introduction

But too bright were our heavens, too far away,

Too frail their ethereal stuff;

Too splendid and sudden

our light could not stay;

The roots were not deep enough.

(Sri Aurobindo. A God's Labour)



Introduction


People undertake the Kriya discipline for their own reasons, having some vague idea of its nature and purpose. While getting along with the practice, they refine their approach after many kinds of readings, both properly related to it and improperly tied with esotericism, New Age thought, and alternative medicine.

I am one among thousands of people who share a great enthusiasm and interest in Kriya Yoga. Being frustrated with the polemics among different Kriya schools – which reveal mercilessly and limpidly that Kriya is taught with many deformations and cuts – I have created this website where I share all I know about this subject. The purpose is to spare other researchers time, delusions, anger and frustration. (Of course one must have a self-teaching quality. Without it, one can receive all the best educational material about Kriya and personal initiation by a renowned Kriya Acharya, but will still drop everything in a few months or years.)

My decision to bring out my knowledge and information about Kriya has subsequently led to interaction with many people. This brought me great joy, and gave me the feeling of living my life more intensely.  I have received many incentives to deepen my knowledge of Kriya and enrich the book continuously. What bewilders me is that some people write to me after having quickly browsed one or two pages of the book. They ask me questions that I have already provided precise answers for in the book, substantiated with information and opinions about matters for which I have devoted pages and pages.   (Just to give an example, some ask: “What were your experiences with Kriya?” as if to say that the first and the third part of the book contain only the ravings of a lunatic.) Sincerely I have trouble putting myself in their shoes.

I do understand this inconvenience could be solved by answering: “Please go to page such and such.” The problem is that when they ask an opinion about delicate matters, which may concern a particular organization of Kriya, a famous teacher, a book, a theory… they start a debate on issues on which I have already carefully expressed my opinion in the book but in a general way, obliquely, in order to avoid taking sides.   There are pages from which, using the faculty of reason, my point of view can be easily guessed. However, I answer their query sincerely but briefly. Perceiving my remarks too superficial, they react surprised, reproaching me for wearing blinders and being rash in my reply and judgment. If after this crosstalk they would stop writing, the problem dissolves into oblivion leaving only a trace of bitterness. However, despite some breaks, the exchange of sharp remarks continues. In this manner, the exchange of emails is like playing a game of chess at a distance, where the pawns are prejudices and assumptions. In the end a lot of time is lost and wasted. To avoid all this, the following FAQ serves to reply to the most immediate and urgent questions that come spontaneously to one who has stumbled upon this website.






faq


Who are you and to whom is your book addressed?

I love Kriya Yoga: practicing it and doing extensive research in this field is my reason for being. As for the rest, I live a simple life. I am not tied to any religious creed in particular. I do not attribute any anthropomorphic suggestion to the idea of God. I conceive God as the intelligence sustaining the universe and Kriya as the means to attune to this Reality.

I have chosen to keep my web site clean of references to any religion in particular. I personally do not like the claims that Kriya is the highest path – the jet plane route to Self-realization, etc. Such sentences contradict the meaning of what they try to define, since they encourage egoistic expectations. Of course I consider Kriya extremely effective – otherwise I would not practice it. I believe that Kriya Yoga is not a Divine disclosure to a particular man but a blending of various mystical methods, discovered and applied by many researchers throughout the centuries. I believe that Kriya Yoga is not the exclusive propriety of Lahiri Mahasaya or of some among his disciples. In my opinion Lahiri Mahasaya took into consideration procedures coming from other well known mystical paths. To give an example, Navi Kriya is the same descent of chi-energy from the head into the Dan Tien which is taught by the Inner Alchemy, Thokar is the Dhikr of the Sufis ... and so forth. Kriya has the same value and dignity of other mystical paths; it is valuable since it is a complete, straightforward path, without useless frippery.

This site has been conceived as an uneasy reaction to the current restrictions on the diffusion of Kriya and to the various simplifications of it. Unfortunately the tendency is to simplify Kriya so that it becomes a triviality that can be communicated with few words. This tendency, as well as the obsessive demand of secrecy, is nonsense. The idea to write this book came after reading Theos Bernard’s Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience [1943]. In spite of the years passed since its publication and of several texts of Hatha Yoga appearing recently, that book is still one of the best ones. It succeeds, more than others, in clarifying the teachings contained in the various texts of Tantrism. I cherished the idea that a similar book about Kriya could be written.

