Soul Culture Journal - Winter 2010



Paramahamsa Prajnanananda


Kriya Yoga News

Greetings to all:

Invocation To The Guru

om gurudevaya vidmahe prarbrahmane
dhimahi tan no guruh pracodayat

The Guru, personification of the Formless God, we remember Him. May he inspire us, guide us, and protect us!

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Message from the Master

What is Spiritual Life?

To understand spiritual life you must understand the spirit: the Holy Spirit, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, the formless part of God, and all-pervading God, the Father.

From high heaven to the earth, the Son of God is in the body. There is also the formless God: God’s power, the power of God in the body and the breath. Breath is spirit. The meaning of spirit is breath, and you should love every breath going out and coming in, going out and coming in, one breath going out, love, love, love. Who is inhaling? When you inhale, pray, “Reveal Thyself, O Father, O God. I want to find You, to know You in one inhalation,” then exhale, “God, God, God.” If you do not exhale, then you cannot inhale. If you have love in your breath it becomes the Holy Spirit, holy breath. If you are in God the Father state, God the Son state, the Holy Spirit, these three together with your breath, going to your soul, touching your soul, going to the fontanel, going to the Father, this is spirituality.

People think that by putting a mark on their forehead, wearing ochre-colored cloths, or having lots of rosaries around their neck, they are very spiritual, but this is not spirituality. Spirituality is to love God continuously, to love God’s creation, to be a good person, to be humble, to be loving, to be kind, and to be a sweet person. The Bhagavad Gita (13:11) says spirituality is:
adhyatma jnana nityatvam
tattva jnana artha darshanam
All the time, nityatvam, continuously, you should love God. This is spirituality. While taking food you can love God, while talking with your friend you can love God, while being with your spouse you can love God. Be free from immorality, restlessness, the extrovert stage, ego, emotion, and jealousy. These are not spirituality. Spirituality is love, devotion, humbleness, kindness, and sweetness, and they come through loving God, loving Krishna, loving Christ. That is the true spirituality I teach. It is a pure for of spirituality and for this you do not need anything else. Lahiri Baba said, ”To be spiritual there is no need for flowers, setha phul laganarasi, there is no need of a bell to ring, ting ting ting ting, hariye gyacche shiva kali tara, there is no Shiva, there is no Krishna, there is no Rama. I am that formless stage. I am atmanye, atmahare, the formless.” True spirituality is to go beyond form, formalities, religious places and dogmatic ideas. Spirituality is to be in truth. You do not need to offer flowers or fruits, and there is no need to spend hours chanting, “God, God, God, God.” I do not mean to say chanting is bad. You can chant, but then stop and sit silently in meditation. Take a flower and offer it. Ramakrishna took a flower and put it on his own head instead of putting it on Mother Kali. He sat down in meditation, went into samadhi, and became one with the Divine Mother. That is what you need, that is true spirituality: to feel the presence of God within, the presence of God in all. Feel love within and see love in all. That is spirituality.
         The Divine Quest; pg 43-44

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The Theory of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga in Ancient Scriptures

“I proclaimed this imperishable yoga to Vivasvan.
Vivasvan told it to Manu, and Manu told it to Iksvaku.
Thus handed down from one another the royal sages knew it till
the yoga was lost to the world through long lapse of time,”
      Says the Blessed Lord in the Bhagavad Gita (4:1 – 2)

The imperishable yoga (Avyaya Yoga) is none other than Kriya Yoga, which was brought to mankind by the Lord God with His creation. The supreme mystery of Kriya Yoga was revealed by God Himself. Kriya Yoga is the spiritual practice based on breath control. God breathed into the nostrils the breath of life, which is mentioned in the Book of Genesis (the Torah). God also taught the science of self-control through breath regulation. This Kriya Yoga was brought again into mass practice by the great master Babaji Maharaj through his able householder disciple Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri, popularly known as Lahiri Mahasaya, or Lahiri Baba, in modern times.

The Vedas

The Vedas are the most ancient and holy scriptures of mankind; no one knows how many thousands of years old they are. Veda in Sanskrit comes from the root vid, which means ‘to know.’ The Vedas are the treasure house of material and spiritual knowledge. There are several detailed discussions about yoga practiced in the Vedas. Nowadays you hear of many kinds of yoga, but at that time, there was one yoga, the yoga of breath control, canalization of prana, which ultimately brought control of life. Yoga in the Vedas was nothing less than the meditation of Kriya Yoga.

