The Raja Yoga discipline, although simple in technique, is considered to be a spiritual practice which leads to the mastery of the mind. Other forms of philosophical thought, religious beliefs and practices seem not so difficult; a 10-day vipassana course or some kriya or yoga, a new age mind mapping technique or therapy, even rituals and prayers seem to give the same result as Raja Yoga externally. And in essence, it seems that all these spiritual practices root at the same level i.e. focus on the self. However, a Raja Yogi knows that Raja Yoga is ‘do it yourself spirituality’.
The path of this yoga begins with knowledge of the faculties of the self, which become the subject matter of study, experiments and discipline for the seeker or student. The tenet of Raja Yoga, “If you change, the world changes,” makes the yogi directly responsible for the cause and effect in his life drama. Through the study of the faculties of the self, and the yoga or connection, it places the responsibility of the life situation of the student, squarely on his or her spiritual shoulders.
The purpose of Raja Yoga is self-mastery and creation of a new religion of self-masters who have complete control over their thoughts and emotional systems, and master the present moment and create or emerge their own drama. This level of self-mastery requires going within a shell of discipline, initially, to be able to control the fluctuations of the sense organs and the mind. However, at the same time, Raja Yoga does not advocate retiring to a comfortable monastic life. It actively engages life, for the study of self-mastery happens in the company of all actors onstage, with each situation testing the strength of discipline and conduct of the student.
Every moment, the drama of life engages, entertains and educates. Hence, the drama becomes the ma (mother) who nurtures. The concept of God and soul seem to be based on religious or past philosophical tenets. However, these are just pathways to acclimatise the student. Raja Yoga does not teach deification or glorification of any God or guru or deity, but merely shows the student that God consciousness along with soul-consciousness hastens the process of internal change.
“Raja Yoga bestows a legacy of the creation of a whole, complete being who can take better responsibility for the self and the world.”