An Introduction to Kriya Yoga

"What is life?
Transforming future into past is life.
What is death?
When all future has been transformed into past, it is death.
What is immortality?
Having limitless future is immortality "

Shailendra Sharma

Shailendra Sharma is a kriya yoga guru - the fifth guru in the lineage of the great immortal yogi guru, Babaji.

His discoveries regarding Mother Earth, the consciousness of the Time and the Void, the mysteries of Samadhi, and the mechanics of karma have paved the way towards an understanding of the very mysteries of creation.

Kriya Yoga is the most advanced, direct, and scientific method towards the realization of self. Most treatises on yoga go silent after a description of Khechari Mudra. In Kriya Yoga, the first level is about achieving Khechari. After that, one can practice up to eleven levels.

Royal Cremation Ground

Shailendra Sharma

Residing at the mystical royal cremation grounds (Chhatris) at Govardhan since 1993, Shailendra Sharma meets the seekers of truth every afternoon.

Books by Shailendra Sharma
  • Yogeshwari Srimadbhagvadgita: A Yogic Commentary
  • Maharshi Patanjali's Yoga Darshan: A Yogic Commentary
  • Shiva Sutra: A Yogic Commentary
  • The Wayfarer
  • Some Flowers and Some Thorns
  • At The Right Hand Of God
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika: A Yogic Commentary (coming soon)
Shailendra Sharma

Born to Himmat Bahadur Sharma and Gyani Devi on July 10, 1957, Shailendra Sharma is the fifth guru in the lineage of the great Babaji Maharaj, his disciple Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya, his son and disciple Teenkori Lahiri Mahasaya, and his son and disciple Satyacharan Lahiri Mahasaya.

In 1979, when Shailendra was 22, a series of deaths occurred in his family which made him wonder about the phenomenon of death and after life. This brought about such a profound change in him that he abandoned all plans of a career; he had been selected as an officer in the Indian Army. The same year he left home in search of his guru. He roamed around all over India and met hundreds of sadhus and so-called gurus, but none could answer his questions.

He finally met his guru, Satyacharan Lahiri Mahasaya, in September 1982 in Banaras - three years after his quest began. Just eighteen months after his initiation, his guru declared him the next guru in this lineage. Shailendra's guru died in 1987. At this time Shailendra was practicing about fourteen hours every day. Slowly he started to realize that there were some missing links in the higher practices of Kriya. All his doubts were cleared by the great Babaji himself who visited him in Banaras and gave him some higher practices in Kriya.

Shailendra later wrote commentaries on Bhagvad Gita, Yoga Darshan, and Shiv Sutras. Shailendra came to Govardhan in 1993. He has been residing at the royal cremation grounds (Chhatris) of the Rajas of Bharatpur ever since. This place is highly mystical and unique. Here he found a natural Shiva Lingam and installed it on the cremation site of a late Raja. He works out at the gym, reads American comics among other things, and meets his disciples and visitors every afternoon.

Other websites on Shailendra Sharma -
Royal Cremation Ground

Kriya Yoga is a very advanced form of yoga, which enables its practitioner to realize his own immortal substance dwelling inside each one of us. It enables him to develop his consciousness and helps him understand the relationship between the mind and the body.

Some people say that Kriya Yoga is practiced for the realization of God. But the basic theme of Kriya Yoga is to realize one's own self with all inner possibilities, and to awaken the subconscious mind to the conscious state. Only then can one begin to understand the working ways of the creation; and one can advance enough to know the Creator.

Those who decide to walk this path have to traverse these 11 levels.

First level. In the first introductory level there are seven techniques. We begin by offering our pranam to the guru, and then we start practicing. First there are two practices for the tongue: Talavya Kriya and Jihvachalan; they help to achieve Khechari Mudra. Then there is a technique called Manasik pranayam. In this, you have to concentrate your mind on your spine and spinal cord. Then there is Shvas-sahit pranayam and Nabhi Kriya. After that there is Yoni Mudra; this enables you to see your immortal substance. Then comes Mahamudra which prepares your body for very high practices of Kriya Yoga that come later. That is it. These techniques are performed in a particular proportion and they should be learned directly from the guru.

Shailendra Sharma
After one has achieved Khechari Mudra, there is a reshuffle in these techniques, and the pranayam in Nabhi Kriya is introduced. This is called "the first level with Khechari Mudra."

Second and Third levels. After that, when a person who has come this far and who is practicing to the best of his or her ability advances enough to receive the second level of practice, it is given in three stages. First is just an introduction. In the second, a certain mantra is given. In the third, certain head movements and a certain pranayam is taught. This is the second level. It starts to open the heart knot - Hridaya Granthi Bheda. And it takes quite some time for the body to adjust to this practice.

When the second level has successfully been practiced for some time and the disciple has mastered the pranayam in Yoni Mudra and in Nabhi Kriya, he advances to receive the third level, which is more powerful than the second level, and which develops his mind even more.

Experiences in Yoni Mudra become deeper and more mystical with these practices.

