glossary

(Sanskrit) "Royal Yoga ." Swami Sivananda from his book Raja Yoga : "Raja Yoga is the king of Yogas. It concerns directly with the mind. In this Yoga there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. There are no Hatha Yogic Kriyas. The Yogi seats at ease, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind, restraints the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state or Asamprajnata Samadhi, Hence the name Raja Yoga . Though Raja Yoga is a dualistic philosophy and treats of Prakriti and Purusha, it helps the student in Advaitic Realization of oneness eventually. Though there is the mention of Purusha, ultimately the Purusha becomes identical with Highest Self or Purusha, or Brahman of Upanishads. Raja Yoga pushes the student to the highest rung of the spiritual ladder of Advaitic realization of Brahman."

Patanjali's Raja Yoga is generally termed the Ashtanga Yoga or the Yoga of Eight Limbs, through the practice of which freedom is achieved. These eight limbs are:

  1. Yama or Eternal Vows: • Ahimsa (non-violence) • Satya (truth) • Asteya (non-stealing) • Brahmacharya (continence) and • Aparigraha (non-avariciousness);
  2. Niyama or Observances: • Saucha (purity) • Santosha (contentment) • Tapas (austerities) • Svadhyaya (study) and • Ishvarapranidhana (surrender to God);
  3. Asana (firm, comfortable meditative posture);
  4. Pranayama (the regulation of the Vital Force);
  5. Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses and mind from objects);
  6. Dharana (concentration);
  7. Dhyana (Meditation); and
  8. Samadhi (superconscious state or trance)