About Raj Yoga

According to Raja-Yoga, the waves of the mind can be controlled by practice and non-attachment. The word that signifies God is OM. When properly pronounced, Aum represents the whole gamut of sound production as no other word can. It is therefore the matrix of all sounds, and thus the fittest symbol of the Godhead; it is the word, which, according to St. John, was in the beginning, was with God, and was God. The three aspects of creation, preservation, and destruction are expressed by the three letters of Aum (OM). The Upanishads describe Aum as the symbol of the atman, or individual soul, in its various aspects. Every Yogi is required to eradicate his selfish tendencies by the practice of ethical.

Rajayoga is a spiritual science and not a religion

Since Rajayoga has its origin in India, there is a misconception that it is a sect of Hinduism. The truth is that Rajayoga is not a religion in the sense in which the word "religion", is commonly understood and used. Instead, it is a spiritual science which has universal application. No doubt, it gives a deep religious experience in the sense that enables the self of atma (soul) to be linked with Paramatma, i.e. the Supreme Soul, but the method is scientific and is based on understanding. Anyone from any religion, may benefit from this treasure of wisdom, using his or her own language and terminology as people generally do in science and as also they, do sometimes in religion, when they use different names, such as Paramatma, Allah, God, or Wah-e-Guru, etc. for the supreme being who is eternal light, the self-luminous being, the creator or the father and lord of us all. Rajayoga gives us the 'scientific' methodology, by the use of which a person from any religion can have deep experience of the self and the supreme and of intense peace and bliss. It also gives the rationale behind the method but it is not a cult or sect. Even though it uses certain terms, in Rajayoga these are more or less different and there is no sectarianism involved in their use, but rather these terms being broad in their implication and scope, take all religion into their embrace.

What is Rajayoga and its method of practice?

Yoga means 'union' and 'Raja' means the 'highest' and so, Rajayoga means: the union of the self with the 'Highest Soul' or the Supreme Being. It also means the method of attaining the highest spiritual stage or having union with the highest values and divine attributes. The word 'raja' also means 'the ruler'. Since 'Mind' is the ruler (Raja) of the physical organs, so union of mind with God, who has the highest attribute, is called Rajayoga.

AFFIRMATIONS:

Raja yoga makes a person increasingly aware of one's original, divine nature and enables him to have refreshing, energizing and revitalizing experience of the self and of God. The practice of Raja yoga requires a person to make the following affirmations in his or her mind:

  • I am a soul - an infinitesimal point of light. I am a metaphysical being; I am eternal and immortal. I am spiritual light and spiritual might.
  • My original nature has been of purity, love and peace.
  • I came to the world drama-stage form the World of Souls, also called the ('Other World', Brahmloka, Parloka, Paramdham, Nivran Dham or Alam-e-arvah (The Soul World). That is a world, for beyond the moon, the sun and the stars. It is a world where there is golden-red light and also absolute silence and purity. Ultimately, I have to return to that world of liberated souls, giving up all the negativity that I have gathered.
  • As a soul, I am an eternal and immortal child of God who is the Ocean of knowledge, Love, Peace, and Bliss and is Almighty. He is incorporeal. He also is a Point-of-Light. He is Merciful and Kind and does good to everyone. Therefore, one of his attributive names is ‘Shiva, which means: One who does good to all'. (He is also known as Jehovah, Allah, Ahur Mazda, or Wah-e-Guru). He gives us – His Children – the inheritance of knowledge, purity, love, peace, light and might wherefore we call him 'Father'. 'He is also our 'Mother', our Friend, our Philosopher; our Guide….and is, therefore, Most Beloved one. We have deep love for Him and sense of gratitude towards Him and He too loves us fondly.

My Most Beloved Mother-Father, O God, I will now be good and will also do good. I will have universal love and will act peacefully and for the well-being of all and to the exclusion of none. I will be your obedient and faithful child and will make sincere efforts to have purity and all virtues.

Mind Control By Raja Yoga

The mind plays a very vital role in deteriorating or promoting one's health. But the more important issue is how to transform the mental process to have positive impact on the health. Raja yoga meditation which is a scientific technique of turning one's mind to the supreme God helps in several ways to transform our mental processes.

Mind Control By Raja Yoga

The mind plays a very vital role in deteriorating or promoting one's health. But the more important issue is how to transform the mental process to have positive impact on the health. Raja yoga meditation which is a scientific technique of turning one's mind to the supreme God helps in several ways to transform our mental processes.

