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Gleamings on Raja Yoga

by Swami Sivananda

1. GENERAL

Having studied all the Sastras and having pondered over them well again and again, this Yoga Sastra has been found to be the only true and firm doctrine.

The person who has control over himself attains verily success through faith; none other can succeed. Therefore, Yoga should be practised with faith, care and perseverance.

To the ignorant, the express significance (of the Vedas) is like a thing sunk in mire. It is like the howling of a dog with its eye cast up in the heavens.

Persons who stroll through a bazaar street without any longing for the things therein are like those who have sojourned therein. Similarly to persons in full spiritual beatitude, cities and woods will constitute no difference.

Through Sanga (attraction of the mind), material objects are caused; through it, all accidents are generated; through it, all desires arise; through it this mundane existence arises. Therefore, it is the renunciation of this Sanga that is said to be Moksha.

The mind should think of the Paramatman with whom Union is sought through the path of Yoga comprising Yama, etc., or through logical analysis or through the worship and meditation etc., of Me - but by no other means.

So long as the self is related to the body, the organs and Pranas, relative existence, even though unreal, has a semblance of reality for the undiscriminating man.

2. YAMA AND NIYAMA

Non-injury, truthfulness, freedom from theft, lust, anger and greed, and an effort to do what is agreeable and beneficial to all beings - this is common duty of all castes.

The man of self-control should avoid from a safe distance the company of women as well as of those who associate with the latter, sit in a secluded and congenial place, and ever alert think of Me.

No other association causes so much misery and bondage as that of women and those that associate with them.

The man of uncontrolled senses, seeing women - the enchantment - created by Lord and being tempted by their blandishments, falls into abysmal darkness, like the moth into the fire.

Control speech, control mind, control the Pranas and organs; control also the impure intellect by the purified intellect. Then you will no more return to the world.

Yama and Niyama, if rightly practised by men, surely produce results (liberation or material prosperity) according to their desires.

3. ASANA

Conquering posture and (through that) controlling the breath, one, ever alert, should collect the mind together and hold it steady through renunciation and systematic practice.
Being firm in the unshaken (spiritual) wisdom constitutes Asana.

4. PRANAYAMA

There are two means of Yoga to avert the dire melting pains of existence. The two means, viz., true Jnana and control of Prana should, rightly speaking, be classed under Yoga; yet in ordinary usage, the control of Prana alone is called Yoga.

Having, through a study of Atma Jnana books, initiated oneself into the good graces of a Guru, after a ceaseless practice of Vairagya and liberation from the trammels of Samsara, if one is filled with non-desires and Brahmic meditation, then through the means adapted for the control of Prana, it will be controlled.

Through a long practice of Prana's control and through the initiations by a Guru, Asana, diet and Dhyana, Prana is controlled.

The wise say that the beneficent control of Prana leads to that of the mind, and causes in one equality of vision over all. It generates happiness and will not in the least allow sensual objects to arise in the mind.

5. CONTROL OF MIND

A mental wave is never produced by anything that has not been seen or heard of. So the mind of a man who controls his senses is gradually stilled and is perfectly at peace.

It is not possible on the part of the one-thoughted to control the mind by sitting up again and again except through the approved means. In the matter of the control of the mind, the effective means are the attainment of spiritual knowledge, association with the wise, the entire abdication of all Vasanas and the control of Pranas.

A stainless mind without attractions though engaged in the worldly acts, will never be bound thereby. A mind with attractions, though engaged in innumerable Tapas will ever be in bondage.

No power is beyond the reach of the sage who has controlled his mind, senses, nerve-currents and disposition and concentrates on Me.

Those Yogins, who are able to control Prana and (therefore) arrest the mind both internally and externally, fly to a great distance.

6. PRATYAHARA

The restraining of the mind from the objects of senses is Pratyahara (subjugation of the senses).

Contemplating upon everything that one sees as Atman is Pratyahara. Renouncing the fruits of one's daily actions is Pratyahara. Turning away from all objects of sense is Pratyahara. Dharana in the eighteen important places of the body is Pratyahara. Drawing away of the organs from attaching themselves to the objects of senses is Pratyahara.

7. DHARANA

The mind having drawn away from the objects of the senses, the fixing of the Chaitanya on one alone is Dharana.

There having made the mind one-pointed with thought, and the functions of the senses subdued, steady on his seat, he should practise Yoga for the purification of the Self.

As a lamp in a windless place flickereth not, to such is likened the Yogi of subdued thought, absorbed in the Yoga of Self.

As often as the wavering and unsteady mind goeth forth, so often receiving it in, let him bring it under the control of the Self.

8. DHYANA

The contemplation of the oneness of consciousness in all objects is Dhyana.

Not being troubled by any thoughts of the world then constitutes the Dhyana.

It is stated that Dhyana is the firm mind itself, devoid of Vasanas which are of the nature of Chintana (worrying thoughts).

Quiescence and Kaivalya pertain to this mind only.

9. SIDDHIS

Those, who not having full Jnana, are subject to bondage in this world, develop those powers (Siddhis) through medicines, Mantras, actions, time or skill; but these Siddhis do not pertain legitimately to a true Jnani.

Medicines, Mantras, etc., will but confer on one Siddhis, but never the beneficent Moksha.

For one who practises the best kind of Yoga and seeks union with Me, these Siddhis have been called obstacles and things that cause waste of time.

10. SAMADHI

Separate the Manas from the body, and unite it with the Paramatman. This is known as Samadhi or Mukti from all states of consciousness.

Performing Manomurcha Kumbhaka, unite the Manas with the Atman. By this, Raja Yoga Samadhi is obtained.

Through the force of the practice of Dhyana, the current of the modification of Manas devoid of Self that is of Brahmic nature is said to be Samprajnata Samadhi, while the mind with the utter quiescence of modifications that confers upon one supreme bliss is said to be Asamprajnata Samadhi that is dear unto Yogins.

FORGETTING ONESELF IN DHYANA IS SAMADHI.

Know that when the mind, though performing all actions, is yet free from them, that state is termed the blissful Samadhi, the non-fluctuating Nirvana and the transcendent bliss.

Persons without full even-mindedness will never be able to go into Samadhi, even though they may comply with the formalities of sitting in Padma posture and offering salutations to Parabrahman. It is Atma Jnana alone which forming the Agni to the fuel of desires, constitutes the noble Samadhi. If the mind, being destroyed through concentration, cognises Tattva Jnana; such a Jnana is stated by the wise to be Samadhi.

With the disappearance of the attachment to the body and with the realisation of the Supreme Self, to whatever object the mind is directed one experiences Samadhi.


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