Raja-yoga – The royal road of India


George Lane – International Raja Yoga Orchestra – 1913 via Flickr

Raja-yoga is a Sanskrit term with several different meanings within a longstanding, evolving body of Hindu thought. The most common meaning comes from the Hindu holy man, Swami Vivekananda, who said raja-yoga was the royal yoga that emerged from Patanjali’s yoga sutras.

English: From left to right: Virchand Gandhi, ...
From left to right: Virchand Gandhi, Hewivitarne Dharmapala, Swami Vivekananda, and (possibly) G. Bonet Maury. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patanjali’s sutras outline practices that one can follow to apparently achieve enlightenment. These include pranamaya (controlled breathing) and asanas (bodily postures), out of which hatha yoga emerged.

Traditionally, raja-yoga is the dharma (sacred duty) of the ruling caste in Hinduism.

The Yoga-sūtra of Patanjali: (translation, with introduction, appendix, and notes based upon several authentic commentaries) Bombay, 1890 – Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg.

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