5 Transformative Kriya Yoga Lessons from Paramahansa Yogananda

Dive deep into the transformative lessons of Kriya Yoga as taught by the revered Paramahansa Yogananda.

Paramahansa Yogananda's profound insights into Kriya Yoga provide a beacon of light for those on the journey to Self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment.

Embracing the Wisdom: Lessons from Paramahansa Yogananda's Kriya Yoga Teachings

Embarking on a spiritual journey often leads us to paths previously untraveled, unveiling truths that resonate deep within our souls. Among the luminaries who have illuminated such paths, Paramahansa Yogananda stands as a beacon, guiding seekers with the profound teachings of Kriya Yoga. His timeless wisdom offers transformative lessons that beckon us to awaken to our divine Self, urging us to embrace a life of deeper purpose and spiritual fulfillment. As we delve into these teachings, let's uncover the five life-transforming lessons that have the power to reshape our understanding of existence and our place within it.



Introduction to Kriya Yoga and Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda, the great yoga master and beloved sage who brought Kriya Yoga to the West in 1920, remains a beacon of light for millions who have read his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, or in some other way encountered the vast treasure of Vedic teachings he unlocked and left open for us.

"Arise! Awaken to your divine Self. It’s a new day. There’s another way to live…

—Paramahansa Yogananda

The Impact of the book Autobiography of a Yogi

I’ve stopped counting the number of people who tell me how his book opened their eyes to higher Reality, impelled them onto the spiritual path, and changed the trajectory of their life. Imagine! For some, just seeing the book on the shelf—its rich ochre color with the soul-deep gaze of Paramahansaji shining out from the cover—is an irresistible call to awaken to another dimension of being. I’ve heard people describe it getting their attention by literally falling off the shelf, drawing them from across the room, or being the one book of all books that a friend handed to them, saying “just read.”

Discovering the Soul Fire

For others like me, the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s life and teachings came from his living legacy—one of his disciples passing on the flame that he kindled in the heart. Meeting my guru, Roy Eugene Davis, who lived, studied, and trained with Yogananda, was my introduction to that soul fire. How does light like that become kindled in the soul? How does a life like Yogananda’s transform from seeker to sage? What can it tell us about our innate spiritual power and potential?

Making the months-long journey across the wide oceans as a twenty-seven-year-old teacher of yoga’s universal how-to-live principles, Paramahansa Yogananda put himself, and the principles he stood for, to the test. How he lived them, how he developed (as prophesied in his infancy) into a “spiritual engine” that would bring many souls to God, shines before us as a path of Self-realization, open to any who would make the intentional, life-transforming journey of living by a higher purpose. That’s the first life-transforming lesson I learned from him.

Five Life-Transforming Lessons of Kriya Yoga

Under the guidance of Paramahansa Yogananda, Kriya Yoga unfolds as a journey of deep spiritual awakening, offering five transformative lessons that resonate with seekers worldwide. These lessons emphasize the importance of living with intention, maintaining openness to life's experiences, choosing happiness as an inherent state of being, making love the central aim of one's existence, and demonstrating unwavering steadfastness on the path to Self-realization. Together, these teachings form the foundation of Kriya Yoga, guiding practitioners towards a life infused with purpose, joy, and divine connection.

Kriya Yoga Lesson 1: Be Intentional

Our lives are powered by purpose. When we bring the intention to live a spiritually conscious life to the forefront of our awareness, it galvanizes our vision and our action. Recognizing that we are here to awaken saves us from the ever-present delays of distraction and sets us on a steady course of purposeful engagement.

To be guided by a higher purpose requires us to be willing to learn, discover how to cooperate with the Infinite, and make course corrections along the way.

Be Intentional

Live intentionally with higher purpose. When you do, you will discover an invincible, grace-bestowing Power within you that will draw to you whatever is needed for fulfillment of your divine purpose.


Kriya Yoga Lesson 2: Stay Open

Whenever I read the autobiography of a yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, I am struck by his willingness to lay bare his soul—to let us eavesdrop on his heart’s longing to know God, reveal his awkward attempts along the way, the sometimes-stinging course corrections given to him by his beloved guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and his indefatigable persistence on the path.

How can we develop if we are not willing to enter the fires of transformation? How can we progress without becoming a learner, a disciple of the way?

Along the way, we experience the mix of joys, sorrows, insanity, and profound compassion that permeates our world. How do we walk through it, engage with it, and serve without losing heart? Without getting distracted by either pain or pleasure? The third lesson I learned from Yogananda is the answer.

Stay Open

Nothing need change for us to know and affirm the soul’s natural joy. We don’t have to ignore suffering. Instead, we can bring our awakened, compassionate heart to those around us once we decide to be happy.


Kriya Yoga Lesson 3: Decide to Be Happy

My lifelong inherited commitment to suffering caused me to strongly question the great yogi’s teaching on happiness. Why should I be happy when so many suffer? Was I to shut my eyes to the reality around me? Ignore what I was feeling? Even as I write this, I can inwardly hear Yogananda’s voice declaring: Life is joy. Live in joy! That is your nature.

I was making a great mistake. I worried about denying my feelings when all the while I had been denying my true Self. I was denying the joy of my soul.

Once we decide to live from our innate wholeness, we can be happy for no reason. This empowers us to love unconditionally. Which is, of course, the goal.

Decide to Be Happy

To contemplate the divine omnipresent Reality as Love is to consider it as our primary inheritance. We are That Divine Love which is all in all, the unifying power and presence, the life of our life, the heartbeat and breath of every living thing.


Kriya Yoga Lesson 4: Make Love Your Aim

Paramahansa Yogananda concludes his moving autobiography with the assertion that “God is Love; His plan for creation can be rooted only in love.”

To make Love our aim is to ever reach beyond the confines of the small self that insists on being separate and alone, and instead embrace the oneness of all that is. It’s as simple, and as profound, as living by the Golden Rule. Do it. Do it every day and don’t give up.

Make Love Your Aim

To contemplate the divine omnipresent Reality as Love is to consider it as our primary inheritance. We are That Divine Love which is all in all, the unifying power and presence, the life of our life, the heartbeat and breath of every living thing.


Kriya Yoga Lesson 5: Be Steadfast

When I consider the many lessons I have received from Yogananda’s life, the commitment to be steadfast on the spiritual path comes shining through.

How often do we put off the deep urging of the soul to stop our frantic search for fulfillment and come home to our innate wholeness? Come home to live in the soul! Turn attention and awareness within and invite the inner light of Supreme Consciousness to illumine our thoughts and guide our actions.

Start there. Live from there. Be steadfast.

Be Steadfast

Unwavering dedication to the goal of a Self- and God-realized life is a decision to live in the soul, to anchor our awareness in the true Self. Steadfastness on the path is refusing to put off the soul life. It is returning, again and again, to the truth of our being.




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