Lectures on Raja Yoga
Sri Swami Chidananda
Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 105
Publication Date: 1976
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Consists of seven lectures: Raja Yoga Is A Universal Science; Value Of Raja Yoga; Mind And Its Activity; Right Application In Yoga Brings Success; Asmita, Raga And Dvesha (Egoism, Likes And Dislikes); The Essence Of The Four Yogas; and The Awakened Mind.
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Beloved Immortal Souls! Radiant Children of Light! Greetings to you all in the name of Yoga. Yoga, the ancient science of India, is the common heritage of humanity, though evolved in the East, though practised and expounded in India. This science of attaining universal consciousness is the common wealth of mankind. It is a science that goes beyond the barrier of any particular faith or religion, system or theology, and takes on the nature of spiritual process that is capable of being worked out within the interior of human consciousness irrespective of the personality. This consciousness, shines as the universal common denominator, as the common factor in all life. It runs as a subtle invisible cosmic link in all life, just as a thread runs as the common inner support through a necklace of beads of variegated colours, shapes and appearances, holding them all together, unifying them into one object, a necklace. Here is this Sutra or a thread, a unity within diversity.
Consciousness or the spiritual essence is similarly the unifying factor that underlies all forms in this universe that are apparent as different objects to our superficial, physical gaze. All such objects hold, within their apparent diversity, this inner Unity of Consciousness. The spirit within is the universal common denominator underlying all forms of existence, but it has become involved in mental processes, and through them got caught up within the meshes of sensual and physical nature.
Yoga presents a system of liberating the spiritual essence from this involvement, this entanglement in mental and physical processes. It achieves the effect of restoring the spiritual consciousness to its pristine state, its untrammelled, pure original state. The thesis of Yoga based upon the direct experience of those who became its expounders, is that your true nature, your real and essential nature, is pure bliss. It is pure peace. It is Ananda and Santi. Not sorrow. Not misery. Not grief. Not restlessness. Not agitation. Not tears. But peace and joy. Thus Raja Yoga is a scientific method of liberating the consciousness from the bondage of mind, senses and matter. It does not come into clash with any set of dogma or any specific religious belief. For, in the ultimate context, if you try to analyse religion to its gross roots, you will discover that all religions have as their ultimate aim, showing to the individual the path beyond sorrow, the way to supreme blessedness. Call it divine felicity, call it eternal beatitude, call it salvation, emancipation, liberation—the term which you use does not matter; the aim or the ultimate objective of religion remains the same. If you try to grasp the central essence of religion, the central spirit behind all the elaborate rituals and ceremonials, you will find that it is to bring man to God. And this Reality or this Cosmic Being called God denotes a state of perfection that transcends the imperfect experiences of this finite earth-life, that transcends sorrow and suffering. It denotes a positive state of perfect joy and peace.
Yoga therefore is a system, a science, a practice. Though it had its origin in India, though it was systematised by a people who professed the Vedic religion which we call Hinduism, Yoga is beyond religion and occupies a place in the spiritual life of man which is the common meeting ground of all humanity and has come down to us in this 20th century as a part of the universal heritage of mankind.
The Nature Of The World
Yoga, by itself, is a term that implies the bringing to an end man’s involvement in sorrow and suffering. The life of man here in this universe is characterised by experiences which he does not like, experiences which are painful, experiences which he seeks to avoid but discovers by the time he approaches the end of his life that they are unavoidable. These are part and parcel of what we call earthly life here. Pain, sorrows and sufferings of various kinds seem inevitable and yet man all over the world tries to avoid suffering and sorrow, pain and misery, and tries to obtain, somehow or the other, a state of joy, of happiness. In this, man fails. He has failed in this ever since the dawn of creation. Not so much because this state of absolute transcending of sorrow and experience of absolute bliss does not exist, but merely because he searches for it in the wrong direction. He looks for it in the outer world, in objects. And no wonder he fails to find the perfect and absolute experience of joy there, because finite things, changeful things, perishable things, imperfect in their very nature, have a beginning and an end; they are conditioned in time and space.
These things naturally cannot give perfect experience, because these things are fragmentary. Everything is relative. Everything is one of a pair of opposites. And our relationship, our contact, with all things is also short-lived. All coming together ends in going apart, and over and above this, that very instrument through which man has to relate himself to all things here is characterised by much imperfection. What is that instrument through which man relates himself to this external world? The body with the five senses is that instrument. And that primary instrument through which the dweller within has to contact and perceive this phenomenal world is itself defective. It has a birth and ultimately goes to extermination in death; all the five senses through which it perceives the universe gradually fail when disease comes and gradually destroys them. If disease does not destroy them, the natural process in old age makes them weaker. Eye-sight weakens, hearing fails, limbs become feeble, and all the senses gradually grow cold. Thus the body suffers its natural characteristics of birth, growth, change, disease, old age, decay and death. Numerous other factors also torment this body—factors beyond the control of man—you have natural calamities like earthquakes epidemic and famine. Then war, revolution, wicked people, malarious mosquitoes, yellow fever, consumption, T.B., cancer, venereal disease, dysentery, cholera ad infinitum. Then there are natural calamities like the fury of the elements, cold wave, heat wave, drought, either too much rain or no rain, typhoons, hurricanes and blizzards.
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