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led to the compilation of this book and close with a thorough discussion of just what, practically, are the hindrances to the practice Kriya Yoga. The path bringing one towards the Spiritual Goal is strongly hindered (and, unfortunately, sometimes totally stifled) by some puzzling weaknesses of the human mind. To be honest, this theme should have been discussed in a detailed preface, but as we know, almost nobody reads them. The reader may think it worthwhile in giving it a glance only after a first partial reading of the book. In a Kriya book, readers prefer to get the general idea of the author’s motivations (…and obsessions) lingering over some techniques, just to see at which level of depth they are discussed. Sometimes a reader behaves like a timorous animal, roaming in unexplored territory, wondering whether to give a modicum of trust to what the author is communicating. The techniques the reader actually bothers to read carefully are probably already familiar to him to a certain extent. He or she may discover new aspects of them and decide to test them by combining them - perhaps in the strangest of the ways - with others he or she is already accustomed to. If all this seems to work, the reader may then take into account the author’s preface, skipping definitively those parts which have even a slightest rhetorical tone. On account of this, I have decided to develop here the subject of a kriyaban’s fixations [and of the dependence on something which is extraneous to his or her own being], so as to close a circle that began with the narration of my distant past experiences in search for a technique that could teach me the art of dying to myself, in order to become truly alive. At that time I could not understand that the path toward the spiritual experience, which I was looking for with so much determination, had to be protected through repeated battles against the very tendencies of my mind. The techniques of Kriya Yoga give a substantial help in progressing in spite of our limitations: the complete shipwreck of the spiritual journey happens when a person stubbornly and on purpose clutches to his or her fixations, nourishes them, obtaining pleasure from them.
Let us dwell upon some attitudes that distort the clean desire to achieve the mystical goal, blur it up to make it pointless. The purpose of this description is to clarify what it means a clean spiritual path. Our consciousness is guided to inquire whether the negative qualities we perceive in others and, painfully, in ourselves - which seem utterly absurd and nasty - have some meaning at all. Being the answer negative, we may feel a healing drive to insulate in our lives and in our spiritual path only the essential and clean elements. As I have recounted, haunting organizations and seminars on Kriya Yoga, I met a lot of people with heterogeneous behaviours; I mixed with them and took part to their life. As far as I was concerned, those persons were a mirror where I could detect more easily the weaknesses that I was bringing inside. Not long ago, certain ways of their behaviour were mine, while others are still mine! It is important to understand that Kriya Yoga is a spiritual path and is to be unambiguously distinguished from other vague esoteric goals, or other objectives belonging properly to the domain of alternative Medicine. Understanding this difference is particularly important for the kriyaban, especially in judging the obtained results. Without such distinction, he or she would behave like children that handle tools which are not suitable for them - I wouldn’t dare claim that Kriya is dangerous, but it is certain that he or she would not draw from them the beauty that they potentially contain. Kriya Yoga points at the attainment of the state of communion/union, through the direct experience, with the Divine. It is the internal teaching behind all religions, their deepest meaning, beyond any symbol and belief system - the ephemeral wraps imposed by the human mind. It is the flow of internal truth perceived by those researchers who are able to transcend form, reaching directly the essence of reality. It must be remarked that the word mystic evokes a relationship with the mystery, with the concept of initiation [from the Greek μυστικός (mustikos), an initiate] into secret religious rituals [also this from the Greek μύω, to conceal]. This term is sometimes used for denoting practices that don't properly return to the idea of a path leading the soul to unite with the Endless one. Some employ it to designate interests that can be set at the outskirts of the
proper spiritual achievement - without clarifying if it is to be knowingly avoided or if it is expected to ensue as an epiphenomenona. A kriyaban is curious but not idly; he or she is not a philosopher. A concrete process has to happen, almost daily, in his life: the employment of specific procedures to calm the mind, while addressing the devotion of his heart to his much-beloved conception of the Divine. He is always in the search of the ecstatic state but, in agreement with the great mystics’ thought, his attitude is not one of conquering anything, but rather that of making a total gift of himself. Before entering the nucleus of our discussion, let’s open a parenthesis and clarify what we mean for "communion/union with God". Even if someone maintains that, because of the ineffability of the experience, we should not pretend to be able to totally clarify the meaning of this term, I think that one has the duty to dwell upon this concept and distil from one’s reflections a clear point of view. Can the reader conceive of the idea that a human being - through whatever practice, done with all the earnestness and skill he is able to develop - can we conceive that he or she becomes equal to God? Despite the conflicting interpretations, I believe that the answer cannot but be «no». Merged in a state of recollection - aware that, in order to write objectively about their experiences, they were almost falling in the realm of ordinary consciousness, at the same time delightfully confident that in an instant they could seize their high state again - they found words that, even after centuries, rouse within us an unambiguous intuition. It doesn't matter through what labels and through what play of words any spiritual experience could be conveyed, while its nucleus appears as a sound, definite state, all the rest is a tension toward the total reintegration of one’s being with the Eternal Truth. In the matters of daily life, it is to be sought indefinitely. Yet some texts, by employing words like Samadhi, Moksha, Nirvana, Self-realization, refer to a state of accomplished union, which is identification with God. Personally, I do not consider authentic any mystic who expresses his absolute conviction to be God; at the same time I can accept that, on certain occasions, a mystic affirms his or her identity with the Divine. This
is not a play on words. The affirmations of mystics are amazing, contrary to our expectations; paradoxical - they affirm and deny at the same time, but we can understand what they mean. One thing is to claim to have become God, and quite another to affirm the endless nature of one’s own soul. The first is a colossal falsehood, an unpleasant and even comic utterance; the second is a means to rouse within us the realization of our nature, a shining, Mantra-like affirmation. A mystic uses expressions like "I am That" as a declaration of his intention and repeats them while ever-increasing his aspiration toward the Goal. Such a Mantra has the power to prolong the immensurable joy experienced in the state of deep ecstasy. There are people who, in order to avoid misconceptions, prefer to avoid the term "communion" or "union" and describe Kriya Yoga [or a similar path] as the process of illumination: to be awakened from the illusory dream that our life is; then a human is able to live in the best of possible ways, accepting any sharp difficulty that comes across his path, being able to face what he was not able to perform when he was blinded by the powerful illusion of Maya. Charming is also the consideration [based on the conviction that man possesses potentialities still to be developed] of Kriya as the incessant striving to favour the evolutionary drive that will bring to man the psychophysical tools through which the spiritual Reality will entirely manifest in his life. Though accepting different shades of meaning of the term "communion/union" with the Divine, the following discussion examines the useless complications and big troubles met by those who would want to follow Kriya’s spiritual path while nourishing, in their head and heart, definitely misleading ideas. I will begin discussing some wrong attitudes, a large part of which I experienced for myself, being a victim of them. FIRST PART: WRONG ATTITUDES Too much emphasis upon having the best technique In the field of Kriya, the thought of having reached this or that level of evolution, the superiority complex that comes from having been initiated
by a certain teacher whose lineage is held to be noble, or the self-satisfied pleasure coming from the idea that Kriya Yoga is superior to all other spiritual paths, contribute to thicken the armour of the ego and cloud the intelligence. This may happen to those who have received Kriya no matter by whom, but it is frequent in those affiliated with an organization. Both the rigid and the more tolerant organizations have the tendency to underline the superiority of their techniques in comparison with the traditional religious tools. Such emphasis may give the impression that Kriya is not a comprehensive mystic discipline pointing at a thorough transformation of an individual, but one or more secrets to be exploited. Those who cling to this idea may assume upon themselves an unpleasant attitude, intolerant up to brutality. The core of the problem is the pernicious idea of belonging to a privileged group and of practicing «the fastest technique in the field of spiritual evolution». One’s practice is severely affected; it is not automatic that after some years the realization of how lethal this attitude had been begins timidly to dawn. If this happens it is a luck, because one has the time to overturn his or her attitude and obtain great progress in a short time. Unfortunately, often he or she who believes in being an "evolved spiritual researcher", is a not yet emotionally mature individual. Posing as one who has been blessed to have a superior destiny, while disguising complexes enormous as abysses - of intellectual inferiority, he or she is not able to conceive this painful but liberating insight. The reader remembers that when I met the first person who was linked with the school founded by P.Y., I permitted him to abuse me. In spite of the hard shock I was receiving, I was not able to cut off his rambling speech and return entirely in my own dimension. At the base of my behaviour was the hope to receive from him, or from his organization, the secrets of Kriya. Learning this "supreme" among all the spiritual techniques, the "airplane route to God realization" was my paramount objective. Later, being part of his group and posing as a devotee of the organization’s Guru was a huge mistake from my part. Differently from other members I was fully aware that at the end of the correspondence course there was some particular material to be received, which contained the higher technical teachings. Receiving them was not automatic: it was necessary to give proof of a loyal and dedicated
