Goswami Kriyananda was a Chicago-born teacher in the Kriya Yoga lineage, a tradition popularly associated with Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 to 1952). Born in 1928, Kriyananda studied under the yogi and kabbalist Shelly Trimmer (a direct disciple of Yogananda), and taught for decades out of his center in Chicago, the Temple of Kriya Yoga, before moving to Europe where he continued teaching students while maintaining his center in the American Midwest. Sadly, just days after I created this web page I learned that he had passed away, in April of 2015.
From the early 1970s up through the mid-1980s, I attended his lectures and classes on a weekly basis, and also had numerous conversations with him in private. At one point I combed through some of the notes I'd kept during that time and picked out what struck me as some of the more interesting stand-alone comments, and I've assembled these below. (Note: because many of these were reconstructed from memory after-the-fact, the exact wording may be slightly off at times, but never to the point of distorting the spirit of the original comments.) I always found Kriyananda to be a teacher of the highest integrity, and I hope you find this collection of his remarks meaningful.* For more information about Kriyananda and his teachings, see
--Ray Grasse 4/26/2015
* FYI there are several teachers in the yogic tradition bearing the name "Kriyananda" (most notably, the late Swami Kriyananda of California). A simple way to distinguish them is by their titles: the Kriyananda showcased here went by the honorific Goswami.
Quotations from Goswami Kriyananda
""Recognize that everything you see is part of you."
"There can be no such thing as 'failure' if you do what you do because you enjoy it."
"Everyone's striving for God, when they haven't even found their humanness yet."
"Every thought going through our minds either saps or strengthens us."
"You are a part of life, not apart from life."
"One can incarnate into the past by going into a sidereal universe similar to this one, where the events are further back in sequence."
"No effort is ever lost. Whatever work you put towards a dream, be it spiritual or worldly, all adds up karmically."
"Every moment of your life is a rebirth. Act and think accordingly."
"It's easy to become illuminated, it's hard to become happy."
"Most of us are just coasting on past karmas. Maybe we need to put our foot back on the accelerator, and energize our minds!"
"Spiritual growth comes from self-discipline."
"Whatever you want to get more of from life, give more of that to the world."
"Getting your insights or enlightenment should be through a methodology, not by accident. Drugs can bring insights, but not a permanent understanding. It's like stumbling onto the solution to a Rubik's cube as opposed to having a methodology for solving it."
"You can take a positive feeling towards one thing and direct it towards something you don't like."
"We are encased in a bodily cocoon of many lifetimes' karmas."
"There really is no 'outer' or 'inner' world. There's only one world."
"Think of the one thing you could erase from your life if you could, in terms of your past mistakes. You can concoct an act or a sacrifice to compensate for it. But the act or sacrifice has to be proportional to the problem."
"Our senses show us five different aspects of the universe, but it isn't like that at all. It's like the story of the five blind men and the elephant, each one of which gets only a slice of the reality."
"Meditation is not about becoming more energized or powerful. Meditation is a state of powerlessness, of pure balance."
"When you get lost underwater, don't struggle too much, because you may wind up swimming downwards. Relax and float up to the surface. The laws of nature are on your side."
"It's helpful, vibrationally, to keep plants in the rooms where you live and sleep."
"Try to think of your life in terms of eons, of many lifetimes. That's a good protective mechanism, for it puts a larger context on all of your desires and actions."
"Karma is not necessarily spread out evenly among different lifetimes. A person can choose to 'bunch up' a large amount of difficult karma for one or two incarnations, simply to get it out of the way and move on. Then in the next lifetime they might compensate by taking it relatively easy, with a horoscope that has lots of trines, what you might call an 'R&R' (rest and relaxation) lifetime. So it can vary tremendously from lifetime to lifetime."
"The higher up you go (in levels of reality), the more time becomes dissolved, and the harder it is to see causal relationships."
"The greater the sage, the simpler they become."
"Be not the bearer of another's bad karma."
"When you are asleep, your astral body floats about two and a half to three feet above your physical body. A horizontal spine symbolizes relatively little self-conscious awareness, like an animal’s normal spine position. The symbol of the vertical spine is one of greater self-conscious awareness. We are trying to awaken the astral body’s consciousness, to get it to stand upright and, when necessary, walk away from the physical body and in turn physical experiences, bringing us into subtler worlds and experiences."
"Realize that when you're angry it's really your (third) chakra that's angry."
"Each chakra has a mind of its own."
"Your interpretation of an experience overrides the experience itself."
