Sunday, July 26, 2015
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This talk concludes this month’s series on Raja Yoga. Next month, we will once again take up Jnana Yoga, a path that emphasizes discrimination and reason.
The ancient Hindu Sage Patanjali says that, though you may not be aware of it at this moment, you have access to all power needed to achieve full spiritual realization.
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 (power) 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 paragraph is a huge promise, with these implications: Once subtle causes are seen and understood, their gross effects need not be manifested. This can yield relief from “the bondage of self,” since both your thoughts and actions are the effects of subtle causes. These assurances reflect the Samkhya philosophical system, which is the basis of both Raja Yoga and Yoga Psychology.
Vivekananda’s and Patanjali’s instructions focus, in part, on the increase in spiritual power that arises from step-by-step practice of Raja-Yoga. In this talk, Br. Shankara explores these teachings and what they can mean to your spiritual life.