Kriya Yoga: The Missing Link Between Religion and Realization

AZen master used to enjoy his evening walk with his favorite dog. The dog too enjoyed walking with the master, romping around and playing with him. One evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him on the walk. The student was so intelligent that he had learned all the Buddhist doctrines by heart but his mind was plagued by

doubts about the “ultimate truth.”

The master wanted to make him realize that symbols and words only hint at truth. “You must understand that words

are only guideposts which point out the right course towards a destination,” said the teacher. “Here, I’ll show you.”

With that, the teacher called his dog. “Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon. “Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher.

“He’s looking at your finger,” the student replied.

“Exactly,” the teacher said, “Don’t be like my dog. Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at.”

Even if one reads thousands of books on the thirst-quenching quality of water, one can’t slake thirst with

it. Decide what you want: information about the various

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physical and chemical properties of water or water to satisfy your thirst, theorize or realize God, profound information or actual experience of God. Decide whether you wish to waste or invest your time in religion. If you want to have an actual experience of God, if you really want to satisfy the intense longing of your heart about God and sweeten your

life, practice kriya yoga meditation which is the missing link between religion and realization.

Advancements in the field of science and information technology have led to an explosion of knowledge in all spheres of human activity. In the current scenario of rapid social, economic, political and psychological changes, educationists are compelled to infuse changes into the curriculum to keep it on par with the latest developments. In 2004–05, the CBSE incorporated the “sermon on the mount” in the English syllabus of Class XI, core course. Predisposed to discuss spiritual matters with my students, I interpreted every line at length. The topic proved to be a peg to hang all my personally experienced spiritual truths.

Basking in the glory of knowing the exact meaning of Biblical lines in context, I asked my students to explain the meaning of the following: “The light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Various humorous expositions presented by my innocent students left the whole class rolling with laughter. Then, with
added gravity, I explained: “When a devotee progresses in

meditation and can fix his gaze deeply at the point between eyebrows, his body seems to be full of light. Just as electricity flowing through one wire divides its light into the two headlights of a car, the light or life-energy of the spiritual eye divides into two eyes through the law of polarity to reveal the reality of the material world. When the gaze of both eyes

Kriya Yoga: The Missing Link Between Religion and Realization

is concentrated at one point, the spiritual eye, it shows the accumulated light of the third eye.”

In 2014, a decade later, I read an account of Paramhansa Yoganada’s spiritual mission in America. I was delightfully surprised to know that Dr Lewis, the first American disciple of Paramhansa Yoganada tested his master’s spiritual insight by asking him to interpret the meaning of the same lines. The movement that started with a man, touched and transformed a million lives in America in the years to come.

Highly spiritual by nature, Dr Lewis had developed an aversion to saints because of the uncontrolled proliferation of

“spiritual quacks” or fake gurus and scandals related to them regularly featuring in print and electronic media. I can identify and empathize with Dr Lewis as I myself have come across a host of ignorant gurus misguiding innocent and spiritually unaware people. The instances of the “blind leading the blind and both finally dying” abound in the religious world.

Just like the abundance of spurious gold and imitation jewelry does not deter us from seeking and possessing real gold, this should not stand in the path of our spiritual search for

God. The perfect interpretation and practical demonstration of the above-mentioned spiritual truth, contained in the lines of the Bible, bowed the head of Dr Lewis, which was stuffed with intellectuality, speculation about spirituality and confusion about practical and genuine spirituality. He prostrated at the holy feet of Paramhansa Yoganada, his great master and devoted his whole life to the practice of kriya yoga.

I have seen many religious people walking on and off the track of spirituality. Their faith is often plagued by destructive doubt as it is unsupported by their personal realizations. I have often seen the pendulum-swing in the faith of my villagers, especially my family members, in my spiritually

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advanced guru-maa whose mantra yoga sadhana includes more than nine Gayatri Anushthans, chanting 12,500,000 mantras in one anushthan, fasting more than thirty-five years to complete all of them. But neither I nor anyone else has perceived any change in my devotional attitude towards her because it was nourished by my intuitional verification. The huge chasm that exists between belief and direct perception can only be bridged by intuition which reveals, face-to-face, the view of reality.

I would like to share an experience that led to the development of my unflinching faith in my guru-maa. I had never felt drawn to my guru-maa until 1999, because her spectacular spiritual personality was hidden in the guise of simplicity and reticence. She never spoke about spiritual matters pompously or quoted uncalled-for scriptural lines, a feat that is attractive to ignorant minds.

Once, under the influence of a yogi who lived in Lucknow, I started practicing a highly effective hatha yoga meditation technique that led me far ahead on the path of spirituality. My outwardly directed spiritual practices took an inward turn with this practice. One day during my morning prayer session, I was reading the kavach part of the Durga Saptashati (A Book of seven hundred verses dedicated to glorify the divine sport of goddess Durga). Abruptly, my mind was seized by a repulsive doubt about the possible meaning of the line

“Labhate paramam roopam, shiven saha modate aum (One who chants the verses given in the kawach part of Durga Saptashati attains, highly luminous, beautiful astral body after death and enjoys ever lasting bliss with Lord Shiva).” Before I

could overpower the demon of doubt, my gaze was uplifted. I had a vision of an angelic woman radiating an inconceivably bright light standing a few yards above an altar near the famous temple located on the road that leads to my village.

Kriya Yoga: The Missing Link Between Religion and Realization

It was accompanied by mellowed, rhythmic chanting “Idam divya roopam, Idam divya roopam (Behold! the divine beauty of scintillating astral body).” The lady was none other than my

future spiritual master who exercises considerable influence on me to this day.

Although the vision disappeared in a few seconds, there appeared forever, a sun of faith that would never lose its brilliance against the eroding effects of time. If I had not been blessed by this vision, I could have neither understood the spiritual stature of my guru-maa nor the correct meaning of these lines. I could have derived the following meaning of the line: “Those who read Durga Saptshati, especially kavach, look beautiful after death.” This interpretation equaled nonsense. Whereas the lines truly mean, “Those who devotionally chant any mantra or verse, their astral body becomes purer day by day and radiates the hidden light of the soul.”

Human intelligence fails to decipher spiritual truths hidden in scriptural allegories. It is only the nutcracker of intuition that can break the hard shell of words and reveal the kernel of true meaning. The only way to develop intuition or sixth sense is to practice meditation.