What is Kriya Yoga
In 1861 the immortal Mahavatar Babaji reintroduced Kriya Yoga, the ancient and divinely provided method of living and meditation. The teachings and techniques of Kriya Yoga have been directly handed down through a lineage of Kriya Yoga masters from master to disciple.
Kriya Yoga simultaneously cultivates body, mind and intellect using powerful meditative and yogic disciplines. The guiding principle of Kriya Yoga is that each human being is a miniature version of the whole cosmos, a microcosm, an evolving universe within the macrocosm. Furthermore, Kriya Yoga teaches that the all-pervading Supreme Creator is hiding within us, activating our every action via our breath. Hence the name: kriya. All activity, kri, is done by the power of the indwelling Creator or soul, ya. Kriya Yoga helps us to realize the truth of the union of the microcosm and the macrocosm, so we can experience ourselves as the supreme Self.
- teaches meditation techniques, breath control, and calmness
- provides direct and immediate spiritual experience
- helps to purify and cultivate the mind, and to eradicate bondage to desire and ego
- gives strength and vigor to the body
- is non-sectarian and teaches that all activity can be worship
- is only taught through direct contact with an authorized and empowered teacher
- came to us through an unbroken chain of Self-realized master
Kriya Yoga initiation
Each seeker is initiated as an individual through direct contact with a yogacharya of the lineage.At the time of intiation, the seeker offers three symbolic gifts to God and the Kriya Yoga masters: five fruits represent the fruits gained from activities of life; five flowers represent the five senses; and a financial donation represents the physical body.
The yogacharya purifies and energizes the spine and the body of the seeker and infuses the triple divine qualities. With practice, the seeker will learn to perceive the inner light of the soul, to hear divine sound, and to feel the divine movement throughout the body. Sacred mantras are chanted throughout the initiation ceremony and the meanings are explained in English.
At the completion of the sacred initiation ceremony, Kriya technique is thouroughly taught so that new initiates can meditate correctly and continue the process of purification on their own. New initiates attend at least three follow-up meditation sessions with the yogacharya. To support initiates in their practice, weekly-guided group meditations are held at numerous centers.
Paramahamsa Hariharananda's yogacharyas regularly tour the United States, South Amercia; Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zeland and India to deliver lectures, give initiations, conduct guided meditations, and provide spiritual counseling.
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The Kriya Yoga Center in the Netherlands
Baba Hariharanandaji's first ashram in the West was founded in 1993 in the Netherlands, near the Southern city of Eindhoven. The ashram is located in the village of "Sterksel". Traditionally it is said to be one of the seven "blissful villages" of that area. The ashram grounds have a beautiful history of spirituality.
In 1920 a monastery was built on these grounds, including a training seminary for the novices and monks. The inhabitants were missionaries and their main destination was Northern Africa where the natives wore white "jalabas". The monks wanted to adapt their clothing to the people for which they were going to preach the gospel, and thus became known as the "white fathers".
In 1960 the building was demolished, primarily due to the fact that only very few missionaries remained. A new building arose soon after and it became the foundation for today's "Kriya Yoga Centrum". A few old monks remained for a period of 18 years on the premises and then sold the building to a famous Dutch sculptor, Harry Storms. The artist adapted the building to his wishes, made several ateliers and an exhibition hall, which is now used as the main meditation hall. He adapted the ten acre forest/garden in such a way that he could organise expositions outside. Mr Storms sometimes used to retire in a small hut in one of the high trees, practising Transcendental Meditation.
During this time, Baba Hariharanandaji started travelling to the West. The Netherlands (Holland) was one of his favourite destinations (together with Belgium, Germany, Switserland, France and Austria). As from 1977, while in Holland, he held lectures mainly in Amsterdam, The Hague and Arnhem, a big city near the German border. He visited almost every year, until near the end of the eighties when he remained primarily in India and America. In 1990, he came back to the small city of Houten, where Yogacharya Peter van Breukelen and his family lived. He told Peter to look out for a nice building where all people, including families could meditate together.
