Raja yoga paper


Published on

Published in: Spiritual, Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Raja yoga paper

  1. 1. Kevin Lucas Connors World Religions Ilhan, Guten Paper/Presentation Preface: I studied, researched and wrote the following in my World Religions class. This opened my eyes to what faith is really all about, and no matter what faith or religion you are or study, they all present the same moral values. So take what you want from this, try to read it all, and enjoy! Raja Yoga and the Eightfold Path Raja Yoga helps people attain salvation or their own divinity within; focusing on the mind, rather than the physical body. It is considered to be the “Royal” yoga, because it involves every path of self realization. Patanjali founded and wrote this form of yoga around 200 BC, to help broaden yet systemize a way to inner peace through meditation (“Raja Yoga”). To do so, he came up with the eightfold path to salvation. The first of the eightfold path is yama, which means abstinence. There are five abstinences, these include; ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmachary, and aparigraha. These five yamas are a way to act and understand your own behaviors in a social setting (Chopra 35). The first yama is nonviolence. That means not to harm anyone or yourself with violent words, thoughts, or actions. The second yama is truthfulness. This means not to lie to anyone or yourself, even if you think it may stop from hurting someone’s feelings. The lies will eventually add up and harm you or someone else, because you may even start to believe your own lies, and protect those lies with more lies. The third is to be honest and not steal. This is so that nothing will add up and put a hold on your life or stop you from progressing further because you believe that you have to fix the present situation first. It can also prevent you from hurting someone’s present situation; you must be aware of you and your surroundings. The fourth is to control sexual
  2. 2. desire, and to focus on developing your mind further instead of trying to desire earthly pleasures, which might stop you from doing so. It is also a way of being moral and faithful to a significant other. And the fifth means generosity and focuses on not putting any hold on earthly possessions and occurrences. This is a way of forgiveness or a way not to stress over things that have been lost or taken from you (Prabhu). This first path of raja yoga is a way for people to understand how to live in society properly with one another. The second path is niyama meaning, observances. There are five observances: saucha, santosha, tapas, svadhyana, and ishwarapranidhana. The first niyama is purity. This focuses on cleanliness of the body and mind in order to keep the mind pure. Purity basically means to be clean internally and externally, including; your thoughts, words, actions, bathing regularly, and even eating properly and staying healthy. The second niyama is contentment. This means to be at peace with yourself and happy with the resources at hand (“Raja Yoga”). This helps a person learn to be more focused with his surroundings, and instead of giving up because they do not have the proper tools, they will be more creative and find alternate solutions to their present dilemma. The third is austerity, which means to burn up desire. To do this one must be balanced in the mind, body, and speech to reach a higher consciousness. A person must be strict with their disciplines and not let negative desires get in the way. The fourth is self-study. This means to study your own beliefs and find your path to the spirit within. The fifth is faith or surrendering to the divine. It means to study your beliefs and release yourself to the unknown. These five observances are a way to pay attention to your personal behaviors
  3. 3. when no one is looking, to be happy with our role in life, and the outcome of what we have no control of (Chopra 35). The third path is asana meaning posture. In this path it is important now to get in tune with the mind and feel relaxed, in order to free your mind of stress and toxins. A persons’ posture determines the functions of the mind and body. If a person has a straight and relaxed posture, the spine keeps its natural curve, which puts less pressure on your nerves and discs. With a bad posture, your spine develops an unnatural curvature of the spine and wears on your discs that act as cushions and protective layers for the nerves. The nerves in your spine play an important role in the function of every part of your body including your brain. Having good posture promotes healthy nerve function and controls the numerous parts of your body properly. In yoga it is important so you can sit in a meditative state, comfortably for long periods of time; and while doing so your brain functions better because it does not have to wave out the feeling of stress and discomfort. Posture also promotes balance and flexibility, which also helps relieve stress and discomfort, along with promoting good health. “A stable meditative posture helps us create a serene breath and calm mind” (Prabhu). The fourth path is pranayama. Pranayama focuses on breath control. When focusing on controlling your breathing patterns, a person learns how to control there mind. When the mind is at peace, the breath is relaxed. When the mind is in distress, the breath becomes heavy (Chopra 35). There are many different exercises for breath control. One of the major exercises that people take decades to learn is how to breathe from the diaphragm rather than from the stomach or chest. The diaphragm is in between the stomach and the chest that separates the two. Also a person should breathe from their
