Raja Yoga aims at dissolving the modifications of the mind. Patanjali's
Yoga Sutra indicates various practical ways to achieve detachment:
Surrender to Isvara, viveka, vairagya and the eight angas (means).
Surrender to Isvara happens when the desire for things is transformed
into love of the divine. The potent energy- love-aspiration ladder
that is normally directed towards the external world is turned towards
the transcendent Isvara.
Viveka (intuitive discernment) helps us to realise that the relative
and dual is not the ultimate reality. This leads to vairagya, a
consciential detachment, not just formal detachment. It is a conscious
liberates one from the gunas.
Viveka is the fruit of knowledg (jnana) or gnosis, which is capable
of revealing the ultimate and real nature of things. Viveka and
Vairagya are the two techniques of Vedanta-darsana.
Mind Takes Precedence:
Raja Yoga emphasises on the mind rather than the body or the emotions.
It seeks to control chitta(right side),the mental substance, with
all its product; The vri6sor thought waves which, if not controlled,
lead the jiva
or incarnated soul into the flow of samsara. It recognises the inter
relationship between the prana complex of the body, sensory emotions
and mind (manas). It makes use of the asanas and pranayama of Hatha
Yoga to achieve the necessary synthesis of the various forces at
This sadhana begins with purification of the emotions and of the
mind. Without this preliminary clearing of undesirable psychic contents,
this type of yoga may prove very dangerous both at the manas and
physical level. The purificatory practices are divided into two
phases-the five yamas and the five niyamas, the first two of the
eight angas of Raja Yoga.
The eight angas are: Yama (self restraint), Niyama (observance),
Asana (postures), Pranayama (control of prana breathing), Pratyahara
(abstraction), Dharana (concentration), Dhyano (meditation) and
Samadhi (contemplation- ecstasy).
Rules of Moral Conduct:
The Yamas are rules regarding conduct. One must seek truth, abstain
from doing evil, from stealing, from coercing and so on. The main
aim of these rules is to quench the thirst of the possessive extroversion,
and, therefore, of the rajoguna.
The niyamas, too, 'belong to the sphere of 'discipline' and allow
the mental energies to model themselves to the rhythm of sattva.
True withdrawal or abstraction of the consciousness from the senses
(pratyahara) will take place easily if the mind has been purified.
Greatest Psychic Faculty:
Dharana involves fixing the mind upon a pratyaya (seed-context
of concentration) that reins in the dispersive tendencies of the
mind. One learns to retire to the centre of moral its psychophysical
Dhyana is prolonged concentra tion and is the highest psychic faculty
after intelligence. It helps to coordinatc, integrate and direct
the psychic powers in a conscious and deliberate way. Dhyana is
the instrument which can lead to conflict, error and pain, or to
the bliss of samadhi. If one does not build on the solid foundation
of Dharana or mental order, one may become an intermittent and emotional
mystic, because emotion without mental direction is unstable and
With dharana one fixes the creative mind-instrument; with dhyana
one pronounces the bliss seed-word; with samadhi one realises the
subject-object unity or the incarnation of the world.
Samadhi is related neither to emotions, nor to Imagination, nor
any individualised psychic power. It goes beyond the empirical and
enters into subtle dimensions. In its true sense samadhi is the
direct experience of truth without the intervention of manas. The
different degrees of the experience are listed in Raja Yoga.
The two categories of samadhi are with seed and without seed, that
is samprajnata samadhi and asamprajnata samadhi.