Raja Yoga and Its Divergent Paths

Raja Yoga and Its Divergent Paths

The great masters, the founders of the Himalayan tradition of yoga, were aware of the different pathways leading to self-conquest, to self-exploration, to the core of our highest consciousness. However, not every disciple is capable of mastering all the different areas of meditation. Some persons may decide to practice only physical yoga for a long time; others may succeed in concentrating on light. They acquire mastery of specific systems within the larger system and establish their own academies and ashrams. Thus today there are different branches of yoga: hatha yoga, nada yoga, laya yoga, and so on and so forth. Students join certain ashrams and settle down to try out a particular path for a while. Now what happens is that some students begin to tell themselves, ‘This is the best path.’

Why do they do this? Because it is good for them. It helps them. “I derive great benefit from it,” they say.

But another person says, “Oh, these people! I have been there; I tried meditation, but nothing happened to me.”

Disciples of great master attained mastery of specific systems, though very, very few were found capable of mastering the entire raja yoga,  the royal path, the main path, which incorporated all the systems into a larger scheme. In raja yoga there is a greater diversity of methods, though all fall systems fit within a scheme where there are many systems, methods and mantras suitable for different individuals. Thus, in our tradition, we start with raja yoga, the royal path of yoga.

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