Raja Yoga or Ashtanga
- Raja Yoga is an exact science. It aims at controlling all thought-waves or mental
- Where Hatha Yoga ends, there Raja Yoga begins.
- Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with his body and Prana. He practises Asanas and Pranayama
and through control of Prana, tries to control the mind.
- A Raja Yogi starts his Sadhana with the mind. He starts meditation and tries to control
- The eight limbs of Raja Yoga are: Yama (self-restraint), Niyama (religious observances),
Asana (posture), Pranayama (regulation of breath), Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses),
Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (superconscious state).
- Yama consists of five parts, viz., Ahimsa (non-injury), Satyam (truthfulness), Asteya
(non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-covetousness).
- Niyama is observance of five canons, viz., Saucha (internal and external purity),
Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of religious books and
repetitions of Mantras), and Ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God, and His worship).
- Ahimsa is perfect harmlessness and positive love also. This removes the brutal nature in
man and strengthens the will.
- He who practises 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 practise regular
meditation. Then you will attain illumination.
- The practice of Yama is a Mahavrata, universal vow. It must be observed by all.
- Any easy, steady, comfortable pose is Asana.
- Asanas steady the body. Pranayama checks the outgoing tendencies of the mind. Pratyahara
gives inner spiritual strength. It removes all sorts of distractions. It develops
- Real Raja Yoga starts from concentration. Concentration merges in meditation. Meditation
ends in Samadhi.
- Retention of breath, Brahmacharya, Sattvic food, seclusion, silence, Satsanga, not
mixing much with people are all aids to concentration.
- Sleep, tossing of mind, attachment to objects, subtle desires and cravings, laziness,
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
- 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
- Never miss a day in meditation. Regularity is of paramount importance. When the mind is
tired, do not concentrate. Do not take heavy food at night.
- The mind passes into many conditions or states as it is made up of three
qualitiesSattva, Rajas and Tamas.
- Kshipta (wandering), Vikshipta (gathering), Mudha (ignorant), Ekagra (one-pointed), and
Nirodha (contrary) are the five states of the 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
- A Raja Yogi practises Samyama or the combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at
one and the same time and gets detailed knowledge of an object.
- Control the mind by Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagya (dispassion).
- Any practice which steadies the mind and makes it one-pointed is Abhyasa.
- You must practise Yoga steadily with great patience and zeal. Then alone will you attain
- Concentrate on Trikuti (the space between the two eyebrows) with closed eyes. This is
the best spot for concentration. The mind can be easily controlled, as this is the seat
for the mind.
- Dull Vairagya will not help you in attaining perfection in Yoga. You must have Para
Vairagya or Theevra Vairagya, intense dispassion.
- Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvarapranidhana constitute Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga purifies the heart
- Meditation on OM with Bhava and its meaning removes obstacles in Sadhana and helps to
- Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), Abhinivesha
(clinging to mundane life) are the five Kleshas or afflictions. Destroy these afflictions.
You will attain Samadhi.
- Samadhi is of two kindsSavikalpa, Samprajnata or Sabija, and Nirvikalpa or
Asamprajnata or Nirbija.
- In Savikalpa or Sabija, there is Triputi or the triad (knower, known and
knowledge). The Samskaras are not burnt or fried.
- Savitarka, Nirvitarka, Savichara, Nirvichara, Sasmita and Saananda are the different
forms of Savikalpa Samadhi.
- In Nirbija Samadhi or Asamprajnata Samadhi there is no triad. The impressions are fried
- A Bhakta gets Bhava-Samadhi, a Jnani gets Badha-Samadhi, a Raja Yogi gets Nirodha
THUS ENDS RAJA YOGA
OR THE ASHTANGA YOGA
OR THE YOGA WITH EIGHT LIMBS