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Further information on Yoga & meditation -  Short daily meditations | Raga Yoga by Swarmi Vivekananda - Introduction | The 1st steps in Yoga  | The Control of Prana - Panayama | Raja Yoga (compleat) by Swami Vivekananda   Or listern and relax to -  Meditation Radio
RAJA YOGA EXSLAINED – Ch8 - A Summary of Raja Yoga freely translated from the Kurma Purana. Ch8.  

The fire of Yoga burns the cage of sin that is around a man. Knowledge becomes purified, and Nirvana is directly obtained. From Yoga comes knowledge, knowledge again helps the Yogi. He who is a compound of both Yoga and knowledge, with him the Lord is pleased. Those that practice Mahayoga, either once a day, or twice a day, or thrice, or always, know them to be gods. Yoga is divided into two parts. One is called the Abhava, and the other Mahayoga. Where one’s self is meditated on as zero, and bereft of quality, that is called Abhava; the Yogi, by each one, realises his Self. That in which one sees the Self as full of bliss and bereft of all impurities, and one with God, is called Mahayoga. The other Yogas that we read and hear of, do not deserve one particle of this great Brahmayoga, in which the Yogi finds himself and the whole universe as God himself. This is the highest of all Yogas. These are the steps in Raja Yoga. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, of which, non-injuring anybody, truthfulness, noncovetousness, chastity, not receiving anything from another, are called Yama; it purifies themind, the Chitta. By thought, word, and deed, always, and in every living being, not producing pain is what is called Ahimsa, non-injuring. There is no virtue higher than this non-injuring. There is no happiness higher than what a man obtains by this attitude of non-offensiveness to all creation. By truth we attain to work. Through truth everything is attained; in truth everything is established. Relating facts as they are; this is truth. Not taking others’ goods by stealth or by force is called Asteyam, non-covetousness. Chastity in thought, word, and deed, always, and in all conditions, is what is called Brahmacharya. Not receiving any present from anybody, even when one is suffering terribly, is what is called Aparigraha. When a man receives a gift from another man, the theory is that his heart becomes impure, he becomes low, he loses his independence, he becomes bound and attached. The following are helps to success in Yoga. Niyama, regular habits and observances; Tapas, austerity; Sradhyaya, study; Santela, contentment; Saucham, purity; Icvara pranidhana, worshiping God. Fasting, or in other ways controlling the body, is called the physical Tapas. Repeating the Vedas, and other Mantrams, by which the Sattva material in the body is purifies, is called study, Sradhyaya.� 

RAJA YOGA EXSLAINED – Ch8 - A Summary of Raja Yoga freely translated from the Kurma Purana.

There are three sorts of repetions of these Mantrams. One is called the verbal, another semi-verbal, and the third mental. The verbal or audible is the lowest, and the inaudible is the highest of all. The repetition which is so loud that anybody can hear it is the verbal; the next one is where only the organs begin to vibrate, but no sound is heard; another man sitting near cannot hear what is being said. That in which there is no sound, only mental repetition of the Mantram, at the same time thinking its meaning, is called the “mental muttering” and is the highest. The sages have said that there are two sorts of purification, external and internal. The purification for the body is by water, earth, or other materials; the external purification, as by bathing, etc. Purification of the mind by truth, and by all the other virtues, is what is called internal purification. Both are necessary. It is not sufficient that a man should be internally pure and externally dirty. When both are not attainable the internal purity is the better, but no one will be a Yogi until he has both. Worship is by praise, by memory, by having devotion to God. We have spoken about Yama and Niyama; next comes Pranayama. Prana means the vital forces in one’s own body, Yama means controlling them. There are three sorts of Pranayama, the very simple, the middle, and the very high. The whole of Pranayama is divided into two parts; one is called filling, and the other is called emptying. When you begin with twelve seconds it is the lowest Pranayama; when you begin with twenty-four seconds it is the middle Pranayama; that Pranayama is the best which begins with thirty-six seconds. That Pranayama in which there is first perspiration, then vibration of the body, and then rising from the seat and joining of the man’s soul with great bliss is the very highest Pranayama. 

RAJA YOGA EXSLAINED – Ch8 - A Summary of Raja Yoga freely translated from the Kurma Purana.

