Kriya Yoga is combination of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Laya Yoga. But other kinds of meditation methods are based on only Raja Yoga. Many people understand that the physical form of yoga, Hatha Yoga asanas or postures, is complete yoga. For most of the yogic practices, people are taught a one-sided approach.
Hatha Yoga is good for physical fitness; Raja Yoga controls your mind, and finally mind is dissolved in Pure Self. That is known as Laya Yoga.
Indian philosophy never says that God is other than you. It says that to know your Self, to get Realisation, a human being must itself become God. This truth one can realise. This is a very old, ancient path. Five thousand years ago, Lord Krishna’s disciple Arjuna received Kriya from him – before Krishna, Lord Rama also followed the same path.
So Kriya Yoga is a complete system of Yoga. It is completely different, because all dimensions are in it. If you are not initiated in Kriya Yoga and I tell you that the aim is for self-realisation or enlightenment, you will ask me, ‘what is enlightenment’. But we cannot explain the meaning of enlightenment in words, any more than we can explain death, or pain. This is a question of experience.
So in order to get an idea of how Kriya Yoga is different to other methods of meditation, I can say that you have to first read the philosophy of Kriya Yoga. Everything is written very clearly and in great depth in Patanjali Yoga Sutras, and in Bhagavad Gita. These books are unique in this world and contain layers upon layers of knowledge.