Yoga Philosophy: Jnana Yoga Wisdom for Everyday Life
Meaning of Jnana Yoga
The word jnana signifies ‘knowledge’ ‘insight’, and jnana yoga is accordingly the yoga of gnostic knowledge’. Sometimes jnana is also employed to express the highest truth bearing illumination, but in the compound Jnana – yoga it is used in the sense of intuitive – philosophical searching, or discernment (viveka). The Jnana Yogi, he who follows the path of Jnana yoga, sees in will-power (iccha) and inspired reason (buddhi) the two guiding principles by which he can attain to the emancipating illumination.
Jnana yoga consists of seven parts:
- viveka – metaphysical ‘discernment’ between the real and the unreal, the eternal and the finite, the human personality and the supra personal Self.
- vairagya – ‘renunciation’ of all worldly and heavenly objects.
- tapas – ‘austerity’ which is composed of the ‘six treasures’ (sat – sampatti) which are:sama – ‘tranquility’
- uparati- ‘mind-control’
- titiksa- ‘endurance’
- mumuksutva-‘longing-for –emancipation’
- sravana-‘listening’ to the sacred lore and the teachings of the guru;
- manana-‘reflection’ on what has been heard;
- nididhyasana-‘meditation’ on the doctrines revealed by the teacher or the scriptures, ending in ecstasy (samadhi).
This seven fold Yoga is identical with the path outlined by Sankara in his famous commentary on the Brahma-sutra and in his popular work like the Viveka-cudamani. In later Vedanta works quite often the eight-fold Yoga of patanjali or an adaptation of it is given out as the authentic Yoga of this school of thought.