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      --------------     INTEGRATED YOGATHEOPATHY SCIENCE   ---------------
Karma - Yoga bhakti - yoga   gyana - yoga hatha - yoga raja - yoga kriya - yoga
kundalini - yoga swara - yoga   nada - yoga mantra - yoga laya - yoga tantra - yoga

 ------------    THE Raja - yoga SCIENCE   -------------

Raja-Yoga ("royal yoga or union", also known as Classical Yoga or simply Yoga) is one of the six authentic  Hindu philosophy, outlined by Maharshi Patanjali in his Yoga-Sutras text book. It is also sometimes referred to as Ashtanga (eight-limbed or parts or stages) yoga because there are eight gradual steps or aspects to the path to which one must attend. Raja-yoga is the king of yogas. It is concerned directly with the cultivation of the mind, it's purification, modifications, diversion and it's control, using meditation (Dhyana) to further one's with acquaintance reality and finally achieve liberation. In this specific and smooth part of Yoga, there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. There are no Hatha-Yogic Kriyas (techniques). The Sadhaka seats at ease, withdrawal of his senses, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind, restraints the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state or various state of Samadhi systematically, Hence the name Raja-Yoga or royal yoga or king of Yoga.

              The Raja-Yoga pushes the Sadhaka or student to the highest rung of the spiritual ladder of Advaitic or oneness realization of Brahman or universal consciousness. Raja-Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with the refinement of human behavior and personality through the practice of Eight Limbs or forms of Raja-Yoga. These are progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and mind intensively, ultimately leading the yogi to absolute spiritual Enlightenment. These eight limbs or parts of Raja-Yoga are (  Yama : self-restraints, Niyama : moral behaviors, Asana : physical posture, Pranayama : breathing techniques, Pratyahara : withdrawal of the senses, Dharana : one-pointedness of mind, Dhyana : meditation, and Samadhi : Salvation), which have been scientifically arranged and dealt with. They are the natural steps in the ladder of divinity which takes man from his human to the real divine nature.

    Yama (self-restraints) : Maharshi Patanjali's text book "the Yoga-Sutra" describes yamas or Code of conduct- self-restraints (Don'ts), which are divided into five moral injunctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature. They should all be practiced and developed by the letter but also more importantly in the spirit. They should all be practiced in word, thought and deed : Ahimsa (non-violence, non-injury, perfect harmlessness and positive love to every being also). This removes the brutal nature in man and strengthens the will. Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Aparigraha : no collections anything eels too much for self,    Brahmacharya (continence, celibacy or chastity).

    Niyama (moral behaviors) : Maharshi Patanjali's text book "the Yoga Sutra" describes five Niyamas, which are a set of canons or moral behaviors codified as "the religious observances" (Do's). These are consist of five and complete the ethical precepts started with the Yama. These qualities are : Saucha (internal and external purities / cleanliness),  Santosha  (contentment), Tapascharya (austerities),  Svadhyaya (study of spiritual, religious books and repetitions of Mantras) and Ishvarapranidhana (devotionally self-surrender to God's or Lord's will and doing all actions as Ishvararpana, as offering unto the Lord ). He who practices meditation without ethical perfection, without the practice of Yama-Niyama cannot obtain the fruits of meditation. Purify your mind first through the practice of Yama-Niyama. Then practice regular, gradual, and systematic further steps including meditation, etc. Then you will attain illumination & ultimate self-realization.

    Asanas (physical posture) : According to the Maharshi Patanjali's Yoga-Sutras book, it is described - Any easy, steady, comfortable pose is Asana. The Asanas steady the body. Posture is mastered by releasing tension and meditation on the unlimited. During Asana, The body should be held firm yet relaxed, and the practitioner should not experience discomfort of any kind. Tightness or tension observed within the body should be consciously relaxed firm, comfortable meditative posture leading to- integration of mind and body through physical activity.