"Even if you can't neutralize all of the karmas indicated by your horoscope, there's always the neutralizing force of attitude. The largest portion of karma is our response to it. Why is it one person loses a leg and is still happy, while another breaks their fingernail and feels like comitting suicide?"
"Don't let another's negativity overpower your compassion for them."
(In response to the question, "How do mystics deal with boredom?") "A mystic is never bored."
"The delay factor inherent in the Saturn, material plane may be frustrating but it's actually a blessing. Think back over your life and imagine if all of your thoughts and desires had become reality."
'We will not die. We cannot die. We are Immortal. Every dream, goal and desire that people have will be fulfilled. It may take another 100,000 lifetimes, or it may manifest in this lifetime. But if we give up and say, “Well, I’m going to die in another 10 years or I’m going to have to wait 60 years, what’s the use of it all,” then people don’t row their boat, and they don’t progress at all. People just do not understand that they are immortal–they think they are their body. The third factor is that we have to learn patience. All things that are worthwhile take time."
"Part of one's diet is the eating of air."
"If I want to take credit for all my good karmas, then I have to be willing to take credit for all my 'bad' karmas, too."
"The single most important thing to realize about astral travel is, you don't actually go anywhere. That's because you already are everywhere. So it's really just a matter of shifting your attention from one part of yourself to another."
"When falling asleep, arouse an intense desire to attract higher forces. Vow to keep continuity of consciousness."
"The single best technique for sustaining awareness into the dream state is to fall asleep slowly."
'How does one develop will power? By using it."
"We're usually lying to ourselves about our real motives for doing things. We say 'I want to get married because...' or 'I want to become famous because...,' but we don't really know why."
"Thought forms are, for the most part, asymmetrical, impure, rough, not of singular energy. Mantras are relatively pure, symmetrical, which gives them more power. "
"You can look down from the Ajna chakra (the "third eye") and see everybody else's material and mental realms; you see an infinite number of sidereal universes. Surrounding each spark of God is built a universe."
"God enters and exits with every breath."
"You were here long before the solar system."
"Mantra helps wash off successive layers of thought."
"It's important to know your desires and compulsions. How can you tell which of your decisions are consciously willed, and which are desire-motivated? If it comes easy, it's probably desire."
"Dedication to one thing is the primary discipline on the path."
"People may be angry at their mother, father, spouse, boss, or even the president, but what they're really fighting are the thoughts in their head."
"Overcome your hang-ups about touching dead flesh. Otherwise, when you die, your subconscious will recoil at the process."
"How you see the world depends to a great degree on what's in your stomach. When you pull away from food, things don't have the same power. Fast for a few days then try turning on a TV. "
"When you feel something negative coming around you, imagine being surrounded by a golden aura."
"Thoughts and emotions aren't bad. Hanging onto them is where we get into trouble."
"You have a conscious mind and five subconscious minds."
"The symbols in your dreams, however inanimate they might seem, can literally talk. Ask them questions. Their answers may be untrue, but they'll tell you a great deal about your own consciousness."
(And regarding one's waking life) "You can talk to anything in the universe, and it will talk back to you, if you can hear."
"A disorganized life is harmful spiritually."
"Mystics are not nationalists."
"Eliminate your negative thoughts towards one thing and you eliminate them towards a whole complex of things in your subconscious."
(Regarding astral travel): "If you're not glowing, you're still in the lower realms."
"Life itself is the Self."
"In preparing for sleep, try to picture all of the body's energies drawing in from your limbs, into the center of the spine, and going up the spine."
"You can learn from suffering, but the mystic prefers to learn through wisdom. Does an alcoholic really have to suffer from cirrhosis of the liver to learn that drinking might be bad for him? Let wisdom and knowledge be the teacher, not pain."
"People ask, if reincarnation is real then why don't we remember our past lives? We do, actually, but in terms of our emotional patterns."
"The astral plane is practically all symbolic."
"When one has a stressful pattern in one's horoscope, there's a tendency to blame someone—and that's always someone other than oneself. One has to be very careful to convert thaat energy away from blaming others. Why does it have to be anyone's fault? It's nobody's fault. This is the reality. What needs to be done is to correct the problem."
"When you truly understand the wisdom of another, it becomes your own."
"The Kriyic (spiritual) forces are more pronounced and accessible at the moment of sunrise and sunset, as well as during the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes. That's because these are points of balance, when the male and female forces of Ida and Pingali are relatively evened out."
"If you're swimming underwater and you come up for air enough, you won't drown. Likewise, you won't 'drown' in this world if you hold the breath of your desires and come up long enough for spiritual air."
