The most authoritative text on Yoga is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, in which is described a process of self liberation called Raja or Kingly Yoga. I always assumed it was called this because it was the most effective or complete of the various paths of Yoga, rather than it being the path most favored by Rajas or Indian kings. However I have recently arrived at a very different understanding: Raja Yoga is the path of revealing the King or the born leader within each and every human being.
The way of Raja Yoga involves purifying and pacifying practices that lead to integration of mind breath and body. It also involves detailed study or self inquiry as to the nature of experience and who we are. The third part of Raja Yoga is the development of acceptance leading to faith in the way things are, an openness of the heart if you like.
Raja yoga seeks to make clear the existence of an aspect of ourselves which is normally hidden and yet of supreme importance, in fact it seeks to make clear who we actually are, rather than who we think we are. This may be explained by a parable of a city state in which the King or Queen, the sovereign, has fallen into a kind of incapacitated condition. Although the sovereign is still the source of all power in the state , effective functioning and day to day matters have been assumed by two lesser entities, the Head of the Armed forces and the Minister of Public Affairs. These two, each in accordance with their strict duties and responsibilities, yet sensing the danger and critical nature of the sovereigns incapacity or abdication of responsibility, have no option but to prepare for the worst. Only the royal born sovereign has the vision and the authority to restore order and ensure a peaceful and powerful reign, the others are mere functionaries, and have no real existence or authority. In everyday terms the two overworked and anxiety ridden ministers are the body and the mind, the sovereign is the essence or the Self, or what might be called the Soul.
Raja yoga seeks to isolate the Sovereign from the continuous clamor of the ministers, and slowly reactivate the Royal powers of governance, first by concentrating on simple objects so that the sovereign becomes aware of his/her own nature. As the royal essence slowly wakes up to its condition and responsibilities, it is given full dominance over the body and the mind, and eventually over all its subjects.
Royalty, true natural royalty is gifted with innate wisdom and peaceful power. All discord in human lives is a result of the absence of this natural wisdom and power, that seeks nothing for itself, as it knows that it is the source of all things.
Raja yoga seeks to awaken the King or Queen that is who you really are , when that occurs, fear, discord and want vanish from the land and peaceful productive relations are ensured.
In the world of human resources and leadership, nearly everyone is seeking to convince one of the two ministers to assume the role of the sovereign, to achieve Leadership by acquisitions of this or that trait or capacity. From the point of view of Raja Yoga, this is a consensus of ministers on how best to govern in the absence of the true sovereign, for the ministers themselves have no idea how to wake the sovereign up from his/her semi-wakeful state. Only the sovereign can truly govern peacefully and with natural power and authority accepted by all.
We can each be sovereign over our lives, no matter what the circumstances, it is a natural state that we have lost and can be regained. Whatever our material or mental circumstances, we can wake up to our royal nature and begin to act like a true king or a queen, who understands that all power stems from their self nature and so has no need to seek power over others, in fact our concern becomes that of waking up all other slumbering kings and queens so that the whole planet is inhabited by true and natural royalty, wise and knowing beings, aware of their own true nature