The path of right knowledge – Jana Yoga:
Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana
Yoga are the four well known paths of yoga system, each of them finally aiming towards self realisation or enlightenment. Jnana yoga (yoga of wisdom or yoga of right knowledge) is considered the most difficult of the four main paths of Yoga, requiring great strength of will and intellect. In Jnana yoga, the mind is used to inquire into its own nature and to transcend the mind’s identification with its thoughts and ego. The fundamental goal of Jnana yoga is to become liberated from the illusionary world of maya (thoughts and perceptions) and to achieve union of the inner Self (Atman) with the oneness of all life (Brahman). This is achieved by steadfastly practicing the mental techniques of self-questioning, reflection and conscious illumination that are defined in the Four Pillars of Knowledge.
This is also known as Yoga of knowledge or Philosophical Inquiry. This system of yoga is also known as an intellectual approach towards self-realization. Through philosophical inquiry and study of scriptures, the aspirant comes to know his/her real nature and gains the knowledge to discriminate between the truth and un-truth, the infinite and the finite. As a result, feeling of detachment is developed and finally self-realization is attained. This path of yoga is said to be the direct yet the most challenging path of yoga. Though Jnana Yoga forms one of the most important teachings of Gita – but it has virtually become identical with the spiritual path of Vedanta.
The metaphysics of Jnana Yoga is strictly non-dualist. The attainment of power of discrimination between ‘Soul’ (Purusha) and “not soul” (Prakriti) is also known as jnana or Vivekakhyati. Jnana Yoga lists Four Principal means for attaining emancipation (Vedanta Sara by Sadananda).
- Viveka – Understanding of what is right or what is wrong, what is good and bad, what is pure and impure, what is permanent and what is impermanent.
- Ihamutra Bhoga Viraga – Detachment from pleasure seeking attitude not only in this world but also world beyond.
- Shama-dama adi Sadhana Sampat – (6)
- Shama (Tranquility)
- Dama (Sense restraint)
- Uparati (Cessation of attachment)
- Titiksha (Endurance)
- Samadhana (Mental collectedness)
- Shraddha (Heartfelt acceptance of the sacred & transcendental reality)
- Mumukshutva – Ardent desire for the attainment of emancipation.
According to Every Indian philosophy, Right Knowledge is the key for emancipation. Yoga (Patanjali) says, “Practice of Ashtanga Yoga bestows uninterrupted Right Knowledge”