“Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions ; and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.”.
‘ At the parliament of Religions, Chicago 11th September, 1893‘
RAJA-YOGA IN THE WEST :
¶¶ Swami Vivekananda, the first Indian monk who unfolded the Raja -yoga in the West before the Christian society. Nowadays The Brahmakumari Organization of Mt Abu is preaching this ( Raja Yoga ) precious knowledge of ancient monks throughout the world.
But Swami Vivekananda is the first Indian who preached Raja yoga in the West. So, I will discuss here Raja yoga as advised by Swami Vivekananda.
After Swami Vivekananda and his Brother’s monks , some others yoga teachers went to the West for preaching the Kriya – yoga in twentieth century. They are Tirumalai Krishnamacharya , Swami Shivananda , B K S Iyengar ,Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ,Paramhansa Yogananda and so on.
Recently Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The founder of the Art of Living, Baba Ramdev, Yogacharya S. Sundaram, Bharat Bhushan, Sri BNS Iyengar, Swami Chidanand Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan Ashram and so on were engaged in spreading the gems of Indian Raja Yoga.
It is noticeable that they had tried to modernize this system of yoga by their researching and practising it. Therefore, more and more Indian yoga popularised throughout the world.
In recent time , numerous yoga teachers are going to teach Raja -Yaga and Hatha – Yoga in aboard . They took it as their means of livelihood , though they’re efficient in this fields.
¶ The Need Of Raja -Yoga
YOGA IN ANCIENT INDIA
¶¶ Indian Yoga system is a 5,000 – year – old – discipline from India. Hatha-Yoga or Raja-Yoga , any kind of Yoga was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body.
However, there are many branches of yoga . All yoga styles can help balance your body ,mind , and sprit , but they achieve it in various ways .
Some Raja -yoga postures are intense and vigorous. But others are relaxing and meditative. Practising Raja – yoga, breathing exercise (Pranayama and meditation) make you healthier in body, mind and spirit.
Besides, it improves flexibility, strength, stamina and muscle tone. But there is another great source of yoga that can rejuvenate your mental powers. Yoga aims towards transcendence states of mind.
Though 90 percent of people come to yoga for stress relief, health and physical fitness, but it can change our heart and mind. Yoga offers self–reflection, the practice of kindness and self-compassion, and continued growth and self–awareness.
So we can say that yoga itself is an immersive physical, spiritual and mental study – a mind – body approach to improving our overall lifestyle.
¶ Types Of Yoga
¶¶ Yoga is being incorporated into other popular workouts in many creative ways.To name a few : Yogalates , Power , Kundalini , Iyengar, Vinyasa , Bikrim ,Yin , Trauma. Yoga , it seems, can be modified to fit almost any lifestyle or fitness goal.
But essentially, however, current practice involves four primary types of yoga : Karma , Bhakti , Jnana , and Raja – Yoga .
NP. RAJA YOGA :
We won’t discuss about all these yoga . Only the Raja – yoga as advised by Swami Vivekananda will be re – memorising here for the interest of the readers .
Man wants the truth. He wants to experience truth for self -satisfaction as well as the perfection of the mind and soul. When he has grasped it, realised it, felt it within his heart of hearts, then alone, declare the Vedas.
It would vanish all doubts. Then all darkness and all crookedness be made straight. Our great intellectual ancestors experienced it, and has written their feelings :
” Ye children of immortality, even those who live in the highest sphere, the way is found; there is a way out of all this darkness, and that is by perceiving Him who is beyond all darkness; there is no other way .”
NP : RAJA YOGA AS ADVISED BY VIVEKANANDA:
Swami Vivekananda discussed Raja – Yoga placidly and scientifically that can be easy to understand for the western people. Swamiji didn’t believe in miracles not did he emphasise believing it to the people of the West.
So he explained it before them with reason and practical way. Never discussed anything which he didn’t believe.
THE SCIENCE OF RAJA-YOGA :
The science of Raja – Yoga proposes to put before humanity a practical and scientifically worked out a method of reaching this truth. He explained with examples from Astronomy, Chemistry and other sciences. Generally, every science must have its method of investigation.
” If you want to become an astronomer and sit down and cry ‘ Astronomy! Astronomy!’ it will never come to you . The same with chemistry and other sciences”.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT RAJA- YOGA
Raja yoga follows a certain method like all science. You must go to the laboratory, take different substances, mix with them, compound them, experiment with them, and out of that will come to a knowledge of chemistry.
The same about astronomy. If you are
an astronomer, you must go to an observatory. You need a telescope, study the stars and planets, and then you will become an astronomer.
HIGHER TRUTH OF ALL COUNTRY IS SAME:
Each science must have its methods. Like that the science of religion, the science of Raja – Yoga is also a science.
