The Kriya Yoga Tradition

The Kriya Yoga tradition is not a separate or different yogic path. It emphasizes what all enlightenment traditions emphasize: the relinquishing of ego for realization through meditation, study, surrender, self-discipline, and a dedicated, committed practice. But, it shares with those sincere truth seekers the liberating technique of Kriya Pranayama. Through this technique, spiritual evolution is accelerated, the awakening process is streamlined, karma is mitigated, and Self-Realization is prepared for. The Kriya Pranayama empowers the yogi with a potent and priceless spiritual tool on the quest toward enlightenment. But, it is our dedicated and devout practice and relentless pursuit of the Divine that assures the attainment of that goal.

In the Kriya Yoga tradition, as imparted by Mahavatar Babaji through his lines of successors, there is an essential technique known as Kriya Pranayama. It has also been referred to as Shushmna Kriya and Brahman Kriya. This pranayama encourages the movement of kundalini through the spinal column upward toward the crown chakra. It is considered a sacred technique that should be shared only by qualified and sanctioned spiritual teachers as it carries with it the spiritual energy known as shaktipat or saktipāta; this transmission of spiritual force is an essential part of the Kriya Yoga Pranayama tradition. It is imbued with the vibrations and energies specific to that spiritual lineage.

The transmission of shaktipat has been referred to in various ways in other traditions; it has been called “the quickening” and “the sharing of the Holy Spirit.” Shaktipat may be imparted by touch or intention from an awakened teacher. If the student is prepared and open to it, shaktipat may be shared simply by being in the teacher’s presence. Shaktipat rouses the kundalini within the student, assisting in their spiritual awakening. The Pranayama technique is important but so is the sharing of consciousness and spiritual energy. That is why it is necessary to seek out qualified and sanctioned teachers when learning Kriya Pranayama.

This Kriya Yoga Guru Lineage

Roy Eugene Davis 1931 – 2019

My Guru, Roy Eugene Davis was born in 1931 in Leavittsburg, Ohio, approximately 40 miles south of Cleveland, and grew up in a farming community.

In 1949, at just 18 years old with only $60. in his pocket, and an unshakeable certainty, he left his home and traveled to California to meet his Guru, the great saint, Paramahansa Yogananda. He arrived on Christmas eve and was accepted for discipleship and training.

After two years of personal training Yogananda instructed him to “Teach as I have taught, heal as I have healed, and initiate sincere seekers in Kriya Yoga.” For the next 68 years Mr. Davis followed his guru’s wishes, selflessly sharing guidelines for effective living and rapid spiritual growth with hundreds of thousands around the globe.

Most of his life was spent traveling the world offering seminars and classes in meditation, yoga philosophy and purposeful living. 

A prolific writer, he is the author of more than 50 books, many of which have been translated into several languages. His books include commentaries on spiritual classics such as, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Bhagavad Gita, and Shankara’s treatise on Self Knowledge.

In 1972 he founded CSA as his world-wide ministry headquarters and retreat facility. Situated on 11 acres in the natural beauty of the mountains of northeast Georgia, the center includes guest houses, a meditation hall and dining room complex, a bookstore, a library, a Temple of All Faiths, a resource center and administrative offices.

Paramahansa Yogananda 1893 – 1952

Swami Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to share with the west the liberating science of Kriya Yoga. During his more than 30 years in the America, he intiated thousands of searching souls into the Kriya Pranayama technique.

While spreading his general message of Yoga throughout the world, he also played the role of Guru and accepted students for direct training who felt a deeper connection with him and the Kriya Yoga tradition.

Paramahansa Yogananda founded The Self Realization Fellowship in 1920, later establishing a headquarters in Mount Washington, California which is still in operation today. He is probably most recognized in the world for his best selling book Autobiography of a Yogi.

Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri 1855 – 1936

A householder and a businessman in his younger life, Sri Yukteswar entered the monastic order and became a swami after his wife died.

He established two ashrams, one in Puri and one in Serampore where he trained students in the art and science of Kriya Yoga.

Known for his keen intellect and discerning wisdom, Yukteswar was very much a renaissance man. He wrote several books, was skilled in astronomy and astrology, and had a strong interest in physics, physiology and geography. 

Several disciples of Yukteswar went on to establish their own organizations including Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Satyananda, and Swami Hariharananda. 

Shyama Lahiri Mahasaya 1828 – 1895

Lahiri Mahasaya was a householder, married with children and an accountant for the government. 

In 1861, he was deputed by his Guru Mahavatar Babaji to reintroduce the liberating science of Kriya Yoga back into the world. 

Maintaining his job, he taught and met with devotees during the evening hours until his retirement in 1886 when he began to be available full time. His realization and piety attracted thousands of followers over the years who he initiated into Kriya yoga. 

He had many advanced disciples including Swami Keshavananda Brahmachari, Panchanan Bhattacharya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar.

Known by many names and often called “The Deathless Guru,” Mahavatar Babaji is the progenitor of this Kriya Yoga Guru line. 

Few historical facts are known about him.  He lives in the Himalayas with a small group of highly advanced disciples and is said to be the originator of many Yoga traditions. 

Some claim he is Lord Shiva himself, the deathless Guru of all yogis.