"Think of the Sun and Moon in the horoscope as objective and subjective amplifiers. Planetary aspects to the Moon will be felt more emotionally, but aspects to the Sun will manifest as actual conditions out there in the 'real' world."
"If you can slow yourself down three times a day, even if it's only for a second or two, it will still be valuable. Keep your body still for those few moments."
"There is no such thing as 'group karma,' really, just individuals coming together who have similar karma."
"Find joy in your everyday living. Everything should bring you joy."
"When you see beauty in the world, inhale, suck it in and raise it up to the 1000-petaled lotus."
"Kriya is a direct relationship of balancing what is inside you with that that is outside you. But anything can be a 'kriya.' Kriya is the understanding of the relation of you to that which is before you."
"Change your mind and you change your destiny."
"How you relate to symbols of God (icons, priests, gurus, etc.) reflects how you relate to an important part of your own being."
"A key thing to look at are lines in the hands. The more lines, the more sensitive or emotional. The fewer lines, the less sensitive the person. If you see a person's hand and there are hundreds of fine lines, be careful--this is a very emotional person; walk and talk softly."
"Your body is a door; you are the universe."
"The joys the world offers are actually within you, whether that be food, sex, or wealth."
"The external and internal universes balance out within the heart chakra. "
"If you feel you have to do something--don't. For example, if you feel you have to get married, don't get married. It's that very compulsive feeling that leads into deeper trouble. If you feel you have to do something, most likely you should not, at that time. Why? Because you will make a decision from a point of weakness, not from a point of strength or clarity. The point of weakness is a pressure, an emotional pressure. You should be very careful when in this particular condition. Your decisions manifest from an awareness of 'pressure,' not from a point of clear, balanced perception."
"Don't waste your life on regrets. It's a useless emotion. Vow to rectify the mistake and move on."
"The universe and all of its beings have no power over you. That can happen only with your consent. Unfortunately we tend to give consent all of the time."
"What existed before this memory tract you now have? You had a memory tract before this one, but a different one. There was never a time when the sprit existed without a memory tract. The memory tract changes constantly."
""If you understand symbolism, you know how to talk to your unconscious."
"This isn't a realm of perfection, but it is one of completion."
"If you're going to do something, go ahead and do it--and enjoy it. I once visited a man in the hospital who was dying of lung cancer after having smoked cigars his whole life. I asked him if he had any regrets about his habit, and he said, 'No, I have to say I really enjoyed smoking those cigars.' Now, that's a spiritual attitude."
"There are teachers who urge people to become their disciples, but this practice absolutely is not spiritually acceptable. A guru does not select his or her disciples. The student picks the guru."
"When you abstain from eating, talking, or having sex, you store up prana (life-energy). None of these things are 'bad,' it's simply that external actions or desires tend to dispense energy, so refraining from them draws your energies back into yourself."
"If someone tells you they don't believe in astrology, just tell them the next time Mars will be squaring their Moon. When that comes up, they'll see for themselves just how powerful the horoscopic energies can be."
"Creating something—whether that's a business, a marriage, or a yoga center—is easy. Sustaining that dream is the hard part."
"Never go to sleep with unresolved negativities from the day. Spend as much time as necessary to balance your difficult emotions so that you don't carry them into the dream state."
"Most individuals have a hard time sustaining consciousness into the dream state, or for that matter into the afterlife state once their body has died. One way to strengthen your 'consciousness muscles' is to sleep-fast once every month, by staying awake all night, ideally on either the new or full moon. Meditation is another."
"Physical things are symbols that reveal invisible principles."
"We normally experience thoughts one at a time, in a linear way, but on higher levels of awareness you can experience many thoughts at once. It's more multi-faceted and all-inclusive."
"An important key in dream interpretation is to look at the environments they present, since that determines the context for everything else. A candle takes on dramatically different symbolism depending on whether it's in a dark forest, a church, or in a fireworks factory. Try keeping a dream journal and log just the environments you experience for a week or two, and you'll learn a great deal about where your consciousness is at."
"The 'good' or 'bad' karmas incurred during a lifetime don't necessarily bear fruit in the very next life, there is usually a delay of several lives."
"Pleasure is usually gained at great cost."
(Regarding meditation) "On average, it takes about a half-hour to start disengaging from your thoughts."
"Mystical experiences are by-products of inner changes, yet most people seek those surface symptoms instead."
"This lifetime is the mathematical summation of all your past lives."
"If in speaking truth you hurt another, then you have not spoken Truth."
