Kriya Yoga as a Holistic Science

This article was presented at the 2nd World Hindu Conference 2003 in Sri Lanka

Kriya yoga envisages an individual to practice the five fold path of yoga in physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies as follows;

  1. Kriya Hatha Yoga – Physical yoga techniques
  2. Kriya Prana Yoga – Breathing techniques
  3. Kriya Thiyana Yoga – Meditation techniques
  4. Kriya Mantra Yoga – Sound vibrations techniques
  5. Kriya Bakthi Yoga – Prayer techniques

The importance of Kriya prana yoga will be discussed in this article. It is recognized as an essential link between the other four bodies (physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual) and hence becomes very important in a man’s healthy living.

Generally what a person knows about breathing is that he breathes in (inhalation) and breathes out (exhalation) the air through the two openings in the nostrils. Many people are not aware of the breathing mechanism until a time the nose gets blocked. According to sage Thirumoolar, a person can live for hundred years by taking a time of four seconds to breathe in and out thereby he takes approximately 21,600 breaths in a day. If the breathing rate is reduced by doing a breathing unit that is higher than four seconds, then the average living period can be extended to more than hundred years. When a stage comes whereby the prana or energy goes in and comes out without having the breathing mechanism to function, then it is called zero breathing at which point the person conquers death and continues to live on. Today the average life expectancy rate has come down to seventy-five years due to increased breathing rate.

Pranayama speaks of three stages in breathing which are as follows:

  1. Inhalation (Pooragam)
  2. Retention (Thammanam)
  3. Exhalation (Reshakam)   

There are many traditions of Yoga and the teachings vary. But in Kriya Yoga, techniques are unique. The guru (teacher) initiates a sadhak (student) to learn the various techniques giving secret mudhras (stamping power) and also a ratio to follow.

Yoga term for breathing is Nadi and there are three variations:

  1. Pingala Nadi  – Breathing through the right nostril
  2. Susumna Nadi – Middle breathing through the right and the left equally
  3. Ida Nadi – Breathing through the left nostril

This nadi system can be compared to a weighing balance. One kilogram weight in plate A and equal goods in plate C brings the indicator in balance B to neutral position so that the business of buying and selling takes place. For the perfect functions of the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies, breathing in balance by the right and left nostrils is an absolute necessity.

In breathing, five elements namely earth, water, fire, air and ether play an important part. This can be experienced by a sadhak when practicing the breathing in the three nadis (ida, pingala and susumna). Usually we could outwardly observe the openings of the ida and pingala whereas the middle susumna is shaded off. For instance, if we examine the openings of one of the nadi (for example the pingala or right nadi) and consider the opening as equivalent to a square then it can be observed that when breathing occurs, the air that goes in and comes out touches different sides of the square at different times of the day. If the air touches the lower side of the square then it is said to be an earthly breathing. If it touches the left side of the nostril it is supposed to be a watery breathing. If it touches the right side of the nostril the fiery wavelength rules it. If it touches the upper side of the nostril then it is an airy breathing and if it doesn’t touch any side but just flows through the middle of the nose then it is an etheric breathing. The same thing operates on the left nostril also. These five elements are ruled by the mystic letters ‘Om, Na, Ma, Si, Va, Ya’ which also operates the five chakras or plexus in the body. This is depicted in the above diagram.

If the breathing stops a man is said to be dead which means no functional effect can happen. So breathing becomes a prime need for living beings. Even at the time the child is separated from the mother at birth, the first breath taken in with the sound ‘aa’ indicates the child is living. So once it takes the first breath in (inhalation or pooragam), it  automatically breathes out (exhalation or reshakam) and this process continues till the end of life. The word Siva originated from the mantra sounds ‘EE’ (Si) + ‘AA’ (Va). Yoga breathing pranayama is also called vasi yoga (Va + Si yoga). When a child is born, it takes the first breath with the sound of ‘AA’ identifying that it has come to this world as a soul (Aanma) and then breathes out with the sound of ‘EE’ indicating that the soul is in search of God (Iraivan).

