The Meaning of Kriya
The term Kriya Yoga was developed in North India from an ancient tradition. The root of the Sanskrit word literally means ‘to do’ and a true ‘Kriya’ technique always involves work with the body and the mind simultaneously.
Kriya is a form of meditation in involving Tantric Shakti flows of subtle energy within the practitioner’s mind-body complex.
Kriya Yoga has some peculiar features of its own that differentiate it from any other meditation system. Kriya methodology has characteristics that many people find satisfying, and its essence may be summarized as follows:
“The body and the mind are kept simultaneously active.”
Characteristics of Kriyas
- Psychic energy is visualized sweeping up the front of the spinal column and down the back of the spinal column, and this goes on with conscious deliberation all of the time.
- Accompanying this, the eyes are invariably kept open, and in Kriya meditation, there is always a dim light present. There is no other basic major form of meditation in which the eyes are kept open except in Zen meditation. This, however, is different from Zen meditation, because the eyes are kept open until you get to the point where you are fighting the urge to close your eyes and suddenly your unconscious emerges, and you will find your eyes closing involuntarily and you will be plunged into a transcendental state. In other systems of meditation we start off with our eyes closed, and then we get restless and say “My God” and have a peek. With Kriya, we have so much to do and focus upon until the mind says “I give up.”
- Another feature of Kriya Yoga, is that during most of the techniques the head is kept in a constant rhythmic movement. This constant rhythmic movement stirs the soma of the Hindu priests, the drink of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, called Amrita. This Amrita is analogous to the cerebro- spinal fluid in which the brain constantly floats. The continuous head movement accelerates the induction of a ‘trance- like state’.
- These slow, and rhythmic head movements are always done in conjunction with certain respiratory exercises or Pranayamas.
- The next thing is, as you know, that humans are two brained creatures, with a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere.
- In Kriya both hemispheres have an opportunity to become synchronized, because the left hemisphere is kept busy by counting and the speech centre is kept busy with mantra, which is a sound vibration.
- The right hemisphere is kept busy with visualizing, and eventually the two hemispheres come together. This is Yoga in itself, when the logical (which is the left hemisphere) and the intuitive (the right brain) come together, that is Yoga. Anything that produces union, that is Yoga.
- Most of us talk about going to Yoga classes. When we talk about going to Yoga classes, we are not doing Yoga. Yoga is an experience. We are really doing mere practice – that technically, in Sanskrit, is called ‘Yukti’.