It is written in the Vedas:

yasmat rte na siddhyati,
yajno vipascitascana
sa dhunan yoga minvati
     Rig Veda 1:18:7

Without yoga, the means to control thought, (i.e. prana karma), no one can attain perfection. Yoga is the path of perfection and the key to success.

There are repeated descriptions of yoga (i.e. Kriya Yoga) in all the branches of the Vedas, including discussions about chakras kvo trichakra: There are the lower three centers (Rig Veda 1:34:9).

In the Atharva Veda, it is said, asta chakra navadvara devanam puram ayodhya, tasyam hiramayah kosha svargojyotisa vrtah: This human body is the chariot of the nine doors and eight chakras. It has ayodhya, the place beyond all the frictions, fights, and fluctuations. In between there is ever-dazzling covering of delusion, beyond which you will enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Upanishads

The Upanishads are the last part of the Vedas: They are many in number and contain divine wisdom. There are many meanings of the word upanishad (to remove all ignorance quickly, to sit near the truth, to sit near the master). However, in some specific verses of different Upanishads, there is clear indication of meditation in Kriya practice.

In Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6:11) it is written:

“The one God is hiding in every living being,
Still then, he is all-pervading, the innermost beings in all.
He does all the work (kri), abiding in all (ya),
He is the witnessing consciousness, formless and immortal.”

In the Mundaka Upanishad (3:1:4) it is described,

“Brahman, God, is the indwelling Self in all.
Verily He is the reality of life and illumination.
Realizing Brahman, man becomes enlightened.
There is none wiser than the one who has realized God.
He performs all daily works as the expression of his divine
Self, and his enjoyment is infused with love of God.
He is a true kriyavan, the wisest among he wise men.”

This verse contains three important words: kriyavan (the one who practices Kriya Yoga, the supreme meditation), atmakrida (through every action, enjoys as a perceiver of the soul), atmarati (to love the soul, God, in every breath, in every moment, in every thought, disposition and activity).

In the same Upanishad, at a different place (3:2:10) it is said,

“He is the kriyavan, the lover of wisdom, devoted to God,
who practices constantly hearing the divine sound (i.e. Om),
who practices the mystic rites of subjective meditation (i.e.
Kriya Yoga), who has taken the vow of Self-illumination,
Perception of divine light on the top of the head,
And he alone is rightly qualified to receive the
Divine wisdom and God-realization.”

— Kriya Yoga The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture and the Essence of All Religions; pg 123-135


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The Divine Mission

Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me:
Nevertheless not my will, but your will be done.
       -- Luke (22:42)

His First Travels to the West

Many times Paramahamsa Hariharananda had been invited by his western disciples to visit the West, but he had always declined. However, in 1974 a group of disciples from Switzerland and Germany asked him once again, and at last Paramahamsa Hariharananda surrendered to the divine will. Thus the prophesy of his guru, Swami Shriyukteshwar, and the intention of Shri Babaji were fulfilled. Later, in his own words he said, “I had no desire to go abroad, but six disciples from Switzerland who visited Puri for the third time insisted on my visiting their country. They said, ‘You are always busy with Indian disciples. There are hundreds of God’s true seekers waiting abroad. Should you not also help them – are you born only for India?’ These words from a group of sincere disciples moved me and I decided to go on a mission to foreign countries.” Passport, visas, and other preparations for his journey were ready in non time, and on the 3rd of June, 1974, he left for Europe with a few disciples. As he departed, he touched the sacred soil of India, and then loaded the place at Delhi for Zurich via Paris.

The plane carried nearly 350 passengers, all very curious to see an Indian monk among them. His attire, the red vermilion mark on his forehead, the rosary of rudraksha beads around his neck – all these were extremely new to them. They surrounded him and wanted to know where he was going, and discuss yoga and religion with him. There was such a large crowd around him that the airplane captain declared that it was not safe. He asked them all to go back to their seats, but if Paramahamsaji wished, he could speak for a short time on spiritual life, which he did. He continued to talk the whole night to many individuals who were interested in various subjects.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda arrived in Paris on June 5, 1974, and stayed there for one day before flying to Zurich. The waiting room in Zurich was full of disciples from Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. People carried flower garlands and bouquets, and when they saw Paramahamsaji they ran towards him joyfully, then fell prostrate in reverence, Indian-fashion. The airport officials were so impressed that they also bowed in a similar way!

