Raaj-Yoga: Meaning And Accomplishments
Path of Ashtaang Yoga has also been termed as the “Raaj-Yoga”. It is on account of the fact that achievements and accomplishments after mastering the eight steps of Ashtaang Yoga transform the person into an embodiment of highest spiritual attainment.
However one should not be misled by the impression of having such attainments. Mastery over body and mind through first five steps of Ashtaang Yoga (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahaar) gives supernatural powers in the five senses. Power of mind to readily grasp the present and prospective thoughts and intuitions of others’ mind (Praatibh) and power of five sense organs to identify/realise supernatural touch (Vedna), sounds (Shravan), taste (Aaswad), vision (Adarsh) and smell (Vaarta) are described as the discernible attainments on account of masterly practice of these first five steps of Ashtaang Yoga. Such accomplishments are likely to develop a different ego in the yogi that he is “Above the World” and this realization may hamper the further progress of yogi towards “Self-Realization”.
Technically, these accomplishments simply help in loosening the bond of “Chitta” with the “Atma-Tatva” so that its free flow to all the material and supra-material faculties of the physical body becomes possible. It enables the Chitta to enter other bodies and creations without dislodging the “Atma-Tatva” from the parent body. To a common man such an accomplishment may be so thrilling and unbelievable that one may be mistaken that he has mastered the supernatural powers and so licensed to use it as per desires. It also leads to the stage of attaining “Ashta-Siddhis” (eight spiritual powers- anima, Laghima, Mahima, Prapti, Prakamya, Vashitva, Ishitratva, Yatra-kama-avsayitva ).
Path of Raaj-Yoga is beyond these accomplishments. Combination of remaining three components of Ashtaang Yoga i.e. Dhaarna (concentration), Dhyaan (meditation) and Samadhi (transcendental ecstasy) has been technically termed as “Sheel”. Anybody mastering, predominantly the first five steps of Ashtaang Yoga can accomplish the six type of knowledge (Shad-Siddhis), and may give an impression of the exceptional elevation of the individual on the spiritual path. If it contents the Yogi than it hampers the further path of self realisation, which is to be processed by the practice and perfection of the “Sheel”. It is this next step which is the final journey of Yoga accomplishment and is therefore termed as the “Raaj-Yoga” (majestic path of yoga). It is the addition of this final component of yoga accomplishment which makes a Yogi, master in true sense.
We have to appreciate the science and art of this Yoga journey. On one hand it is a path of gaining positive health, in reference to the mind and body of human configuration and on the other hand it is the journey of soul from material to supra-material detachment by learning and realizing the secret of creation and perpetuation of this world. Therefore it has been rightly termed as the “Raaj-Yoga” i.e. the “Majestic Path of Yoga”. It aims and leads to the true unfoldment of the secret of human creation and its purpose. Few achievements in this path may easily distract and dissuade a Yogi from the real objective of Yoga.
By Dr Dipak Shukla