Then, comes the description of prāṇāyāma. Although in the Raja yoga, Pranayama should precede this process of mind; but as I told you here there is not a regular statement, but all the elements which are in the Raja yoga are given in a summary form.
samaṁ kāyaśirogrīvaṁ dhārayann acalaṁ sthiraḥ |
samprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ diśaś cānavalokayan ||13|| (VI)
“There, having steadied himself and holding the body, head and neck erect in a straight line, looking steadily at the tip of the nose and not looking in the different directions.” This is the beginning of the Pranayama.
praśāntātmā vigatabhīr brahmacārivrate sthitaḥ |
manaḥ saṁyamya maccitto yukta āsīta matparaḥ ||14|| (VI)
What is given normally as Yama and Niyama is summarised here and He says: “Peaceful and fearless, established in the vow of celibacy with his mind restrained, and turned towards Me, with whole–hearted devotion to Me– the Highest Goal, one should practise yogic discipline.”
Now, this element of maccitto and matparaḥ, you should concentrate upon Me, and you become My–minded, matparaḥ, is a speciality of the Bhagavad Gita in the exposition of Raja yoga.
In the orthodox statement of Raja yoga, concentration upon the Divine is optional, it is not compulsory, it is not imperative: you may concentrate upon the Divine or you may concentrate upon any object. The aim of Raja yoga is to control the mind, and for controlling the mind, you can pick up any object. It is even said that if you are in love with somebody and concentrate upon the object of love, even that would give you the stability of the mind. So, it gives many options. So, even concentration upon the Divine is also one of the options. But here, in the exposition of Raja yoga in the terms of the Gita, Sri Krishna says that you should become My–minded, concentrate upon Me, upon the Supreme.
yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī niyatamānasaḥ |
śāntiṁ nirvāṇaparamāṁ matsaṁsthām, adhigacchati ||15|| (VI)
“Having restrained his mind, the yogin constantly applies his mind to the self, attains peace, the Supreme Nirvana, which abides in Me.”
Now, there are two important points here. We had said that by the higher self, you should control the lower self; and if you do all these practises, then you will be able to sustain your self in the higher self, and in that higher self consciousness, you will have two important realisations. One is nirvāṇaparamāṁ śāntiṁ: there is ‘Akshara’, experience of complete inactivity…but matsaṁsthām,, but even that Akshara is seated in Me. That is: “I am still higher than that condition of inactivity”. Nirvana is not the ultimate goal; it is a part of the goal but not “the” ultimate goal because even…“That śāntiṁ, even that peace is not final; matsaṁsthām,, you should see that even ‘that’ state is seated in Me, and I am more than activity, I am more than inactivity. I am Purushottama. ”
Now comes certain other principles of Yoga, of Yama and Niyama. As I told you again there is not that kind of a systematic exposition, but all the elements, which are in the Raja yoga are taken one by one, separately, according to psychological development of the teaching.
nātyaśnatas tu yogo ’sti na caikāntam anaśnataḥ |
na cātisvapnaśīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna ||16|| (VI)
yuktāhāravihārasya yuktaceṣṭasya karmasu |
yuktasvapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkhahā ||17|| (VI)
Here is the principle of what is called “balance, equilibrium”: you should neither eat too much, nor eat too little. You should neither remain awake all the time, nor you should go on sleeping all the time: you should have a balance. It is a kind of an equilibrium, and principle of modesty.
“O, Arjuna! Yoga cannot be perfected by one who eats in excess, or by one who does not eat at all. It is not for one who sleeps too much, nor for one who keeps awake.” (VI, 16)
“He who is regulated in diet and recreation, who is retrained in performing his actions, whose sleep and wakefulness is regulated, such a person perfects the Yoga which destroys all sorrows.” (VI, 17)
yadā viniyataṁ cittam ātmany evāvatiṣṭhate |
nispṛhaḥ sarvakāmebhyo yukta ity ucyate tadā ||18|| (VI)
“When the citta is properly restrained and is established in the Self alone, then one becomes free from all desires, and is called a yukta––one who is established in Yoga.”
This term Chitta is used here, and that is a very important term in Raja yoga; one of the very first statements of Raja yoga is the definition of Yoga, and it says:
cittavṛttinirodhaḥ yogaḥ (yogasūtra 1.2)
“Yoga means, cittavṛttinirodhaḥ, retrained, cessation of the modifications of citta, of the stuff of consciousness.”
So, Sri Krishna uses here the same word: “When the Chitta is properly retrained, and is established in the Self alone, then one becomes free from all desires, and is called a yukta––one who is established in Yoga.”
yathā dīpo nivātastho neṅgate sopamā smṛtā |
yogino yatacittasya yuñjato yogam ātmanaḥ ||19|| (VI)
“Just as a lamp does not flicker in a windless place—such is the simile declared for the Yogin whose mind has been curbed and who practices union with the Supreme Self.”
When there is no wind at all, the light does not flicker, simile the mind of the Yogin does not flicker, it burns steadily without any kind of wavering.
yatroparamate cittam niruddhaṁ yogasevayā |
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyann ātmani tuṣyati ||20|| (VI)
“When Chitta is restrained by the practice of Yoga and is withdrawn from the worldly material activities, then the Yogin beholds the self within his own Self and he finds contentment.”
What is the nature of this contentment?
sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad buddhigrāhyam atīndriyam |
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ sthitaś calati tattvataḥ ||21|| (VI)
“One experiences this Transcendental Bliss…” This contentment gradually becomes an experience of the Supreme Bliss, “…Bliss which is atīndriyam, which transcends any sensual experience.” In other words, whatever may be the climaxes of sense experiences, and the delight, this Bliss goes even beyond that. “…it can be ceased by the intellect, buddhigrāhyam; it can be conceived and then, it goes even beyond buddhi to experience it.” It can be conceived by buddhi, but actually it goes, in experience even beyond that.