Site Map
Kriya Yoga Preludes
Section › 1   Set    Search  Previous Next


Reservations   Contents    

Kriya Yoga Preludes

The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga (2002) by Goswami Kriyananda (1928–2015), is not to be confused with anything by the swami Kriyananda (James Donald Walters) who passed away in 2013. The hatha-yoga book consists mostly of preparatory yoga matter, and is not really needed for meditation. What is actually needed, is to meditate. ◦Transcendental Meditation, TM works like that. Complementary yogi stuff is not strictly needed for basic TM, but may be added as one likes - Granted that, much in this hatha-yoga book may help. The book goes into the mechanics of hatha yoga, postures, cleansing methods, and further, and is detailed at it.

What about the set of methods called kriya yoga? Many are described in hatha-yoga. But kriya yoga proper is not described in the goswami's kriya book.

Goswami Kriyananda

Goswami Kriyananda founded and taught in the Temple of Kriya Yoga. He learnt kriya yoga from a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Shelly Trimmer.

For over 65 years the goswami taught kriya yoga with humour, offering a system for enriching life spiritually, mentally and physically. He became a well known author of over a dozen books. He taught of karma, astrology, yogic philosophy, mysticism and how to gain more joy and wisdom.

A Kriya Yoga Book without Kriya Yoga Proper in It

"Don't judge a book by its cover" and "the content does not always match the title full well" are related.

An Amazon rewiever says about The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga,

Kriya Yoga refers to a specific meditation technique popularized ... by Paramahansa Yogananda . . . Maddeningly, that book never reveals the technique . . .

The publisher, the Temple of Kriya Yoga, speaks very well of the goswami's book, The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga, and others do too. One will not learn Babaji's kriya yoga from it; the boook is on hatha yoga, and contains preliminary stuff. As for hatha-yoga and a broad survey of what yoga can offer by way of postures, breathing and meditation, there is James Hewitt's The Complete Yoga Book (1991) also.

Fair optimism and sound knowledge could help

From the book, "If I have gained something of benefit from yoga, so you can also (p. vi)". That argument may or may not be a fallacy - facts reveal that both yoga asanas and yoga breathing and meditation help, statistically speaking. Journals like Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice frequently publish research on yoga. ◦Research articles] -- [◦Even better]

As for optimism, Dr Richard Wiseman tells of the luck factor and how to get lucky in The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles (2004), for example. Here are the four principles of luck that Dr. Wiseman has identified:

  1. Maximise your chance opportunities;
  2. Listen to your lucky hunches;
  3. Expect good fortune;
  4. Turn your bad luck into good. (Wiseman 2003:38-172)

Wiseman goes into avenues for how to do it too. Also, The Optimist's Handbook: Facts, Figures and Arguments to Silence Cynics, Doom-mongers and Defeatists by Nick Inman (2007)? reveals that sound, fair and fit optimism may help in many ways, and that is something psychology students learn from several university textbooks too. [1]

Granted the inherent values of an optimistic flair and knowledge of "how to be lucky" too, if things are as the goswami's publisher says in promoting sales of the book - "If it worked for me, it will work for you" may not be a fallacy.

Do what it takes to increase benefits and lessen troubles in many walks and arenas of life, including the yoga class. Reasonable "filtering work" of that sort can help us a long, long way. "Safety first, get a balanced program that fits you, don't overstretch, don't be violent, relax well and in time, and keep at it without any strain" may be useful, overriding handling tips along the way.

"Well begun . . ."

"Sound meditation first" is helpful counsel. [◦Transcendental Meditation (TM)]. Calm meditation could be a good thing to go for to develop the mind, relax well and improve. There is research on TM. TM, the most researched meditation method can be very good for health.

Study the research to see which meditation methods are best for large numbers of practitioners. Then choose the methods that seem most promising to you. A good enough reason is summed up thus in the Buddhist Bhumija Sutta:

Buddhic If, Bhumija, those . . . who are of right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right mode of livelihood, right endeavour, right mindfulness, right concentration, fare the Brahma-faring with an expectation [or] without an expectation, they are capable of obtaining the fruit.. . . What is the reason for this? [It] is the method, Bhumija, for obtaining the fruit.

(Bhumija Sutta (Discourse) in the Majjhima Nikaya. (Also contracted in 2010:58-59.)

Also, in Buddhist teachings as in ancient Yoga, there is much focus on getting wisdom, but not just any sort of wisdom. In Mahayana, Prajna, wisdom, is insight in the true nature of reality.

What a good, well composed yoga programme can do

We may not need a long row of mudras, bandhas and other preliminaries to benefit from TM or other forms of mantra-meditation. Still, they may help. And there is a slender yoga programme to go along with TM, to complement it. The programme has been around since the 1950s and is taught by TM institutions, as the university in Fairfield, Iowa. The programme is described in the pamphlet, Yoga Asanas (yoga postures). Student courses on it are taught, for example. From a hospital in India:

The daily practice of ten minutes of Yoga Asanas followed by five minutes of Pranayama and about thirty minutes of Deep Meditation as taught by the Centers of Transcendental Meditation all over the world is recommended to those who seek the harmonious development of body, mind and soul.

Only about ten minutes daily are required for Yoga Asanas to promote health and produce a wonderful feeling . . . [◦Source, added pointers]

This is to say that yoga poses (asanans) and breathing methods do not matter, but if we mean to meditate well, it is fit to study evidence and choose the "best in test" methods - there might be one among them that suits us well.

