Lord Krishna’s words in the light of Atma Kriya Yoga…
“Focus your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, prostrate before Me and you shall come to Me alone. I promise you this verily, for you are dear to Me.”
This wonderful quote from Bhagavad Gita (18:65), the timeless and the timely scripture which I like to call the manual for life, is an eternal promise of Lord Krishna for all of us.
In this wonderful verse the Lord is revealing to us our divine birthright, that we belong to Him alone. Our part of the contract, in this love-relationship, is to surrender our body, mind and heart to Him. There should be 100 % surrender; not one percent less! God is a jealous God; He is shy and if an iota of worldliness sneaks inside of us, he withdraws like tortoise in His shell deeper in our hearts.
For this to accomplish you have to have 100 % faith and 100 % trust in Him. He will not reveal His presence to a doubting mind. He wants to be sure that we want Him fully, for love’s sake, and not for any gifts (siddhis) He may bestow on us. In other words you must count on Him alone. All your “eggs” should be in one basket. If your one foot is still in the world and you place the “secures and bonds” there in case God decide to play hide and seek a bit longer with you, than you are not a devotee, you are doing business with God. Like many newly married couples who sign the premarital contract, “just in case”.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda explains,
“Don’t count on your own effort, don’t count on your own strength, your own will… with your own effort you will reach somewhere, but if you want to reach the supreme state of surrender, if you want to achieve the goal of life, only when you surrender completely and fully to the Lord Himself will you reach this.”
This is what sets apart the teaching of bhakti yoga comparing the other kinds of yogas. Paramahamsa Vishwananda gave many means to achieve this surrender, many tools and techniques: japa kriya (repetition of God’s name), Simply Meditation, sacred rituals (puja, abishek, yajna), bhajans, art painting, Atma Kriya Yoga.
I would like to focus on one of these wonderful techniques, Atma Kriya Yoga. Many masters and gurus teach one form of kriya or the other. Most of them teach it through a scientific approach which is not questionable. But the problem arise when you focus too much on the techniques itself and your own effort in achieving the goal of kriya yoga.
Therefore I will shed a light on a different approach to it. Mahavatar Babaji instructed Paramahamsa Vishwananda to teach a specific form of kriya yoga with the emphasis on bhakti. This is a revolutionary approach, as many modern western yogis don’t like to hear the word bhakti as it is associated with religion and emotions. But bhakti surpasses all of these. Bhakti is the natural state of our soul, which is called atma in Sanskrit.
We forgot how to love and how to share the love. Love is not something we can buy somewhere and keep it locked. Once we feel it, the natural impulse is to share it.
That is the nature of love (pyār). But the world bhakti carries another dimension of love. It is connected purely with the Divine Love (prem). Prem is that supreme Love that is the most powerful force in the universe. So bhakti, when awakens inside our hearts, reflects prem (Divine Love).
So in bhakti yoga, whatever one does is to awaken the dormant prem. All the practices we do is to remove the layers of dirt around us so that prem can shine forth.
Atma Kriya Yoga is that yajna (fire rite) mentioned in many verses of the Bhagavad Gita, that burns to ashes all accumulated karma (past actions) so that the seeds cannot germinate again. The seeds of worldliness, attachments to this mundane reality, to the identification of ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘mine’. Due to the ego identity, and its byproducts of pride and arrogance, we are bound to this world and we suffer.
Techniques of Atma Kriya Yoga are great aid to this process of transformation. But techniques alone cannot lead us anywhere if we focus solely on them, especially if we set ourselves to believe that with our own effort alone we can reach the Supreme Reality, and realize our oneness with God.
Let us go back to the verse of Bhagavad Gita and see how Atma Kriya Yoga works in connection to devotion (bhakti).
Lord Krishna says, “Focus your mind on Me…”. This means to absorb our mind completely in Him. When we chant the name of God, like OM Namo Narayanaya, for example, we submerge our mind completely in the Name, in the vibration of Holy Name, which vibrates at a very high frequency and thus burns the worldly tendencies lodged in the brain structure. This mantra means, “I surrender myself to the One in whom all things dwell and who dwells in all things” – God within and God everywhere. What a beautiful mantra to chant, isn’t it?
When we practice pranayama kriyas, we submerge our mind completely with the breath that carries prana. Prana is life’s energy – it is Life Itself. Another word for prana is prananath (the Lord of life). If prana is removed from our life, we are dead to this world. Therefore it is easy to conclude that when we breath in, we should consciously be aware (kriya) that we breath in life energy (God), and let the mind and prana become one (yoga). This process of secession of mind is very well known through Patanjali’s yoga sutras (1.2), yogaś-citta-vr̥tti-nirodhaḥ (yoga is stilling the turbulent waves of the mind) bhakti can flow.
Then the relationship between our atma and Paramatma (the Lord) can be re-established and get deeper. Therefore Atma Kriya Yoga helps a great deal to fulfill our life’s purpose.
Lord Krishna continues, “worship me…”. Worship means to place all energy and trust in Him. He is the Only One, the sole Creator and the very Life. So no energy should be wasted in petty and worldly thoughts. This rite should be done with 100 % attention so that the results can be 100 % of devotion and Love.
Lord Krishna gives us an injunction, a direct command here,
“Prostrate before Me…”
He is very clear here, and every atom should bow down to Him, sing His glory. We should not bow down to any other thought but to love Him alone. In Atma Kriya Yoga, it is called Vandana Bhakti which is infused in some of the techniques so that makes our prostration and surrender to the Feet of the Lord easier.
What a wonderful reassurance of Lord Krishna, “and you shall come to Me alone. I promise you this verily, for you are dear to Me.” This is a true act of bhakti, a complete surrender of the Lord to His bhaktas. This is called Atmanivedhan Bhakti. In Atma Kriya Yoga we receive shaktipat initiation which can be explained like a descend of Grace, which equals to the one Christ’s apostles received after their master resurrected. It is the God’s Grace which seals the eternal covenant between us, and Him. In Him we find the eternal shelter, the eternal security, the eternal fulfillment.
Atma Kriya Yoga is that Grace and it is given to us by Mahavatar Babaji through Paramahamsa Vishwananda as a fast deliverance from the threefold suffering of the material existence. It is easily available and easily practiced. I called it the ‘finisher’. It is our last sacrifice before the Lord ushers us to the kingdom of Heaven.
The last portion of the verse can be read as, “In truth do I promise you, you shall attain Me”. There is no joy comparable when this union happens. Even to read this promise makes your hair stand on end – it makes your heart leap with excitement and bliss. When we practice Atma Kriya Yoga, this feeling can be experienced as Atma Kriya Yoga is infused with the Grace (shaktipat initiation) to accomplish this Eternal Union – Satcitānanda.