Pyramid of Self Realization by Kriya Yoga

PYRAMID OF SELF REALIZATION TAUGHT BY LORD SRI KRISHNA THROUGH MAHAVATAR BABAJI





KRIYA YOGA  GIVEN BY LORD SRI KRISHNA
One-half minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.
Kriya, controlling the mind directly through the life force, is the easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite. In contrast to the slow, uncertain ‘bullock cart’ theological path to God, Kriya Yoga may justly be called the ‘airplane’ route.

The Self-Realization Fellowship meditation technique of Kriya Yoga bases itself on intuition. The more earnest we are about it, the wider and surer will be our vision of Reality—God. It is through intuition that humanity reaches Divinity.
The real Kriya Yoga way (life-force control) is not a bypath. It is the direct highway, the shortest route, to divine realization.
We can know God only by knowing ourselves, for our real nature is similar to His. Man has been created in the image of God. If Kriya Yoga is learned and earnestly practiced, you will know yourself to be a blissful spirit and will realize God.

The ancient yogic technique convert the breath into mind-stuff. By spiritual advancement one is able to cognize the breath as a mental concept, an act of mind: a dream breath.

The science of Kriya Yoga is eternal. It is true like mathematics, like the simple rules of addition and substraction, the law of Kriya can never be destroyed. Burn to ashes all books on mathematics; the logically minded will always rediscover such truths. Suppress all books on yoga; its fundamentals will be re-revealed whenever there appears a sage with pure devotion and consequently pure knowledge.
Only those who have acquired great good karma through the good works of many incarnations are drawn to the path of Kriya Yoga. They are blessed who have learned this technique.
 Master of his body and mind the Kriya Yogi ultimately achieves victory over the 'last enemy,' Death. When the yogi is able to see the light between the eyebrows and to withdraw his life force from the nervous system to 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.
After Kriya practice, sit long in meditation with attention fixed at the Kutastha (the Spiritual Eye). The soul-consciousness that usually flows outward into body-consciousness is turned inwardly by Kriya. Then the mind, freed from its attraction to external objects, will experience the wondrous inner world of Spirit.
Twenty-four hours of prayer or meditation by any other technique (except Kriya Yoga) will not produce as much spiritual advancement as one hour practice of Hong-Sau. Likewise, it would take twenty-four hours of deep Hong-Sau practice to produce the same spiritual result gained from one hour of Kriya Yoga.

The true follower of Kriya Yoga is the highest yogi, and Kriya Yoga is the greatest yoga technique ever developed in man’s search for the Infinite.
The Science of Kriya Yoga
      Excerpts from Chapter 26 in Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
Kriya Yoga is a simple, psychophysiological method by which human blood is decarbonated and recharged with oxygen. The atoms of this extra oxygen are transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and spinal centers. By stopping the accumulation of venous blood, the yogi is able to lessen or prevent the decay of tissues. The advanced yogi transmutes his cells into energy. Elijah, Jesus, Kabir, and other prophets were past masters in the use of Kriya or a similar technique, by which they caused their bodies to materialize and dematerialize at will.

Kriya is an ancient science. Lahiri Mahasaya received it from his great guru, Mahavatar Babaji, who rediscovered and clarified the technique after it had been lost in the Dark Ages. Babaji renamed it, simply, Kriya Yoga.

"The Kriya Yoga that I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century," Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, "is a revival of the same science that Lord Krishna gave millenniums ago to Arjuna; and that was later known to Patanjali and Christ, and to St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.”
Kriya Yoga in Srimad Bhagavad Gita
Kriya Yoga is twice referred to by Lord Krishna, India’s greatest prophet, in the Bhagavad-Gita. One stanza reads:
"Offering the inhaling breath into the exhaling breath and offering the exhaling breath into the inhaling breath, the yogi neutralizes both breaths; thus he releases prana from the heart and brings life force under his control."
—Srimad Bhagavad Gita IV:29

The interpretation is: “The yogi arrests decay in the body by securing an additional supply of prana (life force) through quieting the action of the lungs and heart; he also arrests mutations of growth in the body by control of apana (eliminating current). Thus neutralizing decay and growth, the yogi learns life-force control."
Another Gita stanza states:
"That meditation-expert (muni) becomes eternally free who, seeking the Supreme Goal, is able to withdraw from external phenomena by fixing his gaze within the mid-spot of the eyebrows and by neutralizing the even currents of prana and apana [that flow] within the nostrils and lungs; and to control his sensory mind and intellect; and to banish desire, fear, and anger.”
—Srimad Bhagavad Gita V:27-28
Kriya Yoga in Yoga Sutras by Patanjali
Kriya Yoga is mentioned twice by the ancient sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of yoga, who wrote:
"Kriya Yoga consists of body discipline, mental control, and meditating on Aum." —Yoga Sutras II:1
Patanjali speaks of God as the actual Cosmic Sound of Aum that is heard in meditation. Aum is the Creative Word, the whir of the Vibratory Motor, the witness of Divine Presence. Even the beginner in yoga may soon hear the wondrous sound of Aum. Through this blissful spiritual encouragement, he becomes convinced that he is in communion with supernal realms.
Patanjali refers a second time to the Kriya technique or life-force control thus:
"Liberation can be attained by that pranayama which is accomplished by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration.”
—Yoga Sutras II:49
Accelerated Spiritual Evolution with Kriya Yoga
"Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened," Sri Yukteswar explained to his students. "The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India's unique and deathless contribution to the world's treasury of knowledge. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining heart action, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath."
The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses), which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man. One-half minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.
One thousand Kriyas practiced in eight and a half hours gives the yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution: 365,000 years of evolution in one year. In three years, a Kriya Yogi can thus accomplish by intelligent self-effort the same result that Nature brings to pass in a million years. The Kriya shortcut, of course, can be taken only by deeply developed yogis. With the guidance of a guru, such yogis have carefully prepared their body and brain to withstand the power generated by intensive practice.
The body of the average man is like a fifty-watt lamp, which cannot accommodate the billion watts of power roused by an excessive practice of Kriya. Through gradual and regular increase of the simple and foolproof methods of Kriya, man's body becomes astrally transformed day by day, and is finally fitted to express the infinite potentials of cosmic energy, which constitutes the first materially active expression of Spirit.

Referring to the sure and methodical efficacy of yoga, Lord Krishna praises the technological yogi in the following words:

"The yogi is greater than body-disciplining ascetics, greater even than the followers of the path of wisdom (Jnana Yoga), or of the path of action (Karma Yoga); be thou, O disciple Arjuna, a yogi!"
—Srimad Bhagavad Gita VI:46
From Material to Divine Consciousness
The Kriya Yoga meditation techniques of pranayama, life-force control that transmutes breath into subtle lifetronic energy, bring positive realization that the composition of the body is pure cosmic energy.
In the adept practice of Kriya, the body is oxygenated and its atoms etherealized until it becomes light as a feather. Man has no idea how much power comes into the body when he has mastered the mystery of the breath. Kriya practice brings a regulated, continuous inflow of oxygen into the body, the atoms of which, by the process of pranayama, are transmuted into life force, reinforcing the subtle currents in the spine, which in turn awaken the astral cerebrospinal centers and spiritualize the entire body.
After years of successful practice, the body of the advanced Kriya Yogi becomes so spiritualized that in exalted states he can hardly feel it touch the ground. The suffusion of life force becomes so powerful that the whole body loses its delusive solidity and actually levitates. I can testify to that from my own experience. But the beginner should not expect to jump weightless tomorrow! Modern man is accustomed to getting results quickly; his industry and technology manufactures products so rapidly that he thinks there should be a convenience package of concise spiritual progress as well. A presumption of instant spiritual achievement is perhaps more than a bit audacious considering the innumerable lifetimes already spent in making oneself an unspiritual being. Even a lifelong practice is little to be required. Nevertheless, the Kriya Yoga science and art of meditation are not drudgery, because gradual transforming results are felt from the very beginning. (p.823, Discourse 42, The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda)
Kriya Yoga in The Bhagavad Gita (IV:29)
Other devotees offer as sacrifice the incoming breath of prana in the outgoing breath of apana, and the outgoing breath of apana in the incoming breath of prana, thus arresting the cause of inhalation and exhalation (rendering breath unnecessary) by intent practice of pranayama (the life-control technique of Kriya Yoga).
—Srimad  Bhagavad Gita IV:29
By the concentrated practice of Kriya Yoga pranayama—offering the inhaling breath into the exhaling breath (prana into apana) and offering the exhaling breath into the inhaling breath (apana into prana) — the yogi neutralizes these two life currents and their resulting mutations of decay and growth, the causative agents of breath and heart action and concomitant body consciousness. By recharging the blood and cells with life energy that has been distilled from breath and reinforced with the pure spiritualized life force in the spine and brain, the Kriya Yogi stops bodily decay, thereby quieting the breath and heart by rendering their purifying actions unnecessary. The yogi thus attains conscious life-force control.

The Bhagavad Gita clearly mentions in this stanza the theory of Kriya Yoga, the technique of God-communion that Lahiri Mahasaya gave to the world in the nineteenth century. Kriya Yoga pranayama or life control teaches man to untie the cord of breath that binds the soul to the body, thus scientifically empowering the soul to fly from the bodily cage into the sides of omnipresent Spirit, and come back, at will, into its little cage. No flight of fancy, this is rather the singular experience of Reality: the knowing of one's true nature and the recognition of its source in the bliss of Spirit. By Kriya Yoga pranayama or life control as described in this 29th stanza, the soul can be released from identification with the body and united to Spirit.
Pranayama (the Life-force Control)
Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words—prana (life) and ayama (control). Pranayama is therefore life control and not "breath control." The broadest meaning of the word prana is force or energy. In this sense, the universe is filled with prana; all creation is a manifestation of force, a play of force. Everything that was, is, or shall be, is nothing but the different modes of expression of that universal force. The universal prana is thus the Para-Prakriti (pure Nature), the immanent energy or force which is derived from the Infinite Spirit, and which permeates and sustains the universe.
In the strictest sense, on the other hand, prana means what is ordinarily called life or vitality of an organism on earth—the prana of a plant, an animal, or a man means the life force or vital force enlivening that form.
Mechanical principles are operative in every part of the body—in the heart, arteries, limbs, joints, bowels, muscles. Chemical principles are also operative—in the lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys. But to all of these activities do we not have to add something that is not mechanical or chemical in order to create and sustain life in an organism? That "something" is the vital force or energy, superior to other agents of life support. The vital energy utilizes mechanical force to pump blood, to move food along the digestive tract, to flex muscles. It uses chemical forces to digest food, to purify blood, to prepare bile. There is a wonderful connection and cooperation among the cells in all parts of the body. This is organization; and prana is the ruler of this organization. It is the superintending, organizing, coordinating, building, repairing power of the body.
Prana is an intelligent force, but has no consciousness in the empirical, nor transcendental, sense. It is the basis of the empirical consciousness, but soul is the conscious unit. Soul through ego dictates, and prana, its servant, obeys. Prana, neither grossly material nor purely spiritual, borrows from the soul its power of activating the body. It is the power lodged between soul and matter for the purpose of expressing the former and moving the latter. The soul can exist without prana, but the prana in the body cannot exist without a soul as its substratum.
Universal Prana: Energy that Pervades all Creation

Universal prana came into being in the following way:

At the beginning, One Great Spirit wished to create. Being One, He wished to be many. This desire of His, being omnipotent, had a creative force to go outward, to project the universe. It split the One into many, Unity into diversity. But the One did not want to lose His wholeness into many. So simultaneously He wished to draw the many back into Singularity. A kind of tug-of-war thus broke out between the wish to be many from One, and the wish to draw many into One—between projective force and indrawing force, between attraction and repulsion, between centripetal force and centrifugal force. The result of the pull between the two almighty opposing forces is universal vibration, the evident sign of the first disturbance of spiritual equilibrium before creation. In this vibration is blended the creative wish of the Spirit to be many, and the attracting wish of the Spirit to be One from many. Spirit, instead of becoming absolutely Many, or absolutely One, became One in many.

