The path

jñāna-yoga

Jñāna literally means “knowledge, wisdom, understanding, or cognition,” and refers to existential knowledge. The Greeks called this revealing power epiginosko (ἐπιγινώσκω). The word yoga means “union.” Thus, jñāna-yoga is a path that aims to realize the essential...

Karma Yoga

In karma-yoga–or the art of selfless action–we learn to act in harmony with dharma, or the role we have been assigned in life, without expecting any results. The fact that every human being, regardless of age, sex, race, or nation, is doomed to act, makes this path...

Bhakti-yoga

Bhakti yoga is the yoga of love. Devotees aspire to a love different from the love in romance novels: it is not sentimental love that begins with sweet promises and ends in bitter disappointments, nor is it emotional love that arises from physiological processes and...

Kundalini-yoga

Kundalini-yoga is a yogic path that stimulates the conscious awakening of kuṇḍalinī-śakti, or “coiled energy.” This energy is the transcendental consciousness; it is the creative power of God, and therefore, the creative potential in the human being. Kundalini yoga...

Tantra-yoga

Tantra-yoga is a yogic methodology that combines a variety of techniques, such as mūdras, mantras, prāṇāyama, and dīkṣā in order to realize the very essence of the universe through delving into our own body. The practice of most of these techniques is aimed at...

Vedanta

Vedanta is one of humanity’s oldest paths of liberation. It is a pluralistic and universal path, suitable for every human being without any discrimination. Vedanta cannot be categorized as a philosophy, school of thought, or belief system as it goes beyond our...

Religion

Prabhuji's Hinduism invites us to open our eyes and contemplate all human beings as members of one family. It calls us to clear our vision in order to recognize the same truth in the essence of all religion. It suggests us to free ourselves from superstitions in order...

Guru Dakshina

Guru-dakṣiṇā is a very ancient fundamental tradition of the Sanātana-dharma religion. It is the disciple’s attempt to retribute the guru in some way for the time and energy he or she invests in the teaching process. The dakṣiṇā expresses the disciple’s deep...

Hinduism

Hinduism, whose original name is Sanātana-dharma, “the eternal dharma” or “the eternal religion,” is the oldest living religion in the world. It constitutes a fusion and synthesis of various revelations both Vaidika and Tāntrika. It is not the result or product of the...

Guru-seva – service to the Guru

Service, or “seva,” to the guru is one of the core principles of Hinduism. Prabhuji Mission, being a traditional Hindu church, practices the millennia-old tradition of guru-seva, or “service to the master.” Throughout the Śrutis, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas, the disciple’s...

Raja-yoga

Rāja-yoga is the path that studies and analyzes the mind. The Yoga-sūtras of Patañjali begin by defining yoga in the following manner:

yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ

“Yoga is the cessation of mental activity.” (Yoga-sūtras 1.2)

This yogic path teaches us to transcend the mind, with all its concepts and preconceived ideas about ourselves, and to discover our true identity above all limited mental conclusions. It is a path that leads us from what we believe ourselves to be, to what we really are.

Different theories have tried to explain the origin of the term rāja-yoga. According to one theory, this path received its name because the mind is considered a king- rāja in Sanskrit- who rules over all the functions of the body. This is also indicated in the Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā (4.29):

indriyāṇāṁ mano nātho
mano nāthas tu mārutaḥ
mārutasya layo nātaḥ
sa layo nādam āśritaḥ

“The master of all the senses is the mind, the king of the mind is the breath, laya or dissolution is the master of the breath, and laya is dependent on the interior sound of nāda.”

 

The term rāja-yoga can also be said to connote a system that transforms us from slaves of the mind into masters of ourselves. We live as servants of our mind, constantly satisfying its demands. Rāja-yoga leads us to the realization that in reality, we are not the subject of the mind, but its ruler or mahā-rāja.

According to another interpretation, rāja-yoga received its name because it is the king of all the different yogas, and of all wisdom:

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
susukhaṁ kartum avyayam

“This is the king of all knowledge and the sovereign mystery. It is pure and excellent. It can be directly experienced, is in accordance with dharma, imperishable and easily performed.” Bhagavad-gītā (9.2)

The fact that primary importance is bestowed upon the mind in Vedic scriptures, to the point that in many texts the mind is spoken about to a greater extent than God, never ceases to surprise.

A rāja-yogī transforms the mind gradually into a true laboratory, in which, by means of observation and investigation of his psychic movements, he is able to become an alchemist of the mental contents. To enter into this aspect of yoga means to go deeper and to know ourselves.

To the extent that we allow this wisdom to touch our lives, we become involved in an integrative and holistic process that increases coherence between our feelings, thoughts, and actions. This involves not only theoretical knowledge, but also deep changes of an existential nature. Thus, we are not speaking of information, but of transformation. In this sense, it can also be stated that, unlike knowledge, this wisdom obligates us to change the way we live.

There are those who call this wisdom “yogic psychology”, since just as with western psychology, it is concerned with the mind. However, the difference between them is radical. While western psychology tries to harmonize our mind with society and our surroundings, leading it towards the state it considers “normal”, the intention of rāja-yoga is supranormal, because it aspires to go beyond the mind, transcending it completely. Therefore, although they essentially refer to the same thing, there is a basic difference between the two with respect to intentions and expectations.

No other method or discipline has reached a similar degree of precision, in its analysis of the human mind and its intricate activities, as rāja-yoga. This ancient wisdom holds that we are a reality which is transcendental to the mind. The rāja-yogī observes the mind, studies it, contemplates it, knows it, and finally, goes beyond it.

(An excerpt from Prabhuji’s writings)