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Raja Yoga

Friday December 24 2004 08:37

By Karmayogi

Life exists in several grades. There are endless varieties in each grade. It is true of food, dress, town, instruments, people, culture and everything. So also, yoga differs vastly. Its goal of moksha too differs and is found in endless varieties. In the preliminary stages, where yoga does not mature, other mental capacities accrue.

Most common among them is Memory. A photographic memory develops. Will becomes powerful and unfailing. Mind develops the capacity to cure the diseases of one's own body, sometimes others. The spoken word becomes true. It is seen by people as a symptom of saintliness.

In moksha itself, there are endless grades. Three of them stand out. The first is one from which the soul is capable of returning. The second stage is one only great souls can return from. The third stage is pure Silence reaching which the Soul dissolves and cannot return to its original status.

The last stage is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Raja yoga can confer that on the yogi.

Vivekananda was an unusual disciple of Ramakrishna. He was not cast into the mould of discipline or implicit faith in the Guru. Ramakrishna was postponing the occasion of initiating his truant disciple into the arts of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Finally, the secret was taught by the Master on condition that Naren - Vivekananda - would practise it only in the presence of the Guru. Naren had a different impulse.

He straightaway went into the garden and tried it sitting on a bench. Ramakrishna felt it, ran to him and called him back to waking consciousness. The Soul that enters into the bliss of dissolution is lost forever. Creation in the cosmos is in the shape of Form and Force, swarupa, swabhava. The Force takes the Form. When the Form dissolves, the Force rejoins its original consciousness.

Raja yoga employs the entire mental forces to do yoga. It is the yoga of the complete Mind. It is the acme of Jnana yoga. To do so, it has to address the basic restlessness of the body. It achieves that end by asanas. The vital is more restless than the body and is capable of making the body more restless.

To quieten the vital, Raja yoga employs pranayama. Pranayama brings the universal energy into our nervous system. It enormously enriches the health of the body and powers of the mind. Done systematically for five years, Pranayama gives one the power to cure any disease in himself and others.

When a soul is ripe, mature, saturated with burning aspiration, one is capable of taking to Raja yoga. It is meant for the rare soul. Lord Krishna was desirous of relieving such aspiring yogis of the resort to asanas and pranayamas, which are physical methods.

So, in The Gita Krishna offers to the ripe soul a more psychological method. It is a method of Jivatma surrendering to Paramatma. It is accomplished by renouncing desire, ego and belief in Dharmas.
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