We are quiet sadhaks and we wish well to all. We like to stay away from the Kriya Yoga marketplace and all the "touring gurus." We generally don't feel comfortable to comment on others.
More than ever these days can be seen the emerging phenomenon of a never ending market place of “original Kriya yoga gurus.”
It pains the heart of worshipful devotees to see the holy and lofty tradition misrepresented, sometimes by outright con-men, sometimes by well-meaning but unaccomplished, self-proclaimed “experts” promoting their own misguided and invented theories under the guise of the “teachings of their guru” or as the teachings of some particular lineage. Laughable efforts are made at promoting these invented theories as the “real teaching.” Strict tradition of Kriya yoga established by the Holy of Holies, the Mahamuni Babaji, through Lahiri Mahasaya and his authorized channels, is that one can only act as a Kriya Yoga guru when allowed to do so by his own guru.
Tradition established, under directions of the holy Babaji, is that Kriya has to be obtained directly from a Kriya Yoga Guru and to be handed down from the Guru to the initiate in a continuous chain. A Kriya Yogi can only act as a Kriya-Guru when allowed to do so under permission from his own Guru. Disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya used to be told to keep the teachings a closed secret and not to talk about it even with friends and relations who were not initiated into the secrets. So religiously this direction was followed that in cases even Kriya performers living as neighbours over twenty years did not know each other as members of the same spiritual fraternity
- Sri Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta, Kriya Yoga (chapter 5)
Lahiri Mahasaya states:
One who gives the teaching without having received permission to teach the Kriya of Brahman, he does not receive - meaning: the one to whom he gives the teaching does not get any results, and the one who gives it steals from Brahman, and his every step is in hell - meaning suffering comes upon him.
- Manu Commentary 2: 116, The Scriptural Commentaries of Yogiraj Sri Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya Volume 1, Yoga Niketan.
With regards to the current inevitable wave of self-proclaimed “adepts” it can be observed that these people are missing something in their lives. They feel lonely or unimportant in their retirement. Having had casual contact with yoga practice or yogis during the course of their lives and now, realizing that they had wasted the opportunity in empty careers and family duties and getting a drink at the tavern with their friends and with only the most casual attention to yoga they now decide, in the late phase of their lives, that they feel the “holy call” to “teach” others their remedial misunderstandings in order to fill that void in their lives. Once again missing the opportunity to spend their remaining years in one pointed efforts towards God realization. The grip of maya is very difficult to escape! A Herculean task! Especially with their gurus no longer present to guide them from the jaws of maya. TIME IS SHORT! The whirling mind keeps a man bound to darkness. Not realizing that the void they feel is a lack of God Realization, they decide to fill the emptiness in themselves by “serving” others with superficial mistaken “knowledge” they have acquired in the course of their casual spiritual lives along with the fantastical theories they themselves have now invented to explain away things they were never initiated into and don’t understand.
The real way of Kriya is described by the Yogiraj's great disciple Sri Sanyal Mahasaya:
"The learned master, initiates the disciple as per his qualities and his capabilities. If the disciple follows the instructions truly and dutifully, he attains perfection by it. A desireless condition is availed by perfection----which is possible in the Paravastha of Kriya. There are different kinds of Kriya acts, the able master does not teach them all at a time, only the ones who get well versed in the previous acts are passed on to the next class of acts.If after the first initiation the tongue is not risen or elevated (above the palate) then the second class or "Vaisya" class is not promoted to, and further lessons are not taught. Yet, if whatever is known or learnt is dutifully practiced with a concentrated mind and pran, then the paravastha which is the fruit of such acts will surely be gained."
- Sri Sanyal Mahasaya from Spiritual Gita 18:45, English translation by Smt. Chandrakanta Agarwala
Swami Satyananda, eminent disciple of Swami Sri Yukteshvar Giri Maharaj wrote the following about the way Lahiri Mahasaya taught Kriya:
But according to the physical and psychological states and makeup [constitution] of individuals, He gave instructions for practice of the performance of different stages of Kriyayoga sadhana - First, Second, Third etc. - and their methods and techniques.
- Kriya Quoutes from A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus by Swami Satyananda, Yoga Niketan, Inc.
