Raja yoga is the easiest of all practices. I shall explain it to you in the simplest possible manner, whether you want to make anything of it or not is your business.
There are several misconceptions about the practice, I know, but those are created by people with vested interests, so don’t be confused. I shall be very plain here; this is the only method which matters. If you are willing to stick to it you would be a Yogi in no time.
But are there any hitches? Yes, only one, that you might gradually lose interest in the world around you and might want to be in the Yogic state always. Yet if you want to be involved in the world and be a yogi too, that is also possible, but your heart will pine for the true state of happiness you will be in otherwise!
Here is the technique, shorn of all trappings:
Fix your mind at some point inside your body. You can place it anywhere inside the body and even outside on any thing if you want, but the most effective spot would be the place between your eyebrows.
It is the easiest of all methods and a proven one. There are two types of experiences you will go through while you keep at it- The Tharaka and Amanaska states. I will explain them below:
When the point at which you have placed the mind starts to glow with inner light it is known as Tharaka Yoga. The first thing you see inside would be a star ( tharaka). Hence the name.(tharana the root of tharaka means "to cross" . Its theoretical , let us not go into all that)
When the mind is completely dissolved in yogic experience, it is called the Amanaska Yoga. “Amanaska” means without mind, that is, the mind completely disappears in the inner illumination.
Now a little more about the actual practice:
THE THREE “EYE POSITIONS”
In the perception of truth (that is in your meditation) there are three “eye positions” that you might adopt. The “Ama”, “Prathipal” and “Poornima” eye positions (These eye positions are likened to the phases of moon, the Ama being the Moonless, Pratipal being the Half moon and Poornima being Full moon phases).
Here are the explanations.
Ama (fully shut) eye
When the eyes are completely shut while meditating it is known as the Ama eyed position of meditation.
Prathipal(half moon) eye
When the eyes are only half shut it is called the Prathipal eyed position of meditation
Poornima (full moon) eye
When the eyes are fully open while meditating it is called the Poornima eyed position of meditation.
All the three techniques of meditation are equally effective. I have done them all and found them true, great Yogis’ have also stated thus.
And for those who wonder how the open eyed meditation is done, that is how one could keep one’s eyes open and meditate at the same time; well you do it all the time. It is called the reverie, and yes, it is also a kind of meditation, it involves the three techniques of Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (absorption) described by Pathanjali in his Yoga Sutra’s. When you do all the three together it is called Samyama (total identification with the object of meditation). Samyama is Yoga, but if you do Samyama on anything other than the true essence of your being it only achieves that much. For instance, in reveries you unconsciously meditate on vacancy and you achieve that state of “bliss” for the while it lasts.
The Yoga Sutra’s of Pathanjali is a technical treatise on the subject of Yoga.
Studying it is not absolutely necessary to practice yoga; it lays out the different stages and experiences the Yogi goes through in the most scientific way. It is very useful in understanding what happens when you practice Yoga and also if you can wade through all the commentaries and the Sanskrit text it might even lead you to Yoga. But why go to all that trouble when you can have it in the most simplest of forms.
Now something of utmost importance:
The full moon eye position or the Poornima eye, though difficult is the greatest of all Mudras, or seals (signs). It is the subtlest of all secrets, the incomparable Sambhavi Mudra. Once you attain it you are a Yogi. In your open-eyed dreams you achieve it for a little while on the spurious of things. But in conscious application of this mudra on the essence of reality you surpass everything else and become aware of your own true nature.
The Mudra is described as follows in Sanskrit:
“Anthar lakshyam bahir netram
Esha sa Sambhavi Mudra
Sarva thanthreshu gopitha.”
“Aiming inwards remain open eyed, without moving the eyelids. This is the Sambavi Mudra, which is disguised and concealed by all Tantra’s (texts on Yogic practice)”
By the term “aiming inwards” the definition allows you to place your mind anywhere inside the body but as I pointed out earlier the spot between the eyebrows is the most effective one to achieve Yogic state. There are several reasons for this, going into all that is not very relevant here. The spot between the eyes is known as the Ajna Chakra and it is the most harmless of places to keep your mind at.
You might now ask. But what about Yama, Niyama, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, Dyana and Samadhi? How can one achieve Yoga without these? Well Pathanjali has not considered the first five as having any importance other than as a discipline to prepare you for Yoga, though much is made of them by others. The state of Yoga is not something alien to you; it is already within you as pointed out by the great master himself. He has divided Yogic samadhi into Samprajnata (with objects before mind) and Asamprajnata (without objects). For instance Newton discovered Gravitation and Einstein discovered Relativity while they were in the state of Samprajnatha samadhi (absorption of mind with some objects as its aim) we also do it normally on much smaller scales ourselves.
Then why conceal it from everyone and prescribe an elaborate technique to study Yoga? Well it had its purposes. Yoga grants you many powers. The system of Pathanjali actually is an elimination procedure to weed out the unfit that would otherwise throng to study Yoga hearing about the powers it would give to them.
-But what about the problem of having to meditate on subtle reality of your own true nature which is not cognizable? Would you not feel dispirited and soon stop practicing altogether? Well, that is not going to happen my friends; if you practice what I have outlined above you will soon start experiencing things yourself. As your mind become absorbed in Ajna Chakra you will probably see various things like , the moon , the sun, the fire , lamp lights, lightning, luminance, sky, star, blue yellow and red colors inside your self. It may not occur precisely in this order, but you will see them. I would not say so unless I had such experiences myself. Also there would be instances of ringing of bells, drums, thunder and sounds of other instruments.
Once you experience these you would not want to quit, even if you quit, that experience would stay with you from then onwards, saving you.
Technically you need a Guru to point to the place on which you are to meditate by touching it with his/her hand; in this fashion the meditation would yield faster results. But not every one can find a real Guru can they? So do the best you can, be your own guru, because Lord Buddha has kindly allowed thus:
“Be a light unto yourself”.
After those kindly words no other sanction is needed for any one to practice meditation on this globe.