Kriya: Union
So how is one supposed to proceed?
You're interested in meditation or you wouldn't be reading this. But beyond that, you're interested in practicing in a way that's close to what Lahiri Baba himself taught.

Only you know why that's important to you. In my case, it had everything to do with his photograph. From the time I first saw it, I felt a powerful – and admittedly, irrational – connection to him. It really had nothing to do with any of the organizations using his name. It was a direct bond with this man who had died more than fifty years before I came into the world. (As I'm sure I needn't tell you, we're very lucky to have that photograph.)

So my allegiance, above all else, was always to him and his teachings. That was what prompted my first trip to India. That was what kept me meditating. That was what fueled my search for more information regarding what he actually taught his followers.

So what did he teach his followers? The short answer is, go back to my home page, click the Core Techniques link, and study what's listed there. (There's an illustration or video for each item, which you can view by clicking on it. But see Chapters 6 and 7 of Ennio Nimis's comprehensive PDF for detailed instructions.) That's the first level of Kriya Yoga, pretty much as Lahiri Mahasaya taught it.

But why would you believe that coming from me? I'm just another voice crying out in the digital wilderness, insisting I know what real Kriya is.

So there's this. Lahiri Mahasaya didn't write lessons. But he did write letters in response to his followers' queries. They were compiled by one of his grandsons, and printed, in Bengali, as early as 1938. And he did, with the help of Panchanan Battacharya, a close disciple, publish commentaries on a number of Hindu scriptures. These are primary sources, and there are several English translations currently available. (The Yoga Niketan people offer theirs online at no charge.) Reading this material can give you not only a better understanding of who Lahiri Baba was, but also enough information about the techniques so you can evaluate various teachers and their claims.

Here's one example. There's a gentleman who's received some attention the past few years by claiming he has a monopoly on original Kriya Yoga. He sells books and goes on tours. And he states explicitly – and repeatedly – that Kriya has nothing to do with circulating prana up and down the spine and through the chakras. That's a waste of time, he says.

Here are two excerpts from Lahiri's letters:

Many practitioners focus on the chakras but do not recite the mantra there. Thus the practice becomes counterproductive [tamasic or negative]. And so, during the practice of pranayama, the mantra must be placed, with full attention, at each of the six chakras in the spine. [Letter No. 79, italics mine]

The kriyaban must, with great care, do japa at each chakra whilst performing pranayama. If the mind remains focused, and the mantra is recited correctly at every chakra, then the mind will become still and tranquil.
[Letter No. 96, italics mine]


I'll close on a more positive note, by sharing another quotation from the letters. I love this one. I find myself repeating it sometimes at the end of meditation.

The guru is great. The guru is kind. The guru is inside.

Now that's something you can have faith in.

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