Debi Mukherjee further explains:
We were privileged, in Puri, to be able to visit Sri Bhupen Sanyal Mahasaya, a direct disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, and to meditate in his presence every evening. I was told on a number of occasions that Lahiri Mahasaya used to bestow the higher Kriya initiations according to what the people themselves actually needed-that is to say, according to what would truly be effective for them, and not just for the sake of "getting more," greedily. Some of his disciples never received more than one initiation, even though they were with him for many years. Lahiri Mahasaya would say to them, "One is enough for you."
- Shaped by Saints by Debi Mukherjee
Having led superficial lives as businessmen, bankers, teachers etc. and having given only the most casual regard to spiritual practices throughout their lives, and never getting past the most remedial beginning “warm up” stages which may require a lifetime of superhuman diligence - let alone scaling the heights required to be authorized by Guru to teach - they begin talking about Kriya.
To reach the heights of absolute spiritual realization in Kriya yoga or any discipline is the same as becoming a concert pianist, requiring years and years of the most diligent practice, not having had Kriya as a casual, superficial hobby. Of the millions of people who take piano lessons, how few ever ascend to the heights of ever going to the music conservatory school, let alone ascending to the peerless heights of becoming a concert pianist? Perhaps one out of 500,000? Go to any music school and you’ll see this, students practicing hours and hours a day for years and yet never ascending to the height of becoming a concert pianist. Would you go and study the piano under somebody who only had a casual acquaintance with the instrument? All you would learn is superficial mistaken misinformation. It doesn’t matter how they like to be addressed, be it “Mr” or “Sri” or “Maestro” or “Paramhansa” or what conservatory school they claim to have studied at. There are diligent students or moderate students or remedial failing students. Because somebody had the most casual acquaintance with the music school for 35 years - does that make them qualified to be a concert pianist? Because somebody is born in the family of the famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz, does that make them a concert pianist? Because somebody is born into the family of Bruce Lee, does that make them qualified to be the holder of the lineage of Jeet Kune Do? Bruce Lee personally certified only three instructors: Taky Kimura, James Yimm Lee, and Dan Inosanto. None of these were family members.
Here is a quote describing such a level from Sri Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta, eminent disciple of Swami Sri Yukteshvar Maharaj:
There may be quite a good number of Kriya performers who have been taught the Second Kriya; the number doing the Third is very low. The cases of performers of the Fourth Kriya is extremely rare, hardly a few. Swami Shri Yukteshvar had given the Fourth Kriya to only one disciple, and the latter had taught one or two more. Similar is the case with the other celebrated disciples of Shri Shri Lahiri Mahasaya.
All these teachers claim to know all these things, but yet Lahiri Baba taught it to hardly anyone, who taught it to hardly anyone, who taught it to one or two people. Now suddenly all these teachers claim to know all these things. And what they are teaching is the most ridiculous nonsense that anyone can dream of. And people swallow it hook, line and sinker.
Most often these “teachers” are getting away with this by announcing falsely to everyone that Lahiri Mahasaya taught completely different things to different people. And that the Kriya practices of all the lineages are vastly different. This is how they get away with promoting their outlandish ideas. This is completely false information. In fact, the disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya often mingled amongst each other and worked together and even their disciples helped each other. This is very well known in the traditional circles of Kriya in Bengal and other places. One such example is Durgacharan Basu, a disciple of Paramhansa Keshabananda (an eminent disciple of Yogiraj Sri Lahiri Mahasaya), who was a supporter of the publishing of Sri Yukteshvarji's works. Even the printing press that was used to publish these works was kept in Durgacharan Basu's home.
Swami Satyananda tells us of another such example, illustrating how Swami Sri Yukteshvarji and his brother disciple Swami Pranabanandaji worked together in the training of disciples:
It was proposed that in order to excel in the ordained work of sadhus, three ashrams should be established to accommodate the different ages and levels of the sadhakas from Sadhu Sabha. Those who were in the first stages of sadhana, meaning beginners who would live as celibates [Brahmacharis], they were to be in Puri’s Kararashram. The students would stay there up to about the age of twenty-five. For those that wanted to continue after finishing here onto the second level, or would accept the ways of a sadhaka, a house was rented in Benares and founded as “Pranabashram.” It was decided that here there would be a proper printing press, as well as an environment for interactive gatherings and facilitation of advanced instruction, education and practice of the spiritual path. At this time, meaning the second stage of the sadhaka’s life, the sadhakas, living as sadhakas, would serve the public according to the fellowship‘s rules, for the benefit of body, mind and soul. For this work in Benares, he received the company and help of his Guru-brother-disciple, the disciple of Sri Sri His Holiness Yogiraj and author of the “Pranab Gita”, the eminent Swami Pranabananda Giri Maharaj. For those who were advanced on the path of sadhana and attained some permanence in it, meaning the initial stages of being a siddha, and when usually one would have passed the age of fifty, a “siddha” ashram was proposed to be founded in Hrishikesh by the seven rivers in the Himalayan foothills, the land of meditation, for living the ideal of a self-surrendered spiritual life filled with the Paramatman-substance. But it was also instructed that the sadhakas of all stages would be attentive to education and service with the ideal of purity of consciousness. The aim of work for the fellowships carrying the identity, or the branches of and with the Satsanga Sabha, became: to provide proper....