If you listen or read the sermons, but don’t practice them, you will not be religious, or they would not make you religious until you practised the method.
So, these are the truths of the sages of all countries, of all ages, of men pure and unselfish, who had no motive but to do good to the world. They all declare that they have found some truth higher than what the senses can bring to us.
Hence, If we practice honestly the prescribed method they told we can find the higher truth.
The Raja – Yoga
Raja – Yoga as defined by Swami Vivekananda, more popularly known as Ashtanga yoga, or the ” eightfold path ” that leads to spiritual liberation. Ancient Sanskrit texts describe Raja – Yoga as being the ultimate goal of yoga practice, rather than the physical and mental exercises involved.
This means that it considers the state of peace and contentment that comes with sustained yoga practise and meditation.
So, Raja – Yoga is the path of self–discipline by which you can control your mind by practising this yoga.
EIGHT FEATURES OF RAJA- YOGA:
As defined by Swami Vivekananda
It has eight parts: 1. Yama – Self–control. 2. Niyama – Discipline. 3. Asana – Physical Exercises. 4. Pranayama – Breathing Exercises. 5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of The senses from external objects. 6. Dharana – Concentration. 7. Dhyana – Meditation. 8. Samadhi – Complete Realisation.
The eight steps of Raja – Yoga provide systematic instruction to attain inner peace, clarity, self – control and Realisation. Yama and Niyama has again some sections :
¶¶ Yama – Self – Control: It consists of five principles :
* Ahimsa – Non – Violence: You don’t harm or make the pain any living being. Non – Violence also means not to kill. * Satya – Truthfulness * Asteya – Non – Stealing. * Brahmacharya – Pure Way of Life * Aparigraha – Non – Accumulation of Possession.
¶¶ Niyama – Discipline: It consists of five principles : * Shauna – Purity. Internal and Exeter Purity. * Santosh: Contentment * Tapa – Self – Control, or Self – discipline * Svadhyaya – Study of the Holy Scriptures. * Ishvara Pranidhana – Devotion to God.
This is Yogamudra Posture. Yogi always sits in this posture during meditation.
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE BEHIND SCIENCE:
¶¶ Religious knowledge might achieve by using generalisation which is based upon observation. We first observe facts, then generalise, and then draw conclusions.
Swamiji told the same thing about the knowledge of the mind, of the internal nature of man, of thought. It’s possible to achieve 4until we have first the power of observing the facts that are going on within.
¶¶ RAJA YOGA: THE SCIENCE
The science of Raja -Yoga proposes to give us such a means of observing the internal states. The instrument is the mind itself. If the power of attention with proper guide directed towards the internal world, it can then be able to analyse the mind and illuminate facts for us.
The powers of the mind are like rays of light dissipated; when they are concentrated, they illumine. But the fact is that we never pay attention to the internal world.
From our childhood upwards we have been taught only to pay attention to things external. Ultimately, most of us have nearly lost the faculty of observing the internal mechanism.
To turn the mind, as it were, inside, stop it from going outside, then you have to concentrate all its powers and throw them upon the mind itself, and it’s possible through Raja – Yoga. Without perseverance, it’s not possible.
RAJA YOGA AS THE MEANS OF CONCENTRATION :
¶¶ By practising Raja – Yoga, we can concentrate our minds. It empowers our strength of mind and concentration also. So when it’s concentrated, it can penetrate its innermost secrets just as the darkest places reveal their secrets before the penetrating rays of the sun.
Thus will we come to the basis of belief, the real genuine religion, Swami Vivekananda remarked it in his writing “Raja – Yoga”. He always emphasised the concentration of the internal sides of the mind, not the external. This is what Raja – Yoga as defined by Swami Vivekananda to teach in the West.
Raja Yoga as defined by Swami Vivekananda/ Study For All:
As a result, the study of Raja- Yoga as defined by Swami Vivekananda, is for all human beings – no faith or belief is necessary. Every human being has the right and power to seek and practices religion and there this yoga practice might help him or her to proceed and reach the goal.
There is no mystery or secret in it. Swami Vivekananda told this. He further told that, that yoga has fallen into the hands of a few persons who made it secret, instead of letting the full blaze of daylight and reason fall of it. You can ask me, why?
I am giving this answer according to Swamiji. They tried to secret it because they thought that they might have been the powers only to themselves.
So, at the end of this blog post, it is clear to the readers that Raja – Yoga is a scientific process and therefore, it has no danger to practice it for achieving to the higher states of mind and get peace. Practice, practice and practice and constant attaching to the internal world is the key to being illuminated.
** Revised on the 158 birthday ceremony of Swami Vivekananda
Read more: SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: THE POET & HIS POEMS
© Next : Poems of Swami Vivekananda
“Religion is the manifestation of the innerself already in man”
Jai Hind ! Jai Hind ! Jai Hind!
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