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Raja Yoga - the path of concentration and meditation. The field of Raja Yoga is very vast. It covers the whole psychic plane and describes the processes by which the psychic powers are developed, such as thought-reading, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the evolving of finer perceptions, the going out of the body, the curing of disease through mental power, and performing all such acts as are ordinarily called miracles.
All the psychic
powers recorded in Western texts, and which are used to-day
by spiritualists, mental healers, faith healers, divine
healers, and the various other kinds of healers, have been
displayed from ancient times by the Yogis in India -
thousands of years BC.
This is a great lesson which the mental healers learn from the Yogis of India. Little brains and weak intellects easily turn away from the path of spiritual truth when some psychic power begins to manifest itself; and they think that they have reached the highest state of spirituality because they have the power to cure headache or heartache or produce other miracles. Raja Yoga, however, teaches that the exercise of psychic power and the making a profession of it are great obstacles in the path of spiritual advancement. Its principal aim, on the contrary, is to lead the student, through concentration and meditation, to the highest state of super-consciousness, where the individual soul communes with the universal Spirit and realizes the unity of existence, eternal peace, and happiness.
Raja Yoga is divided into eight steps. The first is Yama — non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gifts. Next is Niyama — cleanliness, contentment, mortification, study, and self-surrender to God. Then comes Asana, or posture; Pranayama, or controlling the vital forces of the body; Pratyahara, or making the mind introspective; Dharand, or concentration; Dhyana, or meditation; and Samadhi, or super-consciousness.
Pranayama is not, as many think, something about the breath; breath, indeed, has very little to do with it, if anything. Breathing is only one of the many exercises through which we get to the real Pranayama. Pranayama means the control of Prana (vital force or life force). Swami Vivekananda
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