jnana yoga

Extract from "The Yoga of Truth" book :

jnana yoga, the yoga of the eternal witnessJnana yoga, also called gyana yoga, is the yoga of true knowledge. It is based on the Hindu philosophy of nondualism, called advaita (nondual) vedanta (Vedic knowledge). A similar nondualistic view of reality is held by many branches of Buddhism, including Zen, by Taoism, by Islamic Sufism, as well as by some branches of Christianity that follow the Gospel of Thomas. Some of the best-known Hindu teachers of Jnana Yoga are Vashishtha, Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharshi, and Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Jnana yoga looks into the truth about who we are and what we are experiencing. The full realization of this truth brings enlightenment. Of course, all yogas offer a direct road to enlightenment if followed fully. Whether a particular road is suitable to reach this goal is a personal matter, largely depending on where you are coming from.

Jnana yoga can serve all people, whatever path they take. It keeps the true objective of yoga in sight and offers the blessing of truth getting closer at every step. But that does not make Jnana Yoga the only or even the best yogic path for everyone. Most yogis will combine jnana yoga with other yogic paths, such as bhakti yoga, karma yoga, and tantra yoga, as explained in chapter 19.

Jnana yoga is not based on any preliminary idea or dogma that you have to accept. It starts from direct experiences that anyone can have, even though these experiences may sometimes require deep contemplation and meditation.

But how to recognize truth? When we want to know the truth about something, we do not want to be fooled by appearances, by that which only appears and then disappears. Knowing truth cannot mean to know now that this is that, only to become something else later, depending on circumstance. So truth is that which lies beyond appearance and thus is never changing. If truth were changing all the time, how could it be truth? If a person tells you one day that he went on a vacation trip to China , only to tell you the next day that it was Switzerland , what can it tell you at all? Truth requires consistency.

Of course, appearances also have some truth, some reality. They may be called relative, temporary, or partial truth. In jnana yoga, however, the objective is to know the absolute truth about life, the truth that is never changing, eternal. To come to the absolute truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about yourself and your experiences, you have to look beyond the mere aspects of you and your experiences that change all the time. You have to find that which is essentially you and is essential to all your experiences. To find it, you may need to ask yourself a lot of questions, some of which are included in this book.

Some of the typical questions asked in jnana yoga are in this sample chapter.

jnana yoga, the yoga of seeing truth

 

An interview with Peter Marchand on jnana yoga was published in the Integral Yoga Magazine - issue Autumn 2007 : click on the pics below to read it:


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