On the 6th of June in Zurich, he delivered his first lecture in the West titled, “Kriya Yoga: The Essence of All Religions,” and the hall was full to capacity. He stayed in Zurich for a few weeks and initiated many people into the path of Kriya. From Zurich he went to Belgium, where he also guided many people in Kriya Yoga. From Belgium he wanted to go to London for a short visit, but he had no visa. He decided to go anyway, trusting that God would help him to enter the city of London. In his own words: “I came by boat, crossing the English Channel with many hundreds of others. As I stood at a distance from the visa-checking counter, the immigration officer gazed at me with awe for some time, then came to me and asked, ‘Are you an Indian Monk?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then he asked, ‘How many children do you have?’ I replied, ‘I am not married.’ He then said, ‘Indian monks are very strict and sincere.’ He asked me a few questions and then said, ‘Swamiji, from far away I was attracted by your divine appearance.’ He then asked for my passport, and after looking at it, asked why I had no visa for the UK. I replied, ‘I have no visa; allow me to enter into London. You are my visa.’ He wanted to know the places in London that I wished to visit, and I said I wanted to visit King’s Palace, Hyde Park, Swami Vivekananda’s ashram, and some more places of public interest. Then God came to help and I was issued a visa to enter into the UK.” Although Paramahamsaji stayed for only a short time in London, many people there took initiation from him.

Afterwards he returned to Belgium and then to Germany, which was the fifth and last country he visited. He stayed three weeks, first in Merseburg, and then in Koeln, and several hundred more people were initiated into Kriya Yoga. At last, with the subtle message of Swami Shriyukteshwarji ringing in his ears, he left for India. His was the first visit by a Kriya master to the West since the visit of Paramahamsa Yogananda, and it ushered in a new era in the history of the Kriya movement.

            River of Compassion; pg 179 - 182

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And now I know in the past, these three things remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
      I Corinthians XIII.13

Swami Vivekananda, the worthy disciple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, said that love can be represented by a triangle, and each corresponds to one of the characteristics of love. Just as there can be no triangle without three angles, there can be no love without these three qualities.

The first quality is that love does not bargain. True love does not expect a return. If we seek something in return for our love, then it is not real love.

There is a story of a king who once went to a forest and met a great sage. After talking to the sage for some time, the king was so pleased with his purity and his wisdom, that he invited him to his palace in order to offer him a gift. At first the sage refused. But when the king became insistent the sage finally decided to pay him a visit. When the sage arrived, the king was deep in prayer, asking God to make him a more powerful Emperor, full of glory and prosperity. Since the sage could read the king’s mind during prayer, when the king offered him a banquet and a splendid gift, he silently got up and left saying he could not accept gifts from a beggar.

There is a story about two very different people who die on the same day, at the same time, and both were taken up for judgment before God. One was a very religious person who spent most of the time in prayer, and going to the temple. The other was a hard-working laborer, who struggled to maintain his family and rarely had any time to pray. God sentenced the religious man to hell, and the hard working man to heaven. The religious man was really surprised and asked God for an explanation. So God very gently told him, “My dear child, it is true you spent more time in the temple and prayer, but what is the content of your prayer? You have unceasingly been asking Me for something or other, in order to fulfill your numerous desires. You called on Me, without any consideration of time, early in the morning, at noon, even at midnight, just to beg for things. Prayer should not be begging. This other man asked for nothing, yet he did his duty with love for Me.”

When we pray, we should choose the right words and the adequate manner in which to pray. In prayer we speak to God. Every day we talk a lot. We should realize that every word is prayer. At times we are rough and impolite while talking to others, and forget that we are talking to the presence of God. Prayer is an expression of love through words.

Love does not beg and does not need a reward. When you look admiringly at the beauty of nature, and fall in love with it, you do not demand anything in return, nor does nature expect anything from you. You love because you cannot help loving.

The second angle of the triangle is fearlessness. Fear and love do not go together. One who fears God, cannot love Him freely. Where there is love, there is not fear. Fear stems from insecurity. Fear makes life miserable. Once you are deeply aware that God is ever present within you through your every breath, what are you afraid of? If you really feel the presence of God, there can be no fear. Love makes a person fearless.

