Raja Yoga, the 'Royal Yoga' — Paramahansa Yogananda Best Quotes

Raja Yoga, the "Royal Yoga," is the science of God-realization, a step-by-step means of reuniting the soul with Spirit— man with his Creator—developed by the rishis of ancient India, with proven and uniform results. Raja Yoga was masterfully systematized by the great sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. It combines the highest from all other yoga disciplines: devotion, right action, physical and mental self-control, and divine communion through scientific techniques of concentration and meditation. The fulfillment of the path, God-realization, "makes all things possible" for it teaches how to make the mortal immortal.


Patanjali, India's foremost ancient exponent of Raja Yoga, outlined eight steps to be followed for ascension into the kingdom of God within.

1. Yama

- moral conduct: abstaining from injury to others, falsehood, stealing, incontinence, and covetousness.

2. Niyama

- purity of body and mind, contentment in all circumstances, self-study (contemplation), and devotion to God.

These first two steps yield self-control and mental calmness.

3. Asana

- disciplining the body so that it can assume and maintain the correct posture for meditation without fatigue or physical and mental restlessness. More...

4. Pranayama

- techniques of life-force control that calm the heart and breath and remove sensory distractions from the mind.

5. Pratyahara

- the power of complete mental interiorization and stillness resulting from withdrawal of the mind from the senses.

6. Dharana

- the power to use the interiorized mind to become one-pointed concentrated upon God in one of His aspects through which He reveals Himself to the inward perception of the devotee.

7. Dhyana

- meditation deepened by the intensity of concentration (dharana) that gives the conception of the vastness of God, His attributes as manifested in His endless expansion of Cosmic Consciousness.

8. Samadhi, union with God

- the full realization of the soul's oneness with Spirit. [ More... ]

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The Paths of Yoga

Various methods and bypaths are termed yoga:

Karma Yoga (the path of good actions);

Jnana Yoga (the path of discrimination);

Bhakti Yoga (the path of prayer and devotion);

Mantra Yoga (the path of God-union by chanting and incantations of seed sounds);

Laya Yoga (the path that teaches how to dissolve the ego in the Infinite); and

Hatha Yoga (the path of bodily discipline).

Raja Yoga, specifically Kriya Yoga, is the quintessence of all yoga paths, the path especially favoured by royal sages and great yogis in ancient India.


Lahiri Mahasaya had distilled the entire Raja Yoga system of Patanjali and the yoga teachings of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita into a number of uncomplicated techniques capable of producing the greatest Self-realization. ... Apart from the miracles of his own life surely the Yogavatar reached the zenith of all wonders in reducing the ancient complexities of yoga to an effective simplicity within the ordinary grasp.


Raja Yoga, the royal way of God-union, is the science of actual realization of the kingdom of God that lies within oneself. Through practice of the sacred yoga techniques of interiorization received during initiation from a true guru, one can find that kingdom by awakening the astral and causal centers of life force and consciousness in the spine and brain that are the gateways into the heavenly regions of transcendent consciousness.


Self-realization is yoga or "oneness" with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul.


These yogangas, or limbs of yoga, have come to be known as Patanjali's Eightfold Path of Yoga. (Ashtanga Yoga)


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