In order to recover the true meaning of yoga, it is necessary to understand clearly a few key terms.
The word yoga itself has over fifty distinct meanings in Sanskrit— yoke, trick, art, magic, conjunction of stars, pursuit, property, fitness, zeal, attention, discipline, etc. As a spiritual discipline, its meaning is "union"
(of the lower self, jivatman, with the higher Self or God, paramatman).
Yoga dates back to the very beginning of consciousness, and has always been an integral part of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Spiritual practices closely following the universal principles of yoga are also found in the mystical trends of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, as well as many native religions. In fact, it can be said that religions are the theory of knowing God, and yoga is its practice.
The word kriya is derived from the Sanskrit roots kar (which lead to formation of the word karma), meaning "action" or "work", and ya, meaning "Soul" or "God" (just as in the Hebrew yah). Unfortunately, the word kriya is often confused with the description of exercices of purification, or spontaneous releases of energy, known as kriyas, experienced in
The original spiritual science of Kriya Yoga is the practice of divine surrender—constantly perceiving that any action performed through our body and mind is done by God only; to become the detached witness of the interplay of nature (kri) and spirit (ya) in all aspects of creation. This witnessing consciousness, sakshi bhava, is gradually refined and developped through a combination of physical postures, asanas, concentration exercises, dharana, breath control, pranayama, and meditation, dhyana. Within a short time, the practitioner can taste the sweetness of the soul reality, samadhi, and be free from stress, doubt, and delusion.
The central idea upon which Kriya Yoga is based is “Self-Realization.” This term in and of itself implies that the self is in essence 'non-different' from God and that this fundamental fact of existence can be realized in an experience termed samadhi in which a yogi perceives the identity of individualized soul and Cosmic Spirit. Through the practice of Kriya Yoga, one becomes able to calm the turbulence within, to realize oneself, and to therefore realize God and the love for God. The ultimate goal is to help all in our diverse world recognize the beauty within them, and the magnificence of their spirit.
Kriya Yoga holds certain scriptures and texts as essential for furthering the practice of Kriya Yoga. These essential scriptures and sacred texts include the following: The Bhagavad Gita; The Yoga Sutras by Sage Patañjali Maharshi (150 B.C.E.); The Hatha Yoga Pradipika; The Gheranda Samhita; The Shiva Samhita; The Ashtavakra Gita a.k.a. Ashtavakra Samhita; The Avadhuta Gita by Sage Dattatreya; The Rama Gita; The Uddhava Gita; The Narada Bhakti Sutras by Narada; The Devi Mahatmyam, a.k.a. Chandi or Durga Saptasati, which comes from the Markandeya Upanishad; The Brahma-Sutras by Sage Vyasa (1450 B.C.E.); The Upanishads (composed from 1450 B.C.E. onward); The Ramayana, by Sage Valmiki (500 B.C.E.); The Mahabharata, by Sage Vyasa (1316 B.C.E.); The Yoga Vasishtha by Sage Valmiki (500 B.C.E.)
Thus, several spiritual texts encompass our beliefs. However, two of these texts, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads are at the center of our practice.