Self discovery. Self actualization. Self realization – Br. Shankara

Sunday, November 26, 2017

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November is a month for study of Raja Yoga, a spiritual path often called the yoga of meditation. A raja yogi uses ancient, proven spiritual techniques to quiet the mind and gain control of her or his attention. Regular daily practice of concentration may lead to meditation, which can reveal God and liberate you from the cycle of rebirth and death.

Self realization is one way to talk about the goal of all spiritual practices. We can think of our progress toward that goal in three steps:

  • Discovering what it means to be fully human
  • Bringing that humanity to its greatest manifestation
  • Realizing the power behind your experience of that apparent human self — your True Original Nature.

Here is a prayer to that Divine Essence:

You are the source of infinite energy; 
fill me with that energy.
You are the source of infinite strength; 
endow me with that strength.
You are the source of infinite courage; 
inspire me with that courage.
You are the source of infinite fortitude; 
grant me that fortitude.

Swami VivekanandaIn 1896, Swami Vivekananda wrote Raja Yoga as a guidebook for Westerners who have more than a casual interest in meditation. Pointing directly at the purpose he had in mind, Vivekananda said:

“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more or all of these and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms are but secondary details.”

And here’s a quote from the Katha Upanishad (Vivekananda’s favorite):

“It is but few who hear about the Self. Fewer still dedicate their lives to its Realization. Wonderful is the one who speaks of the Self. Rare are they who make it the supreme goal of their life. Blessed are they who, through an illumined Teacher, attain to Self-realization.

In this talk we explore and discuss these quotes, and how they relate to the last two “limbs” of Patanjali’s yoga — meditation and liberation.