Jnana Yoga: The Path Of Knowledge & Highest Form Of Yoga
| November 11, 2008
Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, which is considered to be one of the highest forms of Yoga. It is an intrinsic part of Raja Yoga. In Sanskrit, Jnana means knowledge and the main aim of all knowledge, is to be able to withdraw one’s senses, thoughts and emotions from the external world in such a way that the seeker is able to behold and live attuned to the Supreme Spirit.
Jnana Yoga employs the tool of the intellect to perceive that our true Self lies behind and beyond the realm of the mind. Then again, it is a gross error to mistake ourselves for the Source or think that the Source lies within the scope of the intellect. Jnana Yoga explores the nature of the true Self with the constant use of the query "Who am I?" All this is done only for Self-discovery, for which reason, Jnana Yoga is also called the Pursuit of Real the Self.
Who Takes Up Jnana Yoga
Some Yoga practitioners with a powerful, unwavering belief in God do not need tools such as Jnana Yoga. They already have what it takes and need no help other than to believe in the Supreme Being and continue loving God wholeheartedly. This is called Bhakti Yoga the path of Devotion. Yet other seekers may feel the need to do self-less service and is called the path Karma Yoga. Finally, there are the one’s who do believe but still need to understand. These are the ones loaded with questions and are in need of answers.
Such seekers are ideal candidates for Jnana Yoga. This form of Yoga is not different from other systems except that here the seeker is taught to question, systematically, and arrive at his own internal answers. The origins of Jnana Yoga can be found in the philosophy of Vedic Scripture called Vedanta. These scriptures are far older than any other in the world, far older than the Bible even. In fact, many scholars aver that the origin of all major religions is the Veda.
Classification Of Stages In Jnana Yoga
Jnana Yoga postulates 4 means to salvation:
Viveka – Through intense discrimination. This is the ability to tell the difference between the real, i.e. the eternal (Supreme Being) and the unreal, everything perishable in the temporal universe.
Vairagya – Through detachment: In order to be able to practice the seeker must be able to "detach" himself from everything perishable and temporal
Shad-Sampat – By inculcating the 6 Virtues: These are Sama (stillness of mind), Dama (control over one’s senses), Uparati (renouncing activities that fall beyond the scope of duties), Titiksha (perseverance), Shraddha (belief and trust) and, finally, Samadhana (absolute concentration).
Mumukshutva – Through deep longing for emancipation and freedom from all sorts of limitations, be they physical, mental or emotional.