Karuna Yoga Vidya Peetham Bangalore

The path of Royal Yoga: Raja Yoga

Let us understand royal path of Yoga

The term raja-yoga means ‘royal Yoga’ and is most commonly used in distinction to hatha-yoga, the ‘yoga of force’. The latter has become very popular in the West though unfortunately, very often in regrettably distorted and bizarre from.

Aim of Raja Yoga

For the adherent of raja-yoga, Yoga consists in ‘the restriction of the whirls of the mind’ (citta-vrtti-nirodha).  He conceives the diverse psycho-mental states as a source of never ending suffering and bondage.  The arrest (nirodha)  of the psychic flux is a preliminary condition for the final emancipation, that is there realization of the self.

Practice (abhyasa) and dispassion(vairagya)

The elimination of the mental fluctuations is procured by the two means, viz ‘Practice’ (abhyasa) and ‘dispassion’ (vairagya). ‘Practice’ is defined in the yoga – Sutra.

As the effort of acquiring stability in the state of restriction, which gains solid ground only by constant, unceasing, devoted application in the correct way.  ‘Dispassion’, on the other hand, is the consciousness of mastery of some one who is free from the thirst after earthly or as is always stressed, ‘heavenly objects and pleasures .

After every thought, every emotion or any other internal act as been pacified and fully subdued the transcendent self (purusa, ‘man’) abides in its unrestricted splendor.  Normally the self identifies itself with the finite and limiting mind creating as it were a specific human personality this self-delusion is called  ‘nescience’ (avidya) which is the nourishing ground on which thrive egoism, attachment, aversion and thirst-of-life.  The revelation of the Self to itself happens only   in the deepest absorption, when the phenomenal consciousness is completely withdrawn from the body-mind complex and is ‘transformed’ into the  ‘witness’-consciousness as the supreme essence of man.  This illumination or realization is principally indescribable, though it is possible to communicate some of its distinct features mainly with the aid of paradoxes.

Astanga Yoga

Raja-yoga consists of eight spheres of application which are called the ‘eight’ members (asta-anga). These are:

  • yama-‘restraint’
  • niyama-‘self-discipline’
  • asana-‘posture’
  • pranayama-‘control of life-force’
  • pratyahara-‘sense withdrawal’
  • dharana-‘concentration’
  • dhyana-‘absorption’
  • Samadhi-‘ecstasy’.

Samadhi (super consciousness)

The ecstasy experience (Samadhi) is either objective or subjective, samprajnata or asamprajnata.  The former is considered as a preparation for the latter in which the transcendent self becomes manifest.  This supreme realization coincides with the coveted attainment of emancipation or ‘aloneness’ (kaivalya), when man in his eternal essence has retracted all his projections into the finite universe.  The path of Raja yoga is delineated in full in the third section of this book.


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