Jnana Yoga / Jñāna Yoga
Yoga of Knowledge
The path of Wisdom
Public Speaker, Coach and Teacher.
«Know yourself and the Truth will reveal itself to you. Look at yourself in the mirror of your own gaze.»
What is Jnana Yoga
Today we find many disciplines, paths and ways of meditating. Any seeker will begin to see that there are many philosophies of self-discovery, and in one of those searches we will come across some yoga proposals that come especially from the East. I especially want to emphasize in the Jnana Yoga, which is known as the Yoga of Knowledge or the path of Knowledge or Wisdom.
Many of the yoga schools are focused on the physical or the mental. Very few have their sole focus to bring and help the practitioner to achieve the ultimate purpose of yoga, which is the Oneness or enter the reality of Being, which is beyond the senses, mind and consciousness.
Yoga literally means 'union'but what does this mean and why are so many people looking for it? And another incredible thing is that there are people who dedicate their lives totally to a path of introspection, to the point of leaving everything behind to embark on finding something that gives them that which deeply their heart yearns; awaken to the truth of their true Self.
These days many people spend little or no time in knowing themselves from a much deeper level. People who want other things less self-knowledge. Spending time, energy and money on external things. Invest all their attention in deciphering, analyzing and seeking to obtain all the desires that their minds and senses continually show.
Rarely do we meet someone who embarks on the exploration of the unknowns of the world and reality of consciousness, of Being, of internal silence, of emptiness, of the experience or search of no ego, no mind, no personality; where you disappear and only pure consciousness remains.
Very few people take steps to inquire into this way of living and discover that they are puppets of the mind and the ego, continually controlling them. And this discovery may be harsh and strong, but it opens a path of infinite possibilities when you discover, taste, or try living from true Freedom.
And it is for this reason and others that many seek solutions to problems that are sometimes to abstract, but that one knows that there is something out there, just to keep on taking steps, one will find something that makes sense and allows one to clarify the inner urge to solve the problem of one existence. To get out of that internal maze full of conflict and pain.
Yoga can help many things, physically, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually or existentially.
People who deepen with some type of Yoga, get to experience things that are of great benefit to their life and all the people around them. In fact, it can be said that it can be transformative.
Of all the options that one can find, I want to explain and show you the jnana-yoga or 'path of knowledge'.
Types of Yoga and Jnana Yoga
In the Hindu tradition there are four paths that are the best known and most common. I mentioned earlier that the word Yoga, which means 'union' and is often explained as the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul or as the union of the human with the Divine.
In your practice, yoga tries to seek the union of our being with the Being and thus discover its reality. This type of experience has been given various names such as Enlightenment, Self-realization, Awakening, etc.
It is for this reason that there are several paths to reach this experience, since there are people with different tastes, passions and tendencies. One of the goals of yoga is to create a designed and perfect journey to fulfill ourselves and free ourselves from the delusion created by the aspect of material reality that surrounds us, this is called Maya.
The path to Union or Awakening is the journey from ignorance to Total enlightenment. Therefore, the ultimate goal is self-realization through the elimination of the illusory ego. This trip can be done in several ways. There are many well-known beings who have undertaken such a journey and now they represent the possibility of what anyone can obtain if they follow their guidelines, such as Buddha, Ramana, Christ, Krishna ...
In Hindu philosophy we find different types of yoga, the best known are:
- Bhakti Yoga: the path of devotion. It is the dedication to the veneration, purity and love for the Self. Purification is sought through surrender, the love of the sacred and seeking a very strong connection with the source, for which gratitude flourishes and revered inspiration makes the barriers to love dissolved. This is a well-known form that enlivens the senses and touches very deep fibers of feelings more divine than human. This helps the practitioner's sensitivity to recognize a reality that is purer and that transcends the typical way of experiencing the world.
- Raja Yoga: the path of self-control. This form of yoga encourages the person to take charge of their life. Learning techniques and methods to control the mind, emotions and train attention. Here one's habits and actions are very important, as there are things that help and other things that harm. The purification and maturity of beginners is sought so that in the long term they can deepen and reach other higher levels of consciousness.