Through simple yoga asanas, young persons could in time feel better and "in a more heightened state of energy and stability of mind." Besides, "No change in diet is needed for health and strength if your usual diet agrees with you." The advice is to "spread a woolen blanket on the floor" and run through the program in ten minutes or so. (Ibid.)

What matters is to start with easy poses, combine a bundle of the safe ones well, and take adequate rest between some of them too. The little pamphlet is a hard find and may cost a small fortune. There are online courses, though.


There is yoga and higher yoga. Some tell you have to start climbing from the bottom of the ladder, but there may be little gain in that approach at first. Yoga-meditation is higher yoga, very simply said.


Moral standards for yogis are to be kept along with meditative development; this is taught far and wide. Yajnavalkya Yoga tells of ten things to do, and ten things not to do (yamas and niyamas). The same twenty standards are found in the Varaha Upanishad and the Sandilya Upanishad. Easy surveys are in the Wikipedia (WP, "Shandilya Upanishad;" "Varaha Upanishad;" "Yoga Yajnavalkya")

Niyamas: Nonviolence, nonharmfulness by action, word or thought; truthfulness; not stealing; Brahmacharya (e.g.) fidelity to one's partner; kindness, compassion; no hypocrisy, sincerity; patience, forbearance (kshama); forgiveness; firm determination; moderation in diet; cleanliness.. (See Yajnavalkya Yoga for explanations)

Each of the Sanskrit terms used can have many meanings. It might be wise to make a list of alternatives of each before taking up any practice. (See SDSS for it). For example, note that truthfulness is on several levels, such as intellectual, verbal and physical. Be true to yourself and recognise how you feel as well. Integrity is what is called for, and more too, to assist the meditator on his or her way.

Yamas, do's: ; tapas; santosa; astikya, dana; isvarapujana, siddhantasravana, hiri, mati, japa, and vrata. (They are tersely clarified in Yajnavalkya Yoga)

There are many options for each term. The understanding depends on choice among meanings through interpretation in a setting (context), and a tradition. For example: Mati is a word with many meanings, including "thinking power". The Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit (SDSS) lists these: creed, intention, determination, sense, idea, sacred utterance, memory, armour, mind, intuition, inclination, devotion, judgement, belief, thought, remembrance, mail, perception, wish.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras offer only five yamas and five niyamas. The goswami offers some very useful comments on them.

Beware of limiting selections then.

Truth-Telling Alternatives

There may be many dilemmas too. If we cannot or will not could brush off questions by "That is none of my business" or something like that, maybe something that Buddha says may be fit is one of four main ways to answer folks: Some should be given direct answers. Others should be answered by way of analysing them. Some questions should be answered by counter-questions. And some questions should simply be put aside. [Buddha (CNP 42)]

There may be alternatives among truthful statements too.

The ego may rise

Don't let others define away your car, your sexuality, your wife, your children and then sit on you: Don't let them define you away. For example Yogananda for most part tells "the ego must go" - things like that. The ego is at bottom one's "I". Keep it if you can and allow it to rise in lax enough ways. That is in part what decent education is for. Frivolity might help too.

Babaji teaches the ego is good . . . (Neelankantan, Ramaiah and Nagaraj 2003:26-27, passim; 2003:32)

Do not let false teachings or evil get the better of you.


Kriya yoga preludes, Literature  

Bancroft, Anne, ed. The Buddha Speaks: A Book of Guidance from the Buddhist Scriptures. Reprint ed. Boston: Shambala, 2010.

Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.

Hewitt, James. The Complete Yoga Book: The Yoga of Breathing, Meditation and Posture. London: Rider, 1991. ⍽▢⍽ A comprehensive encyclopaedia of yoga for the beginner and advancing practicioner, illustrated with a lot of pen drawings. This concise, excellent guide with 400 postures in it, also contains posture programmes and much more, including the encouraging "the quality of our sex life, as well as its vitality, is enhanced by Yogic exercises and controls (etc.)." (p. 151)

Inman, Nick. The Optimist's Handbook: Facts, Figures and Arguments to Silence Cynics, Doom-mongers and Defeatists. Petersfield, Hampshire: Harriman House, 2007.

Kriyananda, Goswami. The Science of Kriya Yoga. 2nd ed. Chicago: Temple of Kriya Yoga, 2002.

Neelankantan, V. T., S. A. A. Ramaiah and Babaji Nagaraj. The Voice of Babaji: A Trilogy on Kriya Yoga. Eastman, Quebec: Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas, 2003. ⍽▢⍽ In 1952 Neelakantan published recorded verbatim a series of talks given by Satguru Kriya Babaji. "They were originally printed in three volumes . . . Includes the fascinating accounts of the meetings with Babaji in Madras and in the Himalayas by authors V. T. Neelakantan and Yogi S. A. A. Ramaiah."

Niranjanananda, Swami. Prana and Pranayama. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust, 2009.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 1981.

Satyananda Saraswati, Swami. Kundalini Tantra. 8th ed. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust, 2001.

Wikipedia article: "Salmon of Knowledge"-

Wiseman, Richard. The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles. London: Arrow Books, 2004.

Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh. Yoga Asanas. Los Angeles: Spiritual Regeneration Movement, 1965.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

Kriya yoga research, To top    Section     Set    Next

Kriya yoga research. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 2002–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]