In this Q & A exchange, Yogi Amandeep reveals the key to making every kriya powerful and effective. The key to every kriya is to be totally present in the kriya, to be in total awareness while you are practicing the kirya; the Yogis refer to this state as being in Dhyan.
Sat Nam Yogi Amandeep! What is the difference between Karma and Kriya?
Kriya is action. If I take a sip from this glass of water, that is a kriya. Inhaling and exhaling is a kriya. The whole creation is a kriya. As long as there is movement, there is kriya. The generating, organizing, and dissolving forces of the universe are all in kriya that is the one great kriya of God beyond God. This kriya is working through us; this creation is all a kriya. That’s on a cosmic level.
There are kriyas on different levels.
For instance, So Darshan Chakra Kriya is the name given to a particular combination of different segments of actions put together. Kriya means action.
Now, how is Karma different? Karma is action that you think you are doing.
Kar means to do; ma means the individuated “I” ego.
Karma means to do action with ego awareness. To go through your actions and to be in the state of perceiving that I am doing this action. While in the action, if the awareness identifies with the ego, the kriya becomes a karma.
Now, let’s look at Dharma. Dhar means to let go. Ma means ego. Dharma is to let go the ego. Dhar means to put something down, to drop it. Dharma is when you take your ego and you put it down; you drop the ego.
So, to repeat: Karma is when you think you are doing the action. KarMa is I am doing. DharMa is I let go my ego; I am not the doer. In karma, the awareness identifies with the ego. In Dharma, the awareness identifies with the highest divine consciousness as the true doer of the action.
The kriyas in Kundalini Yoga are designed to help create a habit in you to identify with divine consciousness when you are in action.
These kriyas help to create the habit within you to totally dissolve the ego. The kundalini kriya helps you to get your whole being so deeply involved in the action that you lose track of yourself. Concentrating on pumping the navel with the breath suspended while inwardly chanting a mantra will make you so involved in the kriya that you forget your little self. The moment you do not exist, the totality merges with you. Kriya is a perfect technology for erasing your ego, provided you are losing yourself in that kriya.
A person might practice a kriya for years without ever truly being present in that kriya. Also remember that more important than the actually actions within the kriya is the space that is created after the action is complete. When the kriya is finished there is a space. If you miss that space, you miss the whole kriya. Yogis hold awareness of this sacred space, the infinite silence that radiates its presence after the end of the kriya. Focus all the awareness on that space.
Buddha used to say “Mind the gap.” He was referring to this space. He gave a lot of technology to “mind the gap.” Mind the gap at the end of the inhale, before the inhale turns into an exhale, there is a gap. There is this gap between the inhale and exhale. When you are inhaling and the inhale is complete, the breath changes gear before you go into exhale; in that split moment of changing gear, you are neither inhaling nor exhaling. The inhale is life; the exhale is death. In that moment that you are neither inhaling nor exhaling, you are neither living nor are you dead—this is the gap. Be aware of this gap.
Synchronize your awareness with this gap. Be aware of that space; that is Shuniya. There is a changing of gear in every moment, in every action, in every kriya; before this thought becomes the next thought, there is a gap. Each small, small gap in every moment of reality is an experience of the divine reality. We are having an experience of that Gap of that divine reality all the time, but we are not in awareness of this experience. To be in awareness of the gaps within every conscious kriya where the consciousness is identifying with divine reality, that is called Dhyan. Awareness in the yogic language is called Dhyan. Become Dhyan. Become totally aware.
Here is a story:
Once, the Buddha was sitting with his disciple Ananda. A fly came and sat on the ear of the Buddha. He was so engrossed in his conversation with his disciple and he mechanically swooshed his hand next to his ear to shoo the fly away. A moment later, the Buddha stopped talking. He said to Ananda, “I have just made the biggest mistake of my life! I moved with a mechanical lack of awareness. I waved my hand to shoo that fly away without being aware that I was doing that!”
An enlightened being moves with total awareness, acts with total awareness in every moment totally aware of everything.
The journey to such awareness starts with the body, so Kundalini Yoga gives us many kriyas to bring us into this moment to moment awareness. When you are doing the kriyas you have to be present. That is the key. Every cell involved in the kriya should be conscious. The consciousness must open up so you become aware of the mind, body, the breath, and all the layers of your existence in this moment.
Most of the time we are only aware of the food layer, meaning the physical layer, the physical body. But you also have an energetic layer of experience. You have a mental layer, too. There are nadis and cells and biorhythms to hold in awareness.
There is a whole sophisticated and continuous conscious process of yogic teachings that help the yogi to become a being who can be in total awareness every moment; this is referred to as becoming Dhyan.
Realize that this means that any action can make you a yogi.
Driving a car, you can be a yogi, if you are in total awareness that transcends the individuated mind and rests in the total union with god consciousness.
Here is a beautiful sutra from the beloved Siri Guru Granth Sahib:
So jogee gur shabad pachhaanai antar kamal pargass thee-aa
He alone is a yogi who realizes the shabad through which the inner lotus blooms.
May you enter this state when you are in kriya and totally identify with universal consciousness. May the inner lotus bloom in you, and may you recognize the tender heart of the One Doer.
© Yogi Amandeep Singh