The above mentioned Vasi yoga or Pranayama has techniques to produce life force which can be compared to the production of electricity. Energy generated through the Kundalini Pranayama breathing moves from the lungs upward to the crown of the head, enters the sixteen teeth tracts of the lower jaw and descends down to the end of the vertebral column where the sacral center is situated. The Muladharam or sacral center acts as the storage tank from where it gets distributed to the main transformers which are the five chakras in this case. Then it gets to the sub transformers that are the ganglions or atchcharas of these centers and to the main switchboard in the house which can be compared to the seventy-two thousand nadi system in the body. From here finally it gets distributed to the various consuming points like cooker, fridge, light bulbs etc., which are the various parts of our body.

For the happiness of the mankind, the almighty performs three jobs namely Padaithal (Generation), Kaathal (Operation) and Azhithal (Destruction). This is like the current being Generated from the plant, Operated through the wire in the household and Destroyed in the bulb for us to enjoy the light. Therefore ‘G’ for generation, ‘O’ for operation and ‘D’ for destruction in simplicity is called GOD. 

The universal vibrations of the planets have direct impact on the child’s time and place of birth. Honorary astrology chart indicates the degree position of the planets at the time and place of birth of the child. The nine planetary influence has effects in different proportions in the life of each individual. The time difference of a minute or two between the birth of twins show two different patterns in life. Also the vibrations of the planets in that time difference show two different characteristics in their physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual developments. So the breath to a momentum goes on changing as the time passes from twenty- four hours of the day to three hundred and sixty five days of the year. The force and power the child generates through the first breath at the time of birth is the one being continued in its day to day life.

If we trace back the gene stage of the child, all it’s needs are received through the cord connecting it to the mother. The Manipuraga chakra or solar plexus is responsible for the development of the entire body from the time of conception right up to the time of birth. It has ten atchcharas or ganglions that connect up the forces in the nine outward openings (eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, and openings for urination and bowel movement) and one inward opening which releases the sexual energy. Any of the gene problem is originally connected to this center, and in cases of genetic problems the solar energy continues to enter the body through this tract even after birth and obstructs the normal functions of the system. Also all imbalances the mother had in physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies will be passed on to the child and the child is born with these genome imbalances. This could be compared to a pot maker’s machine with a dent. All pots produced from it will have the same dent.

Though there are many genome research institutes in the world, the western medical specialists are not able to find an answer to genetic problems. At a press conference  the head of two genome decoding enterprises had with the President of America at the white house, the President Bill Clinton declared “Today we are learning the language in which God created life”. An article titled “The Dawn Of The Genetic Age” published by Canada’s number one magazine ‘MacLean’s’ in its July 2000 issue and the ‘Toronto Star’ a popular news paper published in Canada in its issue of February 12, 2001 published an article captioned “Scientists pour over ‘Book of Life’ secrets” on the subject of human genome.

Western medical science is capable of treating the symptoms and not the cause of the sickness. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani or any other traditional medical systems have not found a conclusive remedy. Siddhas have revealed knowledge to cure any problems of the human beings through their spiritual works. But to understand these scripts one has to elevate himself to the Siddha tradition by practicing what they had preached. Maha Siddhar Kriya Babaji who was born in 203 AD, still lives and tutors techniques he had received from his gurus like Agasthiyar and Boganathar who are all immortals. Babaji has attained soruba samadhi, the highest stage in yoga and has conquered death in a scientific way. His techniques not only envisage the sadhak to attain that highest stage, but also provides answers for the cure of any gene oriented sicknesses in human beings.

The three types of breathing mentioned before can help identify the problem causing the genetic imbalance. In yoga, the teacher identifies the incorrect and imbalance state of the student and corrects the imbalance by teaching the techniques in a very systematic and scientific manner. Only when the student has a balanced breathing he is fit to learn the advanced techniques. These techniques make him aware of Pranic energy and its flow to the entire body. Therefore these balanced conditions in all five bodies will show the inward growth of these bodies and makes a person to realize him self and identify the meaning of I and Myself.  The soul automatically becomes aware from it’s seated position in the base or sacral center (Muladharam) and rises upward step by step through the various chakras (plexus) namely Swathistanam (hypogastric plexus), Manipuragam (epigastric or navel plexus), Anahatam (cardiac plexus), Visuddhi (cervical plexus), and Agnai (hypothalamus plexus). Pranayama techniques make it to climb up these centers in a comfortable manner. It will be seen that the pranayama breathing as it is done through certain secret mudhras activates the central breathing or susumna nadi.

