This Text on Raja Yoga was assembled from the books and transcribed lectures of our Gurudev Sri Swami Satchidananda, liberally drawing from his commentary on sutras of Patanjali, living Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama and Guru and Disciple and also from the teachings ot he grnd Master Swami Sivananda Maharaj, Sri Swami vivekananda and various othe saints.
This text is a comprehensive one, covering all aspects of Raja Yoga with detailed guidelines for practicing the eight-stage Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is Yoga of meditation. It encompasses the teachings of all the different paths. It concerns itself with three realms-the physical the mental and the spiritual. By practicing Raja Yoga regularly, an aspirant learns to control his thoughts, desires and emotions and thus purifies his mind and finally attains Self-realization. The Self-realized Yogi becomes free from sorrows and sufferings and enjoys eternal peace and bliss. This is the ultimate goal of life.
This Text on Raja Yoga was assembled from the books and transcribed lectures of our Gurudev Seri Swami Satchidananda, liberally drawing from his commentary on sutras of Patanjali, living Yoga, Meditation , Pranayama and Guru and disciple and also form the teachings of the grand Master Swami Sivananda Maharaj , Sri Swami Vivekananda, and various other Saints. A large number of spiritual works of modern saints and learned scholars , which are listed under References for various Sections , Were also consulted. I acknowledge my indebtedness t all of Them . If there are any errors and faults, I am personally responsible.
This Text is a comprehensive one , covering all aspects of yoga With detailed guidelines for practicing the eight –stage raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is Yoga of Meditation. It encompasses the teachings of all the different path. It concerns itself With three realms the Physical , the mental spiritual . By Practicing raja Yoga regularly , an aspirant learns to control his thoughts , Desires Yoga regularly , an aspirant learns to control his thoughts , desires and emotions and thus purifies his mind and finally attains Self realization. The Self – realized Yogi becomes free from sorrow and suffering and enjoy eternal peace and bliss . This is the Ultimate goal of Life.
The Compilation of this Work was entirely due to the grace of our Gurudev Sri swami Satichidananda Maharaj and the Supreme Lord. Indeed Sri Gurudev and the Lord worked through this humble soul. With Deep devotion I dedicate this Text to the Lotus feet of Sri Gurudev and the Lord for having made use of this soul as an instrument in their hands.
May this text inspire and serve the students of Yoga and guide them in their sincere practice for achieving the ultimate purpose of life.
Yoga is a spiritual science. It deals with a human being's quest for his true nature. He is essentially Divine, perfect and infinite. He is an embodied Self or Atman. The Atman is eternal, pure, and perfect. It is not subject to the limitations of time, space and causation. It is an infinite, omnipresent Spirit. However, as it is embodied in a human form with a body, mind and senses, the apparent person (or the lower self) is unaware of his real nature, his Divinity. He falsely identifies himself with his body, mind and senses, which, being part of Prakrti (Nature), are composed of matter, and hence are subject to decay and death.
Ignorant of his true nature, a human being is primarily concerned with the preservation of his body. Driven by the forces of Nature, he seeks happiness from worldly objects and sensual pleasures; he falls a prey to endless desires. He binds himself by the effects of his selfish actions, for every action there is an opposite equal reaction. Yoga helps the apparent person to cast off his ignorance and leads him to realize his true nature, namely, the eternal Self or Spirit. With such realization, Liberation is attained from the bondage of the effects of actions. Yoga is, thus, a means for Self-realization
The Meaning of the word 'Yoga'
The Sanskrit word' Yoga' was derived from its root' Yuj,' which means 'to join' or 'to unite.' What are the two things, which join together? Although the human soul or the jivatman is a facet of the Supreme Soul or Paramatman, the Divine Reality, and in essence both are the same, the jivatman has become subjectively separated from Paramatman or God. However, after going through an evolutionary cycle in the manifested universe, it becomes reunited with Paramatman. This union of jivatman with Paramatman, and the method through which this union is attained, both are called Yoga .. However, there is no absolute union of At man with God (Brahman); the practice of Yoga enables the embodied soul to realize its true nature, namely, Atman, which is same as God. The false identification of the soul with the body, mind, senses and intellect is loosely described as the feeling of separation from God and also as the bondage of jivatman. As a culmination of Yogic practice, the jivatman sheds its false feeling of separation and bondage and becomes one with God or Paramatman. So in its technical sense, "Yoga" refers to that enormous body of spiritual values, attitudes, precepts and techniques (that have been developed in India over several millennia), which purify the mind and heart of a human being and enable him to realize his Divine nature.
