kriya practice they have
a very good trip. But whereas the L.S.D. trip is not under
one's control, in kriya yoga he is in complete control. Just
as the astronauts are brought back from the moon, you can
bring your mind back from its heightened state to normal work
at any moment. In kriya, the bindings of time and space are
transcended but not the awareness; you are not lost in that
so-called unknown and delusive eternity, your feet are completely
and firmly planted. If you have no particular job to do, and
no responsibility and obligation towards your family, job
and business, the moment you have finished kriya yoga practices
you can sit in meditation for 10 hours, no problem; and if
you do have responsibilities towards your family, job and
children, then you are quite ready to take part in day to
day life again. It is in this that the trip is completely
under your control.
I first came across kriya yoga it was a very wonderful experience,
but I did not teach it because I thought people were not in
need of this science. One day a very unfortunate lady of very
high family came to me. She asked if I had a way in yoga for
committing suicide. I invited her to come and visit me if
she liked, and sometimes in the morning when I used to practice
a few items of kriya yoga, she also practiced them for 15
to 20 minutes. This was many, many years ago, and now she
has become one of the happiest women I have ever seen in my
life, and she has not become useful to herself alone but to
thousands of people through community work. The money which
she was wasting in clubs and other diversions, she is now
investing in most useful projects. It is my belief that the
whole change in her personality and its awakening and revival
were due only to the few very insignificant kriyas which she
practiced with me during those 2 or 3 months.
there are two different systems of yoga. One is the concentration,
meditation and samadhi achieved by withdrawal of the mind
from external life. If you can do this system, please go on
with it, but if you cannot and your mind plays up like a rebellious
child, then it is much better to adopt the second system and
thereby preclude any friction and difficulty with the mind.
Take a few kriyas, not many - 5 to 10, and these will help
you to deal directly with the rebellious mind.
I was in Paris this year, I gave kriya yoga classes for 3
days. The people were so greatly benefited that after only
3 months they want me to give more classes in kriya to hundreds
of students. When I asked them what made them decide to call
me back to Paris so soon, the reply was, "The kriya yoga
my uncle, my brother or my husband has been practicing has
created such a great change in his life that I also want to
learn and be benefited by kriya." This is the reply of
the people in Paris where I gave the first kriya classes outiide
who are eager to follow this systematic kriya yoga path should
first practice asanas, pranayamas, some hatha yoga, some preliminary
kriyas, ajapa japa, breath consciousness, mudras and bandhas
regularly for 4 or 5 months and then they should learn kriya
yoga from a qualified master.
status, creed or religious affiliations, age (young or old),
mental condition (normal or abnormal), none of these are a
barrier to kriya practice. If you are convinced that kriya
yoga is for you, you should take it up. Start the preparations
yoga is part of tantra and it is on the subject of Tantra
Shastra I shall speak tomorrow evening. Then you will
know how close you are to a science given to mankind more
than 6000 years ago, and you will understand how, in this
age of tensions, dissensions and all kinds of social and mental
problems, the tantra system but kriya yoga above all, can
help us in our physical and mental difficulties and finally
in the unfoldment of our consciousness.