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Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga

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It is pointless to tell a yogi to “shun the yoga powers” any more than it would be to tell a child to avoid adulthood. Certainly, an adult is subject to many more delusions and addictions than a child, and has the ability to work much more harm to himself and others. Nevertheless, adulthood is inevitable. And so it is with the yogi: these powers will manifest in him. If he keeps his eye upon the goal of liberation in Brahman, those powers will ripen into something more, into spiritual realizations, much the same way that sexual energies conserved are transmuted into far higher and greater forces within the consciousness of the yogi. Both sexual energy (and all the body-energies) and the yogic powers are the ore that can be refined into the gold of Self-realization.

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There is externalized practice that is really just Hatha Yoga with a veneer of Raja Yoga. This is most important to understand, because in our time Raja Yoga means just about everything it is not. A great deal of physical involvement and cultivation of bodily control is believed to be Raja Yoga. Body identification is at the core of such activities that are not only not sadhana, but the destroyers of authentic sadhana.

Nearly everything called Raja Yoga in India is this fraud. Because of this, and lest I fall into a yoga pit, one day in Varanasi Mother Anandamayi spoke to me very plainly about false Raja Yoga. “Raja Yoga deceives its practitioners,” she said, “by giving them just a touch of what they should attain. Then after years of practice it evaporates and leaves them totally empty.” This I have observed myself through the years. The number of burnt-out Raja Yogis I have seen shuffling around with dead eyes and blank faces and speaking in weak, hoarse voices, having ruined their throats and vocal cords with their thoroughly material and abnormal practice, I cannot calculate. And then there are those with the neurological problems brought on by it, and those who have become alcoholic through it. Truly pathetic are those with dementia. I have known them all. And it was a result of their false yoga. Sincerity did not save them.

Of course, Ma was not speaking of the real Raja Yoga, but of the delusive imitations. As the ads used to say in my childhood: Accept No Substitutes.

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Only those yogic processes which take place in the Sahasrara are the true Raja Yoga. The process of liberation begins at the Ajna, but eventually pervades the entire Sahasrara.

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The real purpose of Hatha Yoga was the maintenance of the health of hermit-yogis whose way of life precluded normal physical exercise. The main object was the ability to sit for many hours (even days and weeks) in meditation without it being detrimental to the yogis’ bodies. Spiritual life not health was their sole interest.

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Raja Yoga is the seat of non-dual consciousness, of liberation. In its highest level Raja Yoga is spiritual consciousness. Authentic Raja Yogis are following the path of Spirit, of moksha.

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Brahmanirvana, the state of liberation (nirvana) that results from total union with Brahman, is itself Raja Yoga–not a practice but an attainment. It is transcendental and therefore beyond all qualities and forms. It cannot be expressed or explained, but it can be experienced and made one’s own natural state.

Next in Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation

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About to Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga: Introduction

    1. Living the Yoga Life: Climbing the Ladder of Consciousness
    2. Living the Yoga Life: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatana Yoga
    3. Living the Yoga Life: The Atman/Self
    4. Living the Yoga Life: Bhakti and Jnana
    5. Living the Yoga Life: Brahman
    6. Living the Yoga Life: Ishwara
    7. Living the Yoga Life: Breath
    8. Living the Yoga Life: India and Sanatana Dharma
    9. Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence
    10. Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path
    11. Living the Yoga Life: The Internal Life
    12. Living the Yoga Life: Japa and Sound (Shabda)
    13. Living the Yoga Life: Japa with the Breath
    14. Living the Yoga Life: Jnana
    15. Living the Yoga Life: The Jnani
    16. Living the Yoga Life: Karma and Karma Yoga
    17. Living the Yoga Life: Kundalini
    18. Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
    19. Living the Yoga Life: It Is All Up To Us
    20. Living the Yoga Life: Madness, Divine and Worldly
    21. Living the Yoga Life: Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intelligence/Intellect)
    22. Living the Yoga Life: Buddhi Yoga
    23. Living the Yoga Life: True Masters (And Not)
    24. Living the Yoga Life: Maya
    25. Living the Yoga Life: Meditation
    26. Living the Yoga Life: Prana
    27. Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga
    28. Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation
    29. Living the Yoga Life: Religion
    30. Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi
    31. Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana
    32. Living the Yoga Life: Dedication to Spiritual Life
    33. Living the Yoga Life: Self-realization
    34. Living the Yoga Life: Shivashakti
    35. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Experience
    36. Living the Yoga Life: The Spiritual Teacher
    37. Living the Yoga Life: Subtle Anatomy
    38. Living the Yoga Life: The World
    39. Living the Yoga Life: Worship
    40. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga, the Body and the World
    41. Living the Yoga Life: Dharma and Adharma
    42. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga–The Supreme Dharma
    43. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga Nidra
    44. Living the Yoga Life: The Yogi
    45. Living the Yoga Life: Some Advice to Yogis
    46. Living the Yoga Life: Qualities of a Yogi
    47. Living the Yoga Life: This and That
    48. Living the Yoga Life: Touch Not
    49. Living the Yoga Life: The Gita Speaks To The Yogi
    50. Living the Yoga Life: How It Is Done
    51. Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind
    52. Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid
    53. Living the Yoga Life: Things you should definitely do and have in your life
    54. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Reading
    55. Living the Yoga Life: Gorakhnath Speaks To The Yogi
    56. Living the Yoga Life: And A Final Word From Me
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