- Yoga Niketan (2006-02-23). A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus, Yoga Niketan, Inc.
It’s also very well known that the grandson of Yogiraj Lahiri Mahasaya, Ananda Mohan Lahiri, was also a very great admirer and supporter of Sri Yukteshvarji.
And as far as Kriya practice - it was the actual tradition established by Lahiri Mahasaya that if a student did not finish the course of Kriya yoga while his guru was alive in the physical body, he was allowed to go to an authorized guru of a different lineage for help with his Kriya and further initiations. For example, we know of one disciple of Keshabananda who came to Serampore for further Kriya initiation after the passing of Keshabananda. Some of the younger disciples of Sri Yukteshvarji, after the passing of the Great One, sought out the help of Sanyal Mahasaya or others who were authorized. Disciples of Panchanan Battacharya who went to other authorized channels and so on and so forth. This is the correct tradition established by Lahiri Mahasaya. So you can see the lineages are not completely different. They are really smack dab the same… except for a few very minor variations, which are known to an authorized Guru.
Enlightened and accomplished disciples and grand disciples who had been duly authorized for the purpose spread the message and teachings of Kriya Yoga all over the country and abroad in later years. It may, however, be mentioned that minor differences are noticed in the system now being taught by different groups although the basic features still remain intact.
- Sri Sailendra Bejoy Dasgupta, Kriya Yoga
The major discrepancies that are being seen these days are simply distortions to the system brought about by time and unauthorized “teachers.”
The world is full of “gurus.” These days they even “sacrifice” and go on world tour, “sacrificing themselves” to “teach” others worldwide. In the old days we used to call that an all-expenses-paid vacation! A worldwide expenses paid vacation, but yet they bill it as a “sacrifice” and “service.” Service to their own ego! Simultaneously seekers hit the “market place” of the computer internet and drift from one unrealized person to another. In some cases these teachers are outright frauds trying to make a living, but in other cases they are just sincere, lonely, elderly people who don’t know anything and who have never been authorized to teach. In fact, these days, most of the so called “lineages” of Kriya Yoga are all unauthorized lineages. Almost all of them. They make web pages of nonsensical “knowledge.” With regards to most online guru web pages, you are most certainly better off just reading the traditional literature written by the REAL Masters of the lineage.
What started the whole “original Kriya yoga” craze a decade or two ago, is that it came to be known that Yoganandaji had left out Khechari Mudra and made a few small simplifications for the benefit of his students. But now what is being passed as “Original Kriya Yoga” by all the remedial “masters” has the very same modifications as Yoganandaji’s had! In fact, what is being taught as “original Kriya yoga” these days is much more simplified than Yoganandaji’s system! So what happened to their claim to validity? We have now come full circle! All because of people’s crazy quest for their mental idea of “Kriya Yoga” rather than finding a true guru and surrendering heart and soul at his feet as Kriya yoga tradition demands. It sets the stage for the marketers to swindle people. “Babas” who are “sacrificing” on prepaid world vacations who say they will “never sell or commercialize Kriya”…. well…. what is it they are doing?
What is needed for God union is a true Guru. Scriptures say only HE knows the way. This was the teaching of Yogiraj Lahiri Mahasaya. People came and surrendered at His feet for His grace. The same reason they came to the feet of his personally authorized successors, Swami Sri Yukteshvar, Swami Pranabananda, Panchanan Bhattacharya, Sanyal Mahasay and all the others who were authorized, having reached the pinnacle of success.
Ultimately what is “yoga” is what comes from the mouth of Guru. Nothing else matters.