There is a Mantram called the Gayatri. It is a very holy verse of the Vedas. “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.” Then Om is joined to it, at the beginning and end. In one Pranayama repeat three Gayatris. In all books they speak of Pranayama being divided into Rechaka (rejecting or exhaling), Puraka (inhaling), and Kumbhaka (restraining, stationary). The Indriyas, the organs of the senses, are acting outwards and coming in contact with external objects. Bringing them under the control of the will is what is called Pratyahara; gathering towards oneself is the literal translation. Fixing the mind on the lotus of heart, or on the centre of the head, is what is called Dharana. When remaining in one place, making one place as the base, where the waves of the mind rise up, without being touched by the other waves— when all other waves have stopped—and one wave only rises in the mind, that is called Dhyana, meditation. When no basis is necessary, when the whole of the mind has become one wave, “one-formedness,” it is called Samadhi. Bereft of all help from places and centres, only the meaning of the thing is presesnt. If the mind can be fixed on one centre for twelve second it will be a Dharana, twelve such Dharanas will be a Dhyana, and twelve such Dhyanas will be a Samadhi. The next is Asana (posture). The only thing to understand is to hold the body straight, leaving the body free, with the chest, shoulders, and head straight. Where there is fire, or in water, or on ground which is strewn with dry leaves, or where there are wild animals, where four streets meet, or where there is too much noise, or too much fear, or too many ant hills, where there are many wicked persons, Yoga must not be practiced in such places. This applies more particularly to India. When the body feels very lazy do not practice, or when the mind is very miserable and sorrowful, or when the body is ill. God to a place which is well hidden, and where people do not come to disturb you. As soon as you do not want people to know what you are doing all the curiousity in the world will be awakened, but, if you go into the street and want people to know what you are doing, they will not care. Do not choose dirty places. Rather choose beautiful scenery, or a room in your own house which is beautiful. When you practice, first salute all the ancient Yogis, and your own Guru, and God, and then begin. Dhyana is spoken of, and a few examples are given of what to meditate upon. Sit straight, and look at the tip of your nose. Later on we will come to know how that concentrates the mind, how by controlling the two optic nerves one advances a long way towards the control of the arc of reaction, and so to the control of the will. These are a few specimens of meditation. Imagine a lotus upon the top of the head, several inches up, and virtue as its centre, the stalk as knowledge. The eight petals of the lotus are the eight powers of the Yogi. Inside, the stamens and pistils are renunciation. If the Yogi refuses the external powers he will come to salvation. So the eight petals of the lotus are the eight powers, but the internal stamens and pistils are the extreme renunciation, the renunciation of all these. Inside of that lotus think of the Golden One, the Almighty, the Intangible, He whose name is Om, the Inexpressible, surrounded with effulgent light. Meditate on that. Another meditation is given. Think ofa space in your heard, and in the midst of that space think that a flame is burning. Think of that flame as your own soul, and inside that flame is another space, effulgent, and that is the Soul of your soul, God. Meditate upon that in the heart.

RAJA YOGA EXSLAINED – Ch8 - A Summary of Raja Yoga freely translated from the Kurma Purana.

Chastity, noninjuring, pardoning everyone, even the greatest enemy, truth, faith in the Lord, these are all different Vrittis. Be not afraid if you are not perfect in all of these; work, and the others will come. He who has given up all attachment, all fear, and all anger, he whose whole soul has gone unto the Lord, he who has taken refuge in the Lord, whose hart has become purified, with whatsoever desire he comes to the Lord He will grant that to him. Therefore worship Him through knowledge, or worship Him through love, or worship Him through renunciation. “He is my beloved worshipper, he is my beloved Bhakta, who is not jealous of any being, who is the friend of all, who is merciful to all, who has nothing of his own, whose egotism is lost: he who is always satisfied; he who works always in Yoga, whose self has become controlled, whose will is firm, whose mind and whose intelligence are given up unto me, know that he is my beloved Bhakta. From whom comes no disturbance, who never becomes the cause of disturbance to others, he who has given up excessive joy, grief, and fear, and anxiety. Such a one is my beloved. He who does not depend on anything, pure, active, giving up all, who does not care whether good comes or evil, never becomes miserable; he who is the same in praise or in blame, with a silent, thoughtful ,ind, blessed with what little comes in his way, homeless, he who has no home, the whole world is his home, steady in his ideas, such a one becomes a Yogi.” There was a great god-sage called Narada. Just as there are sages among mankind, great Yogis, so there are great Yogis among the gods. Narada was a good Yogi, and very great. He travelled everywhere, and one day he was passing through a forest, and he saw a man who had been meditating until the white ants had built a huge mound round his body, he had been sitting in that position so long. He said to Narada, “Where are you going?” Narada replied, “I am going to heaven.” “Then ask God when He will be merciful to me; when I will attain freedom.” Further on Narada saw another man. He was jumping about, singing, dancing, and said, “Oh, Narada, where are you going?” His voice and his gestures were wild. Narada said, “I am going to heaven.” “Then, ask when I will be free.” So Narada went on. In the course of time he came again by the same road, and there was the man who had been meditating till the anti-hills had grown round him. He said “Oh, Narada, did you ask the Lord about me?” “Oh, yes.” “What did He say?” “The Lord told me that you would attain freedom in four more births.” Then the man began to weep and wail, and said, “I have meditated until an ant-hill has been raised around me, and I have four more birth yet!” Narada went to the other man. “Did you ask my question?” “Oh, yes. Do you see this tamarind tree? I have to tell you that as many leaves as there are on that tree, so many times you will be born, and then you will attain freedom.” Then the man began to dance for joy, and said, “I will have freedom after such a short time.” A voice came, “My child, you will have freedom this minute.” That was the reward for his perseverance. He was ready to work through all those births, nothing discouraged him. But the first man felt that even four more births must be too long. Only perseverance like that of the man who was willing to wait æons will bring about the highest result.

RAJA YOGA EXSLAINED – Ch8 - A Summary of Raja Yoga freely translated from the Kurma Purana.

More information -  Raja Yoga the Science of Religion & the Control of the Mind

1) An Introduction to what is and what is not Raja Yoga: Introduction to Raja Yoga

2) The first steps in Raja Yoga – Swarmini Vivekananda: First steps in Raja Yoga

3) The control of energy or Prana by Pranayama: Raga Yoga & the power of Prana

4) The next step is concentrate the mind: Pratyahara & Dharana

5) Samadhi the state of super-consciousness: Dhyana & Samadhi

6) An explanation of what Raja Yoga is: Raja Yoga in brief translated from the Kurma Purana