  • Relaxation of Mind: During Raja Yoga practice, one's attention is focused on the Supreme God of all soul who is the ocean of peace, love, bliss, purity, etc. Hence one experiences the sense of detachment from the mundane thoughts and experiences relaxation. By tuning the mind with the God the practitioner receives positive vibration of peace.
  • Positive Thinking: The practice of Raja Yoga is based on spiritually based positive thoughts such as I AM A PEACEFUL SOUL.
  • My divine Mother / Father is the ocean of peace and I am a peaceful soul...I am receiving the love of all relationships from the Supreme God...Such positive thoughts make one's mind positive and healthy.
  • Transformation of Belief System: The psycho physiological benefit of Raja Yoga goes beyond relaxation response. It also helps in transforming one's belief system. one's belief system plays the cardinal role in deciding how one perceives different external situations. In the same situation different person’s reactions and responses are not the same. This variation is due to differences in their belief system. Raja Yogi is able to maintain the stability and tranquility of mind in the midst of stressful situations. The knowledge and understanding of God promotes communal harmony in Raja Yogis. He considers the whole humanity as a huge family and all human beings as his fellow brothers and sisters. Thus such positive belief system makes one mentally and socially healthy and improves health.
  • Deconditioning: Whenever a particular thought, feeling and action is repeated several times it leaves a deep impression on one's mind. Ones future thoughts, feeling and actions are influenced by these impressions. In very simple terms it can be described as conditions. All our emotions and actions are governed by our past conditions. The knowledge and practice of Raja Yoga helps in deconditioning the negative impressions and reconditioning the positive impressions.
  • Transforms life style and Personality: Raja Yoga is not only the meditation practice that one does for ten to twenty minutes twice or thrice a day. Infact it is the whole life style in which one adopts healthy habits, better interpersonal relationship and a sense of service for others. This life style has a positive effect on one's physical, mental and social health. Raja Yoga practice helps one to attain flexibility in personality traits and hence he is able to adjust in different situations.

The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga

According to the Sankhya philosophy, on which Raja Yoga is based, attachment to nature is the cause of the soul's bondage, and detachment from nature is liberation. As there exists a close relationship between the body and the mind, one finds it helpful and easy to control the mental states by certain physical exercises laid down in Hatha Yoga. For the practice of Hatha Yoga, a qualified teacher is absolutely necessary. The main purpose of Hatha Yoga is to increase the strength, vitality, and digestive power, as well as to remove various physical ailments.
In Raja Yoga meditation, the practitioner concentrates upon one point in order to integrate discontinuous, diffused attention, thus holding attention steady. All distractions are thus effectively closed out, and meditation proceeds. Daydreaming, floating with thoughts or allowing impulses to dominate is obviously not concentration, so only by true concentration, meditation is possible to experience. Thus, by continuous practice and perseverance control on self is achieved through Raja Yoga.
Often called the "royal road", raja yoga offers a comprehensive method for controlling the waves of thought by turning our mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. In the very beginning this yoga was known as Astanga Yoga. This name, Raja Yoga was actually coined at the turn of the century by Swami Vivekananda, who thought Westerners would have a hard time saying "Astanga "! This branch of yoga has eight different steps.

1) Yamas (Ethical obligation)
The yamas or restraints are divided into five moral injunctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature:

  • Non-violence
  • Truthfulness in word, thought and deed
  • Non-stealing. Be content with what you own. Do not grab what is not yours-
  • Moderation in all things
  • Non-possessiveness

2) Niyamas (Ethical obligation)
The niyamas or observances are also divided into five fostering positive qualities, consist of:

  • Purity
  • Contentment
  • Study of the sacred texts
  • Austerity
  • Constantly living with an awareness of the Divine Presence.

3) Asanas
Asanas or postures form the first half of the sub-division of Raja Yoga known as Hatha Yoga. The only thing to understand about asanas is to leave the body free, holding the chest, shoulders, and head straight.

4) Pranayama (Breath control)
The regulation of the breath - forms the second half of Hatha Yoga. It is control of subtle energy.

5) Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal)
It is withdrawal of the senses of the mind from their objects. It is practiced to turn the mind to introspection by voluntarily shutting out distractions provided by the senses. It aims at bringing the organs of the senses under the control of the will.

6) Dharana (Concentration)
Concentrating the mind on the center of the head or on the heart is Dharana and it leads to dhyana.

7) Dhyana (Meditation)
All the multiple thoughts generating every minute in the mind are united to one single thought by meditation, then the position of Dhyana is reached. It is a process of growth that can not be forced, it comes naturally.

8) Samadhi (Salvation / Unity with God)
Samadhi, or Self-Realization, is transcending the mind, going beyond the normal limits of self or ego, becoming one with substance and flow of creation. Super-consciousness the highest stage in meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe. Bereft of all help from places and centers, only the meaning of the thought is present. If the mind can be fixed on the centre for twelve seconds it will be a Dharana, twelve such Dharanas will be a Dhyana, and twelve such Dhyanas will be a Samadhi.
All these eight steps lead to purification of mind and body. The ultimate goal of Raja Yoga is to attain the self realization state. The practitioner can reach that state by following the entire eight steps one after the other. The essence of Raja Yoga is to control all thought waves or mental modifications. It is concerned with the mind, its purification and control.

The goal of this research is to understand and know as how to achieve self control through yoga. Therefore, out of the above mentioned eight steps we would concentrate on 3rd and 4th step i.e. asanas and Pranayama respectively. Asanas and Pranayama together is referred as Hatha Yoga.