Raja is a Sanskrit word and its literal meaning is the king so Raja yoga means the king of yoga or the best of all types of yoga. The main aim of yoga is to get salvation or to reunite with the higher source of this universe. Raja yoga is the best way to be enlightened. Especially, raja yoga is meditation which controls our mind and leads us to the liberation. Raja yoga seeks the discipline of our body and our mind. By controlling our thoughts, we can achieve the complete salvation in our life from this raja yoga. If we want to do yoga for the purpose of getting enlightenment in our life, this yoga can be the best choice.
Patanjali, the Hindu Classical writer of Yoga Sutras, focuses on the eight limbs of yoga which are very important ways to get enlightened. Patanjali is the first systematic writer of yoga in the history of Hindu philosophy. He focuses on the scientific process of yoga in his book. If we follow the path of Patanjali being sincere, we can surely get salvation in our life. All eight paths are very useful to apply in our life to attain our spiritual goal. If we can make yoga as our lifestyle just like Patanjali mentioned in Yoga Sutra, our life will not remain the same. He shows the exact way that cannot be ignored.
According to many yogis, Astanga yoga of Patanjali is the foundation of Raja yoga so we are discussing the eight limbs of yoga here. It is compulsory us to give the importance to every eight paths because all are practicable and significant to apply in our life. They have the reciprocal relationship among all of them. If we know eight paths of yoga, we can understand the yogic way of getting achieved our spiritual goal.
Yoga means to control the self. Controlling desires and other our habits we can start our journey in the field of Raja yoga. Yama gives us the self-esteem to be free from all the negative actions. The practice of non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing, not accumulating the things more than we need in our life and purity way of life are branches of Yama. Yama is the first step of the 8 stepped paths of yoga. If we can be perfect in controlling the self, we can go ahead to the path of liberation. For the practice of raja yoga, we have to be pure from our body and from our mind. If we can’t make our behavior positive, we never can start the higher journey of spirituality in our life.
Niyama is the second step of the process in raja yoga. It is the discipline from outside and inside. In this step, the yogi starts to practice internal and external purification and habit of satisfaction with our life in which situation we are. He or she practices living in minimalism. Yogi focuses on the study of the real knowledge and surrenders him or her to the God. Yogi surrenders every action to the God. At first, it becomes so hard to apply 8 limbs of yoga in our life. after practicing in our daily life, slowly we can get mastery in each of the steps.
Asana is the third step in getting liberation. There are active and passive many postures in the world. It is very important to purify our body to be ready for the spiritual achievement. In raja yoga, the yogi uses the sitting postures to practice concentration. In the ancient time, Asana used to refer to the sitting postures but nowadays it becomes popular in Hatha yoga. We practice seating for a long time in a sitting posture. Ashana increases the capacity of being still.
Pranayam is the breathing exercise. It helps in raja yoga to go into the deeper level of the meditation. Raja yoga focuses on the meditation but it is not easy to practice raja yoga directly. We can practice pranayama first before meditation. It helps to be free from all the blockages. It originates the prana, the vital breath. Pranayama prepares our body to have the spiritual connection.
Pratyahara is very important for our inner spiritual strength. In the way of our practice of Raja yoga, we have to be determined. It helps us not to distract from our spiritual goal in our life. By controlling our five sense organs, we follow the nature of our mind. Our unnatural mind leads us to the wrong way. We focus inward rather than the outer materialistic world. We have to try to be aware everything we do. We have to be calm from inside and we can hear the internal sound of the soul. That is the first step of the spiritual experience. We start to maintain our awareness in our daily life.
Dharana is to focus on our thoughts and feelings. We can observe our thoughts and our state of mind. Our mind wants to distract but we have to bring our awareness again and again on our thought. If we cannot concentration on our thoughts and feelings, we can practice concentrating our body parts. Slowly, we can get mastery in the concentration. We have to focus only one thing to apply Dharana in our life. This is the last part of the yoga which we can do from our effort. After this, further two steps are not in our hand but we can practice Dharana as much as we can.
Dhayan means real meditation and it is not the part that we can learn or practice. It is the part of happening in our life. When we practice Dharana, we can be in the state of bliss. But we cannot say when it happens. When our mind becomes quiet and calm without any thoughts, it can happen to us automatically. When we are in our logical mind, meditation cannot happen in our life. When we leave all our efforts to be enlightened after practicing a long time in, Dhyana will have happened. In the meditation, the divine light comes to appear in our body. The experience of meditation doesn’t give us to be distracted from our yogic goal.
Samadhi is the state of complete bliss. It is the last destination of raja yoga and rest of all yoga types in the world. In this state, we unite with the Supreme Being. When we are in the state of Samadhi, we can be in the state of complete peace. We gain the knowledge of the entire universe. We can be liberated from our self and ego. We can achieve complete freedom. Just life the river reaches the sea, we can reach our ultimate goal. Our spiritual goal has been achieved, when we are in the state of Samadhi. We can see the radiant light and heavenly sound. This state cannot be explained to give detailed information. We have to taste to know the taste of orange, we cannot understand by explaining the taste of orange.
The main purpose of every style of yoga is salvation. Raja yoga is an easy style of yoga that can be a very powerful tool to achieve our spiritual goal. If we can be sincere doing this yoga, this yoga surely leads to the way to purification. When we get to the supreme state, the path will not become important. Raja yoga can be the best choice in our life because this yoga is easy to do whenever and wherever we are.