In 1993 Peter found the property of Mr Storms which was available at a good price; never before it was so clear that this should become the future ashram. The ten acres land appeared to be beautiful and serene; it had a large pond and a small one with pink and white water lilies. There were beautiful old oak and pine trees and the building seemed suitable for both Peter Baba's family and for the ashram section. The location was also perfect; a quiet place near the Belgium and German border. After having seen so many monasteries and other buildings there was no doubt any more; this was going to be the future ashram.
The building was officially purchased on 21st of April 1993, with the loving help of Christine-ma. Although suited to serve as an ashram, the building and grounds required a lot of work to make the place suitable. Many people worked day and night to make the building ready: enlargement of the kitchen, new toilets and showers, a new design for the interior of the sleeping rooms, another design for the dining hall, and the meditation hall. Additionally, much work had to be done in Peter baba and Silvia ma's private house.
It was hardly finished when Baba came to Holland in August 1993. With lots of difficulties Baba had come from India where people did not like him to go to the West again. It was not clear till the last moment if he could come for the inauguration of the new building. Finally Baba inaugurated the ashram on 6th of August 1993 with a beautiful ceremony and many people were present from many countries. There was such a big crowd that a big tent was needed to give room to everybody.
Since that time Baba came back every year until 1996 and many beautiful meditations were conducted in the Sterksel ashram. From 1996 Baba was mainly staying in Vienna to help find an ashram there too. In 1997 he went to Florida, USA.
Still today many meditation programmes are offered each month in Dutch, German, English and French.
We are looking forward to celebrate Baba's 100th anniversary on the 6th of August 2006 and we are sure that this event will be as glorious as the inauguration of this beautiful ashram 13 years ago by Baba Hariharanandaji himself.
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The Benefits of Practicing Kriya Yoga
by Swami Hariharananda Giri
Conscious realization of one's unity with the spirit is the goal of life, and, consciously or unconsciously, every person is trying to advance towards that end. When he realizes his unity with the universal Self - his own spiritual existence - a person becomes one with the universe.
Cosmic-consciousness is spread all over the universe and pervades everything. Human consciousness is limited to the human body and its environment. To attain cosmic-consciousness, it is necessary to expand the consciousness that resides in every living cell of the body and brain. Kriya practice clears and stimulates the brain and gives strength. It also greatly magnetizes the body, saturating and feeding all its physical cells with undecaying light and keeping them in a magnetized state.
Spirit is Self-born. Spirit is ever-conscious. God's attention is equally distributed everywhere and is fully concentrated everywhere. We human beings, being made in His own image, have latent within us the power to concentrate our attention and to feel our existence everywhere. Through properly following the laws of living and through faithful practice of Kriya Yoga, a person can enlarge his consciousness and quickly reach the ocean of cosmic consciousness, or divine spirit. The science of Kriya Yoga is that knowledge which, when it is applied to the internals of man, allows him to realize his ever-present unity with God and perceive that whatever he is doing is done only by the power of God, Who is activating his whole system and directing all of his activities.
Kriya Yoga is a Scientific Technique
By the practice of Kriya Yoga, one gets direct divine experience - divine light, divine sound, and the movement (pendulous) sensation of the living power of God - and becomes established in God consciousness. The science of Kriya Yoga is the most precious technique for God-realization. It is very simple, it is easy to perform, and it gives the quickest results. With the help of the scientific technique of Kriya Yoga, a person perceives the triple divine qualities of the Soul, and through concentration on the divine qualities, he overcomes, within a short time, all the obstacles of the deep-rooted mental impressions, and becomes established in divine consciousness. Kriya Yoga is a scientific technique. The practice of it annihilates all the unusual and unreasonable elemental propensities ever-present in the spiritual centers of the human body. It awakens and restores equilibrium. It enables one to dispel delusion and ignorance and discover the divinity within one's own self. The Kriya Yoga process quickens realization of the Formless within the form and frame of the body. It is an independent spiritual discipline which is in itself sufficient for one to achieve the highest good.