When a person breathes through the middle nose, it always goes through etheric breathing and this could be judged in the conditions of the etheric breathing. Sometimes imbalances could take place as a fraction of the air enters through the right or the left bringing even alterations to the middle nose breathing. So when these wonderful breathing techniques are performed with the mudhra in the middle breathing it will automatically correct the imbalances. Hence it can be said that all the five wavelengths of middle nose breathing is supposed to be healthy breathing and it is the imbalances caused on the right or the left that causes sickness and ailments to identify it to the elemental stage in which the breathing continues. Always the genetic imbalances could be identified by the striking factor of the nadi system.

Normally these 2 nadis are also related to the planetary influence. The pingala or the right nostril is termed as sun or father and controls heat while the left nostril is termed as moon or mother and brings coolness to the body. So when susumna nadi functions in the middle it is a combination of ida and pingala, the father and mother which is supposed to be the spiritual nadi or the god nadi.

 Now the question that rises in everybody’s mind is how could the genetic imbalances be corrected. In Kriya yoga, the practitioner is in complete command of his breathing system and the energy needed to correct the genetic imbalance of a person is solicited through generation of sound vibrations which connect up the six chakras as shown below:

Chakra Sound Vibration
Muladhara Chakra ‘Om’ (a+u+m in a triangular way)
Swathistana Chakra ‘Na’
Manipuraga Chakra ‘Ma’
Anahata Chakra ‘Si’
Visuddhi Chakra ‘Va’
Agnai Chakra Ya’

In other words, we connect up these particular sound producing alphabets called atchcharas or the sound of mantras namely ‘om namasivaya’.

Now this particular sound vibration can bring forward an energy to activate the ganglions to perfection. The sacral center constitutes four atchcharas (ganglions) and swathistana has  six atchcharas. Manipuraga has ten atchcharas, anahata has twelve atchcharas, visuddhi has sixteen and agnai has three atchcharas constituting altogether fifty-one  atchcharas out of which twenty-five are on the right, twenty-five are on the left and one is in the middle.

The sacral center operates in an anti clockwise movement only. But all other chakras are upwardly moving clockwise and on the backside it moves anti clockwise like the nut and bolt. The movement of chakras is actually a subtle force that operates in that manner. Tightening of this force makes it to have a good grip and the body will be in equilibrium. If it is weakened at any point, then problems arise in these centers. All those conditions of the backside operations are sympathetic and not really felt as active. So this sympathetic activation of the backside atchcharas are the most important ones to operate the active atchcharas perfectly. If it let loose its grip then the active atchcharas cannot function perfectly. So it will be seen that the atchcharas will function in crossways in the active side (right to left and left to right).The sympathetic side works in left to left and right to right combination. Many of the genetic problems created affects the sympathetic side of the body which is very much prevalent in autistic and hyperactive children who are born imbalanced. Even those conditions of sickness and ailments which are caused through these genetic imbalances cannot get into perfect curative factor as long as the genetic imbalance is in existence and these genetic imbalances can be identified in 2 different ways: one is hereditary oriented and the other one is imbalance caused during the child in the womb stage.

Whatever the case maybe, when a person who is affected by the gene problem is once corrected to perfect breathing capacity, many incurable sicknesses can be cured by applying yoga method of healing. To do this effectively, a Kriya Yoga practitioner through the sound vibrations activated via the six centers inwardly connect up the seventh cosmic center called sahasara which enables him to change his nadi system exactly to that of the genetically imbalanced person and momentarily experiences the various sickness and ailments undergone by the genetically imbalanced person. While being in that stage of sahasara chakra he could correct those imbalances that are shown in his body which is supposed to be a replica of what the genetically imbalanced person has. It will be seen that the genetic connections have all been shown to a child in the solar plexus or the manipuraga that has ten ganglions and the sympathetic nerves don’t function because of the imbalance caused through the mother’s state of mind and breathing while the child was in the womb of the mother. So it is obvious that if the mother’s gene problem had been corrected while the child was in the womb of the mother, the child would have born very normal. Therefore, the correction of gene problems at the womb stage becomes important to both the mother and the child as they are interrelated. We can also go forward and say that it is a stage in the human system which when made to be well balanced at birth enables the child to grow healthily in it’s lifetime so that always a healthy child in a healthy family constitute a healthy nation and thereby peace and prosperity can always be enjoyed.

