Raja means emperor. The emperor acts in self-subjugation, with self-confidence and assurance. Similarly a Raja Yogi is also autonomous, independent and fearless. Raja-Yoga is the path of self-discipline and practice. Please join the 200-Hour Yoga TTC in Rishikesh for the best course in your career.
Raja Yoga is also called Ashtanga-yoga because it is organised into eight-yoga (steps). They are :-
- Yama-self control
- Rule and discipline
- Posture-physical exercise
- Pranayama-breathing exercise
- Pratyahara – detachment of the senses from external objects
- Perception concentration
- Meditating on god
- Trance-full godliness
The eight stages of Raja Yoga provide proper instruction and education for inner peace, clarity, self-control and God-realisation.
1. Yama – Self Control
Self-control, its five principles
Peacefulness implies not to make agony or mischief any living being by thought, word or deed. They doesn’t mean killing. The demise of a creature is essential in a meat-diet feast. As per this guideline, yogis are vegans. Creatures have an intuitive nature that increases their familiarity with death approaching over them. They begin feeling that now he will be killed and they become terrified of death. Chemicals of dread and tension beginning spilling out of their whole body. These chemicals dwell in the tissue of creatures and birds that have been butchered and are eaten by people purposely or unwittingly. Numerous clearly unwarranted feelings of trepidation, fears, anxious illnesses and feelings have their starting point in this food.
Always speaking the truth is a good and right thing, but what is more important is how we speak the truth. We have the power to speak the truth as if we have stabbed someone, but we are also capable of covering that truth with lovely words. As stated above, the principle of non-violence should not be violated. We must heed the advice of Mahaprabhuji, who said “every word of yours should fall like a flower from your lips”.
Being truthful also means not hiding your feelings, not speaking or making excuses. Maybe for some time we hide the truth from other people, but there is at least one person who knows our inner truth, that is our own self, our own consciousness is a witness.
Do not steal
Asteya means that you should never take something that is rightfully related to someone else. It means stealing not only material things but also mental possessions, hijacking a person’s opportunity, his hope or happiness. Exploitation of nature and destruction of the environment also come under this category.
Celibacy – the pure path of life
Brahmacharya is often translated as sexual restraint. But it is more than that in reality. Brahmacharya means that our thoughts should always be directed towards God. It does not mean that we neglect our duties in this world. On the contrary, we should carry out these responsibilities with utmost care, but always keeping in mind that “I am not the doer, God is the only doer.”
Non-collection of non-collecting objects
We should not collect things, but simply acquire them, and use them as needed to survive. Those who have many things also have many worries, we are born without bringing anything, and when we leave this world we leave everything behind us, Aparigraha means giving other people their freedom. It is also – do not hold them, but by keeping them free, we also free ourselves. Therefore to give freedom means to be liberated oneself.
2. Rules – Discipline
It has five principles:
Not only external purity, but even more important is inner purity. Our dress, our body, our thoughts and feelings should also be pure like them. This is also true for the people we associate with. It is very beneficial for our spiritual development that we keep good company of people who have good influence on us, who are spiritual and who support us with their intellect.
The greatest wealth satisfaction is the wealth we are capable of possessing. The Indian poet Tulsidas has said: “You can keep mines of gold and other valuable stones in your possession, but inner discontent destroys all wealth.” We can get satisfaction only when we know that all material things bring dissatisfaction and that inner wealth gives more happiness and happiness than material things.
When we are surrounded by adversity and obstacles in life, then we should never get discouraged. Instead, we should keep moving forward with determination on the path we have chosen. Continuing the practice with self-discipline, patience and determination – this is the key to success.
Swadhyaya – study of sacred texts
As aspirants of yoga, we should also get acquainted with the sacred texts of our traditional yoga philosophy like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali etc. These great scriptures provide us with very valuable knowledge and help to go on the path of yoga.
Ishwar Pranidhana – Refuge of God
Whatever you do, dedicate it to the divine soul with complete devotion. God protects all those who surrender everything with faith and devotion.
3. Posture – physical exercise
4. Pranayama – Breathing Exercise
In the process of controlling the body and breath, the Raja Yogi also controls the mind. This awakens the inner forces that continue to guide the spiritual path.
5. Pratyahara – detachment of the senses from external objects
Yogis are capable of directing their mind and senses as they wish, internally and externally. Just as a tortoise retracts its limbs and head into the covering of its body and then throws it out. Once there is controlled pratyahara, one gets freedom from external circumstances. Such a person can immediately withdraw his senses from external objects and can also use the same senses when he wants to live with full awareness.
In the first stages of meditation, we practice pratyahara by keeping the body still, eyes closed, with calm mind and concentration, guiding us in the inner direction. There are some specific methods through which we can practice Pratyahara. A meditation exercise can be done by simply observing the sound and paying attention to the external sounds, their nature, difference etc. Slowly awareness leads to the sounds within the body (heartbeat, blood circulation, etc.) that resonate in the “inner sky” of the individual. It is only when one becomes fully adept at the stage of pratyahara. Then we can progress by moving towards concentration.
6. Perception concentration
Dharana means a person bringing his thoughts and feelings to a single object. Often we are only able to do this for a short time, then other thoughts come and lead us astray. We realize our lack of concentration after a few minutes. Unless we are able to concentrate our mind on any thought or object for any length of time under any circumstance, it is said that we have not yet mastered ‘Dharana’.
Candle meditation (tratak), special asanas and pranayamas, as well as repetition of mantras, go a long way in increasing the ability to concentrate.
7. Meditation – setting the mind on God
All contemplation procedures are the essential activity for genuine reflection. One can’t figure out how to ponder, similarly as we can’t ‘figure out how’ to rest. Rest happens when our body is loose and quiet. Contemplation happens when the psyche is quiet. There is no creative mind in contemplation, since creative mind emerges from the astuteness. We can contrast the human mind and an extremely strong PC, which has gigantic capacity limit. Every one of the information of the universe can be put away in it, however this ‘PC’ likewise has a breaking point. Our human cerebrum can duplicate what has been placed into it before. In any case, in reflection, we feel unadulterated. The second the astuteness is fixed and the singular self image quits existing, the heavenly light sparkles in our souls and we become one with it.
8. Trance-full godliness
Samadhi is the state where the knower, the knowledge and the known become one. The knower (the person who practices), the knowledge (what is God) and the knower (meaning God) become one. It means that one becomes absorbed (joined) with the divine consciousness. Those who attain samadhi see a heavenly, radiant light, hear heavenly sound and see an infinite expanse within themselves.
Only one who has tasted milk can tell what the taste of milk is like;
He who has experienced pain knows what pain is;
He who has loved knows what love is;
Only the person who has attained Samadhi knows what Samadhi is.
In this state the duality is destroyed. There is no day or night, neither darkness nor light, nor quality nor colour. Everything is one in the Supreme Power. The union of the soul of the individual with the soul of the universe is the aim of yoga.