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Raja-Yoga Paperback – June, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0911206234 ISBN-10: 091120623X Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Ramakrishna Vivekanada Center; Revised edition (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091120623X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911206234
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


His whole life and teaching inspired my generation . . . . he brought his great spirituality to bear upon his patriotism and thus his message was not confined to India only, but was for the whole world. I pay my homage to his memory. -- Jawaharlal Nehru

My homage and respect to the very revered memory of Swami Vivekananda . . . .after having gone through [his works], the love that I had for my country became a thousandfold. -- Mahatma Gandhi

The man [Vivekananda] is simply a wonder for oratorical power . . . the Swami is an honor to humanity. -- William James

This book brings together the main teachings of Swami Vivekananda in an easily accessible and readable form. I hope that in these days of uncertainty and confusion of mind Vivekananda's teachings may prove an enlightenment to many troubled souls. -- S. Radhakrishnan, author, philosopher, and former Vice-president of the Indian Republic

To convey Hindu meanings in English words is exceedingly difficult. The difficulty arises from the fact that the reader inevitably reads modern western, rather than ancient Hindu, meanings into the English words. The problem of any expositor or translator, therefore, is that of so wording the English translation of the Hindu doctrines that the Western philosophical or psychological meanings of the English words will not be introduced to the reader. -- F.S.C. Northrop, Yale University

[Vivekananda is] one of the very greatest historical figures that India has ever produced. When one sees the full range of his mind, one is astounded. -- Christopher Isherwood, author

From the Publisher

Swami Vivekananda, India's first spiritual and cultural ambassador to the West, came to represent the religions of India at the World Parliament of Religions, held at Chicago in connection with the World's Fair (Columbian Exposition) of 1893. His message of the unity of humankind and harmony of religions was embraced by the public and press of the time as representing the essence of the Parliament. The Swami wished to create a bridge between the East and the West by bringing to America the gift of India's ancient spirituality, in exchange for the scientific and industrial outlook of the West. After four years of traveling and teaching in America and Europe, the Swami returned to India, where he is revered as a "Patriot Saint." The government of India has declared his birthday a national holiday. In 1976 on the occasion of the American Bicentennial, Swami Vivekananda was honored by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery as one who came to America from abroad during the past 200 years and made a significant impact on its spiritual development.

Upon his return to India, Swami Vivekananda founded The Ramakrishna Order of India in the name of his teacher, Sri Ramakrishna, who is regarded as the Prophet of Harmony of Religions. The Order is the pre-eminent religious organization of modern India. More than 1000 monks of the Order serve throughout the world. While in the West the work is mainly in the form of conducting worship, teaching, writing and lecturing, in India the Order is widely known for its vast charitable activities -- running hospitals and schools, rural uplift, and extensive relief work in times of emergency. The Swamis of the Order work tirelessly in the spirit of "Service of God in Man," regarding the service of all people as a veritable form of worship.

The Centers of the Order in America, often referred to by such names as Ramakrishna or Vivekananda Centers, or Vedanta Societies, were first organized by Swami Vivekananda for the propagation of the Swami's teachings. Today there are Centers in many of America's major cities, including New York, Boston, Providence, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, and Hollywood. Because of their belief in the underlying truth of all religions, the Centers of the Ramakrishna Order are at the forefront of the Interfaith Movement. (Publisher's comments written by Swami Adiswarananda, Spiritual Leader, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York).