Kriya Yoga is not a sectarian discipline but a universal one and is adopted to some extent by all sects and religions. Its chief merit is that it is a practical religion, free from all dogmas and presuppositions. It, therefore, does not conflict with any other sect or religion. It includes techniques that are entirely scientific, every step being based upon experimental realization. Like the truths of the research of physical sciences, the beneficial results of Kriya Yoga places before humanity a practical technique that enables us to verify the truths propounded in the scriptures. Concentration and meditation, which are gained through the practice of Kriya Yoga, provide the means to realize these truths. Kriya Yoga is a very effective short-cut technique to God-realization. It is the easiest and surest highway to the divine kingdom - the grand road for God-realization. By the divine power received from Kriya Yoga, one can transcend human consciousness and reach the kingdom of God at rocket speed.
Kriya Yoga is a Very Effective Shortcut Technique
The word Kriya signifies that you live your life as directed from within through your perception of soul, Who is directing you through your brain to your proper activities. Without soul, your brain cannot function. Without soul, we would not get any thought or mood, and our body would be a dead body. So it is necessary to remember that each and every thought comes from the invisible body, the soul within. If you perceive that the indwelling Self is the sole doer in you, that He is activating and functioning within your whole body system, then God-realization is attained. Kriya Yoga brings about the simultaneous development of body, mind, intellect and soul. Kriya Yoga is the essence and synthesis of all yogic techniques taught in the world. However, the meticulous austerities and painful processes which are associated with many traditional yogas are totally absent in the Kriya Yoga technique. The scientific technique of Kriya Yoga given by Paramahamsa Hariharananda and his authorized Yogacharyas is the original and authentic Kriya Yoga of Babaji Maharaj and Lahiri Mahasaya. It is very easy and acceptable and is very suitable for householders. The simple and easy breath control prescribed in Kriya Yoga technique restores lost equilibrium. The pure oxygen breathed in this process purifies the inner mechanism of the body, activates the limbs, and increases the appetite. It gives strength and youth to the body, and memory, patience, and brilliance to the mind. It purifies the body, mind, intellect, and life simultaneously. No dietary restrictions are needed for this process. Sincere practice of Kriya enables one to experience the touch sensation, sound vibration and light-flash of the divinity inside one's own body and helps to elevate the mind into supra-mental consciousness. Kriya Yoga is a very simple yoga, and it is the highway of all religions. It gives mathematical results. Kriya Yoga is an easy, simple, and sure practice. It is the quickest means of attaining spiritual success.
This technique can be practiced without any restriction of religion, race, creed, or sex. Any boy or girl above 13 years of age can practice Kriya Yoga; even an elderly person of 75 years or more can derive a good deal of benefit from it. This Kriya Yoga will enable one to develop a healthy brain, keen mind, and prompt understanding. Kriya Yoga is the quickest means of success. The specialty of Kriya Yoga technique is that it affects simultaneous development of body, mind, and Soul in the shortest possible time. It is an easy, but vitalizing, process. It is a spiritual omnibus with room enough for persons of all tastes and cultures. It is a living progressive spiritual path whose adaptability is the sign of its vitality. Not only in the individual life, but also in the life of the whole human race.
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"LOVE CONQUERS All
A great master
Paramahamsa Hariharananda, a great spiritual master of India, was born on May 27th, 1907 in West Bengal, India. He spent his long life in meditation and prayer, studying, teaching, and fulfilling his mission to share the science and technique of Kriya Yoga with the people of the world until leaving his mortal body on December 3, 2002 at the age of 95.
This great master was a fully realized direct disciple of Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri, as well as a fountain of love, strength, purity and self-discipline for the thousands of students he personally trained all over the world.
In India, the 100th anniversary of a yoga master's birth is of great importance. A year long series of events and celebrations all over the world, starting in India on 27th May, 2006 and ending on 27th May, 2007, will be held in his honor.
Students are preparing 100 celebrations worldwide to honor their master in his centenary year. Spiritual conferences on world peace and other humanitarian concerns, cultural exchanges, charitable projects, publications of the complete works of his writings and teachings, and instruction in the practice of Kriya Yoga are being planned.