  4. 4. nose, because that is the purpose of the nose. Breathing is what keeps a person living; therefore it is a vital life force. When breathing, a person must look deeper into the breath (MacInerney). Why is it essential for us to breathe to live? Understand every breath you take and where the oxygen goes and what organs play a role in using that oxygen to keep you alive. When understanding the breath you get a deeper understanding of how your body works, how to get rid of stress and calm the mind, and you become more aware of your surroundings (Chopra 35). These next paths are very hard to grasp and I along with 99.9% of the population in the world will not even be able to begin to grasp these concepts; but it is cool to know about them! The fifth path is Pratyahara. This means to withdraw from your senses. “Focus on the point between the eyebrows” (MacInerney). In this path it is the time when you have mastered all the paths above, along with your senses, and are able to stop your thought. A person understands at this point that an itch is not itchy, a burn is not painful: there is no itch; there is no pain (MacInerney). It is a way to alter the mind and awareness at a higher conscious meditative state. The sixth path is dharana, which is concentration of the mind. This is a point where the mind can focus on one single thing at a time without being distracted. This is the first step in the full understanding of meditation and of complete control of the senses. A person has complete inner calmness and can withdraw from any sense, whether it is pleasurable or distracting. The seventh path is dhyana meaning contemplation. Meditation is a way to reach the super-conscious level of the mind (Prabhu). Through meditaion a person may be able
  5. 5. to focus on one particular thought until it overwhelms them, and then release it as no thought or feeling ever existed. dhyana is the point where a person has mastered all the paths so far and is in a meditative state without acknowledging it. They are so aware of things that they do not let anything disturb their union with their level of super- consciousness. It is at the point of awareness when a change or problem exists; they are fully aware of themselves and the nature of their existence in life, which their action upon the change can be, considered a reflex, because it is so natural with no sign of distress or confusion, even for a fraction of a second. Samadhi is the eighth and final path meaning, self- realization. This is the point when you become one with nature and have reached the super-conscious state of enlightenment (“Raja Yoga”). A person realizes his role in life, where he will be going after death, and is in a state of pure bliss where nothing can disrupt their concentration or anything for that matter. They have complete control over their words, actions, thoughts, and senses; that in every situation, they have an immediate answer. The eightfold path is a way to your own divinity; a way to find the true reality of the way life is supposed to be. Following the paths and eventually attaining samadhi in raja yoga takes people their whole lives to accomplish, some very dedicated, may take many years of their lives. To reach samadhi in raja yoga, a person must understand and follow each path completely step by step in order to attain full enlightenment. Raja yoga teaches people to look at every aspect of their life and become a “doctor” of their life and body. Meaning to be able to be true to yourself and others, and dedicating your life to understanding the processes of it; trying to find the ultimate reality of your being. And raja yoga gives people that by following the eightfold path.
  6. 6. Following the eightfold path step-by-step, helps people realize the true function of their mind and body; and helps them learn how to have complete control over every situation through their life. Following the eightfold path promotes the right understanding of the way people should treat others, through the yamas; the right understanding of how to be true to oneself and stay pure clean and healthy, through the niyamas; getting in tune with relaxing the body in order to relax and calm the mind, to train the body to find a comfortable position for the following paths of meditation, through asanas; understanding and controlling the breath, which helps to understand the processes of the bodily functions, through pranayama; being so aware of the senses that a person can withdraw certain senses from overcoming their mind, being able to focus on one thing and zone out any other distractions, through pratyahara; being able to concentrate on one thing and being able to understand the processes of the mind to understand situations, through dhrana; being at a super-conscious level of meditation, able to release or engage in any situation and understand it as it was another reflex, through dhyana; and last, complete self-realization, having control over every thought and action that is presented, and having the answer to every question presented to them, through samadhi. Samadhi is what all yogis intend to accomplish, but only through the eightfold path of raja yoga, can a person reach this level.