Four Stages of Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga includes four stages and each stage leads to the next.

The first stage: stop the mind from going outwards while fixing concentration on a single object. Chaos of mind must be slowed down and the concentration must not be allowed to waver. In the beginning, achieving such an unwavering concentration may be difficult, but with persistent practice, this becomes easy and even spontaneous. 

The second stage involves efforts to train the mind through Raja Yogic techniques so that the depth and the duration of the concentration are increased. This may take time but again practice makes things easy.

The third stage signifies a complete ingoing of the mental consciousness. This ingoing must be so complete that it will seem that the outside world does not exist.  The practitioner must ensure through practice that there is no mental connection with the outside world.

And when the Raja Yoga practice reaches the final stage there is the pure mental consciousness left and it is found completely absorbed in the supreme object of the concentration-the consciousness of Bliss-satchitananda. While ascending the stairs of Raja Yoga, one can have the subjective experience of the ultimate unchanging reality or Brahman.   Raja Yoga ends in yogic trance or samadhiSamadhi is considered the pinnacle of yogic practice, the ultimate goal of yoga. It takes one beyond body and mind, birth and death into a consciousness of blissful eternity. In samadhi, one gets immersed in the immortal inner being which pervades the universe as the ultimate reality, as the supreme light and the supreme bliss of existence.

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