By Sharukh Vazifdar
The ancient practice of Kriya Yoga can help raise planetary consciousness. Kriya Yoga master Dr Chatterjee talks on how it puts you in touch with your true self
The very first sloka of Gita says ‘Dharmakshetre kurukshetre samabeta yuyutsava’, i.e. place of worship and place of work are the same – it is the human body,” said Dr Ashok Chatterjee, founder of Yogiraj Shyamcharan Sanatan Mission, an organisation dedicated to propagate and preach kriya yoga.
A man of few words, Dr Chatterjee struck me as coming from a bygone era. His slow and gentle speech stood out in the fast paced, talk first-think later lives we live. Dr Chatterjee was initiated into kriya yoga in 1961, his gurus being disciples of Yogiraj Shamacharan Lahiri who revived kriya yoga a century earlier, and has worked to increase awareness and spread its meaning. Paramahansa Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi, with whom kriya yoga is most associated, was the disciple of Sri Yukteshwar who was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. He went on to start the Self-Realisation Fellowship in the US, whose Indian branch is called the Yogoda Satsang Society. After his passage several breakaway disciples such as Swami Kriyananda also started their own dissemination of kriya yoga.
Excerpts from an interview with Dr Chatterjee on a recent visit to Mumbai
What is the aim of kriya yoga?
The aim of kriya yoga is union with the Absolute, the Ultimate. It is science of the soul, or atma vidya. Kriya is referred to as karma, internal karma. It makes man true and pure. Based on internal karma, it renounces emotion, since emotion is the activity of the mind. It is the sanatan dharma, the eternal dharma, based on equality, with no distinctions, no classes, no rich or poor.
All true religions and spiritual practices tell us that the Divine lies within us. Kriya yoga teaches that prana or soul is the God dwelling in all of us. All the knowledge is within this body. All the deities are within this body. All the pilgrimages are within this body. It is only those who do not worship internally, who go to external temples to worship.
What is the role of prana in kriya yoga?
Initially, before birth, while inside the womb, a baby is in the static state, it does not breathe. As he comes out, with his first breath he begins to cry. What kriya yoga does is take man back to that initial static state, reducing inhalation and exhalation, merging into the original static state. This stops suffering and reincarnation. The static state is the original state of all creation, a happy, blissful state, being one with everything. In this state, people can live their lives as they do now, perfectly with wisdom, and have a job and family, making no mistakes. After initiation into kriya yoga, one can practise the various breathing techniques to get to the static state.
Prana acquires vibration in each chakra of the body, reaching a highly kinetic state. As we develop as humans, our prana vibrations increase. From being zero at the ajna chakra level, it increases to ten at the visuddha chakra and by tenfold ateach chakra that follows. Through kriya yoga, these pranic vibrations are brought within control and reduced.
What is the relevance of kriya yoga in today’s world?
The period of the kaliyug, which is currently prevailing, causes man to focus on external knowledge, looking at just the surface instead of going deeper. The more people who introspect, analyse the purpose of their lives, practise kriya yoga, the quicker and easier the transition into the new yug will be. It is the responsibility of the leaders, from all fields of life be it politics, science, education, or art, to spearhead such activities. People want to be in a truly happy state, and the only way to do that is to move beyond sensory activities.
A very important effect worth noticing is that of group awareness. If the number of evolved beings starts rising, it will have a direct impact on the other not yet evolved beings. The bar of group consciousness is raised, automatically bringing up the lesser evolved.
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