Hinduism

Jnana Yoga (The Path of Knowledge)

This yoga uses knowledge and enquiry to realize the self. According to jnana yoga, there are four methods to salvation. These are:

Discrimination:

This is the skill to differentiate between the real and unreal, the eternal and the transient.

Dispassion:

The ability to detach oneself from the temporary and unessential.

Six virtues:

These are mind control, sense control, renunciation of needless activities, endurance, faith and perfect concentration.

Longing:

This means a deep longing for salvation.

The Method of Jnana Yoga

This path utilizes the intellect to understand that the true self is beyond the mind. However, the self cannot be realized through the intellect alone. The jnana yogi asks the question, “Who am I?”. Famous authorities on jnana yoga include Shankara and Ramana Maharishi.

The Need for Jnana Yoga

Certain seekers have many questions to which they need solid answers. These people can practise jnana yoga and introspect on the self for experiential realization. Jnana yoga is not just an exercise in intellectual debate. The jnana yogi seeks actual experience. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Therefore, the jnana yogi seeks stillness of mind by focusing on “I”, which is the source of all thoughts.

Focusing on “I”

It may sound egotistical, but all thoughts are connected to “I”. I, comes before everything else. So, the jnana yogi fouses on the “I” thought to get to the root of thought itself. Eventually, when even the “I” thought disappears, there is nothing but pure awareness of the self. We cannot stop thinking just like that. So, we need a mantra to focus on, which is “I” for a jnana yogi. Eventually, the jnana yogi is able to maintain awareness of the eternal self even during normal activities. He is freed of all anxiety and worries.

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