Author: Elizabeth Denley (Australian Yoga Life, Issue 8 - 2004, pp.45-48, published by Judith Clements, www.ayl.com.au) Courtesy: Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation
'Raja yoga' literally means the king of yogas. This is a very grand title for a branch of yoga that is not as popular or as well-known as others, and that sometimes appears quite obscure. This article aims to demystify raja yoga, exploring the underlying philosophy, and most importantly its relevance for us in today's world.
The origins of raja yoga
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means to yoke or unite. This union describes the goal of yoga, to unite us with the Ultimate consciousness, which is sometimes called the Absolute, the Self, God, or the Creator. Raja means king, and this form of yoga is called raja yoga because the mind is supposed to be the king among the organs. Its origins go back long before any written texts. It is the old system or science followed by the great rishis (seers) to help them in realising the Self or God through meditation and associated practices. It was first introduced by a rishi who lived thousands of years ago. He discovered a practical method so people could evolve to their highest nature. He then started to train others1. Later, around 2000 years ago, the ancient practices of yoga were compiled and summarised by Patanjali2, his Yoga Sutras. While raja yoga encompasses all eight steps of Patanjali’s yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi – the focus is on the last two steps: the mind, meditation and diving into the inner universe. Over the centuries, and up to the present day, raja yoga has continued to evolve, thanks to the practical experience of great sages. Perception, and the mind as our instrument of perception
In raja yoga the mind is the instrument for looking inwards and uncovering the inner self. Reading a description from ancient yogic philosophy of how our minds perceive the world, we could be forgiven for thinking we are in a modern biology or medical class, except for mention of the soul.
This much loved festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana in India. “Raksha” means protection, “bandhan” means bound or binding.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan is entirely dedicated to the love and affection shared between a brother and a sister. On this day, sisters pray for long life of their brothers and ask God to bless them with his blessings. Brothers, in turn, give them enticing rakhi gifts and promise to care life long.
This custom has been there since time immemorial. Various other believes are associated with Rakhi and therefore, people follow certain custom and tradition to celebrate this festival.
This frail of thread of Rakhi is considered as stronger than iron chains as it binds the most beautiful relationship in an inseparable bond of love and trust. Rakhi festival also has a social significance because it underlines the notion that everybody should live in harmonious coexistence with each other.
By Neeshee Pandit Birmingham, AL True Spiritual Life cannot begin until there is the tangible reception of the Divine Person into the body-mind, felt distinctly, clearly, unmistakably, and even whole-bodily tangible and evident as the Absolute Divine.
Provided by Yoginder Vaid, MD
From: Seven-fold Self Culture - Swami Sivananda & The Divine Life Society
a) An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory.
b) The 7 cultures, 32 instructions constitute the essence of the Eternal Religion (Sanatana Dharma). They are suitable for modern busy householders with fixed hours of work. Modify them to suit your covenience and increase the period gradually.
c) In the beginning, take only a few practicable resolves which form a small but definite advance over your present habits and character.
1. Health Culture:
1. Eat moderately. Eat light, simple and balanced diet. Offer to God before you eat.
2. Avoid chilies, garlic, onions, and tamarind. Give up tea, coffee, smoking, meat and alcohol.
3. Fast for at least a month. Take milk, fruit or roots.
4. Practice Yoga asanas or physical exercise for 15 to 30 minutes daily. Take a long walk or play vigorous sports daily.
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