The universal prana underlying all combinations in creation is the basis of unity that has prevented the One Spirit from being irrevocably split into many. It pervades all atoms of the universe and every place in the cosmos. It is the primal, direct, subtle link between matter and Spirit—less spiritual than the Great Spirit, but more spiritual than the material atoms. This universal prana is the father of all so-called forces, which Spirit (in Its immanent form) utilizes to create and sustain the universe.

When different atoms coordinate into an organism—a tree, an animal, a human being—then the universal prana embedded in each atom becomes coordinated in a particular way, and we then call it specific prana, vital force or life. Though each cell—nay, each atom—of a man's body has a unit of prana in it, still, all the units of all the atoms and cells are ruled over by one coordinating prana, which is called specific prana, or life force.
Specific Prana: Life Principle in the Body
Specific prana enters the body with the soul (in the soul's astral encasement) at the time of conception. At the soul's command, the specific prana gradually builds from a primal single cell the body of the infant—according to that individual's astral karmic pattern—and continues to sustain that form throughout its lifetime. This bodily prana is continuously reinforced not only by gross sources such as food and oxygen, but primarily by the universal prana, the cosmic energy, which enters the body through the medulla ("the mouth of God") and is stored in the reservoir of life in the cerebrum, and in the centers of the spine, whence it is distributed by the functions of the specific prana.
Specific prana pervades the whole body and differs in its functions in different parts. It can be classified into five different pranas according to these functions:
(1) prana (by preeminence), or the crystallizing power that brings all other functions into manifestation;
(2) apana, or the power of excretion, the scavenger energy of the body by which bodily waste products are thrown out;
(3) vyana, or the power of circulation;
(4) samana, or assimilation, digestion, by which various foods are processed and assimilated for the nourishment of the body and for building new cells; and
(5) udana, or the power by which cells are differentiated in their functions (some growing hair, or skin, or muscle, and so on) by infinite disintegrations and integrations among themselves.
These five pranas, though separate, are interrelated and act in harmony and interdependence. In truth, they are but the one prana acting in five different but indissolubly connected ways.
The basis, or primary seat, of bodily prana is the nervous system and cells of the cerebrospinal axis and sympathetic system; but it is also in their infinite ramifications in the forms of cells, fibers, nerves, ganglia in even the remotest corner of the body. Thus prana works primarily in the sympathetic or involuntary system; but in addition, voluntary activities are possible only because prana, in its five constituent forces, pervades and works throughout the body. (pg.496-499)
Prana and Apana: Two Main Currents in the Body
This present Gita verse deals with two specific functions of life force in its differentiations as prana and apana. As there is a "tug-of-war" on the macrocosmic scale reflecting Spirit's projecting wish to create and His opposing attracting wish to bring the many back into the One, so does this same contest in duality take place on a microcosmic scale in man's body. One expression of this positive-negative duality involves the interaction between prana and apana.
There are two main currents in the body. One, the apana current flows from the point between the eyebrows to the coccyx. This downwardly flowing current distributes itself through the coccyx center to the sensory and motor nerves and keeps the consciousness of man delusively tied to the body. The apana current is restless and engrosses man in sensory experiences.
The other main current is that of prana, which flows from the coccyx to the point between the eyebrows. The nature of this life current is calm; it withdraws inwardly the devotee's attention during sleep and in the wakeful state, and in meditation unites the soul with Spirit in the Christ Center in the brain. There is thus an opposite pull exercised by the downwardly flowing current (apana) and the upwardly flowing current (prana). Human consciousness is pulled downward or upward by the tug-of-war between these two currents to bind or release the soul.
The vital current flowing outward from the brain and spine to the cells, tissues, and nerves becomes attached to and clogged up in matter. It is used up, like electricity, through bodily motor movements (voluntary and involuntary) and mental activity. As the life in the cells, tissues, and nerves begins to be exhausted by this motor and sense-perceptive activity—especially through excessive, inharmonious, non-equilibrated actions—prana works to recharge them and keep them vitalized. In the process of consuming life energy, however, they give off waste products, "decay." One such product is carbon dioxide excreted by the cells into the blood stream; the immediate purifying action of prana becomes necessary to remove the accumulation of this "decay" or death would soon occur. The physiology of this exchange is breath.
Breath — Cord that Ties Soul to the Body
From the opposite pulls of the prana and apana currents in the spine, the inhalations and exhalations of breath are born. When the prana current goes upward, it pulls the vital breath laden with oxygen into the lungs. There prana quickly distills a quantity of necessary life force from the electronic and lifetronic composition of the oxygen atoms. (It takes a longer time for prana to distill life force from the grosser liquid and solid foods present in the stomach.) That refined energy is sent by the prana current to all bodily cells. Without such replenishment of pure life force, the cells would be powerless to carry on their many physiological functions; they would die. The life energy distilled from the oxygen also helps to reinforce the life-force centers in the spine and at the point between the eyebrows, and the main reservoir of life energy in the cerebrum. The surplus oxygen from the inhaled breath is carried by the blood throughout the body, where it is utilized by the five vital pranas in various physiological processes.
As noted, bodily activity produces decay and the consequent waste product of carbon dioxide. This waste is excreted from the cells by the apana, or eliminating, current, and is carried by the blood to the lungs. Then the downwardly flowing apana current in the spine causes exhalation and pushes out the impurities of the lungs through the exhaling breath.
Respiration, activated by the dual currents of prana and apana, is accomplished physiologically through a series of complex nervous reflexes—chemical and mechanical—involving primarily the medulla oblongata and the sympathetic, or involuntary, nervous system. The intricate sympathetic system, in turn, is empowered by the prana and apana currents working through the vital branches of astral life currents that correspond to the physical sympathetic nervous system—the main branches of which are called ida and pingala. To study the physiology of breath without an appreciable understanding of the subtle life principles behind it is like studying Shakespeare's Hamlet while leaving out the parts portrayed by the character Hamlet.
Inspiration and expiration go on largely involuntarily throughout one's life. So long as the life current (prana) pulls the inhaling breath into the lungs, man lives; whenever the downwardly flowing current (apana) in the exhalation becomes more powerful, man dies. The apana current then pulls the astral body out of the physical body. When the final breath leaves the body through the action of the outgoing current, apana, the astral body follows it to an astral world.
It is thus said that the human breath knots the soul to the body. It is the process of exhalation and inhalation resulting from the two opposite spinal currents that gives man perception of the external world. The dual breath is the storm that creates form-waves (sensations) in the lake of the mind. These sensations also produce body consciousness and duality and thus obliterate the unified soul consciousness.
The Mystery of the Breath
God dreamed the soul and encased it in a dream body heaving with dream breath. The mystery of the breath holds the solution to the secret of human existence. There is even a direct connection between respiration and physical longevity. The dog, for instance, breathes fast and has a short life. The crocodile breathes very slowly and may live to over one hundred years. Stout persons breathe heavily and die prematurely. When through disease, old age, or any other physical cause the dream breath vanishes, the death of the dream body follows. Yogis therefore reasoned that if the body did not decay and toxins did not collect in the cells, breathing would not be required; that scientific mastery of breath by preventing decay in the body would make the flow of breath unnecessary and provide control over life and death. From this intuitive perception of the ancient rishis came the science and art of prana-yama, life-control.
Pranayama is suggested by the Bhagavad Gita as a universally suitable method for man to use to release his soul from the bondage of breath.
Kriya Yoga: Controlling the Current of Prana and Apana
The Gita states: "The yogi is greater than body-disciplining ascetics, greater even than the followers of the path of wisdom or of the path of action; be thou a yogi!" (VI:46). That it is Kriya Yoga pranayama that is referred to is evidenced not only in this verse IV:29, but also in V:27-28: "That meditation expert (muni) becomes eternally free who, seeking the Supreme Goal, is able to withdraw from external phenomena by fixing his gaze within the midspot of the eyebrows and by neutralizing the even currents of prana and apana [that flow] within the nostrils and lungs..."(A paraphrase translation; see V:27-28 for literal translation.) The ancient sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of yoga, also extols Kriya Yoga pranayama: "Liberation can be attained by that pranayama which is accomplished by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration." (Yoga Sutras II:49.)
Breath, lungs, heart slow down in sleep but are not completely stilled. But by Kriya Yoga the breath is gradually quieted and the movements in the lungs and the body stilled. When motion leaves the entire body, owing to lack of agitation and to complete physical and mental stillness, venous blood ceases to accumulate. Venous blood is ordinarily pumped by the heart into the lungs for purification. Freed from this constant work of blood purification, the heart and the lungs are quieted. Breath ceases to go in and out of the lungs by the mechanical action of the diaphragm.
Kriya Yoga pranayama stops the bodily decay associated with apana, manifest in the exhaling breath, by fresh oblations of life force or prana, distilled from the inhaling breath. This practice enables the devotee to dispel the illusion of growth and decay of the body as flesh; he then realizes it as made of lifetrons.
The body of the Kriya Yogi is recharged with extra energy distilled from breath and reinforced by the tremendous dynamo of energy generated in the spine; the decay of bodily tissues decreases. This lessens and ultimately makes unnecessary the blood-cleansing function of the heart. When the pulsating life of the heart pump becomes quiet, owing to nonpumping of venous blood, exhalation and inhalation are no longer needed. The life force, which was dissipated in cellular, nervous, respiratory, and heart action, withdraws from the external senses and organs and unites with the current in the spine. The Kriya Yogi then learns how to commingle the upwardly flowing life current (prana) into the downwardly flowing current (apana) and commingle the downwardly flowing current (apana) into the upwardly flowing current (prana). He thus neutralizes the dual movement, and by will power withdraws both currents into one revealing sphere of spiritual light at the point between the eyebrows. This light of pure life energy scintillates from the cerebrospinal centers directly to all the bodily cells, magnetizing them, arresting decay and growth, and making them vitally self-sustained, independent of breath or any external source of life.
So long as this light is flowing up and down as the two battling currents of prana and apana—the breaths of inhalation and exhalation—they lend their life and light to the sensory perceptions, and to the mortal processes of growth and decay.
But when the yogi can neutralize the downward and upward pull of the spinal currents, and
can withdraw all life force from the senses and sensory motor nerves,
and can keep the life force still at the point between the eyebrows,
the cerebral light gives the yogi life control or power over prana (Kriya Yoga pranayama).

