Path of Meditation / Mysticism
Why Rāja Yoga Is NOT a Path of Traditional Vedānta:
From beginning of 1900, a few Indian mahātmā's visited the Wes. They more or less formally introduced the West to the idea of non-duality.
The powerful speech given by Swami Vivekananda at the Congress of World Religions in Chicago in 1893 - was a milestone in the East-West spiritual relationship... proclaiming the oneness of all religions.
For some reason Vivekananda put his own spin on the traditional teachings, emphasizing Yoga at the expense of Vedānta.
It is possible he felt the West was not properly prepared. Whatever the reason, the Vedānta he introduced to the West was not strictly traditional and became known as New Vedānta or Modern Vedānta.
New Vedanta introduced the idea of 4 paths or yogas: action, devotion, knowledge and meditation.
Supposedly suitable for different personality types - whereas the Vedas only sanction two: action and knowledge.
The path of karma is intended for extroverts with a heavy vāsanā load - and the path of knowledge is for contemplative types whose vāsanās are predominately Sattvic (calm, peaceful, noble).
How the multi-path idea was meant to be an improvement is difficult to discern.
Traditionally, Yoga is considered to be a subset of the Science of Self Knowledge - but not a separate path to Enlightenment. (As is true for other 3)
The practices of Yoga are not inferior to Self Inquiry, but Yoga is simply not suitable as a means of liberation (mokṣa).
Yoga is however extremely valuable to prepare the mind for liberation - because without a pure - mind liberation is not possible.
So with the ascendancy of the Yoga teachings - Enlightenment came to be considered a permanent experience of samadhi, in contrast with the mundane experiences of everyday life - which it obviously cannot be if reality is non-dual.
In any case, the experiential notion of Enlightenment has been the dominant view for the last one hundred years in the West. Which is completely misleading and incorrect.
Despite Yoga being a great mind purifier (and no doubt ideal option for certain personality types)... the first 3 paths of Traditional Vedānta not only purify mind faster, more efficiently and effectively - but also lead to Liberation (Permanent satisfaction).
For example, in Bhagavad Gītā, Karma Yoga is recommended. Which purifies your mind amidst mundane life activities like brushing teeth, eating, working, driving car, cleaning house, walking, talking, etc.
Anyone who's practiced Karma Yoga would tell you "Why invest isolated time meditating on God (Rāja Yoga) - when I see, appreciate and directly experience God not apart from myself - in all things of life through spirit of Karma Yoga".
- I. K. Taimni - The Science of Yoga
- Swami Krishnananda - The Study and Practice of Yoga
- Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood - How to Know God
- Swami Sivananda - Articles related to Rāja Yoga
- Swami Vivekananda - Book on Rāja Yoga