- Karma Yoga: the way to act and live in life is through service. This path helps a lot to forget oneself and open up to a less individualized way of acting and one that takes everything else into account. This causes the selfish patterns that unconsciously govern the person to dissolve, since all action seeks that one is not there, that one is an instrument for something greater than individualized and ultimately selfish desires and points of view. It is following the call to help others but beginning to clean up the place and the intentions behind that urge. When one undertakes this path, one very quickly purifies the unconscious things that continue to justify the 'for me-mine'.
- Jnana Yoga: the path of the knowledge of oneself. Here the discernment, understanding and intuition of the beginning of everything, You, is applied in a direct way and in depth. By directing all the energies to discover the knower and experiencer of everything that one experiences, the illusion of what one believed to be is shown, so the truth of what one really Is is presented and this dissolves in a forceful and definitive way the illusion of 'ego-me' and duality, resulting in Enlightenment or spiritual realization.
When these paths are explored, mixed, combined, and played with, the growth can be very great and the transformation very fast.
These paths help a lot to the maturity of the practitioner to be able to absorb the teaching of the Self in an ever easier way.
In the school that I have we explore all this journeys, but the foundation is the jnana-yoga or 'path of knowledge of Yourself, Thy Self, The Self'. For all other paths to be explored, they all need someone to be walked. Here we put a lot of emphasis on discovering 'that someone'.
We are going to the seed, the cornerstone of your living. Your life can only happen if there is someone who is experiencing it, if this is not the case, your life would not exist. That is why our focus, is to discover directly the true 'You', your true Self.
All paths ultimately when the practitioner is mature enough will have to explore Jnana Yoga. This is the last stretch you have to go through to break the illusion. So why not start directly with the goal as the beginning. And by supporting yourself also on the other paths, the clarity of self-realization will be guaranteed.
Meaning of Jnana Yoga
The word Jñāna yoga It is written in the following way in devanagri: ज्ञानयोग
It is a Sanskrit word, which means 'knowledge'.
In his comments on Bhagavad-gītā, the religious Advaita (non-duality) Adi Shankará (788-820) gives primary importance to Jnana yoga as 'knowledge of the absolute' (Brahman).
Jnana Yogateaches that there are four means to reach Enlightenment or Salvation:
- Discrimination: the ability to differentiate between what is real / eternal (Brahman) and what is unreal / temporary (matter or Maya / Illusion). Begin to discern between what you are and what you are not. Become aware of the Witness and separate it from the witnessed. This is an important concept that is found in very old and millenary texts.
- Detachment: the practice of pretending there is no attachment to anything that is temporary, distancing yourself from the form with its names and attributes. Exploring that the observed is a dream, and placing a lot of emphasis on the Witness of the dream. This is how one can discover Reality (that which is self-sufficient, has reality on its own and which is permanent).
- Virtues / Attitudes:
- Tranquility: discover that which is before the beginning of the vibration of things. That quiet space before any movement. Learn that one's nature is tranquility and that everything else is imagination.
- Control of the senses: seek not to get carried away by them. Take charge of the chariot of life with your runaway horses. The rider takes his place and with maturity and practice, one learns to be in the Here and Now.
- Give up pleasure: All conflict begins with desires, the immediate reward for unresolved inner deficiencies. Suffering ends with desire or rejection. The pleasure has no end.
- Concentration: learning to rest in oneself, maturing one's consciousness and it's tool called 'attention', so that one does not lose oneself in thoughts, emotions, notions, ideas, concepts and in time.
- Patience: nature has its own cycles, it is not in a hurry, everything blooms in due time. Patience breaks with complex internal aspects of seeing, where the ego believes and wants everything in its own terms and ways.
- Faith: openness, humility, trust, disposition, dedication, surrender; they are keys to collapse the reality of the ego. Since the game of Being is different from what the mind believes and interprets. Accepting defeat and trusting the wisdom of the Self is important. Surrendering at the feet of the Lord, obeying his wisdom and surrendering completely is indispensable.
