The Himalayas have been a source of spiritual knowledge since ancient times. It has been the abode and/or origin of numerous saints, mystics, including the Great Buddha; and according to Hindu and Buddhist Mythology also of gods, goddesses and Bodhisattvas. Certainly if a location has to be chosen for that on the planet it has to be The Himalayas as the Highest mountain chain of the world and also the most conducive to life and beauty.
In 1970, a youthful saint of around twenty, called Baba Haidakhan or Babaji lovingly by his disciples appeared in the Nainital District of Himalayas. He died in 1984, even as he had said while he lived that the body is meaningless and transient but the soul lives on.
While he lived, he lovingly and joyously clarified certain myths about yoga that were spreading in the world. It was a time when there was a great interest in yoga in the west. Certain popular sects were propagating myths about yoga, perhaps for commercial reasons, that were dispelled by those who came close to Babaji. who was not into accumulating wealth or membership. He accepted some disciples who sought his blessings while asking others to go elsewhere since they were either not ready or needed him no more.
Some of the popular myths that Babaji dispelled were, that a certain type of yoga (there are many practices of human spiritual development called different yogas) that was called Kriya yoga by some sects was neither due to Babaji nor the ancient Hindu Scripture – The Bhagvat Gita (also spelt Bhagvad Gita) and no yoga discipline should be a secret unless it is for making money as a business.
In this respect it may be noted:
Although the Bhagvad Gita describes several yogas such as karma yoga as well as practices of yogis, no where in Bhagvad Gita is there a mention of Kriya Yoga.
The first recorded mention of Kriya Yoga is in the highly regarded ancient text by Patanjali. Chapter 2 of his text begins with that description
The Kriya Yoga as described by Patanjali is not the Kriya Yoga described or practiced by some modern sects and teachers. No part of Kriya Yoga has anything to do with breathing techniques. Those are other yoga techniques (Pranyama), beneficial too, but not kriya yoga as per the definitions in original Sanskrit texts. According to Patanjali the Breathing techniques are a part of Ashtang Yoga.
It is really very surprising how humans in this age of science and logic can believe, without the slightest shred of evidence, that there is a young Babaji who roams and hops about in the Kumaon hills and never dies! or for that matter a Lochness Monster or a Himalayan Yeti
The essential elements of the Kriya Yoga as defined by Patanjali and also taught by Baba Haidakhan first require the prerequisites of Love, Truth ( including not stealing) and Simplicity (including avoiding lust i.e. sex devoid of love and greed or much fondness of worldly attainments) termed Yama by Patanjali. This was to be followed by selfless work and service, knowledge of self through prayer and/or recitation of holy names, loving and trusting God. That is Kriya Yoga by Babaji and also by Patanjali.
Some modern teachers and institutions consider the entire Yoga Sutras to be Kriya Yoga, although Patanjali only relates the term Kriya Yoga to these three (tap , swadhyay and Ishwarsharnagati) foundation practices. In practices that emerged much later, breathing practices with attention along the spine are included, along with other physical practices. It is useful for the student of Yoga to be aware of these different approaches, so as to not get confused by the various public offerings http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-20109.htm
It takes some stretching of the imaginations that these three foundation terms include breathing methodologies especially when Patanjali has described those as distinct and seprate during a description of Ashtang yoga in chapter 2, verse 29 of his Yoga Sutras, or even to regard the entire yoga sutras as kriya yoga when it is clearly stated as a distinct practice in the very same text in addition to other practices.
It is as simple as that and no secret as far as Babaji was concerned. There is more on Babaji and his practices in the blog http://nainitalgoddess.blogspot.com (just search through) and also in a recent book by this author – The Babaji Affair. www.amazon.com/Babaji-Affair-Dr-Ashok-Malhotra/dp/149232955X/