A Raja Yogi’s Response to Transformation – Br. Shankara

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June 28, 2020

June is a month for study of Raja Yoga, a spiritual path often called the yoga of meditation. As a raja yogi, you use ancient, proven spiritual techniques to quiet your mind and gain control of your attention.

Regular daily practice of Raja Yoga increases your ability to concentrate, and may lead to meditation. This can unite you with the Divine Presence, the source of your being, and liberate you from the cycle of rebirth and death.

Aeons ago, the Divine Being created “that which breathes” (jiva) — life as we understand it. According to Swami Vivekananda, all of Nature’s possibility was present (involute, or involved) in that first life-form, and it has been evolving ever since. Evolving means becoming more complex and specialized, taking on ever more names and forms.

Physicists add to the Swami’s story by telling us that 13.7 billion years ago there was only an unimaginably hot, dense plasma, expanding at a mega-explosive rate. This Big Bang continued expanding, cooling, and differentiating until it became the Universe and life-forms we know now.

Scientists further define the fundamental nature of everything we experience as vibration. Your five senses take the wide variety of vibrations in which you are immersed, transform them into the names and forms of your individual universe, and project that “reality” onto your awareness (mind).

Which brings us to Raja Yoga: As translated by Vivekananda, the first two aphorisms of Patanjali’s Yogas Sutras are:

1. Now concentration is explained.

2. Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).

Sutra 1 is the method for achieving sutra 2. By practice of concentration, we learn to prevent the mind from making a reality (Vrittis) out of the stimulation (vibration) which produces them. As Vivekananda tells us, when you can still the Vrittis in the Chitta, your universe disappears.

In this talk and discussion, we explore why a yogi would want to accomplish this feat. And that explanation will help define how a dedicated Raja yogi lives, and will respond to transformation in the world around her.