Customer Reviews

The prose is concise, yet easy to understand.
Walter O. Koenig
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.
P. J. Mazumdar Dr
His words are like Life & Light to me, they resound with Truth.
Thomas W. Clyne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Walter O. Koenig on April 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is both profound and easy to understand. It is valuable for persons knowledgable and new to Raja-Yoga alike. In progressive chapters beginning with an introduction and the "eight steps" of Raja-yoga, to more complex concepts such as Dhyana and Samadhi, everything is explained with conciseness and ease. The latter half of the book covers an Introduction to the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, here Concentration is explained, both its practical uses and its practice. In conclusion there are also explanations of the Powers of the Mind, Reincarnation and Discipleship. A Pronounciation table and a Glossary are also provided. All of these make this the best book by far on Raja-Yoga. What really sets this book apart however, is the direct manner in which Swami Vivekananda addresses the reader. The prose is concise, yet easy to understand. After reading this you come away feeling that you have had a conversation with a friend who cares about you. A truly excellent book.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Imagine a book that could change your life forever, for so little money. The amount is just secondary consideration, given the concept of Raja Yoga.
About the author:
Swami Vivekananda, one of the few philosophers who lived by what he taught (i dont want to use the word preach here), gives an authoritative commentary on RajaYoga - one of the four main yogas (the others being Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga). The other 3 yoga books are basically a series of lectures by SV. But Raja Yoga is more than a lecture. Its roots are actually in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. There are several good translations of YS, but SV's is the first (translated in mid 1890s when he was in Thousand Islands, NY) and the most comprehensive.
The book:
The first part explains the concept of Raja yoga. The second part is verbatim translation of YS with sanskrit text and additional commentary. The sutras by themselves reveal little meaning to a beginner. But when it is reflected from the minds of great people like SV, they reveal a deeper and significant meaning and suddenly everything becomes clear; the perspective of life has shifted a bit and one gains more confidence.
I can not stress much of the value of the book in a single review, Raja Yoga is a companion to life. It is not limited to any particular person or religion. Anybody, even an atheist or communist can practice it. Raja Yoga is a set of principles that any man can follow to the "ultimate liberation". You dont have to practice all the principles. Just look at the effects of one of the principles - namely Asana (roughly = yogic postures) - yields in ones life. Yoga transforms a man. For eg, SV explains the difference between the "yogic sleep" and ordinary sleep. A thief goes into ordinary sleep and wakes up as a theif. But in yogic state a thief goes into, comes out a sage.
This book is not for reading and adorning the bookshelf, but for thinking for oneself and determining a path of life.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vivekananda's book, Raja-Yoga, is one of the best books on the subject; beautifully written in a clear and concise manner. Although, like most books on Raja-yoga which discuss philosophies as well as practices, what is most beneficial about Vivekanada's book is his emphasis upon the effects of Raja-Ygoa. According to Vivekananda, when one masters the powers of concentration, then reads the experiences of the enlightened, then one will then take on that same state. When one knows in which direction to go, and can predict the state one is about to enter, then one has mastered concentration.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. GANDHI on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Raja Yoga is the King of Yogas.

This book really enables you to understand how your mind processes information and how to conquer your own nature to exercise free will.

The author Swami Vivekananda was both an enlightened soul and an elequent speaker. His words are powerfull!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I consider this book by Vivekananda to be a definitive work on the subject of Raja/Ashtanga/Kundalini Yoga. It is a must-read for any serious practitioner of true, spiritual yoga.
The first part of the book is comprised of several lectures delivered over 50 years ago by Swami Vivekananda to his classes in New York, and the second part is, to use his own words, a "rather free translation" of the Aphorisms of Patanjali.
Though Vivekananda's writing style strikes me as rather philosophical and high-minded at times, he does provide an accurate and valuable map of the eight stages of yoga (also called 'ashtanga' yoga). He outlines the correct approach to pranayama and meditation and accurately explains the more advanced meditation practices of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The latter is something I've noted other authors tend to either avoid entirely or, if they do attempt to explain it, make mistakes that indicate they don't really know the purpose of such states or what goes on in them.
What I found most reassuring about this book is that Vivekananda makes no mistakes in regard to the functions, methods and purposes of the various stages of yoga. His descriptions and explanations match my experiences completely and I therefore feel he can be relied upon to steer the intelligent reader in the right direction.

What I didn't find helpful were his digressions, primarily in the first part of the book, into what seem to be debates on obscure points of yoga philosophy. He often seems to be debating with unseen opponents, or perhaps trying to distinguish himself from other philosophies and schools of thought popular in his day.
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