Kriya Yoga —
The Scientific Highway to the Infinite
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda
External and Internal Paths
The paths of renunciation and wisdom and action may be followed in two ways: externally and internally. The man who concentrates on external renunciation is an outer renunciant. But the tapasvin (an ascetic; one who practices religious austerities, such as physical and mental discipline, or renunciation of possessions) who destroys all internal desires and attachments, and who keeps his mind away from sense temptations, is a man of esoteric renunciation.
Similarly, the external follower of the wisdom path (Jnana Yoga) is busy in solving scriptural problems and in analyzing word structures. The esoteric jnanin (follower of the path of wisdom), according to Vedanta philosophy, is he who not only listens to the scriptural truths and perceives their meaning in his mind but becomes one with them by complete assimilation.
Therefore the Vedantic way of spiritual realization is
to listen to the scriptural truth (shravanam), then
to perceive it (mananam), then
to be one with it (nididhyasanam).
The man who performs good actions is the external karma yogi. He who practices yoga meditation performs the highest action; he is the esoteric karmin (a karma yogi, or follower of the path of action). But he who performs or practices Kriya Yoga, the highest technique of contacting God, is the raja yogi or the royal Kriya Yogi. He attains ascension and is thus among the highest yogis.
Esoteric Meaning of Yoga
Another interpretation of this stanza has been given by Lahiri Mahasaya: When a yogi practices Kriya Yoga, withdrawing his mind from the senses by disconnecting the life force from the five sense-telephones, he is spoken of as following the path of karma yoga; he is a true karmin. During this earlier state of attempts at God-union, the yogi has to perform various spiritual actions of proper breathing, life-force control, and fighting distractions with concentration. Therefore he is spoken of as following the path of esoteric karma yoga. At this state the yogi is identified with actions; he is a karmin.
When the yogi is able to see the spiritual light at the Kutastha or Christ center between the eyebrows and to withdraw his life force from the nervous system of the five sense-telephones, he enters the state of esoteric tapasya (ascetical renunciation). His mind, being disconnected from the senses, then exists in a state of esoteric renunciation; he is a tapasvin.
When the yogi is further able to unite his mind with the wisdom and bliss of his soul, he is a follower of esoteric Jnana Yoga. This is called the jnanin state of the yogi.
In the last high state when the soul, free from all bodily and worldly consciousness, is united with the blessed Cosmic Spirit, the devotee is called the esoteric raja yogi. This state of final yoga or union of soul and Spirit is the loftiest; he who attains it is the true yogi. He has reached higher spiritual planes than the one who has achieved only the state of a tapasvin, karmin, or jnanin. The real yogi knows God as the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss; he perceives all creation as God's dreams.
The path of Kriya Yoga is distinctive and scientific because it teaches the exact method of withdrawing the mind from the senses by switching off the life force from the five sense-telephones. Only when this interiorization is accomplished can the meditator enter the inner temple of God-communion. In other words, the Kriya Yogi follows a sure, definite method of leading not only his mind but his life force through the spinal channel to unite them with the soul. In the highest ecstasy he then unites his soul with Spirit.
Kriya Yoga, or the indirect reference to it in the scriptures as Kevali Pranayama, is the true pranayama, in which the inhaling and exhaling breath has been transmuted into interiorized life force under the full control of the mind. By distilling prana from the breath, and by neutralizing the life currents that control the breath, all the cells of the body are vitally recharged by the reinforced bodily life force and the Cosmic Life; the physical cells neither change nor decay. Kriya Yoga is a suitable practice for any sincere seeker of God who is free from serious acute illness, and who observes in his daily life the cardinal moral precepts.
Kriya Yoga — The Scientific Highway to the Infinite
The theologies of all great religions have one common foundation—the finding of God. But religious truth without practical realization is necessarily limited in its value. How can the blind lead the blind? Few men understand the Bhagavad Gita as its writer, Vyasa, understood its truths! Few men understand the words of Christ as he understood them!
Vyasa, Christ, Babaji, and all other perfected masters perceived the same truth. They described it variously, in different languages. In the study of the Bhagavad Gita and the New Testament I have perceived their meanings as one. I have therefore been quoting the words of Christ to show their unity with the truths of the Gita.
In order to understand fully the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, the spiritual aspirant must learn to go into the state of ecstasy and commune with Vyasa and Christ through Cosmic Consciousness.
As all colleges in the world teach the same principles of science, which can be proven by application, so all true religious schools, if they followed yoga, would be aware that it is the one scientific highway to the Infinite. That is why each man should become a God-united yogi. In this stanza of the Bhagavad Gita, the voice of God sounds a trumpet call to all spiritual aspirants: Become yogis! (656-658)