Jnana Yoga is part of ancient Hindu philosophy. There are many different paths that lead to enlightenment or improvement of your body or repair of your soul. Yoga gives us peace of mind and even helps to elevate our soul to a higher level. However, different people respond differently to the different yoga paths available.
In the Gita, the word yoga is used in many senses, but every yoga ultimately connects with the path of meeting God. Yoga means the union of the soul with the divine. There are many types of yoga in the Gita, but mainly the four yogas are more concerned with man. These four yogas are Jnanayoga, Raja Yoga, Karma yoga and Bhaktiyoga. In the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna told Arjuna that knowledge is like nectar. No one can ever bind the one who drinks it. There is nothing in this world more than knowledge.
What is Jnana Yoga?
Jnana Yoga means knowing yourself. To know yourself means to understand the nature of our body and to reach our soul because till we do not realize our soul we do not know our body completely. Our body helps us to gain knowledge. Whether that knowledge is external or internal.
Jnana Yoga is also called Gyan Yoga. Gyan means introduction. Jnana Yoga is the yoga of enlightenment where reality is discovered through insight, practice and acquaintance.
Also, Jnana Yoga can help a person to understand and improve one’s own personality. It helps the person to understand himself intellectually and to know the truth of life. Therefore, Jnana Yoga can also be considered as the path to attain salvation.
Although the origin of yoga is believed to be from the time of sages, but Swami Vivekananda has also given very detailed information about Jnana Yoga. According to him, Jnana Yoga is a mixture of Dharma and Karma.
Vashishtha Adi Shankaracharya Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj are the foremost teachers of Jnana Yoga.
Gyan Yoga is the second chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and is known as Jnana Yoga. In fact this second chapter is in a way a complete introduction to the whole Gita.
Jnana Yoga is not based on any particular dogma that the Guru teaches and which you have to learn. It is a way to discover the truth and understand it for yourself.
Jnanayoga says that truth requires continuity. Because the thing which appears and then disappears cannot be considered as absolute.
It is true that there is some truth hidden in the ever-changing appearances! But the aim of Jnana Yoga is only to discover the Absolute Truth.
It has been defined as- “Jnana Yoga is a meditation yoga guided by the spirit of deep introspection”.
How to Practice Jnana Yoga?
To practice Jnana Yoga you have to pass through four pillars. All these ways will take you deeper and make you feel enlightened.
Sravana – The first individual self (Atman) is Shravan – listening or experiencing the Vedic knowledge and the literature of the Upanishads through a Guru. The meaning of Shravan is to remove all doubts from your mind and listen to your soul and Guru.
Manana – After hearing, the second individual self (Atman) means is ‘Manana’. The meaning of contemplation is to establish in your conscience whatever you have heard about God from the Gurmukh. Sit properly.
When we do something, we need to meditate. Manan means to question and answer one’s soul and after that work has to be done. That is why contemplation has its own special importance in Jnana Yoga.
Nididhyasana – The third intimate practice is Nididhyasana – Nididhyasana means – realizing one’s self i.e. removing one’s feeling from one’s body and following one’s soul is Nididhyasana.
The Four Pillars of Jnana Yoga
- Viveka (discernment, discrimination) – Vivek means the real understanding of good and bad, right-wrong, nitya-eternity, that is, according to the yoga of knowledge, considering the eternal thing to be eternal and the impermanent thing as impermanent is “Nityanitya Vastu Vivek”. According to this Brahma alone is true and eternal and apart from this all other things are false and impermanent.
- Vairagya (dispassion, detachment) – Vairagya means giving up completely the desire to enjoy all kinds of parts, opulences and heavenly pleasures as false and impermanent. Without dispassion, the seeker cannot progress in his spiritual practice. The glory of dispassion has also been accepted in the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali.
- Shatsampat (six virtues) – To stabilize the mind and emotions, it is necessary for a seeker of Jnana Yoga to follow six things. These six things or qualities or rules are in a way the property of the Jnana Yogi. That’s why they are called “Shatasampati”. These are the following –
Six principles are included in this theory of Jnana Yoga:
Sama – Control of the senses and the mind.
Dama –Control over the senses and the mind. restraining oneself from prohibitive actions – such as stealing, lying, and negative thoughts.
Uparati – To rise above things.
Titiksha –To be firm, to be disciplined. Be patient in all difficulties and overcome them.
Shraddha – Having faith and trust in the holy scriptures and the words of the Guru.
Samadhana – Deciding and having a purpose. Whatever happens, our expectations should be set towards that goal. There should be no one to separate us from this goal.
- Mumukshutva – (longing, yearning) – The intense desire of a seeker to cross the ocean of sorrow and attain nectar in the form of salvation is called ‘Mumukshutva’.
7 stages of Jnana yoga
Subheccha (good desire) – The first step of Jnana Yoga is good desire , that is, the search for truth. In this stage one has to study Sanskrit texts to discover the truth. At the same time, he also needs to reduce his attraction towards the things which create craving in the mind.
Vicharana (philosophical enquiry) – The second stage of Jnana Yoga is Vicharana i.e. to think, inquire or inquire about a subject. This means that in the second stage of Jnana Yoga, one has to question the thoughts arising in the mind and what is their true meaning or purpose.
Tanumanasi (subtlety of mind) – The third stage is Tanumanasi. In this, a person needs to understand his important things. This increases the concentration of the mind. Through this, a person is able to focus his attention easily.
Sattvapatti (attainment of light) – By the time of the fourth stage, the mind of a person becomes completely pure. All worldly greed is removed from the mind of a person and he sees the things of the whole world as alike.
Asamsakti (inner detachment) – In the fifth stage of this yoga, one becomes completely selfless. He takes pleasure in all the work. In this one becomes free from the world of illusion.
Padartha Bhavana (spiritual freedom) – In this stage one gets rid of all worldly illusions. In this, the person begins to recognize his own reality. Individuals become free from all imaginary things.
Turiyatita (supreme freedom) – By the time they reach the last stage, one becomes acquainted with reality. Individuals completely dedicate their mind to spiritual practice. In this, individuals dedicate themselves to spirituality.
Jnana Yoga means getting information about oneself is Jnana Yoga. That is, to be absorbed in Brahma by realizing the infinite possibilities hidden in oneself is ‘Jnana Yoga’. It has been defined as- “Gyan Yoga is a meditation yoga guided by the spirit of deep introspection”.
Gyan Yoga is a process of meditative success through which we can come closer to our inner nature and feel our spiritual energy.
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