Kriya Yoga is ancient technique of Yoga revived in modern times by immortal yogi Mahatavar Babaji. Mahavatar Babaji imparted this knowledge to his disciple Lahari Mahasaya who in turn imparted this knowledge to Yukteswara Giri. Yukteswara Giri taught this Kriya Yoga knowledge to his disciple Paramahamsa Yoganada who made it famous through his book Autobiography of a Yogi.

Here's how Paramahamsa Yogananda defines Kriya Yoga in his Autobiography:

The Sanskrit root of Kriya is kri, to do, to act and react; the same root is found in the word karma, the natural principle of cause and effect. Kriya Yoga is thus "union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite." A yogi who faithfully follows its technique is gradually freed from karma or the universal chain of causation.

This Yoga techiques involves phyisical techniques such as Pranayama with Mudras. But Vaishnava traditions involve more Bhakti (sincere devotion) towards Lord Vishnu.

Is there any method to practice Kriya Yoga from Vaishnava perspective?

  • 1
    Are you talking about bhakti perspective or Vaishnava perspective? Yogananda himself says that he was more oriented towards the devotional side, like yourself. Kriya Yoga (which is a form of Raja Yoga) will only help in your devotion and will not diminish it. Bhakti is a thought process and a way of living life. Whereas Kriya Yoga is a scientific approach. The two are complimentary. If you're talking specifically Vaishnava school of thought, then they do not accept Kriya Yoga as a valid school of thought AFAIK, but I could be wrong.
    – Sai
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:09
  • @Sai i found it in Skanda Purana and i'm posting answer also.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:11
  • Alright, looking forward to reading it :) :).
    – Sai
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:13
  • 4
    @Sai Mahavatar Babaji mentioned that a particular exercise of Kriya Yoga was taught by Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, I don't remember the exact verse but it was something like this: offer your inhaling breath into exhaling and vice versa, something like this is present in Gita. This exercise is essential part of Kriya Yoga. Babaji just revived the technique taught by Sri Krishna. So Vaishnavas, under any case, cannot reject Kriya Yoga.
    – Pinakin
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:16
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Is Kundalini Concept alien to Vaishnavism?
    – Yogi
    Sep 16 '16 at 18:37

Kriya Yoga is not alien to Vaishnavism. Jagatguru referred Kriya Yoga (Pranayama) when expounding Bhagavadgita to Arjuna. Bhagavadgita verse 4.29 talks about Pranayama which is part of Kriya Yoga.

apāne juhvati prāṇaḿ
prāṇe ’pānaḿ tathāpare
prāṇāpāna-gatī ruddhvā
apare niyatāhārāḥ
prāṇān prāṇeṣu juhvati

Still others, who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, practice by offering the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and the incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Others, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself as a sacrifice.

The procedure of Kriya Yoga is explained in detail in chapters 26 and 28, 29 of Vasudeva Mahatmya- Vaishnava Khanda of Skanda Purana.

Sri Narayana Rishi explains the Kriya Yoga to Narada as follows:

Sri Näräyana said:

I. After sipping water and practising breath-control (with Oh bhür etc.) and then with a composed mind, one should pay obeisance to one's desired deities, and proclaim the time (tithi etc.) and place (of worship).

2 After taking the solemn vow (the formal Sankalpa), "I shall perform the worship of Väsudeva for the accomplishment of Ekänta Dharma," one should then perform the procedural Nyäsa (i.e. assignment of the various parts of the body to deities accompanied with prayers or Mantras and corresponding gesticulations).

After this, proper mantras should be recited based on Varna by imagining the resplendent Krishna and Radha.

  1. After sprinkling the articles of worship and one's own person with the water from the (worshiped) pitcher and after worshiping the conch and the bell, one should perform the purification of the bhütas (i.e. elements constituting the body).

  2. After burning the (internal) sinful body with internal fire and wind, one remaining stable (in one's posture), should reflect upon the identity of one's pure self with Brahman.

  3. Then performing breath-control, one should, with concentrated mind, meditate upon Lord of the form of imperishable Brahman in one's heart.

  4. The lotus (i.e. the Yogic plexus) at the navel is in a drooping position like the flower of Kadali (plantain tree). Reflecting upon the vital wind called Apäna, one should bring about its union with the vital wind called Präna.

  5. After bringing it in the hollow stalk of the lotus (the internal path through which life breath proceeds upwards, the path of Kundalini), one should pull in the upward direction that 'lotus' along with that (breath). Making a loud sound it goes to the 'heart' (known as hrtkamala). It fully blossoms there shiningly expanding in the cavity of the heart.

  6. In the mass of light (permeating that 'sky') one should meditate upon quiescent Sri Krishna, the Lord of Rädhikä who is the most beautiful and outstanding, by his surpassing superior refulgence.

This chapter describes in detail forms of Radha and Krishna on whom one should mediate.

After worshiping mentally, now devotee should worship Idol of Vishnu with Bhakti. This is similar to normal pooja.

  1. After worshiping him mentally with various articles (and services) of worship, the devotee should invoke him and establish (infuse) him in the idol of Vishnu by Sthäpana Mudrä (i.e. a certain position of fingers practiced in worship to indicate that the deity invoked is established in the idol).

  2. Then he should invoke the deities constituting him (i.e. his subordinate deities) by their respective separate Mantras or by their names (which itself is a) mantra, and then should establish them well.

