How Kriya Yoga leads to Wisdom

By Desmond Yeoh SC

The Taittiriya Upanishad states that we are each made up of our physical body (Annamaya kosha), energy body (Pranamaya kosha), mental-emotional body (Manomaya/Vijñānamaya kosha) and causal body (Anandamaya kosha).

All these bodies are inter-dependant and continuously affect each other. For example, scientific evidences have shown that sickness can be prevented or reduced by having a positive mind set. This clearly shows the effects of the mental-emotional body on our physical body[1].

In Kriya Yoga, we work to effect changes on the energy body where the chakras reside. Problems in the chakras manifest as mental and physical illnesses. They also cause negative mental tendencies such as excessive lust, discontentment, hatred, anger and so on.

So, by working on the energy body, one can effect positive changes on one’s physical and mental-emotional bodies. This is why practitioners of Kriya Yoga often find that they gain much spiritual insights and wisdom over time. It is difficult to connect these spiritual insights to the Kriya Yoga techniques because these insights do not come while one is performing the techniques. This is because of the need to focus one’s mind on the techniques or steps to be performed. The insights only come later when one is relaxed and not thinking about anything in particular, for example, when one is brushing one’s teeth or taking a shower or just relaxing on the lazy chair.

fire match macro matches

Imagine that we have a wet wooden stick, and wisdom is represented by fire. It is difficult to set the stick on fire when it is wet. Kriya Yoga is like using a hair dryer to dry up the stick. When it becomes dry, we can easily set it on fire with a single matchstick. That single matchstick could just be a simple statement like “everything changes” but it causes a significant shift within us. Although the matchstick had a direct connection with the fire; the drying process contribute significantly, probably more, to the fire.

As we progress on our Kriya Yoga practices we become more and more aware of our negative mental habits. Just becoming aware of these negative habits is already significant progress. This is one of the reasons why I share many Buddhist thoughts in my writings. I share those teachings which are applicable to human nature so that we can use them as tools to counter our negative mental habits.

In Kriya Yoga, although there is much focus on the energy body, there are also meditation (“Dhyana”) techniques that works on the mental-emotional body. So, Kriya Yoga is actually a very holistic system.

For those who prefers to do more work on their mental-emotional body, they are free to add meditation techniques which are contemplative in nature.  For instance, the Buddhist Vipassana meditation does not have any specific steps/techniques apart from initially focusing on a meditation object (such as the breath) to calm the mind. The meditator then maintains self-awareness and observe anything that he becomes conscious of, such as his thoughts, emotions and sense objects (eg sound, smell etc). This method works directly on the mental-emotional body and its impact on the mind is more obvious. However, one needs to have strong mindfulness, self-awareness and wisdom to progress quickly with this approach. Therefore, Vipassana practitioners would find their Vipassana meditation sessions becoming more insightful and fruitful when combined with Kriya Yoga.


[1] “Chakra Self-Healing” by Rudra Shivananda gives an in-depth explanation about this.

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