Fourth level. When the body is fine-tuned and the nervous system is strong enough, then the fourth level is imparted. It is a very strong pranayam and it takes quite some time, maybe one or two years, just to, say, become comfortable with it. One should give the body enough time to be comfortable with it as it is one of the most difficult pranayams and very few are able to cross it.

Fifth level.Fifth level is, again, a preparation for the sixth level. It takes quite some time. It is called Dhyan Kriya - the Kriya for concentration of your mind. From here deeper meditation and concentration begins. The mind becomes more and more refined and it gives you greater ability to concentrate anywhere. It will even give you enough ability to concentrate outside of your body, and it will enable you to come out of your physical body consciously.

So when the fifth level is achieved completely, another very difficult pranayam is taught which is called the sixth level pranayam.

Sixth level. It opens the knot of Vajra nadi which is inside Sushumna and creates the door for Kundalini to rise. I think so far I have read almost every system that exists and haven't come across any technique to activate Vajra nadi except in Kriya Yoga.

Seventh level. When you master these techniques, then in the seventh level, third pranayam of Nabhi Kriya is taught which enables you to leave your body consciously at the time of death. And this gives you enough power to come out of your physical body consciously and do whatever you want to.

Up to the seventh level, it is Hridaya Granthi Bheda - it is all happening around the opening of your heart knot.

Eighth and Ninth levels. These levels are for Rudra Granthi Bheda. A special technique called Omkar Kriya is taught followed by the teaching of the final stage of Yoni Mudra. This is the ninth level.

Tenth and Eleventh levels. Finally, a certain mantra is given and a technique for Shambhavi Mudra is taught. This enables you to remain in samadhi in your conscious hours. Wherever you want to be, you will always remain in samadhi.

This is a brief introduction, outlining the major levels in Kriya, giving an idea about the way ahead.

Click on image to see it enlarged.

Performing Khechari Mudra
Before Khechari Mudra.
The position of tongue is outlined in yellow.
With Khechari Mudra.
The position of tongue is outlined in yellow.
With Khechari Mudra, notice the formation of
an 'Om' like impression (highlighted in yellow)

Khechari Mudra is a key condition of Kriya practice; it is called "the King of mudras." Hatha Yoga Pradipika says, "There is no mudra higher than Khechari."

The direct translation of Khechari means - 'kha' which means 'space', and 'chari' which means 'movement'. So it means 'movement into the space'.

There are several stages of mastering Khechari Mudra. It starts from "swallowing of the tongue", then comes the installation of the breath flow in Sushumna (central channel, connecting brain and nervous system), and stopping of the breath (Kevala Kumbhaka). The finishing stage is the state of Unmani, where the mind is absorbed in its original cause

Khechari Mudra is actually the beginning of Kriya.

Between Vishuddha and Ajna Chakra there is space, which should be bridged by taking the tongue inside.

This is the first stage of Khechari. Without it Sushumna does not exist: it is disconnected and is in two parts. For this reason, the beginning practices of Kriya Yoga do not include a number of pranayams and bandhas. They will not work without the locked tongue in Khechari, or they can even do some damage. After Sushumna is locked, the next stage - the awakening of the subtle body, starts.

Yogesvari Srimadbhagvadgita
Srimadbhagvadgita, which is sometimes simply known as Gita, is one of the primary sources of spiritual knowledge in Indian tradition. Gita explains those ancient expedients, which when practiced, give a direct darshan of Lord Shrikrishna as the extremely brilliant epitome of Time itself.

Despite there being many commentaries of Gita available today, there is not a single yogic commentary written specifically by a yogi. This inspired Shailendra Sharma to come up with one such commentary which could be of use to a layman as well as a yoga scholar. Shailendra has explained the knowledge that has come down via his lineage of Gurus as well as realized through his own ardent practice of yoga.

English (Buy now)
The Wayfarer

Shailendra Sharma is a wayfarer. While braving the path of life he is sharing his observations and experiences with other wayfarers.

English (Buy now)
At The Right Hand Of God

Shailendra Sharma's daily conversations with his disciples and visitors display a variety of topics arising from a wild array of questions posed to him in the last twenty years. Describing powerful Kriya Yoga techniques, explaining ways to discover your own immortal substance, redefining the very perception of God, Time, and Creation from a yogic point of view, this book is for the seekers of truth.

English (Buy now)
Some Flowers and Some Thorns

An assortment of flowers and thorns from the garden of life - wisdom of life that only a yogi can impart.

English (Buy now)
Shiva Sutra

About 250 years ago, there lived in Kashmir a Brahmin Shiva devotee named Vasugupta. He once had a dream in which he was directed by Lord Shiva himself to find a cave on the Shankara hill. He was told that inside it he would find a huge rock, on turning which he would receive the spiritual knowledge bestowed by Shiva himself. He was directed to absorb it and spread it in the society. The very next day Vasugupta went to the said place with a few others. There he beheld the same cave and the same rock. On turning the rock he found 77 sutras carved on it. These same sutras have reached us through the blessings of the great Shiva devotee Vasugupta.

English (Buy now)
Yoga Darshan

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are a standard reference for any yoga practitioner. This book is an English translation of the original Hindi commentary of Yoga Sutras.

English (Buy now)