Introduction to Kriya Yoga

When somebody is anxious, they are unaware of time, of every moment passing, isn’t it? This is because the whole focus is on the event, on the happening, rather than just on the time. When someone is waiting for the train to come, they are waiting. So the whole focus is on that object rather than on the time. Just a little shift in this, a little tilt in this, is when you are waiting for the doctor or waiting for something else, then you are just waiting for the moment. Are you getting what I am saying? Each moment is in the time. That is yoga. Mind is in the moment, waiting for nothing, but it is waiting. Are you getting this? It adds a different quality to the consciousness. This aspect sharpens the mind, the intellect, and the heart. This is yoga of action.

This is the next sutra in Patanjali’s second chapter known as “Sadhanapada”. Sadhanapada is a practice on the path.

(II Sutra 1)

 “Tapaha swadhya yeshwarapranidhanani kriya yogaha

Tapaha = purification; swadhyaya = self-study; ishwarapranidhana = devotion to the divine; kriya = action; yoghaha = yoga

Tapaha is kriya yoga. Kriya yoga is the yoga of action. Action is a part and parcel of this creation. There is activity in everything in the creation, right from the atom, to the Sun, Moon and stars, there is activity. There is nothing that is stable in this creation. Only mobile. 

Everything is busy, active. The Brahman, the infinity, is filled with infinite activity. There is absolutely no silence at all.

Even in sleep, there is activity. You think that you are sleeping but in sleep, there appears to be more activity. Tremendous activity goes on. The body grows more in sleep than when you are awake. Do you know that? That is why a growing child sleeps longer. The youth sleeps longer than an aged person because there is a lot of activity, metabolic activity, going on in the body. The body is getting built in the youth. In the child, every cell is multiplying in sleep, the cells multiply more. If you deprive somebody of their sleep, then their growth gets stunted. Lots of activity happens in sleep.

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Even in silence, there is activity. At the same time, in every activity, there is a corner which is silent. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Arjuna do you know who is really intelligent and clever?” Arjuna says, “No”. Krishna says, “One who sees silence in activity and activity in silence is an intelligent person”. How to see silence in activity and activity in silence? It needs sharpness of awareness, alertness and keenness. That keenness can come when there is skill in your activity. That skill in activity is yoga. Kriya yoga, the yoga of action.

What is Kriya yoga? It comprises three parts. He says tapaha. Tapas is endurance, acceptance. Say, you are travelling in a plane; it is a long-distance flight. You are sitting and your legs are getting numb. You are tired but you keep sitting. You feel heavy but still you keep sitting. You cannot say, “Oh! I cannot sit now. I am going to get out of the plane”. No way! If the plane is delayed, held up in the air, you have to be there. There is no choice. Now, if you had a choice, then you would not sit for eight hours. Like that in one place. No way. But in a plane, you sit, accepting it willingly, without grumbling. That is tapaha.

To be continued…

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)

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