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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Raja-Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. Raja-Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. Scientific treatment of Yoga philosophy describing methods of concentration, psychic development, and the liberation of the soul from bondage of the body. Includes the Swami's translation of the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
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Clinging to books only degenerates the human mind. Swami Vivekananda was, among other things, one of the great grandfathers of hippiedom. I say this because he was a key figure in the introduction of Hinduism into the West. Vivekananda arrived at an opportune moment. Nietzsche had just proclaimed the death of God, and the newly widowed people of the West were looking for something new. There was a lot of spiritual flirtation.
Hypnotism was on the rise. Clearly, people were feeling a little aimless. It is worth noting that Freud was involved in hypnotism in his early days.
Freud, too, can claim to be a great grandfather of hippiedom, for helping to inaugurate the sexual revolution. His message fit the Zeitgeist well. He preached a universalist doctrine, proposing a religion compatible with many different creeds, not based on any faith but on direct experience. Such a religion, Vivekananda argued, required no faith since it had no dogmas, and was perfectly consistent with a rationalist worldview.
It was an event in both the West and in his homeland. It was a winning formula; and the perseverance of transcendental meditation and yoga in our culture is a testament to his lasting influence. It originated as a series of lectures; and it includes, as the final chapter, his translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The general idea is this.
There is a higher, spiritual plane of reality which the trained yogi can access and experience. This is done through several steps. The yogi must, first of all, lead a pure life; he must eat simple foods, keep his body clean, refrain from all forms of violence.
Then the yogi must learn to control his breathing, and this way to master his attention. Eventually, through intense concentration, the yogi can attain to a superconscious level. The benefits of attaining this level are sometimes pictured as psychological—tranquility, joy, and wisdom—and sometimes as magical.
Vivekananda is open-minded about the possibilities of levitation, telepathy, and telling the future. The spiritual plane is, after all, the more fundamental reality; and the yogi who can access it might be able to control the visible world in ways that break the normal laws.
But as far as I know, Vivekananda himself never levitated. Although interesting from a historical perspective, I must say that I often found this book off-putting. Perhaps just to appeal to his audience, Vivekananda couched his explanation of Raja Yoga in the language of rationalism.
Not only was he a pioneer in bringing Hinduism to the West; he was also an early Indian nationalist. Nowadays his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He must have been a very charismatic man to have accomplished so much before his untimely death at the age of thirty-nine.
View all 27 comments. Jun 13, P. Mazumdar rated it it was amazing. Swami Vivekananda was the first true traditional Yogi to go to the US and the UK, with short tours through Europe, and it was he with his brilliance who first popularized Yoga in the West. Traditions of Hinduism forbade all men and women from crossing the seas, and holy men specially would never do this. But this great man, with his scientific knowledge and excellent power over English, a graduate from Calcutta University, but who was also ordained into Yoga by one of its greatest traditional te Swami Vivekananda was the first true traditional Yogi to go to the US and the UK, with short tours through Europe, and it was he with his brilliance who first popularized Yoga in the West.
But this great man, with his scientific knowledge and excellent power over English, a graduate from Calcutta University, but who was also ordained into Yoga by one of its greatest traditional teachers, was the ideal man to spread the message of Yoga in the West.
Before him, Yoga was heard of in the West only in snatches, and that too from westernized Indians who were divorced from its traditions, or carried back by Western academics.
That is why Swami Vivekananda was such a great sensation when he appeared in the US at the end of the nineteenth century, and he was able to forge the foundations of the interest in Yoga in the West which continues to grow stronger every day. This book was written by Vivekananda in the US, even as he was touring and delivering his speeches on Yoga in different cities, at the request of his followers. It is the only book written by him in book form, the other books like Gyana Yoga, etc.
It was meant to give the first introduction to Yoga to people who had probably never even heard the word before, and inspire them to it. And this it does with great aplomb.
No one who reads the book can fail to be impressed by it. Its greatest attraction is the clear logic which Vivekananda uses to support Yoga. There is no mysterious air attached to Yoga, and the basic principles are taught in a scientific manner. At the same time, his passion and power shine through clearly, and will not fail to inspire anyone who reads this book.
This book is a must, recommended for all, whether a long time practitioner of Yoga or someone who just wants to know something about it. In fact, it is even more essential for those who are trying to gather knowledge of Yoga.
These are the words of a true Yogi, a genuine teacher, who carries these teachings from a continuous ancient tradition, yet with the sense of wonder of a modern scientific mind. A book recommended for all. View 2 comments. Jul 02, Owlseyes rated it it was amazing Shelves: raja-yoga. He made this next poem on the 4th of July Behold, the dark clouds melt away, That gathered thick at night, and hung So like a gloomy pall above the earth!
Before thy magic touch, the world Awakes. The birds in chorus sing. The flowers raise their star-like crowns — Dew-set, and wave thee welcome fair. The lakes are opening wide in love Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes To welcome thee, with all their depth.
All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light! A welcome new to thee, today, O Sun! Today thou sheddest Liberty! Bethink thee how the world did wait, And search for thee, through time and clime. Some gave up home and love of friends, And went in quest of thee, self-banished, Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests, Each step a struggle for their life or death; Then came the day when work bore fruit, And worship, love, and sacrifice, Fulfilled, accepted, and complete.
Then thou, propitious, rose to shed The light of Freedom on mankind. Move on, O Lord, in thy resistless path!
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 1/Raja-Yoga
Raja Yoga contains transcripts of lectures by Vivekananda on "Raja Yoga",  his interpretation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras ,  and a "rather free translation" of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras plus Vivekananda's commentaries, which also was a series of talks. Vivekananda adapted traditional Hindu ideas and religiosity to suit the needs and understandings of his western audiences, who were especially attracted by and familiar with western esoteric traditions and movements like Transcendentalism and New thought. Vivekananda's interpretation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is mostly based on the part on astanga yoga , the eight limbs of yoga described in the Sadhana Pada or practice part. An appendix contains a translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Raja Yoga became an instant success and was highly influential in the western understanding of Yoga; De Michelis has suggested it as marking the start of modern yoga , though that later took very different forms.