I am not a person who wants to create a school of Kriya. Having received in the past the permission to teach it, I know well how many troubles lie ahead for those who teach it and with how many mental weaknesses they must contend. When I happen to explain something to someone I don't derive a particular pleasure, I don't get carried away by it; I purposely avoid assuming solemn manners (disappointing the expectations of some students). The very idea of putting on the act of a ceremony of initiation makes me shiver because this is suitable for magic, esoteric, occult stuff, not Kriya. Since I feel the tremendous value and the beauty of Kriya, I would prefer that its communication happens in the atmosphere of a calm interview among two researchers, better if the background is a natural environment where the games of the human mind have less grip.


The book will be read, or quickly skimmed through, also by people who do not know anything about Kriya (I cannot know if they will be able to draw something from it) but it is particularly intended for people who are "ex" of many things. Principally they are ex-members of organizations (from which they have learned stability in a regular practice) and ex-disciples of "traveling gurus" (from whose bad example they have learned how unforgivable is the mistake of believing that God's blessing descends copiously and suitably upon their efforts only by being devotedly near to some ''authorized'' Kriya Acharya). They are also ex-collectors of various practices found in esoteric books, but have realized that the one thing worth exploring and living is a ''clean'' mystical path, which has nothing to do with the illusory art of expanding mind potentials. What they have come across gives them the firm dignity to no longer accept any stupid, whimsical constraint to spiritual knowledge from anyone. They no longer tolerate that somebody’s financial interest hides behind a Kriya activity or that some drastic simplification of Kriya is passed off as a genuine original procedure. Somehow they have breathed the breath of honesty and are not able to renounce it.


Why did you make up your mind to write and post a book where the actual Kriya practices are described, violating thus the pledge of secrecy?

Should a Kriya school or an Acharya (teacher) invoke secrecy, one should not be surprised – if you don’t have this prohibition you undermine the very foundations of their own maintenance. But when kriyabans invoke it, this is rather strange. Yet this happens, in a persistent way, hysterical at times. Those who invoke secrecy may already know Kriya, completely or in part. I don't know if they realize how strange is their position and how absurd are the reasons they give to support their position.

The decision to violate the request of secrecy was surely the most difficult in my life and was not taken lightly. I often think that if here in the West there were an honest Kriya Acharya – or an organization – where one could learn all the aspects of Kriya as in a University – where to go and not be abused or sidetracked toward the adoration of a Guru, in other words not being caught in the clutches of a new cult – I would immediately close this web site.
The book was written – and defended from various attacks – because of a suffering which is constantly renewing; because, let me say, it is painful to watch the situation of the diffusion of Kriya today. To those people that honestly want to know with more precision the reasons for my choice, I remind that they are given in the first part of the book (especially chapter 5.)


The synthesis is the following:


[a] Organizations claim that secrecy helps "to maintain the purity of the teachings." Kriyabans have learned the hard way that it would be more correct to affirm, "to maintain the purity of the modifications!" Simplifications are passed off as clever devices for our good; perhaps they are that, but nevertheless I prefer the complete Kriya. I do not stop dreaming of an honest Kriya school that teaches the real Kechari Mudra, Navi Kriya etcetera. If that school claims to exist only to keep the teachings pure throughout the centuries, we want it to keep its promise with a high degree of perfection from the didactic point of view. At the present moment, this ideal school does not exist. From the existing organizations we receive simplifications and many unnecessary myths and conditioning. Sharing original Kriya details among researchers could be an event pushing the organizations to be more serious, aware that not all their students are naive.


[b] On the other hand, traveling gurus go around teaching in a rushed, superficial manner. Usually they live like lords, surrounded by people who meet all their needs and caprices with the hope of getting the crumbs of their "secrets." Sharing original Kriya details can have those teachers up against the wall: either you change or no one will follow you anymore – in spite of your white beard and hieratic figure. By sharing original Kriya details we are not disturbing honest Kriya Acharya's activity in the least – good teachers will always be needed and sought after in any field where a skill is to be transmitted.


