Changes to Kriya Initiation
from “Who & What is Swami Kriyananda?”
by Swami Kriyananda
Kriya Yoga Initiation as Church Baptism
“Why does Ananda allow people to take the blessing at Kriya Yoga initiation repeatedly, when SRF claims that it should be given only once?”
Swami Kriyananda answers:
SRF’s higher-ups, who brought with them into this life strongly religious karmic tendencies (samskaras) from the past, focused on something Master had said about getting people to recognize his mission as a spiritual path, and not as merely an organization that sent out printed lessons. “They take Kriya initiation,” he said, “then wander off to other teachers and teachings. They should understand that ours is a path to God, and not merely an intellectual study.” The directors, therefore, after Yogananda’s death began arguing that Kriya initiation was SRF’s church baptism. Since one can be baptized in a church only once, it seemed reasonable to them that one receive that baptism at initiation only once. I suspect Dubey also had an influence on this decision.
Yogananda himself, however, received initiation from his guru, complete with blessing, as often as his master gave it. We ourselves, when we lived with Master, did likewise. After all, why not get as many blessings as possible? I see no spiritual gain from dropping this beneficial practice.
Who Can Give Kriya Initiation?
“Why does Ananda allow householders to give Kriya Yoga initiation? Didn’t Master himself state that only monastic ministers should give it?”
Swami Kriyananda answers:
Master expressed the wish that this be a pattern for his organization after he’d left his body. This wish did not apply to all of his disciples, many of whom were married: Rajarsi Janakananda, Dr. Lewis, Yogacharya Oliver Black, Kamala Silva, Peggy Deitz, to name only a few.
Lahiri Mahasaya, who reintroduced Kriya Yoga to the world in the modern age, was a householder. So also were many of his chief disciples, notably Panchanon Bhattacharya in Calcutta. When Master asked Peggy Deitz, a close disciple but ex-nun who later married, to give Kriya to those she considered fit, she remonstrated, “But Master, what will the organization say?” His reply was, “Are you following the organization? Or are you following me?”
God has sent many wonderful devotees of Master to me, personally. They are renunciates in the true sense. It isn’t that I’ve made a virtue of necessity in allowing some of them, although householders, to give Kriya. Not only are those I’ve appointed highly qualified, but I’ve never made these appointments until I felt strongly from within that this was what Master wanted me to do.
As for continuing to initiate people myself since my separation from SRF, this too was only after I felt inwardly guided by Master to do so. Of course, while he was alive he had already authorized me to give Kriya. I was also free to give it to those whom I myself selected.
That the policies on giving Kriya were changed, later, may be attributed—along with many other changes—to Dubey. [See Krishna Added for more about Dubey.] He told Daya Mata, for example, about a policy in the Ramakrishna Order which he recommended she consider for keeping control over who was allowed to give Kriya in SRF. “Only the president of the Ramakrishna Order,” he said, “is empowered to give initiation. This should be SRF’s policy also. Others who give initiation should do so in your name.” Daya Mata liked his suggestion, and seems to have endorsed it.
Link to Ananda’s Kriya-Yoga website for more information.