Born as Rabindranath Bhattacharya, this great soul known affectionately as "Baba" (father) to his students, showed an extraordinary spiritual destiny from his most tender years.
By age 4 ½, he had already memorized all the puja mantras of Hinduism by simply hearing his father, Shri Haripada Bhattacharya, recite them in his daily worship. Under the guidance of his father, he quickly mastered vedic astrology, astronomy, and palmistry. At age twelve, he took initiation in the path of jñana yoga from renowned realized master Shri Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyaya. He was degreed as a textile engineer and later on had a good position as a manager in a textile company.
In 1932, he went to meet the great Kriya Yoga master, Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri. Pleased by the divine propensities of young Rabinarayan, Shriyukteshwarji initiated him into Kriya Yoga, taught him Cosmic Astrology, and entreated him to move in and take charge of the famous Karar Ashram in Puri, Orissa.
In 1935, he met Paramahamsa Yogananda, and received the second Kriya initiation from him. In 1938, he renounced wordly life and entered his master's ashram in Puri, Orissa, starting the life of an ascetic aspirant as Brahmachari Rabinarayan.
He received the third Kriya initiation from Swami Satyananda Giri in 1941, and from1943 to 1945 the last higher Kriya initiations were given by Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal, the pious householder disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.
After living a strict spiritual practice of sincere meditation and maintaining silence for many years, in 1947, at the age of 40, he obtained the highest state of yoga, nirvikalpa samadhi, the breathless and pulseless state.
In 1949 he obtained the vision of the eternal yogi Babaji Maharaj who blessed him and prophesized that his mission would be to spread the message of Kriya Yoga to the East and West.
In 1951, he was empowered by Paramahamsa Yogananda to initiate sincere seekers into Kriya Yoga. Thus, he started his long missionary work that took him to the length and breath of his beloved India.
On May 27, 1959 he took formal monastic vows from the Shankaracharya of Puri and was reborn as Swami Hariharananda Giri.
Journey to the West
The year 1974 marked his first journey to the West, where he would return every year and spread the message of pure and divine love through conscious awareness of the inner Self. His travels took him all over Europe, South America, the United States, and Canada where he established centers and ashrams. He remained extensively in the West after 1990 and his work continues from headquarters on three continents: Vienna, Austria; Miami, USA; and Jagatpur, Orissa, India.
Thousands of people in the West have been transformed by his divine presence. Through his holy touch the students could perceive the triple divine qualities of inner light, sound and movement sensation in the whole body.
A link between East and West
Paramahamsa Hariharananda was well versed in the holy scriptures of India, the Holy Bible, Torah, Qur'an, Buddhist scriptures, and teachings of all religions. He always spread his love for all religions, and his attitude of harmony in all religions was really remarkable. He went to churches, mosques, synagogues and temples; he met many spiritual leaders of different religions. His message is universal. Not only did he find the synthesis of the Scriptures of East and West, he also taught it to the students in India as well as in West. He was a link between East and West and his love for humanity was really great.
His writings include "Kriya Yoga: The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture", "The Bhagavad Gita In the Light of Kriya Yoga: A Rare Metaphorical Explanation for God-Realization", and numerous other publications.
The Mission goes on
Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji's life and his teachings have been an example for his students and for his spiritual successor, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, who continues to spread his loving message, to teach Kriya Yoga and to develop ashrams all over the world.
Through the charitable arm of the organization in India, "Prajnana Mission," Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, students and other volunteers tirelessly work to construct and maintain free medical institutions called "Hariharananda Charitable Health Centers", including several Health Centers, a Mobile medical and dental Unit, fund libraries in schools, the opening of a residential school for impoverished children, called Hariharananda Balashram, the construction of catastrophe resistant houses in a village destroyed in the 1999 cyclone in Orissa, India.
The legacy of this great teacher lives on through the love and lives of his students. Honoring his 100thbirth year is another example of the love and spiritual depth of this divine incarnation.
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