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25 June 2006, 05:45 AM
The principles of Bhakti are preliminary for Raja Yoga, which elaborates the contemplative method for attaining J˝ana. Raja Yoga is described by Pata˝jali in his Samkhya Yogadarsana:

Raja Yoga comes by repeated effort to follow the disciplines that result in permanent thought control. It must be made over a long period with earnest devotion, deliberately expelling desire for what is experienced, and uniting or identifying with oneĺs higher Self.

Progress in Yoga requires confidence, zeal, single-mindedness, and diligence; and its beginnings lie in simplicity, study, and joyful dedication of labor to forward evolution.

Progress is retarded by disharmony in body and mind: disease, anxiety, skepticism, vacillation, inertia, self-deprecation, self-glorification, rivalry, and lack of concentration, which can be removed by physical labor, rhythmic breathing, and the practice of compassion, courtesy, integrity, and tranquility.

Ignorance (the root of all other hindrances), self-aggrandizement (separation from others by attempting to become their superior), attachment (clinging to an object or idea because of the pleasure it gives), aversion (rejection of an object or idea because of the pain it gives), and self-preservation (instinctive aversion), can be overcome by persistent meditation upon them.

Cease to identify with the physical body, which is merely a temporary instrument for our use. Encouragement may come by flashes of extra-sensory perception; guidance may come by inspiration received on waking from deep sleep; and assistance may come by devotion to a Master (incarnate or discarnate), contemplation of a divine picture or symbol that inspires, joyful chanting, or singing of mantras or sacred tunes.

Man becomes familiar with the Atman by undeviating effort in the Eight Limbs of Yoga:

1. Yamana: Restraints
2. Niyamana: Observances
3. Asana: Posture
4. Pranayama: Regulation of Breath
5. Pratyahara: Abstraction of Mind from sense-objects
6. Dharana: Concentration
7. Dhyana: Meditation
8. Samadhi: Total Immersion

Samyama, the collective application of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, to an object or idea, driven by the power of the will, leads to the attainment of miraculous powers, which are sought step by step with meticulous and ordered attention. By practice of Samyama all knowledge can be gained.

Miraculous powers are gained by long dedication to the work, but they are not ends in themselves, and dwelling on them becomes an obstacle to Higher Samadhi. Even these powers must be renounced.

With knowledge of the Universe of Spirit, the Yogi is freed from all obstructions and impurities. The Atman emerges untainted as Primal Spirit. Freed from ignorance and yearnings, and totally aware, the Yogi (now adept) is united with the Whole.

25 June 2006, 08:27 PM
Pranayama with Kumbaka is the bottleneck in the whole process, which might be very dangerous without a suitable guru. In these days, when true gurus are a rarity, I might just prefer the orthodox Vaishnava way of surrender and prayer to God to reveal the process himself directly.

Singhi Kaya
26 June 2006, 06:02 AM
I would like to know when and how did the patanjali yoga sutras came to be called as Raja yoga?? Where did the term raja yoga come from?? Can anyone provide some background.

26 June 2006, 09:20 AM
Namaste Singhi,

Rājayoga is Rājān Yoga.

Rājān (nom. Rājā) means king or chief, but the term is particularly applied both to Soma and to Yudhishthira.

The instrumental singular form of Rājān is Rāj˝ā.

Rā means bestowing, and J˝ā means knowledge.

Rājā Yoga is Rāj˝ā Yoga ~ the ancient enlightening method of Yama and Yudhishthira. ;)

06 November 2007, 05:30 PM
I would like to know when and how did the patanjali yoga sutras came to be called as Raja yoga?? Where did the term raja yoga come from?? Can anyone provide some background.

Originally Raja-yoga meant samyoga of rajas and retas (rAja is intensified form of rajaH). Yogashikhopanishad says: rajaso retaso yogād rājayoga iti smṛtaḥ.
Later it came to be understood as "king of all yogas". This is the designation provided by Amanaskayoga (II. 3). But same text relates Raja-yoga to anusandhAna – a Kaula term for union (it is mentioned in Kularnava-tantra as a highest puja).

Raja-yoga is the yoga of Shiva and Shakti, also known as Kaula-yoga. It is said to have been revealed in kaliyuga by Matsyendranatha, a Siddha who lived somewhere between 4 and 9 centuries C. E.

Yoga of Patanjali was never termed as Raja-yoga originally. That is a later development.