  3. He should ring (or play upon) some musical instrument like the bell and others and should make a clapping sound. Presuming that the deity has got up from sleep, he should brush (i.e. imagine to brush) the teeth.

  4. He should give water mixed with Syämäka (a rice-like corn), Visnukränta (a plant like Clitoria terntea), Dürvä grass and a lotus as Pädya (water for washing the feet) to the Lord. Then in the water meant for sipping as Arghya, he should put sandalpaste, rice-grains with unbroken ends, flowers, ends of Darbha grass, gingelly seeds, mustard seeds, barley seeds. Dürvä grass should be put after filling the vessel for Arghya with water.

After that idol should be smeared with oil, offered Tulsi leaves and some Prasada, which is described in this chapter. After completing the above procedure one should mediate on Radha Krisha by invoking them into his heart.

  1. After meditating on the rest and after taking (permission) given by him reverently by head, one should establish as before the invoked Rädhä and Krsna in the lotus of his heart and should send away all the Anga-devas to their respective places.

This chapter further explains various Mantras of Vishnu on which a devotee should meditate.

Sri Narayana Rshi also explains Astanga Yoga, Pranayama and Kundalini Yoga (raising Kundalini through various Chakras by meditating of Keshava) in this chapter.

  • If Shriman Narayana in form of Sage Narayana ever aimed to explain concept of Kriya Yoga why wouldn't he explain it to his disciples(the great Vaishnava Saints) in Pancharatra Agamas??. I suggest you should cite some references from Pancharatra agmas, because every Vasihnava sect follows Pancharatra agmas.
    – Yogi
    Sep 16 '16 at 18:44
  • 1
    Well it doesn't matter if you give them importance or not but if you are talking about vaishnavism then, ignoring panchratra is a grave mistake.
    – Yogi
    Sep 16 '16 at 18:50
  • 1
    @Yogi Did you see BG 4.29?. Krishna talks about Pranayama, which is more over same as kriya Yoga. If you see from view of Pancharatra agmas, then you believe Kriya Yoga as false.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 16 '16 at 18:58
  • 3
    @Yogi All 6 schools are based on Vedas and all these schools interpreted Vedas in their own way. You can't say Yoga School of thought is false as some Vedantists rejected Yoga school of thought. Now Vedantists are more but that doesn't mean only Vedantists are true. It's up to you to not believe in Yoga.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 17 '16 at 4:21
  • 2
    the idol pooja or external worship is irrelevant to kriya yoga please edit it first. Jun 12 '17 at 12:23

I am initiated to KY and can advise you to proceed to do whatever you need or want to do according to "Vaishnava perspective".
Yoga is not related to any religion or belief, anybody can practice. What you need is an Acharya.
A yogi has no beliefs, belief is not the knowledge.
Yoga is about practical usage of the awreness, there is no yoga without awareness. If you find it out practically your above question fades away, because it does exists in your mind only.
KY is a very precise set of different excercises for every dimension. Hatha yoga for physical body, pranayams for vital body, dhyans for mental body, mantras for intellect. Bhakti yoga is for Self. Then, you just practice and your choices become obvious. No need to plan now. Just practice.


Kriya Yoga essentially involves Asana,Pranayama,Mudra,Banda and Dhyana and is a practical approach to spiritual evolution or liberation.

Kriya Yoga is best adapted so that any common household can practice it and obtain spiritual experience while the same is not so in the case of other branches of yoga such as Raja yoga,Bhakti Yoga etc. which requires severe austerities on the part of sadhakas.

Likewise, Kriya Yoga doesn’t differentiate one’s religion, belief systems such as Vaishnava or Shaiva and even an atheist can practice and gain Moksha.

It’s a known fact that love and devotion along with fear are the common by-products that tend to emerge when one is in the path of spiritual ascension.

“Yoga and Kriya” by Swami Satyananda Saraswathi is an excellent and complete course book on the subject for any serious practitioners.


Kriya-Yoga does not mean just pranayaam and related yoga practices mentioned in Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. Kriya-Yoga is the path shown by Babaji Maharaj to Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri It was first publicly introduced by Yogiraj Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri.

In this Kriya-Yoga, only OM mantra is used alongwith different pranayams and yogic mudras. The goal is to achieve the Paraa-Avasthaa of Kriyas which is Jada-Samadhi of the Hatha-Yoga (Reference:The Diaries of Yogiraj reprinted in His biography by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay).

There is NO importance of any deity including Sri Krishna in the sadhana.

The Vaishnava Perespective always treats Vishnu/Rama/Krishna as the Supreme God and the goal is to get His darshan and grace.

Yogiraj placed more importance to Kabirji than Sri Vishnu. In fact, Sri Vishnu or His incarnations have been given yogic meanings.

The Vaishnavas give much importance to naama jaapa. Yogiraj says: As chanting the word 'water' does not quench thirst, by chanting the name of God, one can not attain God. (Reference: His biography by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay).So He did not believe in the equality of Naama and Naami which is the heart of Vaishnavism.

So Kriya-yoga and Vaishnavism are two completely separate belief-systems and so 'Kriya-Yoga' can not be practised from the Vaishnava perspective.

Interested readers are requested to read Yogiraj's own commentary of Gita which would make all my points very clear.

To conclude, 'Kriya-yoga' can be practised from a Vaishnava perspective either by disobeying Yogiraj or by disobeying the Vaishnava scriptures.A real kriya-yogi does not need Vaishnavism and a real Vaishnava does not need kriya-yoga.It is as simple as this.

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