behaviour; I always tried, therefore, to give the idea that I was a submissive disciple. That opportunity appeared to me as the greatest of all the miracles, a great boon and so I accepted everything necessary to not spoil my seemingly idyllic relation with the group. One day, when I had the evidence that the coveted teachings, at long last in my hands, were not the original complete ones, I interrupted my connection with the organization. That’s how, after years of pretence, crisis and thwarting of my nature, I had to begin my search again. Having betrayed the dignity of my soul, I was bound to end my journey in this way. What makes me sad is that for many years, my wrong attitude of supremacy, confident in the automatism of my path, had bad reflections in my experience of meditation. While I have no reason to express my grief about the way I tackled the practice of Hong So and Om techniques [I was helped by the thought that they were preliminary techniques and, in order to have results, I had to use my intuition at the greatest degree] I faced Kriya proper quite with the worst attitude. Apart from other foolish thoughts, it seems impossible that I accepted the distorted idea that each Pranayama breath could produce, almost automatically, «the equivalent of a solar year of spiritual evolution» and that through a million of Kriya breathings I would infallibly reach the Cosmic Consciousness. When I sat down to practice, I tried to perform the greatest possible number of Pranayama breathings in order to approach more quickly the moment in which I would complete the above-mentioned number. This thought prevented me from exerting watchfulness toward the correct way of performing those breaths. Since I felt to be a privileged being and Kriya was a blessing received as an unexpected fortune, it ceased to be an art to be perfected with great concentration and intelligence. Inner laziness and intellective paralysis resulted. After many years, I realized it was impossible to continue the spiritual path with such ideas in my heart. Now, since it is particularly important to understand why pride is totally incompatible with Kriya or with whatever spiritual path, which is not an illusion, let me consider a more delicate question. He who practices a discipline like Kriya - especially if it is enriched by Thokar - undergoes a tangible psychological transformation. Many fetters 206
some conditioning that seemed immovable - start to crumble. There is the tendency of going deeper, inexorably, up to touch the unpolluted truth. His or her thinking becomes compact, of a solidity that other people's suggestions don't succeed in upsetting. One is no more able to bear the least deformation of truth. But truth is total truth. It touches the reality of life and the reality of his or her personality, deep instincts included. This is a hard-to-take reality, incompatible with any feeling of pride. If we study the biographies of the saints we find an undeniable fact: they passed through suffering. The idea that the mystical experience is only untainted joy is an illusion. A difficult experience happens when a mystic brings the light of the Spirit into the depths of his or her own being. Some call this state the dark night of the soul. A mystic realizes that each shadowy part of his or her being is a symbol of the darkness that is inherent in the human nature. What one is and what others are, mingles - this is very difficult to accept. How can a mystic feel the smallest hint of pride when he perceives the echo of his brothers' desperation - of the Divine that they are and that, in a boundless dream, vaster than millions of galaxies, He dreams also histories of endless, immense pain? Most of the researchers try simply to reach the heavens. By so doing they risk making their heart hard and resistant as a stone and imbue their mind of the cold of a steel blade. The result may be that compassion and true love goes away. The experience of discovering in our selves every man’s cruelty and darkness - which gives the impression of the impossibility to touch the Spiritual reality - thorns their armour in a pitiless way. Through their wounds, a love and a pity enters that any reasoning, any cultivated sensibility could have ever given. Through a cruel and incessant anguish they raise up to a beatific absence of pain, through an endless sense of rebellion for the omnipresent evil they come to an unchangeable peace. The authentic compassion is born and then the blooming of Beauty. As everyone can see, only a beginner can look at his practice with pride, then there is no time for petty thoughts.
Compulsive drive to seek a more powerful technique A dangerous and potentially destructive obsession for some individuals, is the allure of finding more powerful meditation techniques than the ones they already have. One is ready to do any stupid action in order to learn them. This obsession, present nowadays in some kriyabans, is almost inborn in people attracted not by devotional readings, but by esoteric-magic books. [I know this world well. I related how my spiritual search began as an inexplicable attraction toward the breathing exercises - which could allegedly change a person inside. When I read about Kriya, in view of the fact that in my reference book [AY] its techniques were not given, I began to explore the esoteric world. I remembered my early readings in this field. I was attracted by those pages where I could find drawings of various circuits of energetic movements present in the human body.] Some people love to explore the mysteries inherent to the "human potential". Amid bewildering mediocrities, they may come to a text where some oriental-fashioned, meditative practices are included. Through a constant and intense practice, they may even have an inner experience, which leaves them amazed, astonished. It is as if the scene suddenly brightened; in their mind and in their dusty library a new air begins to circulate; in the ensuing mental silence their search rises to a new significance. Later through other readings they may come to the discovery of the Kriya path [or similar] and to the fully understanding of its purpose. Some awake to the realization that it is what they were looking for, what their agonizing heart craved. They are as new born; look at the Spiritual Reality revealing as Immutability itself. But in their nature there may be a lurking attitude that may cause great problems. The pernicious idea may be born that they came across Kriya by chance and they fantasize about what could happen if they encountered a higher technique of another tradition. They are seduced by the temptation of reaching at little cost, with faster means, the Illumination. Often, they are ensnared by the claim that the classical meditative practices - the sober methods adopted for a long time by the mystics of various religions - are
not valid for our time - they were all right up to 50 years ago, but with the new era man has evolved and is ready to employ faster tools. Some may become enthusiastic of expensive techniques shared over the weekend at some beauty resort, spa, vacation... which in 20 minutes a day produce regeneration of the DNA, expansion of conscience ever gotten with other means, final liberation etc. They believe and, at the same time, disbelieve in the value of Kriya. They do not understand that Kriya is more than enough and its secret is only the genuine aspiration for the Divine. They aim at improving the potentialities of their mind [memory, concentration, ability of visualization….] convinced that, in this way, they will produce an elevation of their being. Their reasoning seems not illogical: «The fundamental texts dealing with the spiritual path affirm that the mind is not to be ameliorate: it has to reach the perfect silence. However the techniques that bring the mind to that state are practised with the mind, using, for example, its power of visualization. Well, the so-called occult powers [control of all the forms of energy, dominion upon the five elements tied up with the Chakras...] could turn to be very useful. By possessing them, the mystical path would become a "stroll"». This idea is charming, appealing… but for a real mystic it is bullshit. Those researchers understand intuitively the difference between magic and mystical dimension, yet, they cannot but dream of improbable secrets known to few elects. [I met a kriyaban who was trying to "improve" the Kriya techniques by suiting for such a purpose various esoteric techniques, even those described in the rituals of ceremonial magic. He was convinced that only by using certain rituals, formulas and initiatic symbols it was possible to complete the evolutionary jump conducive to the liberation.] There are circumstances in which the same economic bases, essential to the living of an individual, can be swept away, destroyed to shambles. A typical situation is when a self-named expert in occult matters purports to know the secrets of an almost disappeared esoteric path and, in particular, a spiritual technique - far more advanced than those known today - which was practiced centuries or millennia ago, from few privileged ones. The aspect of a rascal, that prevails upon that of the naïve dreamer, will easily bewitch our researcher; he is going to worm a lot of money out of him.
«Now that humanity is different from before, such teachings are not revealed to anyone» he will start off; then he will pause and finally, with a sigh, conclude: «The actual researchers would not know how to appreciate them and, in their hands, they could be dangerous.» He will use an enchanting terminology near to that of the Kabbalah (mystical movement within the Judaism) or he will talk of the original Christianity, about whose well known sacred texts he will be able to offer a non-conventional interpretation. Our victim will try to get round the teacher; in reality will fall into the trap. He will confide he is prepared to whatever sacrifice, provided that this extraordinary secret will be revealed to him. After having expressed some reservations, at long last the teacher will capitulate but…. «Only for you, only because I feel I am guided to make an exception.» Our adept, quivering of emotion, will live the best moment of his life, convinced that the meeting with the expert was decided in the higher spheres. The donation he is going to offer during the initiation - united to the promise to maintain the absolute secretiveness - will be conspicuous since in that way he will confirm the great value he attributes to that event. The donation will serve to the teacher for …. carry on good works obviously. [Such teachers affirm invariably to transmit the donations to a certain monk - curiously not priest - which takes care of an orphanage.] While the adept, completely satisfied, is preparing to receive such an incomparable gift [our occult expert underlines with emphasis that it is a gift and that nothing could adequately compensate the benedictions that such an initiation will bring in the adept’s life] the teacher is distractedly deciding what kind of trash-stuff he is going to demonstrate with glaring solemnity. As soon as the new technique is acquired and tested with indescribable emotion, our researcher will spend one or two days of sheer fervour. In the future he will still hear about other incomparably valuable "revelations". Imprisoned in his chimeras, he will witness the rekindling of his passion and the comedy will repeat. The illusion is, in effect, indomitable. After having received his drug, he will continue his inexorable run towards the
abyss. After having covered a vast round, all the roads, one after the other, will begin to close in front of him. We cannot predict if, one day, he will realize that the techniques for which he has paid a fortune had been taken from some books and altered in order not to guess their origin.
I understand what kind of power the above commented fixation has, since it took possession of me, when, only just entered the organization, I whished to receive the Higher Kriyas immediately. I reasoned in this way: «I don’t know if - as the organization affirms - I am really tied with a chain of invisible Masters or if, one day, I will meet one in person. In the meantime I want to work soundly, therefore I need to know all the technical subtleties. I will invest all my efforts in the attempt to internally travel toward the Kutastha (spiritual eye), and reside there!». Of course when I daydreamed about a living Master I did not think of a Guru who arrived in a city, granted hastily the initiation and then left. I envisaged a person toward whom there could be deep reasons to feel respect and with whom there was the opportunity to create a real connection and maintain it. Receiving the whole set of teachings at once seemed an impossible event. They were reserved to those who had shown loyalty to the organization and, after years of practice of the basic techniques, submitted a complete and unexceptionable report. My attitude brought me an unbearable tension. It is obvious that when I tried to learn those techniques from my fellow brothers, I clashed violently with the pledge of secrecy. I became desperate; I could not accept other persons to decide if I was worthy of receiving certain teachings: they were my Supreme Good and I thought it was a cruelty that other persons hold its key. In conclusion, we know that in many spiritual researchers there are traces of trust of being treading the best path, in others we shall always find the eagerness of learning something higher. These are instinctive character drives. A mature researcher is one who, even if he or she has done all what the human folly could conceive and wasted years in exhausting his or her vital energy, now he practices the techniques he knows with an appeased heart.