- Desire for Liberation: nurturing and wanting, above all things to be truly free, remembering one's Divinity and awakening from the dream of separation and duality has to be the most important thing in the person's heart. Such determination for that desire will burn away all that is impure, one will be pushed and this will cause a different strength to arise. Which will make one be able to face it all.
The Practice of Jnana Yoga
As we can see, this path points to the deepest spiritual state, since your sense of existence, your self-knowledge is used to challenge your own identity, since that is where the illusion really is and begins.
This path requires everything of oneself, it cannot be something temporary. It is to achieve the goal yes or yes, a no is not accepted as a possibility.
It is not common to find this type of knowledge and teaching, since it is very deep and only for very advanced and ripped souls. Everything is aimed at trying to break the veil of The Great illusion, with questions, ideas, phrases, Satsangs, existential concepts and messages, like who are you really? What do you think is true? What do you think you know? What makes you up? Etc. And also impart and show, from different perspectives and angles, the reality of Consciousness, of Being.
This approach is simple and direct, it goes to the root of the problem, it goes to the seed from which duality and the sense of self emerge.
It could be said that Jnana Yoga is the path of the search for absolute knowledge, the truth and the wisdom of the Being.
Through self-knowledge, the invitation is made to learn to differentiate reality and the projection of the ego. The main role of knowledge is to eliminate false perceptions to reveal the true nature of oneself. Generally people identify with factors such as name, body, nationality, sensations, emotions, beliefs, concepts, hypotheses, imagination, intellect, memory, time, space, consciousness, silence, the observer, etc.
When the mind and thoughts cease to be a reality, when you do not obey the emotional reactions, when you let go of all that, when you enter that inner mystery of yourself, the fleeting thoughts stop distracting you from something so pure that it is always present, attentive, here, now, immutable, immovable, untouchable.
Discovering that living is not being fantasizing about something that has already died as the past or the projection of the fantasy of the future, one rests and experiences what is really happening in the Now, but even if people live in the now, that does not mean self-realization will happen. It is understanding something deeper that recognizes the Now, and that is beyond that notion.
These examples help to see that the game of consciousness and its phenomena are sometimes not so easy to discern. There are things that are easier to see than others, there are people who do not realize that many of their experiences are still the ego, since the subtleties of the mind and duality are more complex the more one advances. That is why the importance of the guidance, the accompaniment and continuing to deepen from different places so that the clarity of the game allows you not to fall into its traps.
The Jnana Yoga It is one of the paths to liberation from the oldest tradition, and, as usually happens in such cases, there are various branches of philosophy and thought that have interpreted its teachings in different ways.
The Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualist philosophical school, emphasizes the importance of Jnana as a method to achieve liberation (moksha) from Samsara (cycles of birth and death). The ultimate goal is the recognition of the uniqueness of the Atman with Brahman, that is, of our own individual Being with the Absolute.
All this refers to the internal game. With current circumstances, the mind can misinterpret what these paths show. There are people who believe that it is to stop living, to take away the passion to live life, which is a wrong way of interpreting these teachings. Others believe that it is about inner silence, as a feeling to go to, constantly choose and ultimately stay, others believe that it is to leave life and go to the mountains, etc.
So many beliefs that cloud and confuse the simplicity of the radical forcefulness that the reality of Being cannot be analyzed, understood by the mind and much less has to do with the sensory, the experienceable and the recognizable. It is learning to live in the world and with all the beauty that it offers, but from another place, it is learning to integrate everything from a much purer level of consciousness.
I hope this clarifies something and invites you to explore and investigate yourself. This adventure is beautiful, deep, and trascendental when you really start to go within. It is very easy to remember and get out of the mirage of the mind. Explore what is shown here, and if you want more, the school and our activities we have are designed to help you wake up.
Reconnect with the greatness of your true Self.
Know the power you have always had over the decisions, actions and results of your life.
Discover yourself. It's time!
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