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Raja Yoga

Under the Vedic system, Raja Yoga is classified as one of the four traditional branches or forms of yoga. It is a graduated system that takes the student through all of the necessary levels of physical, mental, and psychic preparations to achieve the highest state of self-awareness. The term Raja carries the meaning “highest” and is also the Sanskrit word for king. Therefore, Raja Yoga is the highest form of yoga, with practices that are primarily concerned with the mind.

Raja Yoga In Tradition

In yoga tradition, the mind is typically perceived as the king of the psycho-physical structure of man. And because of the close relationship between the mind and the body, there is a need to “tame” the body first through self-discipline and to purify it through various means. Taking this into consideration, Raja Yoga is also referred to as a “royal” yoga or the “King of Yogas.”

Raja and Ashtanga Yoga

Although the term Raja Yoga is often used interchangeably with the classical Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, there are many other schools of yoga that are considered to reside within the field of Raja Yoga itself. And all of these schools of yoga are geared towards the fusion of your being with the greater macrocosm. Among the schools of yoga that reside in the field of Raja Yoga are the Tantric Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Mantra Yoga, and Yantra Yoga.

Who Is A Raja Yogi?

A Raja Yogi, by definition, is someone who has a strong mental link with the Supreme Soul, which is the source of all goodness. This link, coupled with a deep understanding of the general laws of action that govern the behaviour of souls, indicates that you don’t have to renounce society in general in order to achieve your desired enlightenment. Rather, the soul that’s filled with enlightenment is able to face society directly with enough understanding and compassion to serve and elevate it such that it is brought to the highest level of awareness as well.

Raja Yoga and The Soul

Your soul is elevated not by the renunciation of worldly duties or responsibilities, but by the renunciation of all the negativity that exists within the role you are currently playing in society. As a Raja Yogi, you do not try to escape your social obligations; rather, you purify them by becoming filled with light, love, happiness, and peace. This level of self-awareness and communication with God imparts a subtle richness into your life’s pattern.

There are people who believe that this state of elevation is way beyond society and all its trimmings. Thus, they often go to a quiet spot in the jungle or a monastery for a deeper contemplation about things. There are also those who, stuck in the quicksand of their problems, consider those who can successfully renounce negativity as saints. However, holiness and virtue are qualities that you attain by facing life’s situations, not by running away from it. A practitioner of Raja Yoga understands that the elevated state is not all about elevated thoughts, but rather elevated actions that benefit both the self and the world at large. We are more what we do than what we imagine ourselves to be. And our external circumstances are merely the physical manifestations of what we are inside.

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