Losing sight of the final goal and be misled by the comforts of the path itself Often the pleasures and benefits derived from the spiritual path change into a real dependence on them. This is a situation in which one drifts without realizing he has betrayed the purpose of the spiritual path. Attachment to the pleasures derived from the practice of the techniques and also from the environment in which they are performed - is thoughtlessly confused with a favourable self diagnose of the correct execution of them. This attitude beguiles a researcher into wasting his attention on secondary aspects of the mystical path. It is obvious that he cannot fool oneself by claiming to be pursuing the Divine Goal, when he is, in fact, only interested in his well-being. He may think he is in a "settling-down" period before diving into the final mystical dimension. But, actually he resembles one of those person who go on preparing their house for a distinguished guest, endlessly polishing and decorating it - meanwhile, after ringing the bell, their guest sits neglected on the doormat… With great foolishness I yielded to this temptation and let myself be enchanted by the New Age sensibility. I have nothing against this movement. The New Age cultural aspect doesn't encourage ideas opposed to the most authentic sense of the mystical search. To begin one’s spiritual path inside such an environment could be, in theory, a fascinating endeavour. During the twentieth century, the human thought made a strong step forward along a healthy direction. There are many grounds to believe that, in the future, such an epoch will be studied with the same respect with which nowadays Humanism, Renaissance, Enlightenment ages are studied. Since distinguished men of science contributed to the New Age sensibility, there is no need to dwell on the affirmation, irrelevant for our understanding, according to which such a progress coincided with the entry of the solar system in the sign of the Aquarium - from this belief it derived the term "Age of Aquarius" or "New Age." The character of that age was marked by the perception of something "planetary" at work. People realized that the discoveries of Physics, of Alternative Medicine, the developments of the Depth Psychology, all
brought towards the same understanding: the substantial interdependency among universe, body, psyche and spiritual dimension of man. The esoteric-initiatic societies, overcoming for a long time the differences of culture and religious vision, had already recognized this truth, which now, became common heritage. Among other things, it was accepted that evil really exists, that it is an intrinsic factor pertaining to the instinctual dimension of man. It is tied with all forms of egoism, cruelty, ruthlessness and with the tendency of exploitation of the environment. It can blind man to such a point that he becomes the instrument of the ruin of the Earth and of the disappearance of the conditions which are indispensable to his life. Far-off is the theological vision implying a despotic role of man, put in the center of a creation, which seems to have no other purpose than that to satisfy his needs and whims. Dependent as he is upon everything surrounding him, man has the duty of taking decisive steps to protect the environment. The longing for a lifestyle that takes into account man’s spiritual dimension, grows in accord with a political-ecological engagement. The problem is that, in this milieu, the psycho-physical comfort, the total harmony within one’s being is considered the basis and, at the same time, the outcome of the spiritual life. Some, among the persons met at that time, were under the influence of a cunning fellow who, according to the needs, assumed the role of the psychotherapist, of the spiritual teacher, of the alternative physician who, with a pendulum in his hand, was able to diagnose everything, from the slightest indispositions to the most serious illnesses, as well as to suggest remedies. Harmless methods like aromatherapy, crystal therapy, colour therapy… arouse great enthusiasm, seemed to work for some time, afterwards they were forsaken. It was typical for us to take part in various forms of alternative psychotherapy during weekend seminars. Those methods recalled the traditional ones, giving great importance to public personal reports about common childish traumas. From the legal point of view, such activities had to be camouflaged as social games, cultural or religious activities. I remember vividly how, sitting on the ground and placed in circle face to face with others, we formed work groups and, overcoming inner
resistances, shared, sometimes with acute suffering, experiences that we had never told before. For a researcher who has the mystical Goal in his heart, these activities may be an expensive distraction which may enthral him for years and strengthen a wrong - I dare say lethal - attitude. He tends to forget that they have nothing to do with the spiritual path. The problem lies not in the fact that the room, in which one sits in meditation, is plentiful with multicoloured posters, decorations, crystals or other objects, but is the fact that, while pursuing the ideal of creating a perfect inner environment [through a complete personality cleanness] and a comfortable outer, the mystical goal may lose its appeal and the spiritual path become dead and buried. One may waste years in trying to find again, through hypnotic regression, his past lives in order to revive and understand deeper traumas … It is not the search of the psychological healing that guarantees the final result, it is the deep aspiration for the goal, the bliss of the deep meditation that can bring us nearer to the final result. Spirituality may be undoubtedly considered a recovery process, but it must be stressed very clearly that this cure is a global one, not just limited to the physical or mental plane. Unfortunately, the events may take a bad turn. Some end in being enmeshed in a multi-level marketing system where they learn modern methods of spiritual healing. They are allured to invest in expensive seminars where their energy channels would be opened and they will learn the secret how to heal others with the use of the Universal Energy. All this may cost a lot, also because the seminars are not given nearby but abroad, in expensive residences. This endeavour is dangerous: some give up their genuine attitude and begin behaving like demigods. When I dared to call into question the validity of the whole thing, a New Age adept, annoyed, rebuked that there was no reason to be perplexed about this high practice, without having tried it: «It is our Karma that is giving us the best of all the opportunities to grow in all the planes». «We are expected to answer in a positive way. We don't have to stay jammed against this beneficial current otherwise we could have … to die and born again just to live those experiences that we are now shunning!»
Some end up in spiritism [mediumship]. The classical spiritualism - characterized by a medium who enters a trance state and a desk which answers the questions put by the bystanders through a code of loud raps - has handed over its place to more modern methods such as the easy one where all the participants - putting their hands on the upside-down glass that so easily moves among the letters of the alphabet stamped on a comfortable flexible tablet - are mediums themselves. One may like better the most accessible revelations of a Channeler. This is a person who, without so many complications, lets the invoked entity express through the flood of his own eloquence. It is curious to see how the Channeler’s biographies trace a common scheme. Once they were sceptic of their own faculties and would not accept to yield to the higher Will who had decided to entrust them the mission to serve as medium between spirits and humanity. Once they mission was accepted, from the same ultra mundane source came the inspiration to mix the flow of the various revelations with the diagnosis of unlikely illnesses, with prescription of expensive alternative remedies. Among other things, I came in touch with one spiritualistic-based group, which derived its occult teachings from an allegedly non physical source, which their medium was in contact with. That group lacked the main feature of a sect: they seemed to address the medium with an attitude of human, respectful friendship and not with the solemn attitude of worship. While some came to this reality dreaming a contact with a deceased relative or friend, some were moved by the sheer thirst of occult knowledge. If this practice kept its promises, it would be the most valid mine of information - a direct connection with the beyond, far more accurate than any other source! Often I wondered about the plentiful contradictions in the literature concerning spiritualism: there were inconsistencies in the received description of the geography of the beyond if compared with those coming from other mediums. By resorting to a trick, my friends were able to overcome that problem: they conceived various parallel universes, clearly one …. for each spiritualistic group.
[I understood an important lesson: there was so much convenience and solace in belonging to one of these groups, why grieve over those insignificant details]? They felt they were infinitely more fortunate than any other spiritual researcher. Although they firmly believed that a great worldly upheaval (cataclysm) was round the corner, they were always quiet and optimistic, having received the assurance that they will be saved. They walked on air. They offered me the privilege … to communicate directly with the historical Masters of Kriya. It was pathetic and even amusing to hear their solemn message: «In this epoch, the Kriya is old-fashioned and useless. Devotion is enough!». In my opinion, to be entangled in this activity is an amazingly easy way of destroying, in short time, years of genuine spiritual effort. I have some grounds to assume that the untrustworthy soil of spiritism is one of the best areas to cultivate splits inside the personality. What I witnessed, with a sadness sharpened by the particular situations which at that time took place, was the mental fragility [feebleness; I don’t know how to call it] of the most part of those practicing spiritism. They puzzled me not only on account of their statements but also of what appeared through their eyes. It was as if, from behind the mask of their face, another personality appeared, extremely self-confident, but who actually allowed others to deceive and defraud them in the worst of the ways. How strange is the whole matter! Apart from the automatic writing in which the one who asks is the same person that gives the answer, the Medium knows in advance the preferences and anticipations of the person who addresses him. Therefore all becomes as a closed circuit: question and answer reverberate in an endless loop like the feedback whistle of a microphone set next to its loud speaker. As anyone can observe, the messages are always agreeable. Every adept, even of limited intelligence, receives the message that the Divine has assigned him an important mission… Some friends plunged into situations of such a narrowness of vision to appear grotesque. Their original desire to find the total freedom in Kriya Yoga ended in the worst of all the prisons. They gave all their possessions, and their life, to a person who was an authentic scoundrel.