Life force withdrawn from the senses becomes concentrated into a steady inner light in which Spirit and Its Cosmic Light are revealed.
Kriya Yoga pranayama the scientific method of neutralization of breath, has nothing in common with the foolish practice of trying to control life current by forcible retention of breath in the lungs—an unscientific, unnatural, and harmful practice. Anyone holding the breath for a few minutes in the lungs feels pain, suffocation, and heart strain. This adverse bodily effect should be sufficient proof that yogis would not recommend such unnatural practices. Certain teachers do advise unscientific, not to say impossible, lone retention of breath in the lungs—a practice completely tabooed by God-enlightened yogis.
Yoga, the highest knowledge of mankind, is not a cult nor a dogmatic belief, but rather commends itself to the greatest scientists of the East and the West.
True kumbhaka, or the retention of the breath mentioned in enlightened yoga treatises, refers not to the forcible holding of the breath in the lungs, but to the natural breathlessness brought about by scientific pranayama, which renders breathing unnecessary.
Kriya Yoga is referred to obliquely in several scriptures and yoga treatises as Kevali Pranayama or Kevala Kumbhaka—true pranayama or life control that has transcended the need for inhalation (puraka) and exhalation (rechaka); breath is transmuted into inner life-force currents under the complete control of the mind.
["When the breath stops effortlessly, without either rechaka (exhalation) or puraka (inhalation), that is called Kevala Kumbhaka."—Hatha-Yoga Pradipika, 11:73.
"The aspirant who can perform Kevali Kumbhaka, he only is the true knower of Yoga."—Gheranda Samhita, V:95.
"One who is adept in Kevala Kumbhaka, which has no rechaka and puraka, he has nothing unattainable in the three worlds."—Siva Samhita 111:46-47.
]
Of the various stages of pranayama breathlessness (kumbhaka), Kevali is extolled by adept yogis as the best or highest. Though in principle it may be equated with Kriya Yoga, Kevali Pranayama is not as explicit as the specific Kriya Yoga science and technique revived and clarified for this age by Mahavatar Babaji and given to the world through Lahiri Mahasaya. (pg.499-505)
Kriya Produces Conscious Ecstasy
When by Kriya Yoga mortal breath disappears scientifically from the lungs, the yogi consciously experiences, without dying, the death process by which energy is switched off from the senses (causing the disappearance of the body consciousness and the simultaneous appearance of the soul consciousness). Unlike the ordinary man, the yogi realizes that his life is not conditioned by exhalation and inhalation, but that the steady life force in the brain is continuously reinforced through the medulla from the omnipresent cosmic current. Even mortal man during the nightly state of sleep rises psychologically above the consciousness of breath; his life force then partially becomes still and reveals a glimpse of the soul as the deep joy of sleep. The breathless yogi, however, realizes the state of conscious "death" as a far deeper and more blessed state than that bestowed by the deepest blissful semi-superconscious sleep. When breath ceases in the Kriya Yogi, he is suffused with an incomparable bliss. He realizes then that it is the storm of human breath that is responsible for the creation of the dream wave of the human body and its sensations; it is breath that causes body consciousness.
St. Paul said:
"I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily"
(I Corinthians 15:31) (live daily without breath).

St. Paul was able by life-force control—through Kriya or a similar technique—to dissolve the consciousness of his dream body into the everlasting rejoicing of the Christ Consciousness.
When with cessation of breath and the quieting of the heart the life force is switched off from the senses, the mind becomes detached and interiorized, able at last to perceive consciously the inner astral worlds and supernal spheres of divine consciousness.
In the first stages of ecstasy by Kriya Yoga, the yogi perceives the soul blessedness. By higher ecstasies that come as a result of complete mastery of the breathless state, he realizes the physical body to be made of lifetrons that are surrounded by a halo of grosser electroatomic cells. The yogi perceives the illusion of the body dream dematerialize into the reality of God. By experiencing the reality of the body as prana or lifetrons, controlled by the thought of God, the yogi becomes one with Him. With that divine consciousness the yogi is able to create, preserve, or dematerialize the dream atoms of his body or of any other object in creation. Attaining this power, the yogi has the option of leaving his physical dream body on earth to gradually disintegrate into cosmic atoms; or he can keep his dream body on earth indefinitely like Babaji; or, like Elijah, he can dematerialize its dream atoms into the Divine Fire. Elisha witnessed the body of Elijah become etheric, ascending in a chariot of fiery atoms and lifetrons commingled with the cosmic light of God. His luminous physical and astral dream bodies and his causal body and soul merged into Cosmic Consciousness.
('And it came to pass, as they [Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven... and he saw him no more" (II Kings 2:11,12).)
A Kriya Yogi should have exact understanding of the rationale of the yogic science that is recommended in this stanza of the Bhagavad Gita. An explanation of the dream state will be helpful. A man sees himself in a dream; the power of his mind creates the consciousness of a real physical body. Similarly, by materializing His thought, the Lord has made dream men walking about a dream creation in dream bodies of flesh. The body is nothing but a materialized dream of God.
The Lord surrounded man's soul first with an idea body. Then He encased the idea body with a very fine or subtle light (the astral body). The third or final encasement was the electroatomic dream body, the illusion of a fleshly form. The reason, therefore, that the Gita advises devotees to practice the pranayama life-control technique is to enable them to realize that the body is made not of flesh, but of life force condensed from the thought of God.
When by the proper pranayama technique of meditation the concentrated Kriya Yogi distills life force from breath and reinforces the prana already present in the body cells and cerebrospinal centers, then even the yogi-beginner occasionally sees his spiritual eye of light. By deeper practice of Kriya Yoga or breathlessness, he perceives his astral body. Finally he is able to see his physical body as an electroatomic structure, an emanation in grosser form (by denser vibratory force) of the fine rays of the astral body.
By further advancement the yogi realizes the astral body with its texture of light to be an "idea" or materialized thought of God. When he has fully understood the ideational body, he is able to withdraw his consciousness from the three bodily prisons and unite himself as soul with the dreamless blessedness of God.
This, then, is the reason the practice of Kriya Yoga pranayama or life-control technique is imperative if man would transcend the delusion of the body as an exasperating mass of flesh and bones. (pg.505-507)
Kriya Yoga in The Bhagavad Gita (V:27-28)
A muni—he who holds liberation as the sole object of life and therefore frees himself from longings, fears, and wrath—controls his senses, mind, and intelligence and removes their external contacts by (a technique of) making even (or "neutralizing") the currents of prana and apana that manifest (as inhalation and exhalation) in the nostrils. He fixes his gaze at the middle of the two eyebrows (thus converting the dual current of the physical vision into the single current of the omniscient astral eye). Such a muni wins complete emancipation.
— The Bhagavad Gita V:27-28

In this two stanzas and in IV:29, the Gita leaves behind all abstractions and generalizations, and mentions the specific technique of salvation—Kriya Yoga.
A muni (literally, "united with the One") is a yogi who can withdraw his consciousness at will from external sense objects and from mental attractions toward them. The epithet muni is here applied to an accomplished yogi who by the technique of Kriya Yoga has succeeded in dissolving his mind in the Infinite Bliss. A muni's only goal is to ascend to the Cosmic Spirit from which the soul has descended. By discrimination the muni watches the soul (identified with the human ego by sense slavery) undergoing innumerable physical and mental miseries. His goal is to convert the ego into the pure soul by scientifically disengaging the mind and intellect from the senses.
How Kriya Yoga Imparts Soul-Realization

By the special technique of Kriya Yoga, the ingoing breath of prana and the outgoing breath of apana are converted into cool and warm currents. In the beginning of the practice of Kriya Yoga, the devotee feels the cool prana current going up the spine and the warm apana current going down the spine, in accompaniment with the ingoing and outgoing breath. The advanced Kriya Yogi finds that the inhaling breath of prana and the exhaling breath of apana have been "evened"—neutralized or extinguished; he feels only the cool current of prana going up through the spine and the warm current of apana going down through the spine.
These subtle specialized currents of prana and apana are born of the ubiquitous prana or intelligent life force that creates and sustains the body. (See IV:29-30.) The prana or crystallizing current is connected with the ingoing breath; it is the specific medium by which the oxygen in the ingoing breath is converted into life force. The apana or eliminating current (which removes the impurities of the body) manifests as the outgoing breath that rids the body of poisonous carbon dioxide gas.

Man's body of gross matter consists of tissues, constructed of molecules. Molecules are made of atoms; atoms are formed by electrons and protons. Electrons and protons consist of intelligent life force— prana or "lifetrons." Lifetrons can be further resolved into their source, the "thoughtrons" of God.