[c] At last, let us face a sad fact. From the aged kriyabans from India – who affirm, quite satisfied, they have received the true initiation – instead of a proposal of help, comes the tragic verdict that we have no possibility of receiving the authentic Kriya. Those who are reading those lines might have experienced that often the request of secrecy appears as a blind dogma, insensitive to the suffering of many researchers. I have faced the sarcastic utterances of a couple of human wrecks who claimed they had access to the original Kriya. They were not only very secretive and exclusive but sadistic. Actually, they warned me not to race with so much enthusiasm towards Kriya because the real Kriya cannot be learned anymore (since any genuine disciple lineage is according to them by now closed.) I had the impression that the petty idea of possessing such exclusive secret knowledge, definitively inaccessible to Kriya students, is the only thing keeping the pieces of their scattered minds together, camouflaging (with a semblance of spiritual advancement) the nothingness they are.

Well, I am not resigned to see Lahiri Mahasaya’s Kriya dying amid such morons. Kriya is a collection of introspective tools taken from different great mystical traditions. It is absurd to accept they belong only to such a kind of persons.

In conclusion, since I cannot find other benefits of secrecy except having an individual's pleasure of possessing something exclusive reach a fever pitch, I share all the information in my possession with other researchers. I understand someone's perplexities, but I hope they understand I had no other choice.


Don't you think that some danger may come from reading the techniques on the Internet and trying them without surveillance?

Are you practicing Kriya with good results? Then why this concern? I don't want to think that in your heart you consider yourself superior to others. If you have good results, other people can have the same. Don't worry about them as you don't worry about yourself. (Was it perhaps the rumors about ''premature Kundalini awakening'' that have instilled in you the idea that a mystical procedure can be dangerous? Please read appendix 1 in the third part of my book.) Is your opinion a reaction to the unbalanced publicity pertinent to Kriya? From the mirage that Kriya is an extremely powerful remedy for everything, comes the suspicion that it cannot lack in disagreeable collateral effects.

How unfit is the word ''powerful''! Kriya is so sweet, so comforting. Better to say that Kriya is valid, good, genuine ... as any other genuine mystical path. Or, have you left Kriya because you deem it has injured you? Was it really Kriya that caused your evil? Please reflect and be honest. Actually, any mystical practice can, theoretically, contribute to do someone harm – if it is lived inside a non-balanced life! We must understand that the incentive to follow a mystical path can also be originated by a desire to avoid facing Life's struggles.


Do you want to question the figure of the Guru?

When confronted with persons who angrily reiterate their conditioning about the concept of Guru (…proper initiation in Kriya means the presence of an authorized master and his blessings…. initiation implies an invisible purification process, the bringing of the disciple’s pranic body to a higher vibrational rate … moving spiritual energy from the Guru's body to the seeker's body …. showing light in the Kutastha and all that jazz) I state calmly (speaking primarily to myself since they won’t listen) that theirs is a folkloristic concept, chimerical and fundamentally false. Such myth has been built to befuddle one, to encourage his attitude of behaving like a slave at the feet of a rascal posing as a saint. The concept of Guru is to be looked into in a deeper way.

The Jungian Collective Unconscious concept explains the transfer of deep spiritual experiences. The deepest layers of our unconscious mind are linked with all humanity. Consequently, the mental condition of other persons may literally alter our mental processes. Thus, a particular individual can actually "drag us ahead", towards the Spirit. But this happens only when a bond of disinterested affection is established. We all know that such a relationship is rarely built. Surely, it is not created by simply taking part in a Kriya initiation ceremony.


What do you think about the figure of Babaji?

The issue about the existence and role of Babaji is really challenging. Since legendary powers and agelessness have been attributed to Babaji – by the disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, and by additional unconfirmed stories – this has led many to doubt his existence. Let us put aside certain literature that situates Babaji in places that are not the Himalayas, as well as stories of recent meetings with Him. We know that there are a lot of Babajis with related cults...
I believe that there must be something true in Lahiri Mahasaya's Babaji story. As far as I am concerned, it is inconceivable that L.M. has lied or written nonsense in his diaries. We can easily accept that Babaji existed and has had an important role in the diffusion of Kriya. Why not believe that around 1861, when L.M. was posted to Ranikhet for his work, he met a saint? It is plausible that this saint told L.M. that he was his Guru from the past.