Kriya utilized as an alternative therapy Let us consider a situation that seems to be a development of the previous one, but it’s really its opposite. We have described the condition of people who practise Kriya but, being lost in collateral pursuits, lose sight of its Goal. Here we discuss the dramatic situation of those who should have nothing to do with Kriya, who have received some warnings not to practice it but, tenaciously cling to it, desperately, for the reasons we are now going to explain. I’m referring to those individuals who have serious psychological troubles - a mental illness which was diagnosed by one or more doctors - and, being allured by the advertising surrounding this discipline, are eternally attracted to Kriya practice. There may be striking differences among them about the attitude towards any pharmacological therapy [allopathic or alternative] and about the decision to apply Yoga in their life. This decision could have been taken by mutual consent with the therapist [Psychologist or Psychiatrist] or could represented their independent choice. Coming out from a devastating situation and living normally as any other human being, is the most pressing desire in their consciousness, an emergency that permeates their thinking and behaviour. Some try to apply the mystical techniques of Kriya for this reason only. Some are sincere, some clumsy try to camouflage their hopes by pretending a nonexistent spiritual interest. The expectation that Kriya could work as a mental therapy began to take shape in me when I read a book where a physician described how he cured some cases of mental disturbances through Yoga. Other books, extolling the evolutionary value of Kriya, led me to encourage a small number of suffering persons to venture on this enterprise. I supported their effort; often we quarrelled; our illusion lasted different years. They strove to master Kriya with a dedication which excited my admiration; they met moments of deepest despair but kept on with their effort because they felt they had no alternatives. By observing more closely, I noticed an obsessive self-observation; besides, they did not know how to cope with small contrarieties coming
into their practice, as well as into their life; they gave too much importance to facts that could be ignored or resolved with the common sense. It is for this reason that I found myself fighting with them, through infinite discussions and reciprocal charges. I could not accept what appeared as their giant opportunism - the tendency to exploit people. When they become attached to a person, they tended to squeeze him, slowly but unrelentingly, up to a point that, as Carlos Castaneda writes, it remains nothing. They exasperated and then eliminated definitively the few friends that were yet near them, by making use of a lethal mechanism. They used to "wring" an accurate and detailed counsel regarding no matter what [physical and mental health, meditative routine…] then, by applying it, they hurt themselves. In order to make their friend feel guilty, with the hope of obtaining greater attention from him, they stated they had applied that counsel to the letter. Instead of getting him nearer, they lost him, inexorably. He took an oath not to help them anymore in any way. He was seized with blind fury and - forgetting any past custom of courtesy and kindness - annihilated them with a merciless judgment, of whose hardness and inflexibility he would have, for a lot of time, grounds for regret. I wonder if these individuals are the primary cause of the deterioration of the Kriya organizations. They think they never received enough, they are always complaining about something and often threaten to sue those who dispassionately tried to help them. I believe that if those organizations have, with time, become full of prohibitions and of what seem to us an absurd bureaucracy, this was also due to a reaction to the pleas and menaces of people like the ones we are considering here. Spending a lot of time with them, I had other grounds to feel uncomfortable. As in the fable of Bluebeard, there were some "rooms" where they won’t let me enter. I’m not referring to intimate matters but to facts about which it is acceptable to discuss - for example to maintain a double life when it is not essential and it is extremely wearing… When I came to the point, they grow darker and roughly break off the conversation. When I reflected about what could help them, I felt I was not free to consider the complete picture of their life. I sensed that in their life there was a region where they preserved and nourished a malefic mushroom from which they extracted the elixir of their suffering.
Other times I was lost in a reverie: it was as if they had two personalities. The first was a façade personality with which I was talking, and another, deep, with which I could not communicate, free from all suffering, clean and serene, which was scorning me. In those instants I had the impression that if I disappeared from their life, they would be completely and perfectly happy. However, it’s a sure thing that I would not dream anymore to recommend the practice of Kriya to those who have psychological problems. But I don’t want to be hopelessly negative: who can, actually, exclude that some good can come out of one’s effort, even if he or she who is practicing has a mental disease? What is important is that the attitude is clean and honest, otherwise it is clear that the undertaking leads to nothing. The spiritual path has to become an integral part of one’s life, accepted as one’s own body; otherwise it is better to drop it immediately. The mystical path cannot be a graft, cannot be looked at with suspicion - «does it really work»? No man can touch the supreme Good if not for election, by placing it above all the other achievements of the world. Tendency to not surrender to the effects of Kriya The following attitude is difficult to understand and insulate clearly. Some follow a path like Kriya Yoga, work conscientiously with its techniques but, at the same time, have not a complete trust in its power unless it is coupled by a strong personal work on the mental plane. From the first time they listen to a teacher or read about the practical aspects of the spiritual path, they brood over one single worry: «What can I do, in order to ameliorate myself? The Goal has to be gained through a consistent effort, it is a battle inside one’s consciousness; Prayers, breathing exercises or whatever, are only the frame.» I think that a great deal of persons have this attitude. When they decide to apply a mystical technique - that is when their path really begins - they continually torment themselves. In their opinion no mystic restricted his efforts to that stuff but worked very hard in destroying in his consciousness the roots of iniquity and egoism. These persons grieve themselves with incontestable reasoning. It is obvious that each action of theirs should reflect the philosophy they are
convinced of, that their life style should match the highest moral standards, but who is not plenty of faults? They continuously affirm their inadequacy. As for the meditation praxis, they seem working desperately at building brick by brick their mystical experiences, which is an impossible task. They know the spiritual dimension only from a theoretical point of view but, as a matter of fact, they perceive it as totally alien to them; they are not able to establish any connection, any syntony with it. This attitude makes any progress on the Kriya path become virtually impossible. Kriya works in this way: when one relaxes and accepts that nothing is coming out of the practice, suddenly something manifests and the personality’s inner core receives a positive shock. This is the beauty of the process: you cannot tell when it will happen. Now, if during a deeply introverted state, the mind seems to disappear and the mental building seems to crumble, these persons, being on the alert, instead of relaxing, they block the experience. In each session of meditation, they welcome and hold only what in their impression is grasped with their mind. Perhaps their basic idea is that the Infinite Self resides outside human beings and that an individual can come closer to that dimension only if he or she has some merit. They perceive their mind as largely imperfect but believe in the opportunity to ameliorate it, in the due course of time. They obsess each friend by continual reports of what they are experimenting. They are open to anything which can clean their personality but prefer working with methods which make a large use of the will power. The solution may be just one: that a genuine spiritual experience may suddenly emerge and sweep their convictions and fears away. Looking for affection and esteem from organizations Let us consider those organizations - much younger than the traditional religions - that teach methods of spiritual introspection. Obviously, the ones which teach Kriya are well engraved in my memory, but the problem is a matter of general interest. About the benefits that people submitted to them receive, there are different opinions. Some are convinced that no good comes out of them. In effects, there are temperaments that will never
find there a congenial environment. The rather excited team spirit that they support is an anathema for those that, with a free mind, embark on the mystical path. Others believe that, at least during the initial phases of the learning process, an intelligently administered structure teaching a subtle discipline like Kriya Yoga with modern tools may be very inspiring and useful, on condition that its leaders are not imbibed with fanaticisms or pure profit interest. Many times I fancied that my first Kriya organization could be like a university; such an ideal was always thwarted. However, I am not of the opinion that something similar is intrinsically impossible. I don't foresee obstacles in this; once that it will have conquered the public trust, I don't think it will ever meet economic troubles. It is natural that its students, once their formation had been successful, will retain a sincere sense of respect and appreciation towards such a precious institution. Without doubt, they will keep on receiving inspiration from the various books published by it, from the new recordings etc. Those people who think that only an organization which is church and sect at the same time [a cult] can permanently hold people permanently associated with it, don't understand the human nature and its innate generosity; probably they do not trust the power of Kriya itself. I have already explained how, in my first Kriya school, I felt I was, in some way, extraneous to that environment but, in order to learn all the Kriya techniques, I tried in every way to remain calm and to avoid any controversy. The good qualities that my new found friends possessed - in the first place courtesy and high morality - were tarnished sometimes by negative tracts. In more than one person, each of the attitudes described in this appendix had set roots; in someone they were mixed, assuming an inextricable complexity. In the first place, I was stunned by the fact that they preferred to be entertained with divagations upon Karma, astral plans, tortuous and unlikely interpretations of the Holy Writings, rather than to demand instruction for improving their Kriya praxis. I don't want to repeat myself; we have already discussed the main problem: the pride originating from the idea of practising the most elevated among all the techniques, which is an attitude that blinds the conscience and prevents it to search for any form of progress.
