Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga – Br. Shankara

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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Swami Vivekananda
Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda)

Swami Vivekananda wrote the book Raja-Yoga as a commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In the Preface, he 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 magazine that the supply came, and not from any supernatural being … There is no supernatural, says the Yogi, but 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 big promise, with even bigger implications: Once causes are understood, their effects can be stopped. This can yield relief from the bondage of self, since even thoughts are the effects of subtle causes. This talk by Br. Shankara explores these ideas, with emphasis on the step-by-step spiritual growth that comes from the practices of Raja-Yoga.