RAJA YOGA AND PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS
- What is Raja Yoga?
- Dualistic Philosophy
- Patanjali and Yoga Sutras
- Basic Tenets of Raja Yoga
- Why Yoga is Important for Everybody?
- Who are Unconscious Raja Yogis?
- Who is a Siddha Jnani?
What is Raja Yoga?
Popularly known as the ‘King of all Yogas’, Raja Yoga is a type of exercise that deals directly with the mind. There is no physical struggling as there is no Hatha Yogic Kriyas involved in this process. Rather, the technique entails stabilizing the mind with a relaxed body so as to control the rippling thoughts which are nothing but distractions in the path of self-realization. With a still mind and restrained thought-waves one enters a thoughtless state which is called Asamprajnata Samadhi.
Raja Yoga is a dualistic philosophy that works in tandem with both Prakriti and Purusha and this helps one to achieve the Advaitic Realisation of Brahman. This leads the practitioner to reach the path of Advaitic Realization of oneness when the Purusha merges with the Highest Self defined as the Brahman of the Upanishads.
Patanjali and Yoga Sutras
As mentioned in Yajnavalkya Smriti, that Hiranyagarbha is the original guru of Yoga Philosophy and that Sage Patanjali was the compiler of the core Yogic doctrine, tenets and various precepts as propagated by Hiranyagarbha. It is before one starts understanding the works of Patanjali and Raja Yoga one needs to get acquainted to the concept of Sutras as the Yoga Philosophy is based on Sutras.
What is a Sutra? – A Sutra is basically a terse verse, framed in aphoristic saying. It is embodied with hidden significance and ancient sages have expressed their realization and philosophical ideas in Sutras. Only a guru who is well versed in Yoga or a well written text can help one understand the Sutras.
Basic Tenets of Raja Yoga
The well defined meaning of Sutra is a thread. Sutras are like flowers in the string of a garland, pearls in the string of a necklace. Following are few important tenets that form an outline of the study of Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali.
Samadhipada – It deals with various types of Samadhis and comprises of 51 Sutras explaining the following points –
- Major obstacles in meditation and how to overcome these obstacles.
- The five Vrittis – namely pramana (accurate knowledge), viparyaya (inaccurate knowledge), vikalpa (fantasy or imagination), nidra (sleep), and smrti (memory) – and their control techniques.
- The three types of Vairagya namely mridu (mild), madhyama (moderate) and teevra (intense).
- Various techniques of entering into Samadhi and the way to obtain peace of mind.
Sadhanapada – It comprises of 55 Sutras comprising the following points
- Kriya Yoga that involves various breath, brain and spinal cord activities.
- Tapas i.e. meditation and Self-Surrender to Almighty.
- The five Kleshas i.e. avidya (spiritual ignorance), asmita (I-am-ness), raga (attraction), dvesha (aversion) and abhinivesha (clinging to life).
- To wipe away all frustrations and afflictions that hinders one’s spiritual progress and Samadhi.
- Difficulties in following the conducts of Yamas and Niyamas.
- Practice of various Asanas and benefits from its regular practice.
- Pratyahara i.e. withdrawal of the senses and its various advantages.
Vibhutipada – This consists of 56 Sutras.
- Dharana i.e. concentrating on something with full focus on both external and internal senses.
- Dhyana i.e. a practice to attain better perceiving capacity of mind, body, senses and environment.
- Samyama i.e. simultaneous practice of Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (union) on the external objects, internal chakras, mind, etc. to achieve all siddhis.
Kaivalyapada or lndependence – lt comprises of 34 Sutras defining the following points –
- How a perfect yogi could easily discriminate between Prakriti and Purusha.
- The one who has perfect Sattva (light, bliss, integrity), Rajas (passion, motion) and Tamas (inertia, darkness).
- The clear concept on Dharmamegha Samadhi and how one deals with mind and nature.
Why is Yoga Important for Everybody?
Raja Yoga is known as the Science of Science. As mentioned in Hindu scriptures, Lord Krishna has quoted this form of Yoga as ‘kingly science’, kingly secret’, ‘supreme purifier’, etc.
Regular Yoga practice annihilates all the worldly pains. In Yogic parameters, moksha (salvation) is a bird with two wings namely, Yoga and Jnana. Jnana and Yoga are two progressive virtuous features and both go hand in hand.
- Jnana – Knowledge based on text
- Yoga – Direct intuitive perception
Inculcating only Jnana or only Yoga is fruitless. The Yogic knowledge of Mudras, Asanas, Neti and Dhauti without Anubhava Jnana (knowledge based on experience) is practically of no use. Jnana arises only when union with the Supreme-Self is achieved through Yoga.
Who are Unconscious Raja Yogis?
Scientists and scholars who have invented steam-engines, motor-cars, wireless, telegraphy, railways, television, gramophone, talkies, aeroplanes, and other technologies are known as unconscious Raja Yogis.
Great inventors in this world are born with sharp intellect and concentration. However, there is an evident difference between materialistic and Adhyatmic Raja Yogis. Scientists, scholars, inventors, great technical minds on this earth achieve the following goals –
- Vyavaharic gross intellect
- Asuddha Manas of the Upanishads
- Practical reason of Kant
- lnventors work with a Vyavaharic gross
- Kama Manas of the Theosophists
On the other hand, Raja Yogis are the ones who work in order to achieve the following pursuits –
- Pure, subtle and intellect mind
- Purified chitta by regular practice of Yama and Niyama
Who is a Siddha Jnani?
A normal Jnani is the one who has obtained self-realization for his own betterment. He has achieved the position of a star which glitters during the night. Though his existence is evident he is not much known to this world. On the contrary, a Siddha Jnani or Yogi Jnani has a shine which is as glorious as the Sun. He is known and revered to the whole world. Adi Shankaracharya, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, etc. are perfect examples of Siddha Jnanis. They changed the lives of millions through their teachings and spiritual practices.
It is very essential that one receives the teaching of Yogic Sutras under an authentic, experienced, yogic guru or practitioner to avoid any kind of misguidance and gain correct mental and spiritual progress.