It is the modifications or thought-waves of the mind that stand in the way of jivatman recognizing its divine nature, Therefore, the great sage Patanjali of ancient India, who has codified the science of Yoga in his Yoga Sutras, defines Yoga as "the stoppage of the modifications of the mind." (1.2) I He classifies the modifications into five kinds: (1) right knowledge, (2) misconception, (3) fancy or imagination, (4) deep sleep, and (5) memory. (1. 5 -11). These modifications can be stopped by persistent practice of Yoga and non-attachment (vairagya) (1.12). When the modifications of the mind are restrained and the mind becomes pure and focused on higher Self, the Yogi would become established in his own essential nature, that is, he attains Self- realization. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita2 says,.
"Evenness of mind is caIled Yoga." (2. 48).
Evenness means a mind balanced in pairs of opposites such as pleasure and pain, praise and blame, profit and loss, and success and failure. Essentially it is the attitude of looking dispassionately at life without being ruffled by its ups and downs. The balanced state is another aspect of the purity of mind.
In another sloka (2. 50), Lord Krishna defines Yoga as "Perfection or efficiency in action." This refers to one branch of Yoga called Karma Yoga or Yoga of Selfless Action. In the Chandogya Upanishad.' efficiency is defined in a very beautiful passage, which says:
"Whatsoever is done with knowledge, with conviction, and with deep thinking, that alone becomes supremely efficient." (1.1.10) This means that one must have (1) the knowledge of the technical know-how of a particular subject, (2) faith in oneself and faith in the cause for which one is working, and (3) deep thinking about the subject so that one can get the best out of it.
The Paths of Yoga
There are many paths to the realization of the Self, just as there are many paths to the summit of a mountain. They primarily consist of Karma Yoga (the Path of Selfless Action), Bhakti Yoga (the Path of Devotion), Jnana Yoga (the Path of Knowledge), and Raja Yoga (the Path of Meditation). The word "Yoga" in a generic sense refers to all the different paths. The paths vary so as to suit the varying temperaments and capacities of human beings, but all the paths lead to the same goal of Self-realization. The different paths of Yoga are not mutually exclusive. They simply represent a difference of emphasis.
The Sanskrit word Karma means action. So 'Karma Yoga' means Yoga of Action. The tendency to perform action is innate in all beings, and none can remain inactive. For those who are particularly of an active temperament, what is required is not cessation from action but the proper control and direction of their activity. Work with attachment to its fruits binds the soul, but selfless work performed in a spirit of worship becomes a means for attaining freedom. Selfless action does not bind the doer, as he has no sense of doership or attachment to the fruits of his action. Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:
"One who does actions, offering them to the divine, and forsaking attachment is not tainted by evil, just as a lotus leaf is not tainted by water." (5.10).
"Though ever engaged in actions, one, having taken refuge in Me (the Lord), attains to the eternal and immutable state of
being by My grace." (18. 56).
The work that is offered to God becomes worship and Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga helps a person to live successfully and usefully in the world while remaining above it, unaffected by its fetters, as lotus leaves on the water.
This means Yoga of Devotion, a path of love and devotion to God. It is an intense longing and love for God. It enables the aspirant to constantly remember God. It purifies his emotions and elevates his mind to the consciousness of the Reality. He surrenders all his thoughts, words and deeds to the Lord and adores Him with an unflinching devotion. By the constant meditation of the Lord, the bhakta (devotee) imbibes into his own being the Divine attributes. The devotee yearns for union with his beloved Lord with all his heart. Worldly love does not satisfy this deep passion of the soul. The devotee's entire mind flows, as it were, in a continuous stream towards the Lord. The Lord is not a being dwelling somewhere in
a far off heaven, but is seated in his own heart. In order to see Him and to feel His Divine presence he has only to look within.
"The Lord," says Sri Krishna, "dwells in the hearts of all beings. Take refuge in Him with all thy being; by His Grace you shall attain supreme peace and the eternal abode." (Bhagavad Gita, 18.61,62). By total devotion and self-surrender to God, one can attain God or the ultimate Reality. Bhakti Yoga is simple and suitable for all those of an emotional nature.
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