Taraka Raja Yoga-1
The Taraka Raja Yoga system of Thought (TRY), is one brought into currency of modern philosophical studies by the Theosophical movement, greatly influenced by Sri T Subba Row. While basic matter in this essay is from TSR, some more additional data is added by the compiler.
Raja yoga is basically a system of developing the Mind (Manas), the fifth principle in man, so that it can enliven the human being, rise to the higher states of consciousness. There are many yoga-s and of these Raja Yoga is considered the King, supreme in its approach. Taraka is a prefix to this term, which literally means ‘one that would lead like a star,’ to enable crossing over of the Bhava-sagara, the wheel of birth and death so that the Ultimate status of unification is attained. Yoga literally means unification or joining with the ‘source.’
There were ancient scriptures of the TRY but they are now extinct. The seeds of the yoga are scattered in many texts of ancient India and a culling out of the excerpts is what was attempted by Madame Blavatsky(1831-91) (HPB) and TSR. According to the former, TRY is ‘one of the Brahmanical yoga systems for the development of purely spiritual powers and knowledge which leads to Nirvana.’
Indian Purana-s speak of Taraka as a ‘Danava or Daitya i.e. a Giant Demon , whose superhuman austerities as a yogi made the gods tremor for their power and supremacy. Said to have been killed by Kartikeya,(God of war, a Kumara or virgin-youth, born of Agni. The first war in heaven through Tara is known as Tarakamaya. Tarakaasura Samharam is a legend by itself. Killing, here, contextually means the conquering or getting over the afflictions.
As a yoga system TRY is less popular in India. Invigorating various connotations of Mantra and Tantra sasta-s. as a system of philosophy it has variants indicated in Advaya Tarakopanishad, Nrisimha Uttatapanopanishad and the like. These indicate the methods of raising the levels of consciousness from the lower rung to that of Turiya and Turiyatita(beyond the beyond). A study of the states of consciousness and their dovetailing to the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute, is necessary to have a further knowledge of that.
Historically, Taraka is used as prefix for both Brahma and Sri Rama, the Absolute and the manifest states of existence (Para and Vibhava). Taraka Brahma is adored by the Upasakas of Nirguna Brahman while Taraka Rama is approached by the practitioners of Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes). Even in the classification of Taraka –nama (name) of the Saguna practitioners there is a schism among the Saivaites and Vaishnavites. The celestial being approached by the former is Lord Shiva, while those of the latter school reach to Sri Rama. Taraka-mantra in these two schools is Om Namah Sivaya and Sri Rama Rama Rama respectively. The lower nature of personality is first purified and offered at the level of mental chanting to these celestial beings, so that they become eligible to learn the higher nature of the Real or Inner man. The normal practices of Yama and Niyama, the purification of the mind and the body, are taken for granted to make the lower nature or the personality sanctified.
TSR describes this system of philosophy as one very magnificent. According to him, ‘it is the center and heart of Vedanta philosophy and in its higher aspects, the most important portion of the ancient Wisdom-religion.’ He further states, ‘at present (1887) very little of it is known in India. What is generally seen of it in the books ordinarily read gives a very inadequate idea of its scope or importance. It is one of the seven main branches into which the whole of the Occult Science is divided, and is derived according to all accounts from the “children of the fire-mist” of the mysterious land of Shamballah.’ He does not identify, by name, what the other six systems or branches are.
The real ancient Aryan doctrine is very difficult to analyze or elaborate. He says, ‘there is a doctrine, though, which is their real foundation and which is sufficient to explain the various systems of philosophy and harmonize their teaching.’ He also suggests these systems are pre-Vedic, and they were studied by ancient Rishis of India in connection with the Hindu scriptures. This view is also supported by the propositions made by Sri Madhusudan Ojha in his Brahmavidya Rahasyam and allied works.
The powers of nature are independently explained by the Aryan and Tibetan doctrines (Brahmanical and Shamballah schools). The classification of Occult powers, made in accordance with the Brahmanical system, as listed by TSR run like this:
In all these classifications, subdivisions are again indefinitely made concerning combinations of the primary powers in different proportions.
The entities that make a ‘Total man’, in both the systems, are also drawn out by him.
Brahmanical System Tibetan system
1. Prakriti Sthula sarira(Physical body)
2. Combination of Prakriti and Sakti Sukshma sarira(Linga sarira
or Astral body)
3. Sakti Kama rupa
4. Combination of Brahman, Sakti Jivatma(Life Soul)
5.Combination of Brahman Physical Intelligence(Animal and Prakriti Soul)
6. Combination of Brahman and Sakti Spiritual Intelligence(Soul)
7. Brahman Pure Spirit (Emanation from
Explaining the combinations, he further states, “Individualities arising from mental consciousness has its seat in an occult power or force which keeps a registry of all mental impressions. This power itself is indestructible, though by the operation of certain antagonistic causes its impressions may in course of time be effected, in part or wholly.” This provides the scope or cause for a cyclic necessity for reincarnations.
Dr N C Ramanujachary