I want to emphasize another problem: that of being completely lost in the quest of love and recognition from the ones who belong to the vertexes of the organization, or who have an esteemed role in it. To justify the reason why a similar attitude could grow and develop up to the point of losing the very meaning of the spiritual path, it is necessary to make a footstep back. The Kriya organizations declare that the only way to advance on the spiritual path is to receive a particular benediction and infusion of power from a perfect, self realized, "Ascended" Teacher. They refer to their Founder, who is no more present in his physical body but subtly guide and protects from the beyond those who are faithful to Him and to His offspring: the organization. The same concept is stated by a lot of esoteric brotherhoods and great mystical traditions; they teach, in fact, that the spiritual progress cannot happen but through receiving that particular power. A few people, on purpose authorized, which act like channels, let that power [during a particular ceremony of initiation or entirely in an informal way] flow into the recipient soul of the disciple. They affirm that the strength of the great Teachers of the past, their subtle vibration is still present in their descendants - not because of consanguinity, but through the transmission of this power, as a non-stop chain. Only in such a way, perfection is to be gained during one’s life. It is normal, therefore, that an individual who enters in such scheme of things, feels a great respect for those people who are officially invested by the mission to transmit this power. It is normal they endear themselves to them, they try, in every way, to conquer a place in their heart. Two great instinctual drives lie at the bottom of human mind: from one side the need of finding in an organization a new ideal family, from the other side the instinct of turning toward a shining human form the transport toward the Divine. With regard to the second necessity, it must be said that the great financial means that the organizations possess don't serve only to maintain the beauty of their buildings but also to shed lustre and surround of a really divine aura their ministers, representatives or whatever they are. Let us put ourselves in the place of those people that, for a life, hear this refrain: "Aren’t you glad of having found a true Guru? Aren’t you enthusiastic that He has been chosen for you by the Divine Himself?" "Oh yeess that we are happy" they reply with tears of joy.
The emotional impact of this conditioning is strong and it turns, with time, into the persuasion that they benefit of a similar privileged bond with those people that represent the ideal figure of the Guru [the one that theoretically they know they have found but they have never met in person]. They make unreasonable claims: they want to be listened and loved by Guru’s representatives, look for any occasion to have private interviews with them; even if they have no doubts about the techniques, they create them, enough for the satisfaction of entertaining a useless, emotive-toned, correspondence. In a small extent, I lived this. Somebody in the organization was highly esteemed by me. I intimately addressed this beautiful human figure by looking to a photo or listening to some tape-recordings. My shyness avoided me to go on a journey to approach the real person. All remained at a mental, emotive level. What gradually helped me to regain the initial condition of a free researcher was the bitter lesson received from the company with a pair of elder kriyabans. Worthy of the maximum respect and admiration, they had gone through the Kriya path almost all their life. We saw each other in the last years of their life. There were moments in which, knowing the total loneliness in which they lived, it broke my heart to remain weeks without seeing them. For various reasons this was inevitable; I always met them for brief and transient afternoons, walking and quietly speaking. I rejoiced at their company, yet I felt as if a giant wave of nostalgia was ready to overwhelm me but remained as suspended around. I was witness of the inexorable process that brought them to lose completely sight of the meaning of the spiritual practice and live only on the irradiation coming from the memory of an embrace, of a glance, or even a simple nod once received from one of the aforementioned personalities in the organization. In a dimension of utter authenticity, the most aged of the two friends gave vent to all his despondency; looking at how much superficially - so he said - he had practised the techniques of meditation he didn't have doubts that, in this life, he would have certainly missed the "target". … and he was already dreaming of future incarnations in which he would have practised with great engagement. He expressed what, years before he would not even dare to think: the idea of a presumed evolution of the individual, determined by iron mathematic laws, achieved through techniques of meditation, was an illusion. Such an
idea - which remained in him as an instinctive reflex up to the point that he would have kept on repeating it while addressing to enquiring people - had abandoned him since many years. Looking at me with a smile as if I were a child, he told me about his meeting with that divine personage – who was playing at that time a fundamental role inside the organization - which remained in his heart as the epitome of perfection. He had given his full approval to the idea that on this planet there were special, divine people and irreparably common people. The value of the Kriya techniques was, for him, nonexistent; it was only a religious practice, a ritual which had to be performed scrupulously just to give proof of one’s loyalty. The practice of Kriya left people, after decades, under the same conditions in which they had started to practice it. I was shocked! This ineluctable division among human beings was the axiom which held the plot on which he had been interweaving his thought. I felt myself drifting in his state of sweet resignation. He lived in the certainty of something beautiful that existed in the beyond; his being was already projected in that dimension. Some months later, after he departed from this life, dejected, I wondered if the diffusion of Kriya here in the West had served only to that, to create a new religion, to spread the cult of certain persons who are "impudently" saint, perfect, majestic. How wretched had been for him the belief that his supreme good depended on a human loving glance! He had made the unforgivable mistake to believe that the divine spring in the center of his being, dried up far from the blessings of the one person towards whom he directed the whole aspiration of his heart. Carrying out Kriya Yoga and a traditional religious faith together During our childhood, almost all of us received a spiritual formation inside a well-structured religion. Great was the strength with which some religious myths were inculcated in our consciousness. Introduced through tales and made more real by some pleasant depictions, those myths were invested with a particular soundness especially if they extolled some ideal character that was missing in our family constellation. Although during our adolescence those myths were put aside, a throb of love remained for that
part of the past which they reminded. During the full maturity, we felt their enchanting charm. This happened especially when our sense of safety wavered or, in general, when the mood was to retreat into ourselves. The perfume of those old tales grew like an intense nostalgia, like a balm of infantile joy spreading on the never-healed wounds of our existence. When we took part in religious rites, a chain of memories of lost times and of disappeared dear ones started … the heart was affected, deep feelings were involved as hardly as ever before. All this happens to most people. It is not our duty to discuss here how, in the adult age, infancy’s conditioning obtains for some people, an unassailable solidity and turns into a set of fixed elements in one’s way of thinking. With all the respect for people who think differently, I see in that a fact of heart more than of reason; it is as if, subconsciously, they appeased the inquiring reason: «The dimension of the faith which I received from my parents is distilling for me the perfume of the most beautiful time of my life. I cannot but defend its existence at any cost». Now, in this situation, let us consider those who, for the most different reasons, decide to test some Kriya. At the very beginning, they will be surely excited by the effectiveness of what still appears as a collection of relaxation techniques, which has not the dignity of being considered an intrinsic part of a spiritual path. Later, they discover that their religious life has received a powerful recharging of enthusiasm and has become one-pointed; those "strange" exercises may be looked at in a completely new way. Now, inside a traditional faith, Kriya practice is possible - it can be developed in the best of the ways! It is not automatic that a traditional religion guides an individual toward the mystical praxis, but an individual can be master of himself, by receiving inspiration through famous mystical writings. It is not necessary reading many books: better only one and stick to it. With the help of such inspiration and of the Kriya techniques, one may experiment a wonderful endeavour! It is clear that it takes intelligence, self trust, determination and not being continually misled by contrary opinions. Let us see why some are able to live this venture with a great Olympian tranquillity while others are excruciated by conflicts. Let us consider what
happens if a seeker deems it correct to speak about his or her choice and efforts with a spiritual director. The outcome depends obviously on the chosen person. Unfortunately may happen that the one who has the responsibility to guide others is ensnared by some current of the modern theological thought. The vice of studying too many books can corrode the nucleus of the religious life. There are books that dirty the conscience and burn the intellect. Churches are very tolerant and allow that one acts as a spiritual director although he entertains some doubts and lives a mild existential crisis - the hope lays in that, through coping with other people's doubts, he may gradually comes out of his dilemmas. But, the continuous cerebral effort of replying with clever answers - sometimes so nice or strange to stun - to other people's existential questions and sighs, wears out his genuine faith. He may choose to estrange himself from the well consolidated traditional mystic experience and repeat some evident absurdities - that religion consists only in studying and meditating upon the Holy Writings, that Prayer has a worth but only if it is done in community… I have known some spiritual directors who stated that our desire to proceed along the mystical path is a dangerous fixation, born from the wrong books or from psychological unresolved problems. He explained that the mystics were men which were chosen by God, to whom He granted a particular grace: «we should by no means try to follow their footsteps, unless we become mentally unstable!». The emotional implication of these words, overcomes the awareness’ reasons and exerts an almost irresistible power in the subconscious realm: it can burn to ashes the aspiration of a researcher. He could be convinced that his main duty is to make his doctrinal formation solid and therefore to join some lessons of catechism. Obviously there is nothing to say against catechism and the study of the dogmas of a religion, provided that it is integrated with the study of the works of the great mystics. A merely rational study of dogmas and of theological truths may not harmonize to the sensibility our person is now laboriously developing. When one is honest and would not entertain the idea that in the religious dimension, one has to cohabit with small contradictions, he or she will be thrown into crisis and will experience senses of guilt. In other words, it is rare that such a seeker succeeds in finding the courage to go on following, unperturbed his or her path. We know that the strength
with which he or she can withstand any contrary suggestion is directly proportional to the experiences of divine joy met in meditation - but we must not forget that we are considering a beginner. But not only the certified guides may be misleading; sometimes a friend of the same church, upset by the world of those phenomenon like apparitions and prophecies can frighten our researcher, choke his or her throat with fear, stamping as contrary to religion the up to now with encouraging results practiced techniques. The anguish to be on the wrong path, doomed to eternal damnation, not appeased by the incontestable certainty of the contrary, creates a hardening of his or her heart: the splendid adventure comes to a standstill. The situation can evolve in different ways. Some, suspicious even of their thoughts, give up reading books which have not the approval of their church; while talking with others, they manifests an unpleasant dogmatic attitude and give the impression to be governed by primordial and childish emotions. Embarrassment and silence are created around if the nonexistent consistency between the religious tenets and their life is maintained with a bewildering spine-chilling intellectual dishonesty; this causes the break up of the old-time friends and a total renewal of their acquaintances - this is really what they subconsciously desire. For other people, the events may take a turn for the better. During a sunny day, in the middle of nature [which is, indeed, a great teacher – perhaps more than books], in front of a boundless extending panorama, without realizing what they are doing, they find themselves practising the most banal and simple technique of meditation. Here they will dare to receive again the warm of a contemplative state. From that moment onwards, their splendid adventure can be rekindled again, but without guides, this time! Reading spiritual books instead of applying whichever meditation procedure Some people like to cultivate the pure esoteric-occult knowledge. They could be quite familiar with some methods of spiritual investigation, but as far as the concrete use of the techniques is concerned, they made only a hasty experimentation. Some dubious and unclear results - at least this is what they tell us - upset and worried them; from that moment onwards they didn't practise anything.
