--> Skip to main content

Lahiri Mahasaya Teachings

Lahiri Mahasaya, born Shyama Chandra Lahiri in 1828, was a prominent Indian yogi and a key figure in the Kriya Yoga tradition. He is best known for reviving the ancient practice of Kriya Yoga and making it accessible to householders as well as renunciants. His teachings emphasize direct personal experience of the divine through disciplined spiritual practice. Here are some core aspects of Lahiri Mahasaya's teachings:

Kriya Yoga

Lahiri Mahasaya is renowned for his revival of Kriya Yoga, a meditative practice designed to accelerate spiritual growth. Kriya Yoga involves a series of techniques aimed at controlling the breath and directing life energy (prana) to facilitate spiritual awakening. The practice includes pranayama (breath control), mantra (sacred sound), and dhyana (meditation).


The central aim of Lahiri Mahasaya's teachings is self-realization, or the direct experience of one's divine nature. He taught that through regular practice of Kriya Yoga, individuals could attain a state of inner peace, bliss, and unity with the divine.

Spiritual Practice in Daily Life

Lahiri Mahasaya emphasized that spiritual practice should be integrated into daily life. He believed that householders, including those engaged in worldly duties, could achieve spiritual enlightenment without renouncing their responsibilities. He encouraged his disciples to meditate regularly while fulfilling their family and societal obligations.

Guru-Disciple Relationship

Lahiri Mahasaya underscored the importance of the guru-disciple relationship in spiritual progress. He maintained that a realized guru could guide disciples through their spiritual journey, providing them with personalized instructions and support.


He said “divine union is possible through self-effort, and is not dependent on theological beliefs or on the arbitrary will of a cosmic dictator.”

Universal Approach

Lahiri Mahasaya's teachings are inclusive and universal. He did not adhere strictly to any single religious tradition and taught that the essence of all religions is the same. His emphasis was on direct experience and inner transformation rather than dogma or rituals.

Simplicity and Humility

Despite his profound spiritual attainment, Lahiri Mahasaya led a simple and unassuming life. He worked as an accountant and lived with his family in Varanasi. His example demonstrated that spiritual greatness can coexist with humility and simplicity.

Scriptural Study and Inner Experience

While Lahiri Mahasaya respected traditional scriptures, he placed greater emphasis on inner experience as the true source of wisdom. He taught that personal spiritual practice and direct experience of the divine were more important than theoretical knowledge.

Key Practices in Kriya Yoga:

  • Pranayama: Specific breathing techniques to control the life force (prana) and calm the mind.
  • Mantra: Repetition of sacred sounds to focus the mind and connect with divine vibrations.
  • Meditation: Techniques to still the mind and attain a state of deep inner peace and awareness.


Lahiri Mahasaya's teachings have been carried forward by his disciples and their successors, most notably by Paramahansa Yogananda, who introduced Kriya Yoga to the West through his book "Autobiography of a Yogi." His influence continues to inspire spiritual seekers around the world.

Lahiri Mahasaya's life and teachings exemplify the possibility of attaining spiritual enlightenment while living an ordinary life, thereby making the profound wisdom of Kriya Yoga accessible to all.