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Raja Yoga

The-System-of-Samkhya Samkhya-Kapila

RAJA YOGA: The Superlative Yoga

EACH SOUL IS POTENTIALLY DIVINE.

THE GOAL IS TO MANIFEST THIS DIVINITY WITHIN, BY CONTROLLING NATURE, EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL.

DO THIS EITHER BY WORK(KarmaYoga), OR WORSHIP(BhaktiYoga), OR PSYCHIC CONTROL(RajaYoga), OR PHILOSOPHY(JnanaYoga)- BY ONE, OR MORE, OR ALL OF THESE-AND BE FREE.

THIS IS THE WHOLE OF RELIGION. DOCTRINES, OR DOGMAS, OR RITUALS, OR BOOKS, OR TEMPLES, OR FORMS, ARE BUT SECONDARY DETAILS.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

(From commentary on Yoga Sutras, II.25)

All the orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy have one goal in view, the liberation of the soul through perfection. The method is by Yoga. The twin philosophy of Yoga, Samkhya points to yoga and creates the backdrop for Raja Yoga: which uses the dualistic cosmic principles of Purusha and Prakriti to arrive at the oneness of Brahman. This oneness of Brahman is the end result of Raja Yoga: the yoga of the mind beyond the body.

Raja yoga offers to humanity a scientific and practical approach towards the truth. The method through the body to the experience beyond the mind. The mind complex in yogic terminology is the Chitta: the individual counterpart of Mahad(higher intellect-cosmic). Chitta is constituted of the manas(sensory input/output mind)+ahamkara(sense of identification)+buddhi(higher intellect-individualised). This chitta is the substratum to the entire matrix of experiences of the soul which takes form in the human body. In fact, Purusha (ParamAtma-SupremeSoul) takes form through Prakriti as JivAtma(Individual Soul-Human body) to have the experiences to liberate its karmic cycles. Raja Yoga churns this ocean of chitta to arrive at no-ripple placidity: if we believe that the mind simply a finer part of the body and acts upon the body; in a vice versa situation, the body also acts upon the mind. The body sense organs are compared to five horses that are drawn by the mind: either it can be enslaved or it can be mastered. We can put to use the powers of the mind as we desire. Raja Yoga approaches the macrocosmic and microcosmic in a similar fashion: The gross external world is the effect of the finer internal mind as the cause. All of nature and matter can be brought into control by learning how to manipulate the force of the mind.

A popular misconception today is equating the Patanjali Yoga Sutras to Raja Yoga: While the approach was used by both Svatmarama in HathaPradipika and Swami Vivekananda in his book on Raja Yoga, it is understood that Raja Yoga is not thought of as a separate from the superlative yoga system that is collated by Sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

Patanjali elucidated the very same philosophy of Yoga that was offered by HiranyaGarbha into a systemised AshtAnga (EightLimb) approach in a sutra format. Hence, if we use the term Raja Yoga to mean the superlative Yoga system, then we may claim that the Patanjali Yoga Sutra is called Raja Yoga.

Svatmarama wrote the fourth chapter of HathaPradipika on Raja Yoga as a continuum of the same systematic approach towards the mind by application of the hatha yogic practices upon the body. He does not consider HathaYoga and RajaYoga as two different disciplines independent of each other: rather, as aspects of the same discipline -Yoga. The practices of hatha yoga eventually guide an aspirant to the experiential dimension of the mind and spirit. The final culmination in which the Yogi finds Self as the whole Universe. This is the highest of the Yogas: Raja Yoga. 

 

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Friday, 15 January 2021