Kriya-yoga: The Science of Life-force, Swami Nityananda Giri, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, Pp 390, $ 24.25
KRIYA-yoga is the practical aspect of yoga, which in turn means samadhi or evolution to the divine state or merging the individual self with the cosmic self.
Yoga starts with air or breath to reach the subtle breath. Sound vibrations in the air are felt when we breathe in and when we reach the subtle breath, we feel the life-force, prana, in the form of vibrations. A practitioner feels the sound vibrations in the body as subtle prana which merges the mind in infinity or ‘no thought’ state. This leads to eradication of all obstacles and suffering. By the action of breath, man moves from a state of suffering to a state of bliss. This journey is named yoga and kriya-yoga is the practice of yoga.
Kriya-yoga is an ancient technique of meditation found in India since time immemorial. The word kriya means action but this is the action of God when we do yoga. When we identify ourselves with the physical body, we separate from God and this is the state of ignorance. By the action of pranakarma, the mind is absorbed in the vital force, leading man from the body to God. That is why it is necessary to perform action or kriya, which becomes yoga.
Kriya-yoga techniques do not require any equipment and can be practiced by people of all castes, communities, religions, languages, sex and age. The techniques are in accordance with the scriptures and are scientifically designed as per our bodily composition. Kriya-yoga does not believe in conversion from one religious sect or religion to another but believes in the inner conversion from an animal being to a divine being.
It is our breath that controls our life. Our mind, intellect and ego are all controlled by the breath. We find that for all the moods of our mind, be it anger, frustration, sorrow, happiness, desires, etc., the mode of our breath changes. So to keep the mind in equanimity, we need to breathe properly. Kriya-yoga helps man to utilise the power of breath for developing the discriminating intellect. To prepare ourselves for such a practice based on the life-force, we need certain basic prerequisites like auspicious resolves, noble faith, devotion, following righteousness, observing certain rules and self-effort. We need to understand the principles and practices involved in such spiritual practices and these are discussed in the second chapter of the book.
We have to understand the body principle by learning about the different components of our physical, subtle and causal body as these are related to our spiritual practices. The third chapter teaches the activities of different vital breaths and the different energy centres in the body to facilitate our spiritual practice.
This is done with inner consciousness and it transmits the knowledge to our body, mind and intellect. This also gives us abundant energy which we do not get in sleep. Thus sleep is unconscious meditation and meditation is conscious sleep. Just as we need sleep daily, we need daily meditation too, says the author.
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