- Kriya Yoga Centers
- The Kriya Yoga Centers are a set of related ashrams founded by Swami Hariharananda Giri (1907–2002), a god-brother to Swami Paramah-ansa YOGANANDA. Both swamis learned KRIYA YOGA under the tutelage of Sri YUKTESWAR (1855–1936), who made his home in Puri, Orissa, and who built an ASHRAM (religious community) there in 1906. Yukteswar passed his lineage to Yogananda, who left India and took the concepts of kriya yoga to the United States. In India, the lineage passed first to Sreemat Swami Satyananda and then in 1970 to Swami Hariharananda Giri. Hariharananda was chosen from among the members and disciples who had remained close to the ashram through the years.Born Rabindranath Bhattacharya in Habibpur, West Bengal, on May 27, 1907, Hariharananda took initiation in the path of JNANA yoga from Sri Bijaykrishna Chattopadhyaya. In 1932, he met Sri Yukteswar, who initiated him into kriya yoga and gave him charge of the ashram in Puri. In 1935, Swami Yogananda gave him a second initiation into kriya yoga. In 1938 he renounced the world and spent 12 years in seclusion in Puri. In 1949, he had a vision of the eternal yogi BABAJI, who prophesied that he would spread the message of kriya yoga to the world. In 1951, Yogananda empowered him to give initiation to others. In 1959, he took formal monastic vows from the Shankaracharya of Puri and was given the name Hariharananda Giri.After assuming leadership, Hariharananda pro-moted the work of the ashram throughout India, creating affiliations with other ashrams. Believing that the kriya path should be shared with other peoples around the world, he proceeded to make formal visits to promote knowledge of kriya yoga as the clearest path to enlightenment around the world.By 1974, Hariharananda had made the deci-sion to go west, initially with plans to develop ashrams in Switzerland. He continued to found ashrams and centers throughout Europe. His decision to start an organization in New York City introduced the work to the United States, much as Yogananda’s mission had evolved into the SELF- REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP.The United States headquarters of the Kriya Yoga Centers is located in Homestead, Florida. The international headquarters is in Orissa, India. The center publishes a periodical, Soul Culture: A Journal of Kriya Yoga.Further reading: Swami Hariharananda Giri, Isa Upa-nishad (Homestead, Fla.: Kriya Yoga Ashrams, 1985); ———, The Laughing Swami: Teachings of Swami Hari-harananda (Washington, D.C.: Yes International, 2005); ———, Secrets and Significance of Idol Worship among the Hindus (Puri: Karar Ashram, 1984).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.