kriya yoga
   The “yoga of ritual action,” kriya yoga is con-trasted with jnana (learning) YOGA and equated with KARMA (action) yoga in the Trishikhi-Brah-mana Upanishad. The practice of kriya yoga involves concentrating the mind upon a particular object that transmutes energy and experience. Kriya yoga is said to obliterate the subliminal activators (SAMSKARAS) through asceticism (TA PA S), study (svadhyaya), and devotion to God.
   Kriya yoga is based on specific breathing pat-terns. Through PRANAYAMA (disciplined breath-ing) the devotee’s focus leaves ordinary reality as it begins to climb in order to merge with the divine. It is important that the practitioner leave thoughts of mundane reality behind because such thoughts interfere with the ability to focus concentration on the other-worldly. This abil-ity to turn inward to receive spiritual energy is believed to lead the disciple to God realiza-tion. As each CHAKRA (invisible energy wheel) is opened through MEDITATION, the KUNDALINI energy is released to travel from the base of the spine, where it is coiled in latency, through the glands of the body to release the energy of transformation. The culmination of the process occurs when the crown chakra is energized and opened to receive energy from the divine. The process of kriya yoga transmutes the life force or energy that connects the physical body and the subtle anatomy described in the Hindu scriptures.
   In the last century, BABAJI, LAHIRI Mayasaya, Sri YUKESWAR, and Paramahansa YOGANANDA have been responsible for a renewed interest in kriya yoga.
   Further reading: Georg Feuerstein, Encyclopedic Dic-tionary of Yoga (New York: Paragon House, 1990).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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