Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga is an intentional, universal approach to Self-realization and spiritual enlightenment: complete awakening to full knowledge of the Infinite. It is an integrated spiritual path that brings together the most effective elements of all systems of yoga. Emphasis in this tradition is placed on healthy, purposeful, conscious living, and superconscious meditation practice. Kriya Yoga practice facilitates the direct experience of our essential nature. This is accomplished when all obstacles are removed and the practitioner’s awareness is restored to wholeness. To realize the truth of our essential nature as spiritual beings and to live in harmony with that truth is the goal of Kriya Yoga.

The essential practices of Kriya Yoga are:

  • superconscious meditation;
  • insightful study of scripture and of the nature of reality;
  • self-discipline for conscious living;
  • and surrender of the illusional sense of being separate from the Source of Life. 

Kriya (Sanskrit verb-root kri, to do) means “action.” Yoga means union and refers to practices and procedures that bring body, mind, and soul into harmony. The path of Kriya Yoga taught at CSE reflects the teaching emphasis and specific procedures of the Kriya Yoga tradition brought to the West by Paramahansa Yogananda, taught to his direct disciple Roy Eugene Davis and passed on by him to his disciple, Yogacharya O’Brian.

The divine nature of every person is honored on this path. The purpose of spiritual practice is to remove any obstacle that obscures full realization of one's innate divinity and its expression. As all souls are inherently divine, everyone naturally yearns to awaken to his or her innate potential and to live a fully conscious, joyful life. Kriya Yoga provides the way.

"Through the use of the Kriya key, persons who cannot bring themselves to believe in the divinity of any man will behold at last the full divinity of their own selves."

- Paramahansa Yogananda

"Austerity, study, and surrender to God are the means to the accomplishtment of perfect concentration. These practices comprise Kriya Yoga."

-Yoga Sutra II:1 

"Kriya Yoga is practiced to weaken and remove obstacles that interfere with the accomplishment of the samadhi of God-realization."

- Yoga Sutra II:2

Kriya Yoga is a lineage tradition, passed on from guru to disciple through transmission. Beginning with Mahavatar Babaji, the great avatar or yoga master, whose mission is to support the awakening of souls and planetary evolution, the teachings were transmitted to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. After receiving permission from Babaji to make the teachings of Kriya Yoga more widely available to sincere seekers, Lahiri Mahasaya initiated thousands of students, including Swami Sri Yukteswar who later transmitted the teachings to his disciple, Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Mukunda had been initiated into the practices of Kriya Yoga early in life by his father who was also a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya but he found his destined guru-disciple relationship with Sri Yukteswar who faithfully guided him and supported his unfolding spiritual realization. After years of devoted study and practice with his guru, he entered the swami order and took on the monastic name, Swami Yogananda. It was Sri Yoganandaji who came to America with the blessings of his guru, to spread the liberating teachings of Kriya Yoga to the West. Among those he trained, ordained to teach, and initiate others into Kriya Yoga was his disciple Roy Eugene Davis. As a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, Roy Eugene Davis carries on the living legacy of Kriya Yoga through the transmission of the teachings to his disciples today. The vitality of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, with the spiritual direction of Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian, a disciple of Mr. Davis, abides in the living legacy of this teaching tradition.