"It's easy to be great when you're forced to be great, such as when sitting on a throne. What's truly great is when it's found in the average man or woman."
"It's spiritually important to be detached, but that doesn't mean being indifferent or cold. One can be detached yet fully compassionate and engaged in the world. Just look at the medic on the battlefield, or a nurse in the emergency room."
(On nuetralizing problematic karmas indicated by the horoscope) "If you have a difficult Neptune, help a fisherman. If you have a difficult Saturn, help an elderly person."
"A person's attitude towards elderly people tells you a lot about their Saturn, their attitude towards their mother tells you a lot about their Moon, and so on. You learn a great deal about someone's horoscope from their beliefs and attitudes towards the people around them."
"The primary value of astral projection is simply to show you are not your physical body, that you never really die. You are immortal."
"You can't truly judge another person's spiritual growth. It's like runners in a competitive race; you can't say how well someone is doing unless you know where or when they started on the track."
"If you're ever looking at a horoscope and have a hard time figuring it out, just focus your attention on the closest approaching square or opposition, and talk about that. The client will probably walk away amazed at how accurate you were. The truth is, we're controlled to a great degree by our most stressful aspects."
"Always remember that all the teachers are human and they have many flaws. Don’t look for perfection in people or you’ll be disappointed. Listen to the pure philosophy, the pure ideology and the superb technique, and forget all the failings of the teachers."
"Strength comes from remembering, holding fixed to something, like the Taurus bull. A scattered mind cannot gain siddhis (spiritual power) or one-pointedness."
"The Saturn (root) and Sun (third eye) chakras are alike in that they're the only points of the spine where Kundalini can enter into God consciousness."
"I recognized early that most people didn’t want to get out of their pain; they enjoyed their pain. 'Look how great I am. See how I am suffering?' And for many that even turned into 'See how God has suffered. If I suffer, I am like God.'"
"My teacher Shelly pointed out how we, as Earthlings, really weren't created by God, that we are self-created beings like God Him/Herself. Slowly, it all slowly fell into place for me, and I thought, 'Wow, why don’t they teach that in church?' He laughed and replied, 'Now, who would want to teach a religion that said you don’t need priests, pastor, rabbis or swamis? You can’t control people that way.'"
(In response to the question "How can we send blessings to others who are in pain?") "There is only one person in your universe–you. Each one of us is living in a very isolated universe, collectively. When you see someone in pain and offer a blessing or a prayer for that person, you are drawn into that soul’s world. Why do you feel that pain? Why are you drawn to it? It is because what you are reacting to is something inside of your isolated universe. Whether it reaches the other person is not as important in the first stage. To help that person, you must remove the pain inside you. Then and only then can they receive the blessing.Why do I feel your pain? Because that pain within you, no matter how small or how large, is also within me. Within our isolated universes, it is the pain (or joy or love or wisdom) that links us together. If that pain were not somehow within me, I would not be aware of it within you nor react to it. Therefore, I send my meditation out to you. First, however, I have to heal my memory track within me. Then the energy can be released from my isolated universe and join with the isolated, collective universe of your universe.
(Regarding the problematic state of our world) "We have to recognize that the world has always been in this condition, ever since humanoids came to this planet. What we can do to improve the world is improve ourselves. This is the first major task for each Seeker. How do we do that? First, by being happier. There’s no use in being in the trenches and being heavy and depressed. If you have to be in the trenches, be joyful. Be happy, be content. Enjoy the sky. Recognize there is beauty despite this momentary piece of constrictive karma."
"The average person breathes through their throat, the mystic breathes through their heels."
"We think that there are twelve zodiacal signs, but there are really only six. Virgo and Pisces are the same symbol, not two different symbols. Aries and Libra are two faces of the same symbol, they're not separate from one another."
"You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb--and your mind has a say in that. There are fakirs in India who can drink strychnine and not get sick. You need to absorb the best elements of your food and put up a mind screen to filter out negative elements. And ingest not only prana (life-energy) but still higher vibrations."
"All things are lost and dissolved in the cosmic scheme of things except for the memory banks. The thought of something will last longer than the object itself."
"See clearly your imperfections. Accept them and, without emotionality, begin to soften them. Find joy in your imperfect life."
"You cannot touch anything, only your thought of it."
"Mystics say that the closest we can come to touching anything else is during sex."
"Remember that the gods are immortal and so is man. However, there is a difference. The gods are eternally alive and conscious. Mankind in any given incarnation is unconscious for part of the day cycle and largely unconscious between incarnations."
"Don't feel as though you need to get forgiveness from God. You were never accused in the first place."