For every religion
and every age
|What is Raja Yoga?
Raja Yoga, which can be translated into the “kingly” or “royal” practice of yoga, unlike most other forms is only focused on meditation and not physical exercise.
One focuses on a point of light which is believed to be God or another object and meditates with open eyes while trying to stop the mind from wandering. The focus leads to a meditation point on the centre of the lower forehead, considered to be the third eye, called “ajna”.
The mind becomes very calm and cleared of meaningless thoughts or unnecessary worries. This is seen as a journey inwards during which a connection with the spiritual resources inside the body is made and a deep relaxation achieved.
It tastes sweet and comforting – the homemade gift that is presented by the senior Brahma Kumari Raja Yoga devotees, affectionately called “Dadis” (senior sisters) to their junior counterparts after every meeting. Some of these devotees have been with Brahma Baba, the founder of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University from the very inception of the movement in 1936.
The Brahma Kumari movement is a worldwide network with more than 450,000 followers and an incredible number of 8500 centres in over 90 countries, promoting Raja Yoga and their simple philosophy, “When we change, the world changes”. Their name has become known the world over for the various programmes they have launched in cooperation with the UN like the “Peace Messenger Initiative – Global Co-operation for a Better World” or the “Million Thoughts of Peace” initiative in Sri Lanka, that brought them the International Peace Messenger Award from the UN in 1987.
In Sri Lanka, they have 33 centres throughout the country, of which 21 are main and the rest sub-centres spreading the message that peace can be found by each and every one. Smaller centres run by families dedicate their time and offer their homes to provide the 1200 members (of which 700 are regular practitioners) of the Sri Lankan Brahma Kumari community with a place to practise Raja Yoga.
The Brahma Kumaris’ Yoga Centre in Ceylon, affiliated to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Mount Abu in India founded in 1951, offers a free seven-day introduction course to Raja Yoga starting every Monday at 8:30 a.m.
During these hour-long sessions, experienced members teach Raja Yoga, the spirituality based form of open eye meditation and philosophy. The course designed by Brahma Baba is suitable for followers of all religions and can be practised at every age, regardless of the participant’s physical fitness. The lessons start with a deeper reconnoitering and lead to understanding of one’s soul. As the main focus of exploration is on the two questions “Who am I?” and “Who is God?”, the second lesson focuses on the latter, followed by an introduction into Karma philosophy, the cycle of life and the powers and principles of Raja Yoga.
For better understanding, pictures and commentaries are used throughout the courses and at the end of each session a 10 to 15 minute meditation is performed. Whilst in meditation the goal is to stop the mind from wandering and discard the intellect so that a linking with God who is seen as an incorporeal point of light can be achieved. The courses are geared for a group of upto 15 persons, but private lessons can also be arranged.
A general state of wellbeing, an unshakable sense of peace and clarity of mind are not the only positive effects this form of meditation bestows. The practitioners benefit from an increased ability to concentrate, more harmonic relationships and relief from stress-related health problems, while they also become more focused on throwing off old unwanted habits or addictions. Many Raja Yoga followers become devout followers of the system with a wider, general understanding and a positive attitude towards their everyday life. “Through their practice they endeavour to bring peace and happiness into the world,” said Dr. Nirmala Kajara, Regional Director of Australasia, who visited the “Harmony Centre” in Dehiwala and gave lectures on “Spiritual powers and the need of time” recently.
The Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centres in Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Trincomalee and other towns also offer monthly courses such as “Positive thinking”, “Self managing leadership”, “Stress free living” and “The Secrets of Self-esteem” on request. They are also involved in community projects where they provide tsunami- affected villages with medical services or workshops.