11am Sunday Talk: Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga, with Br. Shankara
Br. Shankara will give a talk called Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga. Join us IN PERSON* or online via zoom.
» Zoom (click to access meeting)
* All those fully vaccinated are welcome to attend in person. Or, you may join us online: talks will be streamed live via Zoom from the Chapel, and archived to our YouTube Channel.
July 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 calm your body, 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. In the vocabulary of the raja yogi, this state of liberation is called kaivalya — independence.
Swami Vivekananda wrote the book Raja-Yoga as a commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It was published in 1896 and soon became an international best-seller. In the Preface, Swamiji said:
“Raja-Yoga declares that each man is only a conduit for the infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies behind mankind. It teaches that desires and wants are in man, that the power of supply is also in man; and that wherever and whenever a desire, a want, a prayer has been fulfilled, it was out of this infinite (storehouse) that the supply came, and not from any supernatural being …
There is no supernatural, says the yogi, (instead) there are in nature gross manifestations and subtle manifestations. The subtle are the causes, the gross the effects. The gross can be easily perceived by the senses; not so the subtle. The practice of Raja-Yoga will lead to the acquisition of the more subtle perceptions.”
That last sentence is a huge promise, with even bigger implications: Once causes are understood, their effects can be changed! This yields relief from the bondage of self, since even thoughts are the effects of subtle causes.
(Please note that these ideas are from the Samkhya philosophical system, which is the basis of Raja Yoga and Yoga Psychology.)
This coming Sunday morning we will explore some of Swamiji’s and Patanjali’s teachings, with emphasis on the step-by-step spiritual growth that can come from the practice of Raja Yoga.