The term Kriya Yoga as noted below is mentioned in Patanjali Yoga Sutras-
Tapah Swadhyayeshwarpranidhanani Kriyayogah (Sutra 1, Part II)
However the term Kriya Yoga got popularized by Lahiri Mahasay who transmitted the ancient Kriya Yoga techniques to common householders as per directions of his holy Gurudev Shri Shri Babaji Maharaj that otherwise had remained confined to sannyasis. This was done by Yogiraj with the sole objective of helping common man in realizing his true nature being sat-chit-ananda that he ignorantly remains oblivious of thereby reeling under miseries throughout his life.
Literally “kriya yoga” means “action towards yoga”. Now the question arises as to what actually is the action and what yoga is such action directed towards. Though the same can be understood only after a good practice of Kriya but for the interest of common readers an explanation as under is provided in italics:
If one carefully examines the life of an ordinary man it will be found that there is an absolute lack of harmony in his life and his way of living. Generally he is found driven by senses resulting in pleasure and pain- the latter being viewed as negative of pleasure or absence of pleasure. So this avoidance of pain, which in fact is indirect form of pleasure, generates conflict and his further pursuit of pleasure generates further conflict thereby forcing him to lead a life full of conflicts resulting ultimately in miseries. Despite all his efforts to lead a life without sorrows he fails miserably and at a point of time realizes that his search for happiness in the material world without being himself harmonious is a mirage. There comes then the discipline of Yoga (ATH YOGANUSHASANAM: Patanjali Yogasutra 1,Part I) that implies bringing in man the desired harmony for knowing that he is the light, that he is sat-chit-ananda. And to be in that state of sat-chit-ananda man has to be absolutely still- still in body and in mind- so that all restlessness disappears and he becomes a witness to everything around himself without himself being entangled and such stillness happens only after a ceaseless practice of kriya which primarily is action of the breath leading ultimately to the cessation of mind (YOGASCHITTWRITTINIRODAH: Patanjali Yogasutra 2, Part I) – the latter being the foundation for knowing of the self.
Following are the excerpts from the sayings of some of the Masters of Kriya Yoga on the practice of Kriya and Atmabodh (Self Realisation):
1.Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri
- Jagat Mithya, Kriya Hi Satya Hai
- Kriya Karo Aur Kriya Ki Parawastha Main Raho
- Banat banat bana jayee, Hari se laga raho re bhayee
- I am not attached to anybody, nobody belongs to me
- Controlled mind is our greatest friend while uncontrolled mind is our deadliest enemy
- Do not try to get rid of your duties as a householder. Try to get rid of your ego that is I, me and mine. Freeing oneself from ego is the real salvation
2.Pandit Panchanan Bhattacharya
- Pleasure lies in the state of mind, not in wealth and other worldly things
- Forgiving, kindness and equanimity are the important characteristics of a kriya practitioner
- The attachment to worldly affairs and family if absolutely transferred to kriya practice will lead to happening of miracles
3.Netai Charan Bandyopadhyay
- Keep on practicing kriya to the best of your ability and capacity. Whosoever is called upon by sincere and devoted kriyaban shall promptly visit and render the required help
- The bondage caused by illusion (maya) is very subtle and difficult to break/transcend. Only the benediction from Guru (Guru Kripa) can help overcome it.
- Do not make false promises/resolutions. Speak only when required otherwise be reticent. The first kriya brings seriousness in a kriyaban and he desires to talk less.
- Kriya practice with utmost devotion is the panacea for all types of sufferings.
- Always keep your attention focused on Kutastha.
- Regularly peruse the commentaries of Yogiraj on Gurugita and Srimad Bhagwadgita
Do more and more practice of first kriya
4.Maheshwari Prasad Dubey
- Pran holds this life and in its absence species cannot survive. It nourishes life that may be looked as selfless service. However man does not serve this prana whose constant servicing is the source of his own existence.
- Only man has the ability to serve one’s prana but the process is confined only to the self realized masters and therefore one desirous of serving prana should approach such a master.
- Only by sincere sadhana can one understand saakar and nirakaar, dwait and adwait; else all discussions on the same is meaningless.
- A sincere kriyaban definitely receives the grace of his Guru since to know one’s source, both Gurukripa and one’s efforts are equally essential.
- Though there is no restriction on the type of food to be consumed, tamasic foods like meat, fish and eggs may be avoided. Alcohol should be strictly avoided.
- Guru never dies.
5.Dr. Sudhin Ray
- After initiation into kriya yoga, just reading books will yield no fruits; kriya has to be practised regularly and sincerely.
- One cannot fully understand the words of Guru until sanskar ends
Until and unless one suffers in the material world the attraction towards divine does not occur.
- Without simplicity it is not possible to know God; however simplicity and foolishness are not the same.
- Until and unless man discovers the mystery of this creation his miseries will never end.
- On understanding the mystery of this creation one shall derive ananda or bliss; atmagyan or self knowledge is the king of all knowledge and therefore one should strive for the same.
- Knowledgeable persons think that they do not know much but most of the people do not actually know that they know nothing.
- On becoming wise man becomes non-violent.
- If one is desirous of Satguru, one has to keep one’s thinking sat; Satguru comes automatically when one’s thoughts are pure and then only one can understand the effects of Guru Shakti.
- Actual service to mankind can never be understood without practising Rajayoga.
- Only acquiring the techniques from Gurudev is not sufficient; one has to understand the objective behind learning those techniques