Raja Yoga is the path that leads to union with the Lord through
self-restraint and control of mind. Raja Yoga teaches how to control the
senses and the mental Vrittis or thought-waves that arise from the mind,
how to develop concentration and how to commune with God. There is
physical discipline in Hatha Yoga, whereas in Raja Yoga, there is
discipline of the mind.
The Yoga Of Eight Limbs
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and
Samadhi are the eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
Yama and Niyama constitute the ethical discipline which purifies the
heart. Yama consists of Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness),
Brahmacharya (continence), Asteya (non-stealing) and Aparigraha
(non-receiving of gifts conducive to luxury). All virtues are rooted in
Niyama is observance. It comprises Saucha (internal and external
purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of
scriptures and repetition of Mantra) and Isvara-pranidhana
(self-surrender to God). He who is established in Yama and Niyama will
have quick progress in the practice of Yoga.
Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara are preliminary accessories to Yoga.
Asana is steady pose. Pranayama is regulation of breath. This produces
serenity and steadiness of mind and good health. Pratyahara is
abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects. You must
practise Pratyahara. Then only you can look within and can have
Dharana is concentration of the mind on any object, or internal
Chakra, or Ishta-Devata or tutelary Deity. Then comes Dhyana, meditation
or an unceasing flow of ideas connected with one object. This leads to
Samadhi, where the meditator and the meditated become one. All the
Vrittis or waves of the mind subside. The mind ceases functioning. All
the Samskaras, impressions and Vasanas (tendencies and subtle desires)
are burnt in toto. The Yogi is freed from births and deaths. He
attains Kaivalva or final Liberation (Absolute Independence).
Concentration—The Key To Success
How powerful is the searchlight! When the sun’s rays are concentrated
through a lens, they can burn cotton. Even so, when the dissipated rays
of the mind are collected, you can work wonders. You can know all the
secrets of nature through the powerful searchlight of mind.
A scientist sits in his laboratory, concentrates all the powers of
his mind and brings them into one focus and throws them on the objects
of his research and investigation. He gets all knowledge about the
elements, etc. The whole hidden knowledge of nature is revealed unto him
like the Amalaka fruit in the palm of his hand. The astronomer does the
same thing. He concentrates on the stars and planets through his
telescope and attains knowledge of the stars. Radio, wireless
telegraphy, television, gramophone, telephone, steam engine, etc., are
all things invented through deep concentration.
Without concentration, you cannot have success in any walk of life or
spiritual pursuit. A cook can prepare things efficiently if he has
concentration. If there is no concentration, he spoils the preparations.
A surgeon in the operation theatre needs perfect concentration. The
captain of a steamer must possess a great deal of concentration. A
tailor, a professor, a barrister, a student—all must possess
concentration. Then only they can have success in their profession. All
great souls, all master-minds who have done great work in this world,
had perfect concentration.
In a worldly man, the rays of the mind are scattered in various
directions. His mind is jumping like a monkey. It is ever restless. He
thinks of money, wife, children, property, houses, etc. His mind is ever
engaged in earning money and possessing objects of his desires. He has
not a bit of concentration. He cannot look within and introspect. His
mind is full of outgoing tendencies.
The Yogi concentrates on the Chakras, mind, sun, stars, elements,
etc., and attain superhuman knowledge. He obtains mastery over the
elements. The power of concentration is the only key to open the
treasure-house of knowledge.
Concentration cannot come within a week or a month. It takes some
time. Regularity in the practice of concentration is of paramount
importance. Brahmacharya, a cool and congenial place, company of saints
and Sattvic diet are auxiliaries in concentration.
Concentration and meditation lead to Samadhi or Superconscious
Experience, which has several stages of ascent, as attended or not
attended with deliberation (Vitarka), analysis (Vichara), joy (Ananda)
and self-awareness (Asmita). Kaivalya, or Supreme Independence, is,
The Obstacle Of Siddhis Or Supernatural Powers
Siddhis or supernatural powers manifest themselves when the Yogi
advances in his Yogic practices. These Siddhis such as clairvoyance,
clairaudience, etc., are all obstacles in his path. He should shun them
ruthlessly and march forward direct to his goal, viz., Asamprajnata or
Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Real spirituality has nothing to do with these
powers, which are by-products of concentration. He who runs after these
Siddhis is a big worldly man or big householder. He may have a downfall,
if he is not cautious.