"In the beginning was the Word (cosmic vibration, the creative life energy or vibratory thoughts of God), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by him (the Word); and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1,3.)
"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1:3) That is, God's thought vibrated into the light of cosmic life or cosmic prana; and cosmic prana was further materialized into electrons, protons, atoms, molecules, cells, and matter. Even as in a motion picture the illusions of solid earth, or water, or sunlight, or electricity, or gas, or atomic explosions, or manifestations of life and thought in men are all vibrations of light and shadows, so this earth with its solids, liquids, gases, energy, life, and thoughts in human beings are all vibrations and relativities of God's thoughts and His cosmic light and the shadows of His delusive maya.
The cosmic thought of God thus first materialized as the cosmic prana or life force of light, and finally as all matter of the macrocosm. The body of man is a microcosm of the Lord's creation. The microcosmic human body is a composite of the individual soul and life force.
Consciousness, life, and flesh;
cosmic consciousness, cosmic life, and cosmic matter
are nothing but three different vibrations of God-thought.
Converting Breath into Life Force
When the Kriya Yogi learns to dissolve the ingoing and outgoing breath into a perception of the cool and warm currents going up and down the spine, he then feels his body as sustained by these inner currents of life force and not by their by-product of breath. He also realizes that the currents are sustained by the Word, the divine vibratory cosmic light of prana, that enters the body through the medulla. This life force becomes concentrated in and operative through the cerebral, medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal centers that energize the body to its minutest cells.
Jesus testified that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4.) This memorable passage signifies that man's body does not depend only on external sources of life force—distillations from; breath, oxygen, sunshine, solids, and liquids—but also on a direct inner source of cosmic life that enters the body through the medulla, flowing then to the subtle centers in the brain and spine. In man, the medulla is spoken of as "the mouth of God" because it is the chief opening for the divine influx of cosmic vibratory life force, the "word" that then flows "out of the mouth of God" (the medulla) to the reservoir of life energy in the brain and the distributing centers in the spine.
In successful meditation, the Kriya Yogi converts the two distinct impulses of inhalation and exhalation into two life currents, the cool prana and the warm apana, felt in the spine. He then realizes the truth of Jesus' saying—that man is not required to depend on external breath (or on "bread" or any other outward sustenance) as a condition of bodily existence. The yogi perceives the cool and warm currents in the spine to be constantly and magnetically pulling an extra voltage of current from the omnipresent cosmic life force ever flowing through the medulla. He gradually finds that these two spinal currents become converted into one life force, magnetically drawing reinforcements of prana from all the bodily cells and nerves. This strengthened life current flows upward to the point between the eyebrows and is seen as the tricolored spherical astral eye: a luminous sun, in the center of which is a blue sphere encircling a bright scintillating star. Jesus referred to this "single" eye in the center of the forehead, and to the truth that the body is essentially formed of light, in the following words: "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." (Matthew 6:22.)
When the yogi is able to penetrate his mind into the spiritual eye, he perceives his body as made not of flesh but of minute light-cells of protons and electrons and lifetrons. The physical body is formed from two layers of currents: atomic currents appearing as flesh, and a more subtle layer of electrons and protons. The electroprotonic body in turn emanates from the pranic light-currents of the superfine astral body. The whole astral body of man consists of various densities of light, even as a physical body is built up of the different tissues of the skin, flesh, bones, and internal organs. Through his spherical eye the Kriya Yogi sees his astral body as made of lifetrons—the pranic astral cells. He perceives that the Cosmic Sunlight of Life reflects Its rays through the astral spiritual eye into the astral brain and astral plexuses and astral nerve-tubes (nadis) to sustain the astral body cells. He sees also that his physical body is nothing but a coarser light of electrons, protons, and atoms emanating from his finer astral body. By further advancement the yogi perceives both his physical and astral bodies to be emanating from his causal or ideational body, which is composed of the coordinated thoughtrons of God. (pg.569-573)
Experiencing Body, Life Force, and Mind as Vibrations
This knowledge is necessary to understand that the body and life force and mind which form the encasement of the soul are in reality nothing more than differently vibrating thoughts of God. By the practice of Kriya, the yogi scientifically detaches his mind from gross sensory perceptions and realizes that consciousness and life force (prana or cosmic light) are the basis of all matter. The Kriya Yogi adopts a scientific method to divert his mind and reason from the perception of physical flesh; he perceives the body as light and consciousness by rising above the gross perception of breath.
All inner experiences like that of subconscious sleep can only take place when the consciousness of breath disappears. The Kriya Yogi has no need or desire to withhold breath forcibly in the lungs; he becomes mentally so calm that he feels himself to be aloof from breath. By the practice of Kriya Yoga he can consciously and at will attain the breathless state and sustain life in his body solely by the cool and warm currents flowing through the spine and trickling down from the spiritual eye.
If a wet battery, which is sustained by electricity and dependent on replenishment of its water supply (in an old type battery it was necessary to regularly add water to wet batteries to replace that which was lost in evaporation) could somehow be converted into a dry battery, it could do away with dependence on water and be sustained by its own reservoir of energy recharged solely by electricity. Kriya Yoga similarly helps the body-battery (which depends on cosmic life force flowing through the medulla, and on oxygen, sunshine, liquids, and solids) to become converted so that it can sustain itself solely on the life force flowing into the body from the cosmic source and stored in the regenerative reservoir of life energy in the brain and spinal centers.
The use of Kriya Yoga conclusively proves the truth in the Bible— that man's body-battery can live by the Word or vibratory current coming from God. The life in the body is directly sustained by the cosmic prana flowing through the medulla. Through the operation of maya or delusion, however, man believes that he cannot live without food and other outward aids. He becomes erroneously dependent on the gross sources of energy reinforcement through oxygen, sunshine, solids, and liquids. Man has formed a bad mortal habit in feeling that he cannot exist without a supply of energy from these material substances. That is why, if oxygen, sunshine, solids, and liquids are denied to the body, man's frightened consciousness permits the life force to depart.
Neutralizing the Current of Prana and Apana
When the devotee is convinced by Kriya Yoga that he can live solely by the inner source of cosmic energy, he realizes that the body is a wave of the all-sufficing cosmic ocean of life. By the special technique of Kriya Yoga, the devotee—through perfect calmness, through a greater supply of energy distilled from oxygen in the Kriya breath, and through an enhanced flow of cosmic energy coming into the body through the medulla—is less and less subject to the necessity for breathing. By deeper Kriya Yoga the bodily life, ordinarily dependent on reinforcement by life force distilled from gross outer sources, begins to be sustained by the cosmic life only; then breathing (inhalation and exhalation) ceases. All the trillions of bodily cells become like regenerating dry batteries needing nothing but the inner "electricity" recharged from the cosmic source of life.
The Breathless State of Ecstasy
In this way the bodily cells remain in a suspended state—that is, they neither grow nor decay. They are sustained and vitalized directly from the life-energy dynamos in the brain and spine. When the cells cease to grow, they are not required to depend on the life current distilled from oxygen; when decay ceases in the body, the cells no longer excrete impurities into the blood necessitating exhalation of the breath to expel carbon dioxide. Being no longer required to pump carbon dioxide-laden and oxygen-filled blood to and from the lungs, the heart becomes totally calmed.
Breath and breathing are acquired mortal habits of the life force. Kriya Yoga retrains the life force to remember that it lives only by the cosmic source. Pranayama, or Kriya Yoga, signifies one thing—controlling the life force in the body by conscious will so that it does not depend on oxygen, sunshine, solids, and liquids but on the inner source of cosmic life. Kriya Yoga pranayama withdraws life force from the activities of the heart and the body cells—by rendering those activities unnecessary—and unites that bodily prana with the cosmic life force; man's slavish dependence on breath is thus realized to be delusory. When the yogi-expert in pranayama can thus disengage at will the life force from its bondage to oxygen and so on, he can immortalize it by uniting it with the Cosmic Life.
This stanza of the Gita highlights the necessity of neutralizing or "making even" the currents of prana and apana. This effect is made possible by the practice of Kriya Yoga, which recharges the body cells by the inner cosmic life so that inhalation and exhalation become even—that is, still and unnecessary.
The life, mind, and intellect are active in the body and its senses when the life current flows outwardly through the afferent and efferent nerves as a result of the downflowing apana current. This outflowing current is "uneven," restless and erratic from the bombardment of impulses to and from the nerve centers—stimuli that constantly vary during the states of wakefulness and sleep. But when the life current is withdrawn into the spine and brain, this interiorization frees the life force from the excitants of the senses and their objects. The prana and apana currents flowing in the spine become calm and even, generating a tremendous magnetic power and joy. (pg.573-575)
Uniting Individual Consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness
As the meditation deepens the downward-flowing apana current and the upward-flowing prana current become neutralized into one ascending current, seeking its source in the cerebrum. Breath is still, life is still, sensations and thoughts are dissolved. The divine light of life and consciousness perceived by the devotee in the cerebrospinal-centers becomes one with the Cosmic Light and Cosmic Consciousness.
Acquisition of the power of this realization enables the yogi to consciously detach his soul from identification with the body. He becomes free from the distressing bondage of desires (the body's attachment and longing for sensory gratification), fears (the thought of possible nonfulfillment of desires), and anger (the emotional response to obstacles that thwart fulfillment of desires). These three impelling forces in man are the greatest enemies of soul bliss; they must be destroyed by that devotee who aspires to reach God.
Life force is the connecting—and disconnecting—link between matter and Spirit, between body consciousness and soul consciousness. The ordinary man does not know how to get at the bodily prana directly. Therefore, this life force works automatically to enliven the body and senses and by the medium of breath ties man's attention solely to his physical existence. But by the use of Kriya Yoga the devotee learns how to distill life force out of breath, and how to control prana. With this control, the life force can be switched off at will from the five sense channels and turned inward, thus diverting the soul's attention from the perception of material phenomena to the perception of Spirit.
By this scientific step-by-step method, the yogi ascends from the senses in actuality and not by a mere ineffectual mental diversion from them. He completely disconnects mind and reason and attention from the body, by switching off the life force from the five senses. He learns scientifically to divert to the spine and brain the currents from his five sense channels and thus to unite his consciousness with the joy of higher spiritual perceptions in the seven centers. When he is able to remain immersed in divine bliss even in his active state, he does not become further involved in desires to enjoy external objects. Radiating the calmness of divine realizations, he is not disturbed by the springing up of fear and anger from nonfulfillments of material desires. He finds his soul no longer tied to matter but forever united to the cosmic bliss of Spirit.
Such a Kriya Yogi, who scientifically withdraws his mind and intellect from the senses and with unwinking gaze beholds the Spirit through the astral eye, is a true muni. The ordinary man watches the motion picture of matter in a limited portion of space, but the muni or accomplished yogi can behold, through his all-seeing spherical astral eye, the entire light of creation that sustains all the cosmic motion pictures of the physical, astral, and causal universes.
Universal Path of Liberation
Methods of spiritual freedom are various, but the actual attainment of liberation by ascent through the spine is universal. Whether through the intense devotion and prayer of the bhakta, or the pure discrimination of the jnani, or the nonattached selfless actions of the karma yogi, the consciousness purified and concentrated thereby still makes its final ascent to God through the subtle spinal channels through which it descended into flesh. The principles of Kriya Yoga, therefore, are not the formula of a sectarian rite, but a science through the application of which the individual may realize how his soul descended into the body and became identified with the senses, and how that soul may be withdrawn from the senses and reunited with Spirit by a scientific method of meditation. This route of descent and ascension is the one universal path that every soul must travel.
Kriya Yoga teaches first to withdraw the mind from sensory objects by self-control, and then scientifically to disconnect the mind and intelligence (manas and buddhi) from the senses by switching off the life force from the five sense channels, and then to take the ego, mind, and intellect through the five astral centers in the spine, through the sixth center (the medulla, which is magnetically connected with the spiritual eye in the middle of the forehead), and finally into the seventh center of omniscience in the middle of the cerebrum. The Kriya Yogi there attains perception of his self as soul, and finds his ego, intellect, and mind to be dissolved in soul ecstasy. He then learns how to take his soul from the prisons of the physical, astral, and causal bodies, and to reunite the soul with Spirit.
As the physical eyes, through frontal vision, reveal a portion of matter, so the omnipresent spiritual eye, through its boundless spherical vision, reveals the entire astral and ideational cosmoses. In the beginning, when the yogi is able to penetrate his mind through the astral eye, he first sees his astral body; by further advancement he sees the entire astral cosmos of which his body is but a part.
Without entering the spiritual (astral) eye, no one can know how to take his life force and consciousness through the astral plexuses in the spine. After entering the spiritual eye he passes, in a step-by-step way, through the perception of the physical body; the perception of the astral eye; the perception of the astral body; the perception of the astral cerebrospinal tunnel with the seven astral plexuses or trapdoors; and through the causal body into final freedom.
It requires intricate scientific explanation to interpret Kriya Yoga, but the art itself is very simple. (Detailed instruction in the actual techniques of Kriya Yoga is given to students of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons who fulfill the requirements of certain preliminary spiritual disciplines.) Kriya Yoga, practiced deeply, will dissolve breath into mind, mind into intuition, intuition into the joyous perception of soul, and soul into the cosmic bliss of Spirit. The yogi then understands how his soul descended into matter and how his prodigal soul has been led from matter back to the mansion of omnipresence, there to enjoy the "fatted calf" of wisdom.
A man who has attained the Spirit by the universal way of Kriya Yoga is spoken of as an accomplished Kriya Yogi or a muni. After attaining this high muni-state the yogi can work in the world as a rishi. A muni is he who has ecstatically dissolved himself in God by the science of yoga. And a rishi is he who, after finding liberation as a muni, goes on to live in the world as an example to others of the effectiveness of yoga as the supreme science of liberation.
The science of Kriya Yoga has been preserved for mankind in this the highest Hindu Bible, the Bhagavad Gita. It is this Kriya Yoga that God gave to Manu, the original Adam, and through him to Janaka and other royal sages. The science became lost in the materialistic ages. Kriya Yoga was revived again in the nineteenth century by Mahavatar Babaji, guru of Lahiri Mahasaya. The ancient science of salvation is now spreading to all corners of the globe. (See IV: 1-2.) In contradistinction to other teachings, Kriya Yoga not only points out a universal highway of ascending the soul to the Spirit, but gives mankind a daily usable technique through whose practice the devotee, with the help of a guru, may reenter the kingdom of God. One theoretical teaching leads only to another, but any true practitioner of Kriya Yoga finds it to be the shortest way and quickest conveyance to the kingdom of Spirit. (pg.576-578)
AUM (OM)
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Cosmic Sound
With serenity and fearlessness, with steadfastness in brahmacharya, with the mind controlled, with the thoughts centered on Me, the yogi should sit, meditating on Me as the Final Goal.
— The Bhagavad Gita VI:14
God manifests in creation as the Cosmic Vibration, which expresses itself as Cosmic Sound and Cosmic Light. The Cosmic Sound or Aum is the synthesis of all the sounds of the highly vibrating life forces (lifetrons), electrons, protons, and atoms. By listening to Aum, the yogi becomes a true brahmachari or one who is attuned to Brahman. By deep concentration the devotee can hear Aum at any time and in any place.
The Cosmic Sound is spoken of in the Christian Bible as follows: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."[John 1:1] The Word or Aum came from God; He manifests as the Cosmic Vibration in creation. The Bible also refers to the Word as the Holy Ghost or intelligent ghostlike unseen vibration that is the creator of all forms of matter. It is called Holy Ghost because this Invisible Force is guided by the Christ Intelligence that exists in creation as the reflection or "sole begotten Son" of the transcendental God the Father. Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Ghost or the great Comforter would come to his disciples after his bodily departure from the earth. [John 1:1; John 14:26] Kriya Yoga is a fulfillment of that blessed promise of Christ, as it gives the peoples of the world a scientific technique for contacting the Holy Sound.
St. John spoke of the Cosmic Sound. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet"; i.e., "I was in spiritual ecstasy with the Lord and heard behind my conscious, subconscious, and superconscious minds a voice like that of a great trumpet, the great commingled Cosmic Sound coming out of the 'thrum’ of lifetrons, protons, electrons, and atoms." [Revelation 1:10]
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Aum (Om) is spoken of as the symbol of Ishvara or God. This great authority on yoga refers to Aum as a Cosmic Sound continuously flowing in the ether, unutterable by any human voice, and fully known only to the illuminated. Further, Patanjali says that deep concentration on Aum is a means of liberation. Many people who do not understand the inward meaning of the scriptures think that by softly or loudly chanting Aum they can reach the superconsciousness. The Hindu scriptures, however, point out that one whose mind is identified with the kaya or body cannot possibly perceive the true Aum sound. (…) In point of fact, none can escape a constant communion with Aum, for it pervades the consciousness and every fiber and atom of every being. Those who become consciously attuned to the omnipresent Cosmic Vibration receive untold blessings.
The scriptures classify ordinary chanting as
(1) repeated loud utterance of the word Aum,
(2) repetitions of
Aum in whispers, and
(3) continuous chanting of
Aum in one's mind, listening to it mentally.
Superconscious chanting, however, is that in which the mind is deeply directed to the repetition of, and the actual profound listening to, the Cosmic Sound as it vibrates in the ether. This is the true way of contacting God as He is expressed in creation.
The cosmic Aum sound is the combined vibration of the three phases of Nature: creation, preservation, and dissolution operative in the physical, astral, and causal universes. The vocal chanting of Aum should be intoned first in a high pitch, representing creation; then in a lower pitch, representing preservation; then in a still lower tone that gradually fades away, representing dissolution. The chanting should be first loudly, then softly, and then gently until it is inaudible, or mental only.
The real, or superconscious, chanting of Aum, however, consists not in an imitative vocalization of Aum, but in actually hearing the Holy Sound. All physical sounds are transmitted through the medium of ether; but although Aum vibrates in the ether—which is the background of all manifested activity—the Aum sound vibrates independently of the etheric medium. It is thus referred to as anahata-nada (a sound produced otherwise than by being beaten or struck—that is, without detonation) because it manifests in the yogi's intuition without striking his eardrum through the medium of ether—as with physical sounds. Aum, being a spiritual vibration, is not heard physically, but felt spiritually Patanjali meant that only that yogi can attain God whose mind is superconsciously fixed on the Cosmic Sound, the external Divine Manifestation. Such a yogi is an accomplished brahmachari. His heart is overflowing with the sacred joy that follows perception of Aum. When a devotee experiences the bliss of God (the comfort of the Holy Ghost) behind the Cosmic Sound, his heart becomes serene; he loses all fear of ever being diverted from his exalted state or of becoming entangled in material sensations. A yogi who has united his soul with the Cosmic Sound and thereby experiences its ineffable bliss is spoken of as united to the Lord. His heart, filled with divine joy, is no longer subject to likes and dislikes, as is the ordinary person's heart during the contacts with matter and its essential oppositional states.
An avowed man of renunciation, fearlessly, with serene heart and controlled mind, can think of God as his Supreme Goal. But in a higher state the yogi becomes one with God; having found the Lord through Aum and Its pratipadya (the cosmic bliss that follows after the perception of the Cosmic Sound or Holy Ghost), he achieves complete liberation.
The Holy Ghost is spoken of by the Hindus as Aum, by the Muslims as Amin, and by the Christians as Amen or the Word. In Revelation 3:14 we find this definition: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." This Amen is the Cosmic Sound which, as a divine witness, faithfully accompanies all vibratory creation from its beginning—even as sound accompanies or declares the running of a motor. In other 'words, Amen or Aum is an "ear-witness" that declares, as accessible to Kali devotees, the tangible presence in all creation of the Creator.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the Christian Bible, and the greatest book on yoga (Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) unanimously declare the Cosmic Sound to be the outward manifestation or witness of the Lord in creation. Krishna, Jesus, and Patanjali all taught that man must receive the Holy Ghost (the Comforter) in order to reach the Christ Intelligence within it and God the Father existing beyond it (beyond Aum or vibratory creation). All souls have descended into matter from God the Father beyond creation, God the Son or Christ Intelligence, and God the Holy Ghost. Every soul has therefore to ascend to the Spirit (Unmanifested Absolute) through the stages of Its triune manifestation— Holy Ghost, Son, and Father (Aum-Tat-Sat of the Hindu scriptures). (pages 614-617)
He who knows Aum (Om) knows God