I am ready to change my opinion if I receive more sound information; for now I can only put forward two hypotheses:


[a] We know that L.M. wrote in his diaries that Mahavatar Babaji was Lord Krishna. Therefore Babaji could be the internal vision of Krishna.
Lord Krishna illuminated L.M. about the meaning and scope of his mission and reminded him of something that he had already known and practiced in his past life. Kriya was therefore not a new teaching but a memory. Krishna remained always present in L.M.'s Inner Eye guiding him to develop his easy-to-practice system of Kriya Yoga in such a way that the lofty principles of the spiritual path could be applied by householders as well.

[b] Babaji could be one among other highly advanced Masters who guide the destiny of humanity through the ages. This great soul made it clear to L.M. that Pranayama, practiced constantly with certain modalities, contains the possibility of man's deliverance from Maya and has the potential to disclose undreamed of possibilities while existing in the body. L.M. learned thus to consider in a new light a practice he already knew from infancy. We can assume that on that occasion he didn't receive all the techniques he later taught to his disciples. He developed continuously what he received from Babaji, refining it into four stages – he wouldn't have kept working on a set of techniques if they were already complete.


What is the reason for the many modifications in the field of Kriya?

Let us try to understand what happened in the time of Lahiri Mahasaya. He was a man extremely skilled in the art of meditation, so skilled that we find it hard to conceive. He was indeed an experimenter and an inimitable preceptor. Some Kriya variations about which we are still fighting to the present day originated from Lahiri Mahasaya himself! Like the great mystic Kabir, his teaching was the merging of great traditions: the tantric Hatha yoga (Pranayama, Mudras and Omkar), the internal Alchemy of ancient China (subtle aspects of Pranayama, Navi Kriya, Pranayama with internal breathing) and the most elevated practices of the Sufi like Dhikr (which in Lahiri Mahasaya’s terminology became the Thokar.) Toward the last years of his life he discovered and explained techniques based on the Trivangamurari movement. As aforestated, we can suppose that he received from Babaji only the general principles, which he developed and implemented with the use of techniques that he already knew and that he was able to reconsider in a new light. It is perfectly explicable why today varied schools exist that introduce slightly different methods to realize the same goals. The main point is to focus on these goals and resist any tendency to substitute them with New Age or esoteric ones.


What are the effects of Kriya practice?

The first thing to be surprised at is why one puts forth this question.
We can reply that Kriya is not different from any spiritual path; the effects are the same. By "spiritual path" I mean a discipline comprised of some procedures of introspection and contemplation (Prayer alone or mixed with breath control... concentration upon particular inner revelations...) like those which, during the centuries, bloomed around the great religions. The effects are internal peace (or, as Lahiri Mahasaya said, the true Tranquility) and that internal comfort, that intimate happiness that no other thing in the world could give. Those who practice Kriya and direct the ardor of their heart and all their possible dedication toward it will experience them. Personally, I find that Kriya is similar to an amplifier: we receive from it, magnified and exalted, what was faintly vibrating since the beginning in our consciousness. If we have doubts or distrust in it, we won't find anything but lacerations, great as abysses. Many come to Kriya because others have induced them to practice it; perhaps they are encouraged by innocent illusions. This is not wrong, this is human. Who can claim that his or her conception of Kriya was clear and accurate since the beginning? One can start Kriya for a trivial reason and then discover its vast action on all the aspects of his or her own being. What is important is not to remain tied to those illusions; drop them and let one's being undergo its own action.

Finally, some who ask this question have in their heart a doubt they do not dare express: since some Kriya teachers have been bad examples of behavior, perhaps they don't actually practice Kriya? Unfortunately the answer is, in many instances, affirmative: one may infer it as soon as they say a word.


Regarding Kechari, is it all right to remove the Fraenulum Linguae through laser surgery? Maybe, in Lahiri Mahasaya’s days, cutting the Fraenulum was too risky and bloody but now it might be safe.