In the present world we see many unfortunate souls being born with genetic imbalances and undergoing sufferings which not only affects them but also those who are around them. If we go forward to study the particular phenomena of autism, handicapped conditions and hypertension that an average child has, we could trace back the origin of these genetic imbalances to hereditary oriented conditions in most cases. If this is cleared, then the future generations will not have these problems continued.

It is important that this awareness and corrections should be realized by two individuals joined in marriage to bring forward a well balanced child into this world. The couple  should correct themselves of their imbalances and also their minds should be made up to a conclusive decision that if and when they have a child the child should be of a well balanced nature with perfect intellectual, mental and spiritual balances. So that they not only marry but also when a child is conceived both these people should grow the child in the womb stage to have a perfect physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies. Towards this the mother could in the physical body have well balanced food dedication. In the vital stage, they should be very calm with balanced breathing. In the mental stage they should practice tolerance, not get agitated, aggressed or worried for anything and stress must be avoided. In the intellectual stage good knowledge should be attained through reading scripts and have spiritual awareness. This way the child will be peaceful enough to grow in womb stage and tutored to perfection in all bodies, so that all problems can be prevented before birth itself.

Many people do not think about the type of the child that they should have in their life. So in advance if they prepare the conditions to have a child in perfection that will reveal the good nature and healthiness of the child at birth. Also fear becomes a problem as it affects the child a lot during pregnancy time. It should never be created to children even after birth as it affects the child’s progress. So creating fear psychosis brings forward bigger problems in life. Hence it is an essential factor to have positive approach so that the incurable nature of hereditary oriented sickness could be prevented in the process. 

So yoga in it’s way of the five fold path can bring forward this calmness and dedication to all activities that a person has to do in his day’s life so that not only he feels happy about what he has to do for the day but also when everything has been done at the end of the day he goes to sleep with satisfaction. He wakes up to another day without any worries and doesn’t get troubled in the day in existence. This way a person can automatically live to enjoy peace and comfort in a day’s life and avoiding stress becomes simple. Today many sicknesses are caused through stress and these sicknesses are being tackled through by medications but the relief is not enjoyed. It is only temporary and the problem doubles up as time goes on. Stress oriented conditions have been the major problems to cause sickness like pressure and even to the extent of anger, temper everything is caused through stress. The stress management can be made easy through the practice of Kriya Yoga especially in its physical exercise of shanti asana (posture) asana of peace which relaxes all parts of the body to make the soul force to observe the entire part of the body in peace.

This kind of relaxation can be made as a way of life not necessarily by finding time to do yoga but by making every activity in a day’s life done in a yoga way where the mind automatically gets disciplined to the yoga conditions and makes every step forward with firmness and determination. Yoga is a way of life that entails a person to do a work with full concentration and contentment. When physical work is done, he puts his mind entirely into the work and feels comfortable that he finishes the work in perfection. It can be seen then that he breathes very calmly and the mind is concentrated on the work so that dual activity is avoided. So likewise you find if a person is in a mental activity he goes forward to think on the matter and uses the mind in its analytical and arguing conditions to arrive at good decisions.

In conclusion, Kriya Yoga Pranayama techniques make one to understand the mystic letters Om-Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya which activate the six chakras of the human body thereby connecting the soul (man) with the universe in the seventh center called Sahasara chakra. The yantra representing this chakra has forty-three triangles with a dot in the middle viewing man as an epitome (microcosm) of the universe (macrocosm). This chakra in the form of yantra has been installed in many temples in South India and these temples are supposed to have healing effects to those who go with total faith. For example, the statue of Palani Murugan temple which is revered by Hindus all over the world was made by sage Boganathar by using navapaasana (nine poisonous herbs). All the forces acting through the five elements of the universe is also related to the natural forces working in the human body. This has to be reviewed with a spiritual attitude within one’s self. Even though all spiritualists (whose motto is “Unity in Diversity”) are religionists, all religionists are not spiritualists.  

Every Kriya Yoga sadhak should endeavour to practice the Kriya Yoga techniques until the highest stage of yoga namely sorubha samadhi is attained.

Sadhak Swami Ram