Yoga means to join together. It is the integration of one’s own consciousness with universal or cosmic consciousness. Goswami Kriyananda defines Yoga as “that state when your life of action and thought are in harmony with the very source of your being. It is a psychosomatic relationship, a functioning on the profoundest level of your consciousness beyond the limits of thought and language.” As this definition implies, yoga is much more than an ancient body of knowledge. Yoga is a verb — a doing and a way of living.

 

Swamis meditatingKriya, derived from the Sanskrit kri, literally means to do or to act. Thus Kriya Yoga teaches that this union of consciousness or illumined state can be reached through certain actions, including: tapas — practices such as meditation which remove resistances to spiritual evolution, svadhyaya — the study of one’s self and ishvara- pranidhana — attunement and devotion to God or the GOOD which dwells in every thing.

Kriya Yoga embraces the perennial truths that pervade all of the world’s mystical traditions, uniting the diversity of cultural and historical expressions into a harmonious, living practice. It is a system for experiencing a transformation of consciousness, which enriches one’s life on every level.

The fundamentals of Kriya Yoga, as taught by Goswami Kriyananda, include striving to be a sage, not a saint, finding joy and wisdom in life and realizing that there is no cookbook. Everyone is unique. Therefore, seekers must find their own paths and determine what is helpful to them. This can be done by quieting the mind, softening karma and being truthful with oneself. Begin the journey with happiness. Learn to meditate and be comfortable in this world. Enjoy life and find it meaningful.

Swamis meditating

The ancient practice of Kriya Yoga is mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It was revived in 1861 when Babaji gave the teachings to Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri Mahasaya taught Sri Yukteswar who taught Paramahansa Yogananda. Paramahansa Yogananda brought Kriya Yoga to the West in 1920. Sri Shelliji was taught by Paramahansa Yogananda and the founder of the Temple of Kriya Yoga, Goswami Kriyananda, was taught by Sri Shelliji.