Usually this kind of researchers gives a great emphasis on ethics. It is clear that I am not judging them: I just try to find a plausible reason that clarifies how it is conceivable that an endless wealth is waiting to manifest behind the screen of their mental revolutions, still they don't make the least step to seize it or to allow its radiance to clean the dusty cellar where they prefers to live. They spend all their time in reading spiritual books and in endless discussions with some friend with a similar interest. There are good books from which they could draw benefit, but it seems that they prefer to keep them at a distance; they state they have already read them all, but it is a lie. If, by chance, we welcome their suggestion and read one of their recommended books, we discover it is overloaded with plenty of themes, each mentioned in an unclear way. We begin underlining almost everything … mainly because we aren’t sure we have understood and plan to return upon those pages later. If we decide to continue our reading, we enter an almost hypnotic state and, perhaps, we don't immediately realize that each chain of ideas is without support; they are the offspring of the unbridled imagination of the author. We are amazed to see how, through an intoxication of words, his imagination unfolded free from the relationship with the reality and from the rules of logic. We wonder how the reader can think, with such an entertainment, he or she can evolve somehow. From our friends we would like to hear a sincere admission that all this interest is pure fun - comparable to that of reading thrillers or playing chess. They answer back: «It is better that I don't start practising techniques whose effect I am not sure; it is better to wait for a thorough understanding of the spiritual dimension. Only when I am totally sure of what I am about to handle, I will begin the practical work. In the meantime I will live by strictly conforming to the highest ethical principles, as recommended by the great teachers of the past». In a few cases, I conjectured that the intensity of some techniques could have disturbed them by putting before their eyes the dark side of their personality. Their extreme prudence [it resembled that of an oldie, with a trembling walk] actually gave the idea that their behaviour was caused by the fear that they might cause such an inner jolt to jeopardize their psychic poise. They were like one who keeps on turning over a wonderful journey yet, being afraid of the airplane, does not decide to leave.
They went on affirming that the techniques of meditation were tricks with which one cannot reach the Divine, that they represented a stage of development they had already got over. It was amazing to see how eagerly they talked with those who practised spiritual techniques; their scrupulous concern for each admission of trouble, strengthened the suspicion that they were merely seeking a confirmation of their fears. In a friend I perceived also a not well concealed conviction of being unworthy of the mystical experience. He extolled the value of the ethical principles and made my sick by insisting that no one should practice any technique of meditation without having first achieved a perfect moral life. I thought the exact opposite: a sincere practice of meditation helps the one who doesn’t feel to be perfect at all in building an equilibrate and therefore founded on high moral levels life. Hearing the same old song annoyed me. One day I understood he was not putting my choices in discussion, he was indeed addressing to himself. It was odd to find this unworthiness complex in my friend’s disposition. He was a real good person; in his youth he lived passionately the intention of doing some good to humanity. He was full of respect toward all the people. Sometimes he was embittered in seeing how his disinterested actions clashed with the ignorance and the coarseness of people. In his strange life-choices I always read one message: «Do not think that I am yielding to the common way of living!» He ardently aspired to follow the path of the Great Ones; nevertheless, well enough disguised, a not healed wound hold him back. During his adolescence, a cloud began to thicken over his conscience: his religious ideals caused him not accept what emerged from the depths of his personality; he wasn’t able to realize that what he was experiencing was universally common and healthy. Many times I tried to open his eyes; at last I was obliged to acknowledge my failure. The duty toward my soul had to prevail over that of courtesy. I let him alone, living his life, without "tormenting" him anymore. Sometimes I wondered if I was selfish. For what reason should I have wasted my time helping him consolidate his decision? The force of mutual excitement born from our banquets of words was a sort of projection toward an ideal of soul-friendship; but through it I
wouldn’t get to anything, rather, in a dangerous way, I was estranged from my soul. As years went by, he went on reproducing, with varied words, the same beliefs; his only evolution was the widening of his lexicon. Sometimes he made himself ridiculous with the inflexibility of his conjectures and generalizations [as for example when he affirmed that all the inhabitants of a certain country were not fit for the spiritual path or when he maintained that a certain personage, could not be self-realized because once he was caught smoking or eating meat….] Should I believe him, the self-discipline that characterizes his life has developed such strength that no distraction touches his mind when he turns contemplating the last Reality: the meditative state emerges alone, without need of techniques! This could be true, of course - but I do not believe it. However, what I fear is that, as a superb ruin, he becomes a recluse losing contact with real life. To him who lives only from high ideas, I hope life grants the blessing of a sympathetic and enduring neighbour and saves him from the total solitude. No matter if, as for a subtle retribution, the latter is ignorant as a goat; our researcher needs only a small audience and have a human face in which to fix his gaze. SECOND PART: A CLEAN PATH I think that an unquestioned basis from which to start a spiritual path is having a good amount of self-trust and decide to proceed never loosing our integrity. No act should, in any way, be contrary to the values for which the greatest men and women of the bygone eras fought. We should never give another person or institution the right to abuse us - for no reason. There are moments in which, through intuition and calm reasoning, the thought of the Divine Indweller, the Self, should be affirmed with a very strong determination. The spiritual path [for unknown reasons] leads some individuals to lose the values of their civilization. Nowadays, too much waste literature (which favours the contempt of the entire cultural heritage of the West, dismissed as irremediably materialistic…) pollutes their mind.
The first quality is keeping always clear in mind what we are doing. We must shape the vision of the whole undertaking, based substantially upon a unifying principle, which we totally agree with – in fact we should feel is as precious, enticing us. This is crucial when we meet with moments in which our confidence will tremble. Life is unpredictable; although we may view Kriya as a scientific, sound discipline, it is based upon invisible things and there is no experience [except of course the final one] which can give us one hundred per cent surety we are doing the right thing. Doubts may come always, to everyone, but they are almost impossible to withstand when the path seems to break down in different concepts, each one frail and vulnerable. The second quality is a perfect balance between the tension for the technical perfection and the spiritual aspiration which cannot be based but upon our innermost emotions. The Kriya path is not just a blessing which appears out of the blue: it is a vast effort [all inclusive: intuition and creativity at the first place] which we accept to embark on. Strive for perfection is not a blind, stubborn will for hitting the target, it implies the respect for the beauty and the importance of each detail. Now let us try to understand what it means to catch - and then constantly bear it in mind - a unifying principle in Kriya. In my opinion, Kriya Yoga is the discipline of Prayer united with the control of the breath. If we concentrate upon a Prayer [Mantra] with an absolute ardour, until to the exhaustion of our being, if necessary, starting aloud, then in whisper, then mentally - coordinating it with a subtle, calm breathing pattern - we shall reach that middle zone between Prayer and breath, where both disappear and become pure mental strength. This is guided in our body, in its cells, in our spine, in each Chakra and in the star of the spiritual eye, which will become visible. The mystical path is all here. Prayer is the red thread that crosses all the phases of the spiritual path, from the first step to the last one. Abandoning gradually the active attitude [use of the will], it is in the passive phase of Prayer that the mind dissolves and the union with the Divine happens.
