Yoga vs yogic siddhis

PTI | BySwami Kriyananda
May 14, 2004 03:22 PM IST

I lived with my guru for three and a half years until his mahasamadhi in March, 1952. During that time I did see miracles -- inexplicable to me, but undeniable.

Swami Kriyananda is a direct disciple since 1948 of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. He is the founder of Ananda Sangha, and of seven Ananda communities in America and Europe. Now 78, he has moved to India to make his Guru’s teachings known in the land of his birth: to teach the liberating meditation technique of Kriya Yoga, and to establish communities where householders and renunciates alike can seek God in the company of fellow devotees.

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I had never heard the word yoga until 1948, when, at twenty-two, I came upon Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, and read it avidly. I'd read about the miracles of Jesus Christ, of course, but modern education had made me a skeptic. Yogananda's book abounded with accounts of modern-day miracles by the great yogis of India. It wasn't reading those accounts, however, that affected me so deeply. It was the author himself. His consciousness changed the entire course of my life. I never thought I'd ever become anyone's disciple, but reading his book inspired me to request acceptance as my Guru. Never before had I imagined in anyone such greatness of love, kindness, humility, and joy. This man, I decided, was the person on whose life I wanted to mold my own.

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Thus, when I met him my first words were, "I want to be your disciple." Never for a moment since then have I doubted the wisdom of that decision. I confess, however, that I had to place mentally on a shelf the miracles described in his book. It wasn't that I doubted them, for I couldn't doubt him. On the other hand, nothing in my previous experience of life had prepared me to accept them. I resolved simply to tell myself, "Miracles are not what I am here to receive."

I lived with him for three and a half years until his mahasamadhi in March, 1952. During that time I did see miracles -- inexplicable to me, but undeniable. Later on, in India, people often urged me to visit this or that wonder-worker, and by that time I was no longer a doubter. Even so, my thought was, "So what?"

My Guru had taught me that the goal of life is release from illusory existence, or maya. Yogic powers are, in a sense, only affirmations of that illusion.

The goal of Sanatan Dharma is moksha: freedom from the coils of maya, and realization of perfection as divine bliss. Today, more than ever, I recognize the need of all human beings for divine bliss. Mere phenomena, including the yogic siddhis, only increase people's fascination with the illusion that is samsara. Bliss alone can bring us freedom. Nothing else matters. The purpose of life is the attainment of bliss in our own souls.

Swami Kriyananda's programme appears at 2200 hours IST on the Sadhna Channel. (For more,

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