"Aum-Tat-Sat" is considered to be the triple designation of Brahman (God). By this power were created, in the beginning, the Brahmins (knowers of Brahman), the Vedas, and the sacrificial rites.
— Srimad Bhagavad Gita XVII:23

The Unmanifested, The Infinite, the Changeless Spirit is called Para-Brahman: the One Absolute. But during the cycles of manifestation, the Nameless and Formless is described as Aum-Tat-Sat (or, of Sat-Tat-Aum)—so designated by the ancient sages. In the Christian Bible Sat-Tat-Aum is spoken of as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Aum (the Devine "Word" of Srimad Bhagvad Gita) is God the Holy Ghost, Invisible Vibratory Power, the direct creator and activator of all creation.
Tat ("That") is Kutastha Cosmic Intelligence actively present in all creation.
Sat ("Being, Truth") is God the Father, beyond creation, existing in vibrationless unchangeability.
As the calm ocean without waves and the ocean with waves in tumult are one and the same in essence, differing only in appearance, so also the Unmanifested Sea of Spirit (Parabrahman) and the Manifested Sea of Spirit (Aum-Tat-Sat) are the selfsame Sole Reality, differing only in form.
God as Sat is the Father of creation (Ishvara), though He exists beyond it. God as Tat is the Son or Christ (Krishna or Kutastha) Intelligence that pervades the universe. God as Aum is the Creative Vibration that upholds the worlds through Prakriti, Mother Nature, His consort. It is the macrocosmic triple conception that has established itself in the microcosmic human relationship of father and mother and their reflection in their offspring.
Man displays in himself the three divine manifestations. His body is the result of Aum or vibratory forces. His Christ Intelligence or Tat exists in his omniscient spiritual eye between the eyebrows. This Intelligence, individualized as his soul, is a reflection of Cosmic Consciousness or Sat residing in the thousand-petaled lotus in the brain.
These three measures of Spirit incarnate in man "from the beginning" are the Brahmins, Sat, "knowers of God," the soul; the Vedas, Tat, the soul's intuitive all-knowing intelligence; and the sacrificial rites, Aum, the vibratory life that creates and preserves the body, empowering it to perform its divine and dutiful rituals of existence—including the ultimate sacrificial rites of yoga (one of which is meditation on Aum) that reunite the soul with Spirit. By this inherence, indigenous in the coming-forth of mortal beings, the Lord has endowed to man the way and the means—and the irrevocable assurance—of salvation.
All yogis who perform the sacrificial rite of listening to the omnipresent holy vibration of Aum attain cosmic perception, Veda, and by this expanding blessedness ascend to cosmic consciousness and become Self-realized souls, the true Brahmins or "knowers of Brahman."
Aum of the Vedas became the sacred word Hum of the Tibetans, Amin of the Moslems, and Amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians. Amen in Hebrew means "sure, faithful." Aum is the all-pervading sound emanating from the Holy Ghost as it performs its work of creating and maintaining the universal structure. Aum is the voice of creation, testifying to the Divine Presence in every atom.
"These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." [Revelation 3:14.]
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him (the Word or Aum)' and without him was not any thing made that was made." [John 1:1,3.]
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." [Romans 10:17.]
"He who knows Aum (Om) knows God." 
—Patanjali
[Patanjali was great sage of ancient India, author of Yoga Sutras:
]
Aum is the divinely empowered creator of all things; it manifests itself as cosmic light and cosmic sound. As the ocean roar is a conglomerated sound of all waves and is manifested in each wave, so the cosmic sound and the cosmic light are the aggregate of all animate and inanimate creation, and are manifested in each man as the light of life and may be heard by him as the astral sound of Aum.
Each seeker who wants liberation from the world of delusion must pass through the sphere of the Holy Ghost vibration and the sphere of Christ Intelligence before he can reach God the Father beyond the phenomenal worlds. "No man cometh unto the Father (Cosmic Consciousness), but by me (Christ Consciousness)." These words were spoken by Jesus from his oneness with the Infinite Christ Intelligence:
"Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." [John 14:6,11.]
Jesus promised to send to his disciples the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to speed them on their way to Self-realization. An advanced devotee can hear the sound of Aum in his body and can see its light in his spiritual eye. After he has become acquainted with these two limited manifestations, in the bodily sound and in his spiritual eye, then, by further spreading of his consciousness in Omnipresence, he sees his small spherical eye of light expand into a cosmic sphere whose luminosity conflagrates the whole universe.
Similarly, as the devotee listens to Pranava, the holy sound of Aum, he forgets the restrictions of the human body and of space and can feel the Aum of his body vibrating into a perception of his cosmic body. He feels his consciousness vibrating everywhere with the ever expanding Aum sound. In ecstasy he suddenly sees his body as an atom or cell in the cosmic body. Perceiving the cosmic body as his own, he feels in it the cosmic Aum sound (see verse 24) and the Christ Intelligence (see verse 25). By further advancement he becomes conscious of his presence not only in all creation but with God the Father beyond creation (see verses 26-27).
Real Understanding of Aum