This is a difficult question: I don't want to speak of hearsay, but only by direct experience. Among my so many friends practicing Kriya, only one of them didn't succeed in obtaining Kechari Mudra. In the past, in a moment of desperation, he tried to resolve the problem by himself through self-surgery; although he got painfully hurt, the healing after a few days revealed his self-surgery to be of no use. It is not difficult today to face a surgical operation, inasmuch as such an intervention is undergone by children who find it difficult, because of the Fraenulum, to suck milk or to articulate certain sounds.

Obviously, the whole matter must respect the obligatory route: family doctor or pediatrician, speech therapist and, only at the end, the consultation with a surgeon. No surgeon would operate on an adult if the latter explains his desire to attain the Kechari Mudra! But all this is obvious.

What I want to say is that many who speak of this problem ignore the fact that they don’t need any surgical operation at all. Before bringing up the matter of surgery, it is better to be sure that the tongue will never touch either the uvula or the wall behind it. The base of the tongue can be pushed inward with the fingers: if the tip of the tongue, being kept slightly turned backward, touches the uvula, this means that Kechari is very near to being accomplished. Bearing patience with Talabya Kriya, the tongue can stretch a little bit farther. Time will allow removing the help of the fingers, so that the tongue remains as though "trapped" in that position and the soft palate acts like an elastic tape, sustaining the tongue and, thus, preventing it from slipping out and getting back to the normal position. Holding the tongue in this position, the soft palate will elongate. This is the secret. Instead of limiting the matter to the Fraenulum, one should consider the possibility of stretching the soft palate in this way.

[N.B. Whoever insists on cutting the Fraenulum can find instructions on the Internet – especially AYP site. I want to remark that I have no personal experience of that and therefore I am not in the position to express any judgment about it.]


Are the Higher Kriyas necessary?

The moment in which we confront the Higher Kriyas is critical, especially if we expect too much from them and foretaste an increase, over all limits, of the state of peace and joy familiar from our practice of First Kriya. Unfortunately, as soon as we insert the Higher Kriyas in our routine, we may lose such states. If we are not ready to catch this warning and go on practicing them with a stubborn attitude, we may also lose all the enthusiasm that has driven us toward the Kriya path – and that would be the end of our spiritual venture! Any session of meditation should contain two distinct phases; the second one of them, in particular, cannot be suppressed or sacrificed in order to leave room for the Higher Kriyas.

After a first part in which a certain internal action, even of great intensity (Pranayama, Navi Kriya, Thokar...) is done, there must exist a second one in which we dive deep into the internal perceptions. This mainly passive (although full conscious) phase is usually called mental Pranayama: no Higher Kriya should eliminate or shorten it! We should have all the time to invite our ego, our obsessions, to get out of the way and let the Omkar reality strike deeply the innermost chords of our sensibility. We should not simply let some ten or twenty minutes pass in order for our psychophysical system to absorb the effects of the first part. We must have the humbleness to recognize that even if we have practiced techniques with the most resounding names, and even if we have felt a great excitation, our effort is worth nothing if it is not followed by the awakening of a keen sensitivity: we must, in all respects, make an extra effort and enter the internal temple. Reading the letters of Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciples – containing short descriptions of routines, with massive numbers of repetitions of the various techniques – we accept the inevitable fact that such routines are not for us. In my opinion, we should not introduce more than one Higher Kriya at a time, with minimal doses. A long mental Pranayama should always be the regal part of the routine, not to be reduced for any reason. Only with such caution, such Kriyas, rather than disarranging our routine’s balance, will add inexhaustible beauty to it.


Can I help in translating your book in my native tongue, and are you going to publish it?

The purpose of my web site is to discuss freely the practice of Kriya Yoga. Whatever offer of translating the book into another language is precious. The problem is that, as long as I live, I will go on perfecting the book. I will make all possible effort to produce a new edition of the book by the end of each year. Is the person willing to revise his translation in the future?
Since the most part of the readers are interested only in the First Kriya (the greatest part of the questions that I receive concerns First Kriya), perhaps it would be enough to translate just Chapter 6. For now it is not planned to publish it: to do that would mean to put an end to the development of the work.