There is a story about a woman and her son, who lived in the forest. The young boy had to cross the forest, every day, to go to school. He was afraid, so his mother said, “My child, why do you have fear? You have an elder brother in the forest, who lives there.” “Who is he?” asked the son. So she explained, “His name is Krishna. If you are afraid at any time, you can call out loudly and surely he will reply.” The boy followed his mother’s advice and when he was afraid he called out, “My brother!” The woods echoed, “My brother!” The boy thought this was the response from Krishna. The boy shouted, “I am here.” The echo came, “I am here.”

The young boy did not know that it was an echo, so he innocently thought his brother was replying. Because of his trust and belief in the protective presence of his brother, he lost his fear.

One day, the teacher wanted to have a feast for all the class, and asked each student to bring something. The boy was asked to bring yogurt. The boy was so poor that he was extremely concerned about how he was going to get yogurt for so many people. Suddenly he thought of his brother, surely he would come to his rescue. When he was in the forest, he called for his brother. The story goes that Krishna appeared, and promised to bring yogurt for the next day. As the boy crossed the forest on his way to school, and the teacher saw the small pot, he also thought it was not enough. But to everyone’s surprise, even when the yogurt was distributed to all the children, the pot remained full. When there is love and faith, the impossible becomes possible.

The third angle of the triangle is that love is a single-minded devotion that knows no competition from any other source. True love comes only when the object of our love becomes the highest ideal. There can be no obstacle that would stand in its way. Ordinarily, a person projects his own ideal and puts it on a pedestal. It is only the most evolved devotee that really loves the all-embracing perfect ideal, which is God. God is infinite. God is formless and omnipresent. God’s love is equally present in all, in the heart and life of each one of us. Rivalry comes when two or more people are trying to get what only one can have. Then jealously erupts as well as competition. But Divine Love is free from such narrowness. Love for God broadens our perspective in life and helps to expand our heart. It frees us from many negative influences in life. Love is pure and therefore it purifies our life. Love is sweet and it fills us with exaltation and joy. Love is a garland, that keeps many flowers to together to be dedicated to God. Divine Love dissolves any sense of distance, any feeling of difference, any wish for diversity, and brings forth a state of harmony and absolute unity with God.

        Path of Love; pg 87 - 89 

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 12)

lobhah pravrttir arambhah
karmanam sasmah sprha
rajasy etani jayante
vivrddhe bharatarsabha


Greed, activity, and the undertaking of action, restlessness and desires – these are born when rajas is dominant, O best of the Bharata dynasty (Arjuna)!

Metaphorical Interpretation

In this verse the Lord describes the qualities of rajasic people, their habits and endeavors.

Desire has no end. The satisfaction of one desire breeds another desire and this is the cause of greed and extreme attachment. Temptation is the greatest enemy for every human being. This is God’s desire. It is written in the Bhagavad Gita (15:2), adhas ca mulany anusamtatani: “Human beings tend to come down in the lower portion of the body, to get absorbed in money, sex, food, and restlessness.” Money is extremely tempting; it is needed for many things. So is sex. They work hard to earn a living for a little sex enjoyment. They have many desires and temptation. One temptation comes, then another, and so on – in an unending chain. Temptation dooms them and keeps them far from the truth. They are extremely attached. This attachment invariably increases their desire to do many things – making them restless.

Think of a man’s stomach. It has a limited capacity. With a little simple and spiritual food, one can maintain one’s life. But people want rich, rajasic food, which is neither good for their health, nor for peace. For a little sex satisfaction, people undertake many types of work; some even commit murder, become pickpockets, thieves, and spoil their lives. It is death to them.

Work, ambition, restlessness, passion, possessiveness, and so on are all signs of the rajasic quality. A rajasic nature causes constant dissatisfaction, fans the flame of temptation, and leads to a multitude of activity. During this time, the breath flows in the pingla, through the right nostril. A variety of ambitions, desires, and temptations causes man to roam from place to place, from country to country – but peace of mind eludes him. Peace of mind depends upon the rest of prana, the life force, which is externally manifested as breath. Being extremely restless and full of activity, a person fears death quickly.

Temptation can better be understood by using a fishing metaphor. The bait, which conceals a hook inside, tempts the fish. A big fish swallows the bait and with it, the deadly iron hook, which becomes embedded in its mouth. By means of a very thin thread, the fish is brought out of the water, which is death to the fish. So every one should be extremely careful with temptation.

