[Advaita-l] Shankara and Kriya Yoga

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 5 09:38:38 CDT 2013

> I have recently started to re-read the 'Autobiography of a Yogi' by
> Paramhamsa Yogananda and came across a passage which I found very
> fascinating. Regarding the authenticity of the claim is debatable but
> nevertheless I thought I'd share it with the group to gain some ideas from
> the forum.
> There is a passage within the book, where the re-establisher of kriyA yoga,
> mahAvatAr bAbAji claims to have initiated Adi shaMakara into kriyA yoga.

Uncharitable explanation: This is a totally untenable story, as the Mahavatar
Babaji could not have lived for twelve or more centuries.


Charitable explanation: This is just a story meant to praise the Babaji, along
the lines of standard myth making in India.


Historical explanation: Perhaps some titular Sankaracharya from about 150
years ago in north India had taken some Yoga initiation from the Babaji. It
is easy to understand how this may have come to be attributed to Adi
Sankara. These things happen all the time.


Esoteric interpretation: A past-life memory? 


One can take one's pick! The problem is that many arbitrary stories are in
circulation about Adi Sankaracharya, floated by the multitudes of smaller
and larger monastic and ascetic sampradAyas in India.


> This assertion does go against the traditional narrations of shrI
> shaMkara's life story however I would like to know the lists members view
> on this and would it be naive to think that this could not happen either.
> Another is does shrI shaMkara mention kriyA yoga in any of his works?

Not specifically the particular kind of kriyA yoga that comes through Lahiri
Mahasaya, but taking the pAtanjala yogasUtra definition of kriyA yoga as
tapas, svAdhyaya and ISvara-praNidhAna, there is much in the bhAshyas
on these aspects.
Best regards,

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