How all this happens, from the first uncertain step to the last one, is now discussed. Let us understand the wide range of action of the Prayer tool by starting with an example that gives the correct idea of its use a wrong conception of Prayer invalidates all the rest of the discussion. Let us imagine that during a group pilgrimage, someone begins to recite the so-called rosary - a set number of repetitions of the same Prayer. New to this practice, a pilgrim, even if tired and almost gasping for breath, doesn't withdraw himself from this pious activity. While walking and praying softly, murmuring under his breath, our pilgrim begins to enter a state of unknown calmness. He may look with different eyes at the show of continuously changing landscape and has the impression of living a paradisiacal situation. When the group rests for an intermediate pause or when it reaches the destination, let us hope that our pilgrim has the grace to be left alone - undisturbed. Likely, he slips in an introspective state and recognizes that a vibration of happiness lies underneath his thoughts and pervades his perceptions. Up until now, our pilgrim may have not known the meditative condition but now he is pervaded by something very real vibrating in his own heart, which is identified, definitely, with the Spiritual Reality. In different occasions of our seeker’s past, while trying to control his thoughts and increase his devotion, he used to drift off to sleep or was seduced by the whirlpool of mad thoughts, which elaborated, in endless variations, his own fancies and fears. Now the ecstatic state assumes the consistency of reality, becomes almost unbearable; overwhelming him. Similar situations - inner unforgettable events - sometimes mark an act of sudden, sincere and wholehearted conversion. A similar state is the outcome of a mind which is appeased - in this case by the Prayer but it may have been because of some other reason, for example: by many deep breaths - and of a body which is relaxed. The state experienced is pure, "clean", since it happens unexpectedly. Obviously nothing can be said about how, in the following days, our pilgrim will elaborate the experience. There are those who consider the experience a divine indication to mark how exceptional they are. Let us imagine that our pilgrim comprehends that the experience came out of the unique psycho-physical conditions characterizing the pilgrimage and chiefly, by means of the unceasing repetition of the Prayer. The dimension
of Spirit has literally exploded within his existence, but it cannot be reproduced by sheer will, through mental acrobatics or by magnifying one’s emotions. The desire to reproduce this blissful dimension through the unceasing use of Prayer consumes and stirs up our pilgrim. That practice is regarded as a stable irradiation of sweetness, warmth and love: there is not the slightest idea of renunciation, mortification or expiation. He may choose a short Prayer and repeat it aloud, as he did during the pilgrimage. He does not try to dominate his thoughts or create a mental void but will simply rest in such a pronunciation - making it resound in his head and breast. A feeling of reverence - natural or created with patience pervades his practice. He is determined to complete each day at least one Mala. The mind has gotten used to more complicated things - it will try to diminish in every way the value of this action. After having uttered the Prayer aloud for 108 times, he chants it mentally, almost automatically, during his daily chores. During those hours, he tries at all costs to be in silence, especially where in appearance it is more difficult, for example in a bus, in the marketplace. In the background of his own consciousness, he tries to maintain obstinately the repetition of the syllables or - when he talks with people or reads or writes - at least the calmness produced. Instead of being involved in what he is doing, he cares not to lose the feeling of the center of his being as unchangeable calmness. The practice of Japa [uninterrupted repeated Prayer] has the power of a pneumatic hammer that tears asunder our complicated mental structures, allows him to cross uninjured its swamps and reach the dimension of pure awareness. The thus obtained mental silence is a calmness perceived in the whole body. Within his body, at the place of the usual messy vibrations, he perceives a unique vibration. In this way all the parts of his existence, although characterized by the daily preoccupations, will become a continuous flow of experience of the Divine. He, who lives in this way, will get states of deepest ecstasy happening suddenly during the day. Now let us see how, for one who has reached this stage, the discipline of Prayer can be harmoniously blended with the awareness of the breath and its subtle energetic counterpart. Obviously, we recognize in all this our Kriya Yoga. Well, it is just the evolution of the previous state; it is not another thing; it is what happens to a persons who sits motionless - a
universal discovery. There are other spiritual traditions in which this discipline has another name, or no specific name and is only a faint knowledge intuitively utilized, even not fully understood and worded, by mystics. Now we are dealing with the last part of the spiritual path - which has a purpose, a worth, only for those who are already firmly set on a genuine spiritual endeavour. For others who - through blameless ignorance or careless eagerness for spiritual easy experiences - start just from these last details and plunge directly in the handling of Prana, Chakras, Kundalini and so on, this endeavour will be, very likely, just another ego trip. 1…Prayer integrated with a long breath [I]… We sit in a comfortable way. Our body is relaxed; the spinal column is kept straight and free of all tensions. With our mouth closed and our right thumb closing our right nostril, we inhale slowly through our left nostril. During this inhalation we think of the first half of the Prayer. The Chakras are not thought of. Then our left nostril is closed with our little finger and ring finger - of the same hand, or with the thumb of our left hand - and we exhale through our right nostril while thinking the second half of the Prayer. Then, the nostrils exchange their role: keeping our left nostril closed, the air is slowly inhaled through our right nostril, thinking the first half of the Prayer. Then, closing our right nostril with our thumb, we exhale through our left nostril thinking the second half of it. This corresponds to a cycle: we make six cycles. Our concentration is on the breath, on the quality of each single breath; our awareness adheres to the coolness or the warmth of our breath [inhalation - exhalation]. Our consciousness learn to rejoice fully of each single breath. Note In order to understand the next procedure, we should have minimum information about the Chakras. They are subtle astral organs inside the spinal cord, ideal steps of a mystic ladder guiding safely to the highest experience of the Spirit. Here we won't neither repeat the basic concepts nor try to describe them by tracing the ancient Yoga tradition. It is not necessary for us to visualize them as it is pointed out in the complicated sketches that are to be found in the traditional tantric texts. With a certain
mental transparency, they can be felt internally as different levels of awareness. In these centers the spinal energy intensifies. With the following procedures, they will emerge to the consciousness in a clear way. We use a 12 syllable Prayer - it is always possible to adapt a short Prayer by adding Om or Amen at the beginning or at the end of it [or to double it]; it is possible to shorten a longer Prayer. [II]…. We inhale deeply through both nostrils, producing a slight sound in the throat and visualizing the first half of the Prayer that raises from the base of the spinal column to the occipital region; then we exhale while thinking the second half of the Prayer that goes back to the base of the spinal column. After some days we succeed in visualizing the syllables of the Prayer each in a different Chakra: the first half while going up and the second half while going down. This exercise is repeated 12/18/24 times. This is the first part of the routine. Before discussing the second, it is worthwhile to add a variation of the previous exercise, which may be providential to those individuals whose health condition [mental or physical or both] or whose disposition manifests in the fact that they find long and deep breaths unpleasant. In such a case, the following exercise may substitute permanently the previous one. Alternative… Through a short inhalation, thinking the first half the Prayer, we lift the energy from the first to the second Chakra; a very short pause follows [less than one second]; then, with a short exhalation, thinking the second half of the Prayer, we lower the energy from the second to the first Chakra. Through an inhalation [always of the same time], thinking the first half the Prayer, we lift the energy from the first to the third Chakra; a very short pause follows [less than one second]; then, with a short exhalation, thinking the second half of the Prayer, we lower the energy from the third to the first Chakra. [During this second breath it is as if the second Chakra did not exist]… Now it should be clear how the practice goes ahead. … the energy is lifted from the first to the fourth Chakra and then it is lowered. [In this phase it is as if the second and the third Chakra would not exist.]
… same thing from the first to the fifth one… … same thing from the first to the occipital region… … same thing from the first to the region above the head… … again same thing from the first to the region above the head … … same thing from the first to the Medulla… … same thing from the first to the fifth one… .... … same thing from the first to the second.. This is one cycle. It consists in 12 breaths and lasts about 80/90 seconds. To prevent some doubts let us be more exhaustive. Each inhalation lasts on average around 3-4 seconds. While doing it our awareness is concentrated in the effort to raise the energy. The exhalation lasts like the inhalation. The various breaths have the same length of time even if the paths of the energy measure differently. After two, three cycles, a great sense of interiorisation is perceived. Sometime we are capable to practice this procedure for 12 cycles [144 short breaths]; our breathing pattern will become shorter. The breath will be transformed into a pure mental action. By applying this procedure for at least 12 days [1728 breaths] we shall enjoy a period of unbelievable introspection, which will remain forever in our memory as a heavenly experience. 2…Prayer, first aloud then mental, in the Chakras This second part of the routine contains the nucleus of the whole mystical process; it won't give satisfactory results if it is too short. It should last between one third and two thirds of the time we devote for our practice, which should ideally last from one hour to one hour and a half. We do not allow other people or various circumstances disturb us – if it happens, we shall receive an internal wound. We should defend our isolation by all means. After having drawn three deep breaths, each of them ending with a fast and as complete an exhalation as a sigh, and after having forgotten our breath entirely, we recite the whole Prayer aloud, in a calm way, thinking of the first Chakra - the coccyx region. Then we go to the zone at sacrum’s height where, inside the backbone the second Chakra is located, then to the third one in the lumbar region at navel’s height, then to the fourth one in
the dorsal region, at heart’s height, then to the fifth one at the foot of the cervical vertebrae, then to the sixth one in the occipital region [Bindu, where the hairline twists in a kind of vortex]. Then we descend with our awareness in the alternative sixth Chakra location which is the Medulla oblongata (bulb on top of the spinal cord, below the pons, and anterior to the cerebellum) and whisper the Prayer there, go over to the cervical Chakra, to the dorsal etc.. to the first Chakra. This is one round - three to six rounds makes the ideal practice. Then we go on repeating mentally the whole Prayer in the second Chakra and so on… then down …and we keep on in this way [up and down] till the available time is up. By going ahead with the practice, different phases are crossed. (a) The first is that of Mental Silence. As soon as we whispers the Prayer in each Chakra, a well-being feeling pervades our being. The thoughts settle down, the awareness of our existence increases. We feel that life is all around us, yet momentarily extraneous. There is a great resistance to interrupt our physical immobility. Our eyes, if they were eventually open or half shut, would close by themselves and if we would hold them open for instance to avoid drowsiness - then we wouldn’t see anything. Our Prayer overcomes the confusion of our mind; it gives us the power "to see", "to touch" each thought and therefore to "stop it." This practice excites our deepest aspiration and brings our awareness in the deepest part of the spine. [The way we think the Prayer in each Chakra should be suitable to our needs. There are obviously different forms to do it; here we have pointed out the simplest, that is to stay in each Chakra the time necessary to think the complete Prayer slowly once. We may try to think it two, three times. Experience will show how it is not profitable to stay in one Chakra for less than 10 seconds and not to exceed the minute.] (b) The second phase is that of the perception of the three divine qualities [sound, light and movement sensation]. By continuing with the mental Prayer, a light is perceived in the Kutastha and above the head; it varies from a diffused intensity to the brilliant light of the so-called spiritual eye. A feeling of internal light gives the idea that our being is constituted by an intensity of gilded light. Simultaneously with an inner sound sensation, there can appear, in each Chakra, the sensation of an inner movement. Almost originated by the syllables of the Prayer, it
is a paradoxical feeling of a movement in the most total immobility. [This phenomenon is described in different ways in the various mystical paths. In the Christian mystical path we find some reports of being touched by the Divine.] (c) The third phase is the contact with the divine joy. At this point the practice of the Prayer, as mental repetition of words, starts to be lost along the way; only the will to not lose that state remains. The Prayer becomes the sheer attitude to go on perceiving a love that boundlessly grows. We feel to be invaded by something that has, so to say, the taste of eternity. When breath and mind disappear, our consciousness is transported far, more distant than any known territory. This is a state that makes death indifferent - from it an incommensurable good is born. Our soul feels to be in contact with an endless goodness [I do not know another way to describe it, I borrow an expression of S. Teresa of Avila]. While experiencing it and enjoying all the sweetness that springs out of it, it is quite normal that our mind gives its last signs of activity. At times our inner look turns, tenderly, to some image that appears on the mental screen. It may be something symbolic, a remnant of a memory, transfigured by the meditation-born joy. It does not disturb us. (d) The fourth phase is the state of ecstasy (Samadhi). It is a natural, physiological experience: it is the state where the consciousness is totally isolated from the outside - there is no breathing and the pulse is practically nonexistent. It comes by itself when the time is ripe. Before getting up from the position adopted for meditation and returning to full activity, we repeat at least three times the Prayer in the point between the eyebrows [Kutastha]. By intensifying the concentration, the syllables are perceived like the action of a chick that tries to perforate, with the beak, the hull that contains it. By intensely practising the Prayer in that point we will have the impression that everything goes into place and our routine concludes perfectly. A supplementary practice to be integrated with time is the following: Prayer of the heart. Let us expand the procedure: Prayer integrated with a long breath part [II]. Let us begin with at least 12 full breaths [with the thought of the Prayer coming up and down].