   Pranayama (breathing techniques) : The words 'Prana' (life-force) and 'Ayama' (to prolong or regulate) make up Pranayama. Pranayama seeks to control and regulate the breath or the Vital pranic Force leading to integration of mind and body. In one variation, the Rechak (exhaled air), Poorak (inhalation) and Kumbhak (Retention during normal inhaling and exhaling) are the 3 parts of the breath that are regulated. Pranayama checks the outgoing tendencies of the mind. It is often misunderstood for breathing exercises. Pranayama is practiced to develop mental, physical and spiritual strength. Though the beginner's Pranayama is relatively harmless, safely progressing to more advanced practices requires the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher.

   Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) : Pratyahara means abstraction and withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects and in order to still the mind. management of mental and emotional conflicts and development of awareness and concentration through pratyahara. It removes all sorts of distractions, develops will-power, and gives inner spiritual purification, strength, perfection, cosmic perception and preparation for further step "Dharna".

  Dharana (concentration, one-pointedness of mind) : Real Yoga starts from concentration. Concentration merges into meditation. Meditation ends in Samadhi. There are many methods of practicing Dharana. It is the initial step of deep concentrative meditation, where the object being focused upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it. Sadhaka has to choose some target upon which he can concentrate. It helps Sadhaka to weld his attention upon. A target may be anything like : photograph or a point on the wall or mantra, etc. that give tranquility and serenity to the mind e.g.. You can do dharana on the gross or subtle existence or forms of Pancha Prakriti (the five elements like : Earth, Water, Fire, Sky, Air) or picture of the Pranava Mantra "OM". Omm is a " Bija" Mantra, when repeated in meditation helps you transcend into a higher state of consciousness. As sound energies that have always existed the universe, they cannot be created or destroyed and command the power to heal you physically and spiritually. At the very basic level mantras help you to concentrate in meditation. And once you enter it's auspicious circle, the mind instantly gets focused. Systematic and proper follow-up the Raja Yoga like Yama, Niyama, etc. Satvic (pure) food, seclusion, silence, Satsanga (being in the company of a guru), and not mixing much with people are all aids to concentration. Concentrate on Trikuti (the space between the two eyebrows) with closed eyes is preferred. The mind can be easily controlled, as this is the seat for the mind.

   Dhyana (meditation) : Dhyana means quiet thoughtless mental activity that leads to samadhi, developing the creative aspect of consciousness for transcendental awareness through Dhyana (meditation). The mind passes into many conditions or states as it is made up of three qualities- Sattva, Rajas, Tamas and five stages - Mudha (ignorant), Kshipta (wandering), Vikshipta (gathering), Ekagra (one-pointed), Nirudha (contrary). Usually the mind is running always in various directions; its rays are scattered. This is the (Kshipta) state. Sometimes it is self-forgetful, it is full of foolishness (Mudha). When you try to practice concentration, the mind seems to get concentrated but gets  conflict and distracted often. This is (Vikshipta). But with prolonged and repeated practice of concentration again and again, and repeating Lord's Name, it becomes one-pointed. This is called the Ekagra state. Later on, it is fully controlled (Nirudha). It is ready to be dissolved in the Supreme Purusha, when you get Asamprajnata Samadhi.

  Obstacles in meditation : There are several obstacles to meditation. Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, worldly-mindedness, illusion, missing the point, unstability - these are obstacles in Yoga sadhana. Grief, melancholy, tremor of the body, inhalation and exhalation are auxiliaries to these main obstacles. Sleep, tossing of mind, attachment to objects, subtle desires and cravings, lack of Brahmacharya, gluttony are all obstacles in meditation. Reduce your wants. Cultivate dispassion. You will have progress in Yoga. Vairagya thins out the mind. Do not mix much. Do not talk much. Do not walk much. Do not eat much. Do not sleep much. Do not exert much. Never wrestle with the mind during meditation. Do not use any violent efforts at concentration. If evil thoughts enter your mind, do not use your will force in driving them. You will tax your will. You will lose your energy. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. Be indifferent. Become a witness of those thoughts. Substitute divine thoughts. They will pass away. Never miss a day in meditation. Regularity is of paramount importance. When the mind is tired, do not concentrate.

