What is Kriya Yoga?
‘Kri’ means action and ‘ya’ means awareness. So together, Kriya means action with awareness.
But what is awareness? What does this refer to? True awareness is to be aware of who we really are, our purpose, of our true identity. That identity is that of the soul, of its inherent blissfulness and unconditional Love.
Kriya Yoga is generally appreciated as a system of techniques that lead one to experience and practice moving beyond the material reality -- our identity with the mind, body, and the interactions of the senses. It is about the practice to experience and become absorbed in the spiritual reality and self-identification to ultimately to experience and realise our Divine Self, our Soul. Kriya Yoga is about having all thoughts, actions, and speech in alignment with that reality and awareness of the Soul.
Mahavatar Babaji, the iconic and mysterious immortal yogi and founder of Kriya Yoga, is responsible for silently guiding the consciousness of mankind. Over time, Babaji has given parts of the vast system to the world to uplift and support it. He accounts for the state of mankind, their consciousness and the era in which they live. With this in mind, Mahavatar Babaji passes down techniques to different masters in different places and times to address the mind of man. Though it is not known to the public as a whole, various Kriya Yoga masters and Babaji hand down techniques for different people and places because they require different support.
Atma Kriya Yoga is only a particular selection of the Kriya Yoga techniques. Mahavatar Babaji and Paramahamsa Vishwananda chose to give this selection for their simplicity, power, and their importance in the spiritual path in order to develop our relationship with and ultimately to attain the Divine.
Kriya Yoga is particularly special because the practices function using technical yogic science. They were engineered with the fundamental spiritual and physical laws, energies, and logic in mind. In addition, they address the universal laws of creation, vibration, the five elements, chakras, and koshas and multitude of energies. The techniques take into account the depth of the law of karma, including intention, action, and thought and much more.
There is deep spiritual science to yoga, though it is slowly being researched and understood by modern science. The techniques of Kriya Yoga have been developed to apply these various sciences just as any field of science does. Masters of these laws and systems are fully aware of the yogic sciences. They engineer practices to assist in the spiritual path because they are completely dedicated to the spiritual progress of mankind. The spiritual path is so complex and nuanced, but masters, thankfully, developed techniques to help navigate the path.
Generally, Kriya Yoga is theologically and philosophically neutral and just addresses the spiritual and material laws in the endeavor to assist spiritual progress. Babaji has passed it on to various masters who adopt, implement and infused their own particular philosophies and theologies unto the techniques. In this way, Babaji and Kriya Yoga Masters can serve a greater population as they consider varying paths, personalities, and dispositions.
That’s what is so special about BM Sadhana. It’s all about Just Love. Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s mission is to open the hearts of mankind and he uses Kriya yoga to support this. Kriya Yoga, in essence, is also Bhakti -- loving devotion -- because mastering any action with full awareness implies that it is done out of Love and for the sake of Love itself. Though it is not seen traditionally as Bhakti Yoga, Kriya Yoga, fundamentally, is Bhakti and it is yoga.
As you dive deep into the heart, into the soul, and deeper still, you find and experience the divine inside and outside of yourself. So although Atma Kriya Yoga is about realising your Divine Self, it inevitably leads to learning the purpose of your Divine Self, to its relationship with the Divine -- to God-Realisation in this pursuit of Love.