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…so that Satan will not tempt you
because of your lack of self control.
      — I Corinthians 7:5

Temptation manifests through our association with the sense objects. A baby is free from temptation because sense organs are not yet developed. With the passage of time, as the child grows up, the sense organs become strong and powerful. If they are not properly trained they will become extrovert and unruly. In the Katha Upanishad the sense organs are compared with horses:

Indriyani hayanyahuh
The horses (the sense organs) are to draw this body chariot.

     Katha Upanishad (1:3:4)

The five sense organs of perception (knowledge) and the five sense organs of action misguide the body chariot, resulting in restlessness and chaos. Spiritual seekers must discipline themselves to control the mind and the sense organs. We must introvert our awareness through meditation and prayer. Temptation is the result of fantasy and unlimited desire. When a person is a victim of temptation, calm, peace and happiness disappear. Temptation breeds restless in the body and mind.

A sincere spiritual seeker must overcome the hazards of temptation. Ordinary people, after falling victim to temptation, repent. But a spiritual person overcomes temptation by understanding that its delusive power leads us towards restlessness and unhappiness. After Jesus was baptized, he went to the desert to meditate, where Satan tried to tempt him:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
After fasting for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.
The tempter came to Him and said,
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
The devil took Him to the holy city
and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ’He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written:
‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said,
“if you bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me Satan! For it is written:
‘Worship the Lord you God, and serve Him only’”
Then the devil left Him, and the angels came and attended Him.
     —Matthew 4:1 – 11

Temptation is described in all holy scriptures. Many fall victim to temptation and deviate from the path of truth and the goal of realization. Jesus and Buddha were able to conquer temptation. A person with determination, dedication, devotion, and a sense of detachment can overcome temptation. In the Upanishads, Nachiketa, a young spiritual seeker, was tempted by Yama, the Hindu Lord of Death. Yama said:

Ask for sons and grandsons that will be centenarians.
Ask for animals, elephants, gold and horses,
and vast expanses of the earth.
You yourself will live as many years as you like.
If you think some other boon equal to this, ask for that.
Ask for wealth and long life.
Become a ruler. Become a ruler over a vast region.
I make you fit for enjoyment of all delectable things.
Whatever things most desirable but difficult to get,
pray for these cherished things according to your choice.
Here are these women with chariots and musical instruments
that are surely not to be had by mortals.
With these, who are offered by me, you will be served.
O Nachiketa, do not inquire about death or Self-Realization.

Nachiketa replied with humility:

O Death, ephemeral are these,
and they waste away the vigor of all senses that man has.
All life, without exception, is short indeed.
Let the vehicles be yours alone,
let the dances and songs be yours.
Man is not to be satisfied with wealth.
     — Katha Upanishad 1:1:23 – 27

Temptation arises in the lower centers (chakras) where the energy for our unique tendencies are stored. Man has unlimited desire for wealth and material prosperity, sensual pleasure, palatable dishes, social power and prestige, and above all, religious pride – “I am a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu; I am superior.” All these are obstacles to spiritual progress. Through sincerity, determination, and keen observation, a seeker must transcend the cunning baits offered by Satan, Mara (delusion), and Kama (desire). Otherwise a seeker will deviate from the path of truth and the goal of realization. St. Paul wrote:

So, if you think you are standing firm,
be careful that you don’t fall!
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
And God is faithful;
He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted,
He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
     — 1 Corinthians 10:12 – 13

To overcome temptation, Jesus told his disciples:

Watch and pray
so that you will not fall into temptation.
     — Matthew 26:41

Constant alertness and meditation enables us to overcome the tentacles of temptation. Temptation arises via ambition. My master Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji said:

If you want liberation
give up your ambitions.
Ambition will lead to complete destruction.

The Bible advises:

Keep yourself pure.      — Timothy 5:22

Constant soul awareness develops purity and self-awareness.

Each one should test his own actions.
     — Galatians 6:4

When we continuously watch the soul (ya) in every action (kri), we free ourselves from temptation. We taste the divine calm, peace, and joy.

Bad company corrupts good character.
     — 1 Corinthians 15:33

Seek good company. Good company is a protective fence; bad company and a permissive environment brings physical, moral, and spiritual downfall.

Using breath control and continuous watchfulness, a spiritual seeker can overcome all temptations and obstacles and reach the goal of life. When the mind is associated with the highest objective, Self-realization, temptation is sublimated into spiritual experiences.

       The Torah, the Bible, and Kriya Yoga, pg. 329 - 333

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