Therefore the acts of the followers of Brahman—sacrifice, gift-giving, and austerities as enjoined by the scriptures—are always started with the chanting of "Aum.” — Srimad Bhagavad Gita XVII:24
Audible utterance of "Aum" produces a sense of sacredness, even as a devotee feels awe at the sound of the word "God." At the beginning of all acts and rituals, repetition of the holy syllable, "Aum," the Pranava, symbol of the Divine, removes the taints and defects that inhere in all human activities, even the highest ones.
However, real understanding of Aum is obtained only by hearing it internally and then becoming one with it in all creation. That is why the ancient sages prohibited the study of the Vedas to those who were kayastha (body-identified) and thus unreceptive to the cosmic sound, Aum.
In the Bible Saint John tells us: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am ' Alpha and Omega, the first and the last"—the omnipresent Aum vibration by which God created the heavens and the earth. Devotees who '' can spiritually commune with Aum and understand its omnipresent significance are able to feel God the Father, beyond creation, manifested in creation as the creative Cosmic Vibration. [Revelation 1:10-11]
All aspiring yogis who would be performers of the inner holy rites of consuming restlessness and delusion in the fire of ecstasy, givers of unconditional devotion to God, and cultivators of true perception through Self-mastery, must begin their progress on the spiritual path by first chanting Aum, and then communing with Aum by hearing this sacred Word-symbol of God present right within the body-temple. (pages 1006-1008)
The Holy Ghost
By the right method of meditation on the Holy Ghost as the light of the spiritual eye and the holy sound of the cosmic vibration of Aum (Om), any persevering devotee, by constant practice, can experience the blessings of the manifested vibratory presence of God. The Sacred Vibration, the Great Comforter, being imbued with the universal, reflected God-consciousness, contains the all-encompassing bliss of God. On the day of Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were filled with the new wine of this Joy coming from the touch of Aum, the comforting Holy Vibration, and they could talk "in diverse tongues." Aum, the Word, the cosmic intelligent Vibratory Sound, is the origin of all sounds and languages. One filled with the Holy Ghost—one who can hear, feel, and spread his consciousness in Aum—can understand and communicate in the diverse tongues of inspirations of men, animals, and atoms. He truly communes with Nature; not as an experience of the senses, but as one united with the Voice of God through which the Creator guides the symbiosis of His beings in an underlying harmony.
All human beings are born of the Creative Vibration of the Holy Ghost; but they are prodigal sons who have left the home of their parental Divine Consciousness and have identified themselves with the finitely limited territory of the human body. The soul feels confinement in the physical, astral, and ideational bodies. At the onset of spiritual awakening, that Self begins to assert its connate desire for freedom from delusion's constraints. The conscious mind should then be taught how to detach the soul consciousness from identification with these three bodies to reclaim its origin in the omnipresent Spirit.
By a guru-given technique of meditation on Aum (Om), such as I have taught to Self-Realization Fellowship students, the sacred Aum vibration of the Holy Ghost can be heard in meditation through the supersensory medium of intuition. First, the devotee realizes Aum as the manifested cosmic energy in all matter. The earthly sounds of all atomic motion, including the sounds of the body—the heart, lungs, circulation, cellular activity—come from the cosmic sound of the creative vibratory activity of Aum. The sounds of the nine octaves perceptible to the human ear, as well as all cosmic low or high vibrations that cannot be registered by the human ear, have their origin in Aum. So also, all forms of light—fire, sunlight, electricity, astral light—are expressions of the primal cosmic energy of Aum.
The Astral Sounds
This Holy Vibration working in the subtle spinal centers of the astral body, sending forth life force and consciousness into the physical body, manifests as wonderful astral sounds—each one characteristic of its particular center of activity. These astral sounds are likened to melodic strains of the humming of a bee, the tone of a flute, a stringed instrument such as a harp, a bell-like or gong sound, the soothing roar of a distant sea, and a cosmic symphony of all vibratory sound. The Self-Realization Fellowship technique of meditation on Aum teaches one to hear and locate these astral sounds. This aids the awakening of the divine consciousness locked in the spinal centers, opening them to "make straight" the way of ascension to God-realization.
As the devotee concentrates on Aum, first by mentally chanting Aum, and then by actually hearing that sound, his mind is diverted from the physical sounds of matter outside his body to the circulatory and other sounds of the vibrating flesh. Then his consciousness is diverted from the vibrations of the physical body to the musical vibrations of the spinal centers of the astral body. His consciousness then expands from the vibrations of the astral body to the vibrations of consciousness in the causal body and in the omnipresence of the Holy Ghost. When the devotee's consciousness is able not only to hear the cosmic sound of Aum, but also to feel its actual presence in every unit of space, in all finite vibrating matter, then the soul of the devotee becomes one with the Holy Ghost. His consciousness vibrates simultaneously in his body, in the sphere of the earth, the planets, the universes, and in every particle of matter, space, and astral manifestation. Through the expanding power of the Holy Ghost, the all-spreading Aum-vibrating sound heard in meditation, the consciousness then becomes immersed, or baptized, in the sacred stream of Christ Consciousness.

These progressively higher states of realization are attained through deeper and longer meditation as guided by the guru. But from the very beginning, the blessings of contact with Aum become increasingly manifest.
Inner Peace and Joy
The uplifting vibrations of "the Comforter" bring profound inner peace and joy. The Creative Vibration vitalizes the individual life force in the body, which conduces to health and well-being, and can be consciously directed as healing power to those in need of divine aid. Being the source of intelligent creativity, the Aum vibration inspires one's own initiative, ingenuity, and will.

Baptism in the vibration of the Holy Ghost loosens the hold of bad habits and wrong desires, and aids in the establishment of good habits and desires—ultimately transmuting desire itself into a singlehearted attraction to blessed contact with God. To know God is not the negation of desires, but rather complete fulfillment. Just as by feeding somebody else one's own hunger cannot be appeased, so the soul can never be satisfied by catering to the senses. The senses crave indulgence, greed, and temptations to excite and amuse them; the soul feels fulfilled only by the calmness, peace, and bliss bestowed by meditation and the moderate use of the sensory instruments.

Ambition for good things, noble achievements, and spiritual work, serving the many, should be instituted to displace selfishness and greed, and the limiting circumscription of sole consideration for one's self and one's immediate family. When undertaken in the thought of God, there is great enjoyment in all good work and achievements.

By contacting God in the world and in meditation, all desires of the heart are fulfilled; for nothing is more worthwhile, more pleasant or attractive than the all-satisfying, ever-new joy of God.
Desire limits the consciousness to the object of desire. Love for all good things as expressions of God expands man's consciousness. One who bathes his consciousness in the Holy Ghost becomes unattached to personal desires and objects while enjoying everything with the joyousness of God within.
In deepest meditation, as practiced by those who are advanced in the technique of Kriya Yoga, the devotee experiences not only expansion in the Aum vibration "Voice from heaven," but finds himself able also to follow the microcosmic light of Spirit in the "straight way" of the spine into the light of the spiritual eye "dove descending from heaven." First, the life force and consciousness must be withdrawn from the senses and bodily restlessness, and must cross the portals of Cosmic Energy represented by the golden ring of the spiritual eye. Then the consciousness must plunge in the blue light representing Christ Consciousness. Then it must penetrate through the silver star opening into Spirit, in the boundless region of Infinity. This golden, blue, and silver light contains all the walls of rays—electronic, atomic, and lifetronic —of Cosmic Vibration through which one has to penetrate before one can reach heaven.
In these highest states of meditation, the body itself becomes spiritualized, loosening its atomic tenacity to reveal its underlying astral structure as life force. The aura often depicted around saints is not imaginative, but the inner divine light suffusing the whole being. By deeper meditation still, the astral body becomes elaborated into ideational body of consciousness. Then as pure wisdom the ideational consciousness transcends the vibrations of the Holy Ghost and becomes immersed in Christ Consciousness, through which it ascends to Cosmic Consciousness, the bosom of God the Father. (The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda, p. 123-125)
If you would like to learn the Aum meditation technique please apply for the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. The technique of meditation on Aum (Om) is taught as preparatory to Kriya Yoga.
HONG-SAU TECHNIQUE OF PRANAYAMA
Excerpts from a talk at 2004 Convocation by Brother Ishtananda:
Hong-Sau — 'I am He'

Hong-Sau is one of those great techniques of yoga for pinpointing the mind. Sri Daya Mata has praised Hong-Sau so much over the years and she says that whenever she has a few moments she practices.
Hong-Sau means "I am He"— "I am Spirit".

“Hong” and “Sau” are sacred Sanskrit words that have a vibratory connection with the incoming and outgoing breath and they have a calming effect on the breath. Breath and mind are very much interrelated. Calm breath automatically brings about a calm mind. Restless breath creates a restless mind. Just observing the breath will quiet it down. Hong-Sau is a mantra. It is very simple – basics are simple!
What to do when thoughts come? St. Teresa of Avila gave good advice:
When unwanted thoughts come, pay no more attention to them than to the words of an idiot.”
If the mind wanders, don’t berate yourself – use it as a reminder to bring it back to the practice of the technique. If during the first few moments of meditation you can get a hold of the mind there will be far less problems. When practiced correctly the breath may slow down - it may even stop – and this is a very desirable state. That is a deep state of stillness. Just enjoy that deep feeling of peace when the breath is not flowing.

Don’t be concerned – the body will breath when it needs to, so don’t fret. And don’t get excited either, thinking, “I did it!!” Just relax and enjoy it. But don’t try to create it. Don’t try to control the breath – that is not practising Hong-Sau. We are trying to be the soul – the silent, conscious witness. Daya Mata says of Hong-Sau: “I didn’t waste my time; I practiced it in spare moments of the day.”
Remember, the techniques are just a means to an end. Don’t waste time. Whenever you have a few moments practise Hong-Sau and then feel the peace – talk to the Guru.
Focus and Enthusiasm: Keys to Deep Meditation
Excerpts from a talk at 1994 Convocation by Brother Achalananda
Paramahansa Yogananda said: "All men and women should remember that their worldly life can be freed from endless physical and mental ills if they add deep meditation to their daily routine of living." Notice that he did not just say meditation, but deep meditation. To go deep in meditation requires focus; it requires concentration. That's why the first technique Guruji gives us is the marvelous Hong-Sau technique of concentration. Its practice intensifies our concentration and therefore our ability to practice all the meditation techniques effectively. In the resulting stillness and calmness we go deeper and deeper within. As all of us know who have made that effort, when we have a deep meditation life seems wonderful. But if we have a lackadaisical meditation, we get up afterward and wonder: "Well, what was I doing? That didn't seem to help at all."
In the beginning of our spiritual search, we're usually full of enthusiasm. We really make effort in our meditations, and often get very good results because of that. But as the years go by, there is a tendency to slacken a little bit and just go through the motions. You sit down to meditate and the mind says, "Oh, it's been a tough day!" And ten minutes later you're still thinking about what a tough day it's been; you haven't even started to meditate. In struggling against this myself, I've found that it can be overcome if I make an effort to get myself charged up for meditation, give myself a good pep talk: "OK, mind, we're going to meditate. I don't want any backtalk from you. Focus on the Hong-Sau technique, and don't even think about wandering off!" Summon up intensity; and you will find that the mind obeys, and you go deep quickly.
Keep on keeping on. That's the whole secret of spiritual success: Never give up! You are a divine soul; and the pressures and stresses you feel can never dim that radiant spark of divinity within you. They are simply challenges to be faced and overcome, joyously! You already have within you everything you need to do so; all you have to do is uncover it. So keep on uncovering; keep on simplifying; keep on going deeper, becoming more and more joyous—with God. (SRF Magazine 1996, Summer)
Further Readings about Hong-Sau: Notes from SRF Convocations
If you would like to learn the Hong-Sau technique please apply for the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. The Hong-Sau technique is taught as preparatory to Kriya Yoga.
Kundalini Awakening
Excerpts from The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
"Serpent Force"
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life"
(John 3:13-15).

This passage is very important, and little understood. Taken literally, the words "lifted up the serpent" are at best a classic scriptural ambiguity. Every symbol has a hidden meaning that must be rightly interpreted.