              To have peace of mind, you will have to cultivate the four great virtues - Maitri, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha. Maitri (friendliness), you should have towards equals. You should have Karuna (compassion) for those who are in distress. You should have Mudita (complacency) towards those who are superior to you. Complacency will destroy jealousy. All are your brothers. If a man is placed in a better position, feel happy over it. When you come across wicked people, be indifferent to them. This is Upeksha (indifference). By these methods, you will have peace of mind. By controlling the thoughts the Sadhaka attains great Siddhis. He becomes an adept. He attains Asamprajnata Samadhi or Kaivalya. Do not run after Siddhis. Siddhis are great temptations. They will bring about your downfall. A Raja Yogi practices Samyama or the combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one and the same time and gets detailed knowledge of an object. Avoid obstacles and Control the mind by Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagya (dispassion). Vairagya is not running away from the world. Vairagya is a higher mental state. Any practice which steadies the mind and makes it one-pointed is Abhyasa. Dull Vairagya will not help you in attaining perfection in Yoga. You must have Para-Vairagya or Theevra-Vairagya, intense dispassion.

   Samadhi (salvation) : Samadhi means the quiet thoughtless, desireless, breathing less, action less, blank but enlightened state of blissful awareness, non-dualistic state of consciousness or trance in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still (one-pointed or concentrated) though the person remains conscious. Samadhi is the main subject of the first part of the Yoga Sutras called Samadhi-pada. According to Maharshi yasa, a major learned Yogi figure in Hinduism and one of the traditional authors of the Mahabharata, "yoga is samadhi." This is generally interpreted to mean that Samadhi is a state of complete control (samadhana) over the functions and distractions of consciousness. Sahaj samadhi is the effortless and continual state of perfection of a Satguru. It is the eighth and final limb of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, and comprises the pinnacle of achievements in Samyama, the three-tiered practice of meditation including also dharana and dhyana. Meditation on OMM with Bhava or heartily and its meaning removes obstacles in Sadhana and helps to attain the gradual state of Samadhi. Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga (likes or attachment), Dvesha (jealousy and dislikes), Abhinivesha (clinging to mundane life) are the five Kleshas or afflictions. Destroy these afflictions. You will attain Samadhi. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God. Samadhi is of two kinds: Savikalpa, Sampragyata or Sabija and Nirvikalpa, Asampragyata or Nirbija. In Savikalpa or Sabija, there is Triputi or the triad (knower, known and knowledge). The Sanskaras are not burnt or freed. Savitarka, Nirvitarka, Savichara, Nirvichara, Sasmita and Saananda are the different forms of Savikalpa Samadhi. In Nirbija Samadhi or Asamprajnata Samadhi there is no triad. A Bhakta gets Bhava-Samadhi, a Gyani gets Badha-Samadhi, a Raja Yogi gets Nirodha Samadhi.

    Types of A Raja-Yogi spirants (Sadhakas) : According to Raja-Yoga, there are three types of aspirants or Sadhacas such as : Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama Adhikaris. To the Uttama Adhikari (first-class aspirant) Raja-Yoga prescribes Abhyasa and Vairagya. He practices meditation on the Self; he practices Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha (restraining the modification of the mind-stuff) and soon enters into Samadhi. This is practice (Abhyasa) sustained by Vairagya. To the Madhyama Adhikari (middling aspirant) Raja-Yoga prescribes the Kriya-Yoga (only three chapters of Sadhana)- Tapas,  Svadhyaya and Ishvarapranidhana. Tapas is austerity. Egolessness, desirelessness, humility, ceaseless, untiring, selfless service are the greatest forms of Tapas or austerity to be Practiced. These three form the Sadhanas of the Madhyama Adhikari who enters into deep meditation very soon and attains Kaivalya Moksha. To the Adhama Adhikari, lowest kind of aspirant, Raja-Yoga prescribes Ashtanga Yoga or the eightfold Raja-Yoga Sadhana (as described above in this page) - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

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