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Introduction to Raja Yoga

by Swami Sivananda

What is Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga is the king of all Yogas. It concerns directly with the mind. In this Yoga there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. There are no Hatha Yogic Kriyas. The Yogi sits at ease, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind and restrains the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state or Asamprajnata Samadhi. Hence the name Raja Yoga. Though Raja Yoga is a dualistic philosophy and treats of Prakriti and Purusha, it helps the student in Advaitic Realisation of oneness eventually. Though there is the mention of Purusha, ultimately the Purusha becomes identical with the Highest Self or Brahman of the Upanishads. Raja Yoga pushes the student to the highest rung of the spiritual ladder, Advaitic Realisation of Brahman.

The Author

Patanjali Maharshi is the exponent of Yoga Philosophy. Now Patanjali is regarded as the last of the Avataras. You will find in Yajnavalkya Smriti that Hiranyagarbha was the original teacher of Yoga. Patanjali Maharshi is only a compiler or explainer of the Yogic precepts, doctrines and tenets taught by Hiranyagarbha.

Yoga Sutras

Patanjali Yoga Philosophy is written in Sutras. A 'Sutra' is a terse verse. It is an aphoristic saying. It is pregnant with deep, hidden significance. Rishis of yore have expressed the philosophical ideas and their realisation in the form of Sutras only. It is very difficult to understand the meaning of the Sutras without the help of a commentary, a gloss or a teacher who is well-versed in Yoga. A Yogi with full realisation can explain the Sutras beautifully. Literally, Sutra means a thread. Just as various kinds of flowers with different colours are nicely arranged in a string to make a garland, just as rows of pearls are beautifully arranged in a string to form a necklace, so also Yogic ideas are well arranged in Sutras. They are arranged into Chapters.

 

 


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