The word "serpent" here refers metaphorically to man's consciousness and life force in the subtle coiled passageway at the base of the spine, the matterward flow of which is to be reversed for man to reascend from body attachment to superconscious freedom.
As souls we were all originally in God's bosom. Spirit projects the desire to create an individualized expression of Itself. The soul becomes manifest and projects the idea of the body in causal form. The idea becomes energy, or the lifetronic astral body. The astral body becomes condensed into the physical body. Through the integrated spinal passageway of these three instrumental media, the soul descends into identification with the material body and gross matter. (…)
Jesus' words in this passage make clear that all souls who are promoted back to heaven had originally descended from heaven and become entrapped in earthbound desires by the spurious realism of the cosmic drama, but were able to reascend by conquering every delusive attachment to material allurements. Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus emphasizes that what he attained, all may attain. His next remark to Nicodemus shows how.
"Lifting up the serpent" — Kundalini Force
Jesus said that each son of man, each bodily consciousness, must be lifted from the plane of the senses to the astral kingdom by reversing the matterbent outflowing of the life force to ascension through the serpent-like coiled passage at the base of the spine—the son of man is lifted up when this serpentine force is uplifted, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness."*
[* A similar analogy exists in the scriptures of India, citing the serpentine life force at the base of the spine, as described in this Discourse, and the spine itself referred to as meru-danda. Mt. Meru is the loftiest of mythological mountains; and danda, "a rod, a staff," is representative of the spine with its spiritual centers, the crest of which is referred to as the holy Meru, the highest center of divine consciousness. Many yogis honor this symbology by keeping among their sparse ascetic accoutrements a danda, staff, in recognition of the spine as the symbolic scepter of the soul's sovereign power over the kingdom of the body.]
We must reascend, just as Moses, in the spiritual wilderness of silence in which all his desires were no more, lifted his soul from body consciousness into God-consciousness through the same path by which it had descended. Man's physical, astral, and causal bodies are tied together and work as one by a knotting of life force and consciousness in the seven cerebrospinal centers. In descending order, the final tie is a coiled knot at the base of the spine, preventing the ascension of consciousness into the heavenly astral kingdom. Unless one knows how to open this knot of astral and physical power, the life and consciousness remain attracted to the mortal realm, emanating outward into the body and sensory consciousness.
Most energy moves through space in a spiral form—a ubiquitous motif in the macrocosmic and microscopic architecture of the universe. Beginning with galactic nebulae—the cosmic birth-cradle of all matter—energy flows in coiled or circular or vortex-like patterns. The theme is repeated in the orbital dance of electrons around their atomic nucleus, and (as cited in Hindu scriptures of ancient origin) of planets and suns and stellar systems spinning through space around a grand center of the universe. Many galaxies are spiral-shaped; and countless other phenomena in nature—plants, animals, the winds and storms—similarly evidence the invisible whorls of energy underlying their shape and structure.
Kundalini and Chakras
Such is the "serpent force" (kundalini) in the microcosm of the human body: the coiled current at the base of the spine, a tremendous dynamo of life that when directed outward sustains the physical body and its sensory consciousness; and when consciously directed upward, opens the wonders of the astral cerebrospinal centers. When the soul, in its subtle sheaths of causal and astral bodies, enters physical incarnation at the time of conception, the entire body grows from the seed cell formed from the united sperm and ovum, beginning with the first vestiges of the medulla oblongata, brain, and spinal cord. From its original seat in the medulla, the intelligent life energy of the astral body flows downward—activating the specialized powers in the astral cerebrospinal chakras that create and give life to the physical spine, nervous system, and all other bodily organs. When the work of the primal life force in creating the body is complete, it comes to rest in a coiled passage in the lowest, or coccygeal, center. The coiled configuration in this astral center gives to the life energy therein the terminology of kundalini or serpent force (from Sanskrit kundala, "coiled"). Its creative work completed, the concentration of life force in this center is said to be "sleeping" kundalini, for as it emanates outward into the body, continuously enlivening the physical region of the senses—of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and of the earthbound physical creative force of sex—it causes the consciousness to become strongly identified with the delusive dreams of the senses and their domain of activity and desires.
Moses, Jesus, the Hindu yogis, all knew the secret of scientific spiritual life. They unanimously demonstrated that every person who is yet physically minded must master the art of lifting up the serpent force from sensory body consciousness in order to accomplish the first retracing of the inward steps toward Spirit.
Any saint of any religion who has attained God-consciousness has, in effect, withdrawn his consciousness and life force from the sense regions up through the spinal passage and plexuses to the center of God –consciousness in the brain, and thence into omnipresent Spirit. When one is sitting quietly and calmly, he has partially stilled the life force flowing out into the nerves, releasing it from the muscles; for the moment his body is relaxed. But his peace is easily disturbed by any noise or other sensation that reaches him, because the life energy that continues to flow outward through the coiled path keeps the senses operative. (p.269-265)
Kriya Yoga: Life Force Control
In sleep, the astral life forces are withdrawn not only from the muscles but also from the sensory instruments. Every night each man accomplishes a physical withdrawal of the life force, albeit in an unconscious way; the energy and consciousness in the body retire to the region of the heart, spine, and brain, giving man the rejuvenating peace of subconscious contact with the divine dynamo of all his powers, the soul. Why does man feel joy in sleep? Because when he is in the stage of deep, dreamless sleep, unconscious of the body, physical limitations are forgotten and the mind momentarily taps a higher consciousness.
The yogi knows the scientific art of withdrawing consciously from his sensory nerves, so that no outer disturbance of sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell can gain entry into the inner sanctum of his peace-saturated meditation. Soldiers posted for days on the front lines are able to fall asleep despite the constant roar of battle, because of the body's mechanism of unconsciously withdrawing the energy from the ears and other sensory organs. The yogi reasons that this can be done consciously. By knowledge and practice of the definite laws and scientific techniques of concentration, yogis switch off the senses at will—going beyond subconscious slumber into blissful superconscious interiorization.
Though the soul is given periods of freedom from body consciousness at regular intervals in its existence—for a few hours each night, and for a longer respite between physical incarnations during the sleep of death—the unenlightened man inevitably finds that his unfulfilled earthly yearnings stir him once again to the consciousness of the body. When he has sufficiently recovered from his sensory fatigue, the sleeping man's wants cause him to return to wakefulness, just as unfulfilled urges for earthly experiences impel man's reembodiment after a temporary rest in the astral realm between physical incarnations.
The state of subconsciousness, experienced in sleep, thus affords man only partial transcendence. So long as the life force and consciousness remain tied to the body by the activities of heart, lungs, and other vital organs, man cannot enter superconsciousness. The yogi, in the ecstasy of deep meditation, completely switches off the life force and consciousness from the physical body, refocusing on superconscious perception of the soul's invisible heavenly nature of Bliss. Repeated and prolonged sojourns into the sublimity of ecstasy satisfies the devotee's every desire and frees him from earth-binding compulsions with their cycles of reincarnation.
Benefits of Meditation
Whoever cynically thinks that seeking spiritual progress in meditation is a waste of time should reflect on the consummate benefits of being able to lift the consciousness into the elevated states of superconsciousness. In sleep all the dualities and miseries of physical existence are forgotten; indeed, the whole world vanishes into the invisible vastness of subconscious peace. If one learns to produce that mental freedom consciously and at will in samadhi, then when afflicted by suffering or confronted by death he is able to transfer his consciousness to the boundless inner kingdom of bliss, which is secreted behind the wakeful and subconscious minds even as the misery-quelling subconsciousness of sleep is hidden behind the conscious mind.
Every human being has learned to enter subconsciousness in sleep; and everyone can likewise master the art of superconscious ecstasy, with its infinitely more enjoyable and restorative experience than can be gleaned from sleep. That higher state bestows the constant awareness that matter is the frozen imaginings of God, as in sleep our dreams and nightmares are our own ephemeral thought-creations, condensed or "frozen" into visual experiences through the objectifying power of our imagination. A dreaming person does not know that a nightmare is unreal until he wakes up. So also, only by awakening in Spirit—oneness with God in samadhi—can man disperse the cosmic dream from the screen of his individualized consciousness.
Ascension in Spirit is not easy, because when one is conscious of the body he is in the grip of his second nature of insistent moods and habits. Without timidity, one must vanquish the desires of the body. A body-bound "son of man" cannot ascend to heavenly freedom just by talking about it; he has to know how to open the coiled knot of kundalini force at the base of the spine in order to transcend the confinement of the fleshly prison.
Every time one meditates deeply, he automatically helps to reverse the life force and consciousness from matter to God. If the current in the astral knot at the base of the spine is not lifted up by good living, good thoughts, meditation, then materialistic thoughts, worldly thoughts, base thoughts, are emphasized in one's life. With every good act man performs he is "ascending to heaven"—his mind becoming more focused at the Christ Center of heavenly perception; with every evil act he is descending into matter, his attention captivated by the phantoms of delusion.
The True Meaning of Kundalini Awakening
The true meaning of kundalini awakening is little understood. Ignorant teachers often associate kundalini with sex force and enshroud it in mystery to frighten neophytes about the danger of awakening this sacred serpentine power. To confuse the awakening of kundalini with the arousal of sex consciousness is an extremely ridiculous and wholly corrupt conception. On the contrary, in kundalini awakening the yogi's life force is withdrawn from the sensory nerves, particularly those associated with sex, giving him absolute mastery over sensory and sexual temptations.
To think that this kundalini force can be easily awakened or roused by accident is another fallacy. Awakening the kundalini force is exceedingly difficult and cannot be done accidentally. It takes years of concerted meditation under the guidance of a competent guru before one can dream of releasing the heavenly astral body from its bondage to physical confinement by awakening the kundalini. One who is able to awaken the kundalini fast approaches the state of Christhood. Ascension through that coiled pathway opens the spiritual eye of spherical vision, revealing the whole universe surrounding the body, supported by the vibratory light of heavenly powers.
The senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell are like five searchlights revealing matter. As the life energy pours outward through those sensory beams, man is attracted by beautiful faces or captivating sounds or enticing scents, flavors, and tactual sensations. It is natural; but what is natural to the body-bound consciousness is unnatural to the soul. But when that divine life energy is withdrawn from the autocratic senses, through the spinal path into the spiritual center of infinite perception in the brain, then the searchlight of astral energy is cast onto the boundlessness of eternity to reveal the universal Spirit. The devotee is then attracted by the Supernal Supernatural, the Beauty of all beauties, the Music of all music, the Joy of all joys. He can touch Spirit all over the universe and can hear the voice of God reverberating throughout the spheres. The form dissolves in the Formless. The consciousness of the body, confined to a temporal, little form, illimitably expands into the formless, ever-existing Spirit.
Jesus explains that whosoever believes in the doctrine of lifting the bodily consciousness (son of man) from the physical to the astral by reversing the life force through the coiled passage at the base of the spine, will not perish, that is, be subject to mortal changes of life and death, but will gradually acquire the immutable state—Christ Consciousness, the Son of God. (Discourse 14; p. 258-269)
Benefits of Awakening of Kundalini
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew10:16).
Parallel reference:

"Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:3).
"Wherever you go, my consciousness must be manifest in you; keep yourselves always humble, inoffensive, unrevengeful, like meek lambs, even when you are surrounded by ravenous wolves of ruthless, conscienceless people and predacious satanic sense temptations that are everywhere present in worldly environments. Abide at all times in great wisdom and calmness born of the divine realization you have received by awakening your serpent force (the coiled divine energy that rises up in the spine and opens the astral cerebrospinal centers of spiritual perception) and in the peace you have acquired by concentrating your consciousness in the peace-producing, dovelike spiritual eye."
It is not generally understood what Jesus meant when he spoke of being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Ordinary serpents have no wisdom, are quick to anger, and are stupid enough to court their own death by biting people. Doves are not altogether harmless, for they can spread mites and disease. Even though the dove might be traditionally a symbol of peace for its peaceful looks and behavior, the serpent certainly does not look wise or inspiring. Since Jesus was addressing his advanced disciples, he used these words metaphorically, in an esoteric sense.
The Oriental scriptures employ the simile of a serpent to illustrate the kundalini or astral life force in the body, which, when awakened with the help of an advanced technique of Self-realization, passes through a serpentine coiled passage at the base of the spine upward to the highest spiritual centers in the brain, bestowing divine consciousness. The dove symbolizes the tricolored spiritual eye—the mouth of the dove representing the white star in the middle of the spiritual eye; the blue and gold spherical rings surrounding the star symbolizing the wings of the dove.
A person in ordinary consciousness, identified with the minutiae of his little ego's senses, reason, and feeling, perceives himself circumscribed by his body, family, society, country, world, and a certain portion of space. But when by scientific meditation he awakens his serpent force, he reverses the searchlight of his awareness from physical sense consciousness to divine consciousness. Taking his kundalini force upward through the cerebrospinal centers and penetrating his life and consciousness through the spiritual eye, he beholds himself as omnipresent. His perception is restricted no longer to a limited sphere of matter and the sensations in one body, but expands into perception of the infinite reaches of space and awareness of the sensations of all beings.
The devotee who perceives through his spiritual eye his omnipresent existence, who feels an ineffable peace and attunement with every thing and every living creature, and who beholds all selves as manifestations of his own being, becomes harmless to all, equally loving the different parts of his own cosmic body. Awakened in eternal wisdom, the realization of his true Self, he cannot in any way be inwardly disturbed or incited to evil actions no matter how provoked by trials and temptations.
Jesus knew that his advanced disciples had awakened their higher consciousness by rousing the kundalini divine life energy through practice of the methods of meditation he had taught them. Therefore he reminded them to retain the deep wisdom and calmness bestowed by kundalini awakening when confronted with opposition and persecution. Anyone who has lifted up this coiled life energy and thereby elevated his human consciousness into Christ Consciousness by penetrating through the spiritual eye has acquired tremendous miraculous power; such a one could destroy by divine will force his would-be enemies, as well as satanic temptations. That is why Jesus warned his disciples not to use their powerful awakened energy in vengeful retaliation when confronted by the wickedness of erring children of God; but rather to overcome enemies with the celestial power of God's infinite peace and love, with which they were blessed in the baptism of their consciousness by the spiritual eye, the dove of light. (Discourse 41; p. 779-781)
SOUL
Soul is individualized Spirit, which is unmanifested, ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. The soul, as Spirit's reflection, has the same qualities as Spirit, but the soul identifies itself with the three bodily sheaths that cover it — the ideation body or consciousness, the astral body or life force, and the physical body of flesh — and their normal and abnormal conditions.
Each soul must find his way back alone. No one but you is responsible for your mistakes and habits. Once you have found your Self in your soul, you are free. But so long as you are not free, so long is there danger; you will have to come back and work out all the desires that remain unfinished. Your body is mortal but the soul outlasts the body.
The soul always remains unpolluted, like age-long buried gold. All one has to do is wash off the dirt and spiritual rays will shine forth through one's joy.
They say that all the thoughts of all one’s incarnations are reflected in the eyes. The eyes reveal the whole story of the soul, not only of this life but of past lives.
All souls are equal. The only difference between you and me is that I made the effort. I showed God that I love Him, and He came to me. Love it the magnet from which God cannot escape.
In essence, the soul is perfect and complete, an exact reflection of God's ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss. But when incarnate, it takes on the dualistic nature of creation, outwardly expressing primarily either a masculine or feminine, positive or negative, half of its essence.
GOD
One scriptural description of the Infinite is that He is Sat-Chit-Ananda — ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. Ever-existing means that He is eternal; ever-conscious means He is always conscious of His eternal existence; and ever-new Bliss means that He is a joy that never grows stale. Every human being is seeking that kind of experience. (Sanskrit term for God is Sat-Chit-Ananda — eternal Being or Truth (Sat), infinite consciousness (Chit), and ever new Bliss (Ananda).)
God is not merely a name. God is the life that is surging within us; the Life by which we see and love one another.
The way to God is not through the intellect, but through intuition. Spirituality is measured by what you experience intuitively, from the communion of your soul with God. It is so simple if inside you are always talking to Him, ‘Lord, come to me!
Knowledge prepares the way to love. You cannot love that which you do not know. Knowledge of God must therefore precede love for Him. This knowledge comes with practice of Kriya Yoga. When you know God, you will love Him; and when you love Him, you will surrender yourself to Him.
There is no way to find God's love other than to surrender to Him.
Which do you want: God’s eternal bliss, which may be yours by denying yourself a few pleasure now? Or worldly happiness now, which will not last? Convince your heart by comparison. Every effort that you make to climb upward will be recognized by God.
When great love for God comes in your heart, you do not miss human love. Loving the Lord, you can never turn back to lesser loves. In Him you will find all the love of all hearts. You will find completeness. Everything that the world gives you and then takes away, leaving you in pain or disillusionment, you will find in God in a much greater way, and with no aftermath of sorrow.
Learn to see God in all persons, of whatever race or creed. You will know what divine love is when you begin to see your oneness with every human being , not before.
Everything is God. This very room and the universe are floating like a motion picture on the screen of my consciousness.
It is the truth that we are gods.
Ignorant devotees who have visions of lesser deities in meditation do not know that all those forms are merely temporary, meager manifestations of the essentially unmanifested Spirit. They concentrate on the finite forms of the Infinite God and thus, in their minds, limit Him. ... He who worships God merely as a finite form will not attain the transcendental divine union with His infinite nature.
As God is the Essence of our own being, we cannot truly express ourselves until we learn to manifest His presence within us. That is the truth. It is because we are Divine, a part of Him, that we are unable to find lasting satisfaction in anything material.
Devotees whose worship takes an impersonal turn become conscious of the Lord as an infinite Light or as the wondrous sound of Aum, the primal Word, the Holy Ghost. The highest experience man can have is to feel that Bliss in which every other aspect of Divinity — love, wisdom, immortality — is fully contained.
Remember, if you don't find God, you are not making enough effort in your meditation.
DEVOTION
There cannot be any excuse for not thinking of God. Day and night, rolling in the background of your mind, God, God, God! Instead of money or sex or fame. Whether you are washing dishes or digging a ditch or working in an office or in a garden – whatever you may be doing, inwardly say, ‘Lord, manifest to me! You are right here. You are in the sun. You are in the grass. You are in the water. You are in this room. You are in my heart.’
Real devotion is internal. Day and night devotee thinks of nothing but God, and secretly tells him how dearly he loves Him.
One way to achieve unbroken devotion is to do everything for the Lord. Every day I am active for Him. This path is wonderful!
You waste precious time each day. Every little moment you spent with God will be spent to your best advantage; and whatever you achieve with the desire to please God in your heart will stand unto eternity.
The greatest mistake in life is to fail in devotional aspirations. Do not let it become weak and worthless, like a pale candle burning low and flickering out. Let all the heart’s love be the plenitude you shower on the Lord. The intensity of love within each human heart can be like indestructible spiritual radium. Let it glow deathlessly, with healing rays!
HAPPINESS
Material things cannot be owned by anybody, for at death they must be left behind & given to others. We are only allowed the use of things. It shows lack of wisdom to be 'possessed' by material things. Just pray to be given the use of things that you need and to be given the power to create at will what you need. Do not allow your happiness to be conditioned by what you have or do not have.
Happiness depends to some extent upon external conditions, but chiefly upon mental attitudes. In order to be happy one should have good health, a well-balanced mind, a prosperous life, the right work, a thankful heart, and above all, wisdom or knowledge of God.
Supreme happiness cannot be found in the world; but we need not run away to the jungle to seek Him (God) who is the Giver of all happiness. In this jungle of daily life, we may find Him in the cave of silence. Remember, the only man who is happy is the man who sits in the temple of silence and shuts out all storms or worries. Nothing can challenge the quietness of his soul.
Happiness lies in making others happy, in forsaking self-interest to bring joy to others.
You do not have to leave earth’s shores to put on wings; you must learn rather to be happy here and now, under all conditions; and consider others’ happiness as part of your own joy.
The Hindu scriptures describe the body as a product of Nature, with six defects of delusion: "It is born; it exists; it grows; it changes; it decays; it is annihilated." Most human beings nevertheless expect permanent happiness from this impermanent body. Because of the precedence of the experience of material pleasures, the ego is unwilling and unable to conceive of any higher state of happiness.
The saints have found that happiness lies in a constant mental state of unruffled peace during all the experiences of earthly dualities. A changeable mind perceives a changeable creation, and is easily disturbed; the unchangeable soul and the unruffled mind, on the other hand, behold, behind the masks of change, the Eternal Spirit. (More...)
FORGIVENESS
When you forgive, you are in spiritual consciousness. Forgiving means to give your enemy a chance to gain better understanding. If you become vengeful or angry, you only make more enemies, for an angry person is the target of all.
'One should forgive, under any injury,’ says the Mahabharata. It hath been said that the continuation of species is due to man’s being forgiving. Forgiveness is holiness, by forgiveness the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of might; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet mind. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of Self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue.
RIGHT ATTITUDE
Man is a walking God. No human being should behave like an animal, identified with his lower nature. He should manifest his true divine Self.
Don't try to know God first; love God first. Then He will tell you everything.
Be afraid of nothing. Hating none, giving love to all, feeling the love of God, seeing His presence in everyone, and having but one desire—for His constant presence in the temple of your consciousness—that is the way to live in this world.
To be spiritual is to be broad, to understand and forgive, and to be a friend to all.
Whatever I do, I do with the greatest love that I have in me. Try this, and you will see that you do not become fatigued at all. Love is one of the greatest stimulants to the will. Under the influence of love the will can do almost anything.
Learn to stand unshaken midst the crash of breaking worlds.
If in a dream you strike your dream head on a dream wall, you will have a dream skull fracture. Wake up and you are healed of your dream injury.
Don’t take life so seriously. This world is a terrible place; there is no safety here. But what are we to do? We must stop taking life so seriously. Delusion can be overcome by holding steadfastly to one philosophy: everything here is nothing more than God’s motion picture.
By his mere presence one who has reformed himself is able to reform thousands, though he may not utter a single world. Like a rose, he diffuses his fragrance to all.
If you read one hour, then write two hours, think three hours, and meditate all the time.
Making others happy through kindness of speech and sincerely given right advice is a sign of true greatness.
Salvation can come only through your own efforts. If you want to be saved you must make an effort continuously to give first importance to God. Constant reasoning and spiritual effort are necessary.
The yogi should distill from his diet life-force and energy, not sickness! He should also derive energy from the sun, by exposing his body in its rays to absorb pure oxygen, which is carbon-and-toxin destroying; and by practicing deep inhalations and exhalations.
I often think that the most sinful action in life is to admit failure, for in doing so, you deny the supreme power of your soul, God’s image within you. Never give up.
Retain evenness of mind under all circumstances. In every situation be calmly active and actively calm.Seclusion is the price of finding God.Business is nothing but serving others materially in the best possible way.A lazy person never finds God. I never miss three things: my meditations, morning and night; my exercises; and the service to others.Do not keep company with people unless you are prepared to give them your full attention.
Live in the world, but be not of the world. Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: "Get away from this ocean of suffering." [see The Gita XII:7.] Be in the world and do your part, but do not be caught up and bound by its delusions, or you will be enslaved.
In the spiritual path no wholehearted devotee is ever unsuccessful. His labors are never in vain.
The secret of true religion lies in the cave of stillness, in the cave of wisdom, in the cave of the spiritual eye.
Your face is a reflector—your heart is the foundation upon which the reflection is based—your face must be a sermon; your face must be a beacon light for others to follow; your face must be a lighthouse to show shipwrecked souls the way to the harbor of safety; your face must be an altar where peace reigns, where God reigns. [more in the podcast: Power to Light Your Way]

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