Raja Yoga or the Royal Yoga is the majestic royal path to self-realisation. This great Yoga as propounded by the Rishi Patanjali is known as Raja Yoga.
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi
tasmad yogi bhavarjuna”
Bhagvad Gita Ch.6, Shaloka 46
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitiness worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
The western world laughs at certain of our rituals, customs and religious beliefs. But it is only their ignorance of the hidden side of things or spiritual aspects of life. They fail to understand the continuity of life even after the coarse physical body dies. Well the day shall come, as the world moves into a new phase of spiritual development, when more awareness about the TRUTH shall dawn on ignorant lands and people.
The effects of the imported culture on the people of the east are so strong and tempting that even the majority of our people have forgotten their true identity and the real purpose of life.
So here is a call to shake up and wake up the wayward people of all lands and beliefs to embrace the universal teachings of our great ancient wise Rishis for transformation to honest humans and then superhuman. The Royal Path of Raja Yoga is capable of doing that, so let us look at it.
What do we really mean by the term ‘Yoga’?
The Sanskrit word ‘yoga’ has the literal meaning of “yoke”, from a root ‘yuj’ meaning to join, to unite, or to attach. What is it we need to unite and with what? It is uniting the separated consciousness, which we may term as Soul with the much evolved super consciousness, which we may term as the Over-self or the Real-self. So putting it differently we may say that it is to unite the limited consciousness with the infinite consciousness.
The Impact of Raising Consciousness
We humans normally are only one tenth conscious and our Over-self is fully (100%) conscious. Some gifted people, who are able to raise their conscious awareness to even a meager 15% to 20% as compared to the normal 10% become geniuses like Einstein, Tagore etc. So imagine what will be the result if your consciousness is raised to full 100%? Here is an Ancient System to achieve this.
The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga
The Raja Yoga in Sanskrit and Hindi is known as the Ashtang Yoga. The word Ashtang means having eight parts or constituents. These are the Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga :
Let is elaborate a little on all these in order to understand the wisdom contained in this uniquely practical system:
Yama is self-control in the real sense and it is possible only if one improves and strictly observes the following:
(a) Always speak truth and never tell lies.
(b) Never ever steal anything from others.
(c) Remain free from greed of all kinds.
(d) Keep yourself free from lusts of all types.
It refers to certain virtues, which need to be attained in order to purify one’s physical and mental realms and achieve the wonderful gift of Contentment in order to progress further. The attainment of purity of self will make you a little serious about attainment of your higher goal by sparing some quality time for devoting to the study and practice of this system.
Contentment can bring the necessary turning point in your life. Majority of the people even after amassing enough to feed their many future generations keep on their struggle to raise the heap of their wealth even higher and in such a rut they spare no time for self-development.
So the next step is asana which means a sitting posture for carrying out the rest of the procedure. You do not need to sit in any exotic or uncomfortable posture like Lotus posture. Well only those well trained from birth in such postures and those having flexible body may find a lotus posture comfortable. The whole purpose is to be able to sit comfortably in any way keeping one’s spine erect but relaxed. If you sit in any uncomfortable posture like a stuffed duck then you may feel tension and aches in body parts and fail to concentrate on the important procedures.
For all those not used to sit with folded legs on the ground, sitting on a chair with legs down and feet resting on a cushion will be fine. You must keep your spine erect. Keep it erect such as it is hung from a hanger, not tensed up but relaxed.
This is breath control through a system of easy breathing exercises. You need to learn breathing exercises from a real master (not many around these days) as some self-styled Gurus have devised their own exercises which may do more harm than good. You can best follow Dr. Lobsang Rampa’s breathing exercises as given by him in his book ‘Wisdom of the Ancients’
This is withdrawal of senses. But it will come with sincere practice of Pranayama. You do not have to forcibly attempt to achieve this. If you are living righteously and have sincerely worked on the first two steps viz. Yama and Niyama and now regularly follow the correct breathing patterns then over some period of time you will automatically be able to withdraw your senses and move on to the next vital stage of concentration.
This is concentration. Regular and correct practice of Pranayama will increase your powers of concentration. Keeping your mind focused on one thought for a certain length of time is Dharna. The untrained mind by its nature is wavering and jumping from one thought to the other. But a trained mind through Pranayama and self-control is able to stay on one thought.
This is Meditation. As you sit calmly and think on one topic of your interest and after a time stop conscious thought then the mind goes beyond consciousness into a sort of trance and hidden information about the topic of thought dawns mysteriously. This information is such which cannot be learnt from books. Just for an example suppose you concentrated on a flower either held in your hand or just in your mind. Then as you stop thinking and let go, all hidden knowledge such as how a seed developed into a plant and how a bud was formed and turned into a flower and all that will be seen, felt and comprehended in your mind.
With regular practice you will be able to advance much and be able to go into trance stages and evolve faster, do not rush, take things easy and let it happen gradually on its own.
Being able to go into the trance stage is Samadhi. You need not go into all the bookish details of how many types of Samadhi are there and all that. Just leave it to nature and enjoy your gradual progress.
A Friendly advice by the Author …
True progress comes when you learn to stand on your own and put your sincere efforts. You only have to seek and have a constant desire to progress. It is for God and His divine forces working through Nature to make available to you all the necessary information or guidance through various means. You do not have to struggle to find a Guru (Spiritual guide or Master). Also a guru or master is not always in the physical. You may get the necessary information or guidance during sleep when your astral goes out and may meet some divine astral being. You are well advised to stay away from self-styled Babbas and fake gurus who may claim to raise your Kundalini. Such ignorant people may cripple you spiritually and land you in a mental home.
Never ever attempt to raise your Kundalini rather let it happen on its own as you follow the Royal path of Yoga leaving the results to Nature. Remember there is continuity of life even after death. Whatever progress you reach in one lifetime will go with you and you may continue from that level onward in your next life.
Keep on trying to improve your character, as you become more and more pure you progress at a faster pace!
Article by: Jyotirvid Pawan Kumar