Now, after having inhaled and placed the first six syllables in the Chakras [the sixth, as we have already explained, in the occipital region], while holding shortly the breath, we move our head slightly toward left; the seventh syllable is thought in the Medulla; then we move our head slightly toward right and the eighth syllable is thought in the cervical Chakra. Then we near the head diagonally to the breast, from the right, as to touch it with the chin; we think the ninth syllable in the Chakra of the heart. While our head remains down, the exhalation begins and the remaining three syllables are placed in the lower Chakras. [During the subsequent inhalation the chin gradually returns to its normal horizontal position.] The procedure is repeated 3 [or 6, or 12] times. Then we resume shortly the basic [II] procedure: six breaths are enough. Thereby, the state of calmness, which the movements of the head may have upset, is recreated. Closing remarks A question arises spontaneously: «If Kriya is wholly contained in the second part of the book, what for this repetitive and redundant appendix?» The practical experience shows that when a kriyaban learns the Higher Kriyas, even in their basic simple form, he or she is in a critical situation. Being lost in details broods a sense of aridity - as if, along the road, something of very important had been lost. It is difficult to integrate all the techniques in a quiet, soothing practice. The issue was already discussed in Chapter X; as a remedy, I suggested to set oneself some definite goals and abide by a routine that is specific for the first, easiest objective, until it is achieved. The sensation of nearing the goal or drifting away from it, may be a good thermometer to measure the suitability of the chosen routine. Mine was undoubtedly an emergency proposal, so to speak. I had already in mind to resume the thread of my speech. The afore-illustrated way of considering the Kriya path is a good aid in preserving a spirit of utter simplicity. Practicing the afore-outlined routine, at least for three months, without any concern for other technical details, is a positive tool of retracing the purest nucleus of our Kriya journey. [It goes without saying that limiting the Kriya explanation to the aforedetailed routine is unconceivable, at least for my temperament. In my
journey in the Kriya field I was wounded in finding simplified versions of it, which were pass off as the original and complete version. I could not find the arrogance to present just my simplification. The second part of the book was written with all the possible technical details as an act of respect for the reader. It may be largely imperfect but it contains all my practical knowledge of the Kriya discipline.] From the already shared parts of the theory of Kriya Yoga, the reader has understood that, out of the recently published Kriya literature, I treasure Lahiri Mahasaya’s sentences extracted from His commentaries to the Holy Writings or from His diaries. The concept that four steps constitute every religious path - the unfastening of the four knots [tongue, navel, heart and Muladhar] - is found in those pages. Undoubtedly it is a valuable idea; nevertheless for a beginner it hardly becomes a unifying tangible principle. The idea of the different stages of Prayer is simpler and may be used to minimize the complications of the Kriya discipline. Besides the theoretical approach, the state of the Continuous Prayer bears such a strong effect that it is no more lost, even when the vicissitudes of life attempt to destroy the very idea of the mystical dimension and all our enthusiasm to tread the spiritual path. # Some doubts may arise: «Which is the best Prayer for me, which is the best way to use it?» The selected Prayer should not be an affirmation of our limits: it must imply the presentiment of a happiness which is surely to come, a shining attainment of which we feel certain. If the choice were unhappy, a state of boredom and dissatisfaction would certainly follow. It may be useful to remember that Japa refers also to the repetition of whatever pure sound [Mantra: from "Manas", mind and "Tra", protection] that doesn’t have a precise meaning; it may not be a Prayer in the common acceptation of the term. The mystics experimented the power inherent in certain sounds - which came to them through their intuition - to penetrate the various planes of their being - even the physical - and bring great peace and harmony everywhere. Well known are the "bija" [seed] Mantras: HROM, KLIM, STRIM, VANG, DÚM, GLOM…
Shorter Mantras – constituted by two letters like YAM, RAM, LAM, or by one letter as OM, TA, VA, MA… - are not frequently used for Japa [during the daily life] whereas are thoroughly used during the meditation session. The chosen Prayer should have both a strong and a soft tone. It is important to relish it, otherwise it would be better not even to begin the practice. "Strong tone" means that it is incompatible with an attitude of supplication and complaint. However it is not automatic that the practice is unhampered; the devotee may feel like a convalescent in a difficult process of recovery; he may feel desolation in his or her heart. The noise coming from the external world may reach his or her ears as amplified, while the widened sensitivity gives the impression of having become more fragile, vulnerable and defenceless. Other obstacles, such as having the impression of feeling an increased level of aggressiveness from other people, may block the experience for months. This is a battle against the diffuse persistent background noise constituted by useless thoughts, which is the substance of the common state of consciousness. Good readings may be helpful, like for example The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way about which I have already written. There are sentences in it that make us feel the perfume of a "clean" spiritual path. (Obviously, one must use the common sense to interpret that wealth according to the registers of one’s own sensibility, otherwise one will not be able to appreciate either the formula used by the pilgrim or his particular attitude.) Another inspiring book is also that of Swami Ramdas In quest of God [Anandashram]. Good books may guide our intuition to realize whether an initial difficulty in Japa - a great reluctance of doing it, a dark mood during the day simply means that the chosen Prayer is inappropriate. Since the Prayer is repeated at least one hundred times a session, a rosary of beads known as Mala is useful, although not indispensable. Some believe that a Mala assumes the energy of the Prayer that, with it, is chanted. For this reason they use a particular Mala with each particular Prayer. In spite of other’s opinions I have no doubt that it is worthwhile to begin Japa aloud.
# The aforementioned procedure is easier than the Kriya Pranayama with Kechari Mudra: it is a simplified form of Omkar Pranayama - the procedure of Nadi Sodhana is used in substitution of Maha Mudra. Many kriyabans ask with too much insistence, at times obsession, that all the possible and imaginable details of the Kriya Pranayama technique are explained to them. Facing that discipline doesn't mean asking to one’s own body some unnatural performances. The art of controlling the breath and the energy is based on universal principles; those who presume to clarify all its technical details will get tired very soon. After having filled with notes and drawings their notebook, they will leave everything. It is as if their pencil and sheets of paper were a shield preventing the genuineness and the beauty of the Kriya Pranayama entering their life. They do not understand that there is a natural and inevitable progression in mastering Pranayama. It is important to perceive the subtle movement of energy in the spine, but it is more important to learn how not to obstruct its passage with our expectation-born tension. By moving through the Chakras, the current crosses through all the planes of our being. The mind is established in the intermediate area between the perceptions of the external reality and the allure of the internal Bliss. It assumes that detachment that allows the judicious, wise, sometimes premonitory, vision to appear. # The technique of the Prayer of the heart is a simpler form of Thokar. In spite of its simplicity, it creates bliss in the heart Chakra especially if the attitude is that to amplify the ardent aspiration toward the Divine. A great strength of love penetrates our heart. On certain occasions this feeling is paradoxical: it consists of the simultaneous presence of a mild form of pain mixed with the perception of a sweet goodness, which cannot to be compared with any pleasure of life. When we indulge in enjoying it, we may weep for joy - we feel it difficult to sustain the strength of such an experience. But it is not just a matter of joy or of deep emotions; altogether, in a serene depth, like a blue sky, we feel that the mystical pursuit will go ahead unhampered.
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