Jnana Yoga – Yoga Of True Knowledge
Jnana Yoga is the Yoga of true knowledge, which incessantly strives to know and understand the difference between the real and unreal, the permanent and the temporary. The holistic path of Jnana Yoga was described as a straight, but steep course, by Sadananad in his Vedanta-Sara, a 15th-century text.
Jnana Yoga preaches that there are four means of salvation. According to Jnana Yoga, the person should be able to detach himself/herself from everything that is temporary, after following the holistic path. It also aims to attain tranquillity, the control of the mind and the senses, endurance, faith and the ability for perfect concentration.
It is a popular belief that Jnana Yoga is based on the Hindu philosophy of nondualism. Contrary to the assumption, the holistic path of Yoga also finds its place in many branches of Buddhism, including Zen, Islamic Sufism and some branches of Christianity that follow the Gospel of Thomas. Jnana Yoga emphasises on the use of the mind to surpass or discern the mind. It aims to explore knowledge. There are the Eight Limbs of Yoga in Jnana Yoga. The person, who follows this holistic path, attains self-discipline, hears the truth and reflects upon it. There is an urge in the person to attain freedom from whatever is temporary.
The ‘liberation’ is attained through knowledge, rather than following rituals and ceremonies. However, not everyone is knowledgeable. Knowledge is limited to the special few people, who are prepared for sound examination and clear judgement of the nature of consciousness. This knowledge is attained only if the person goes through conclusions of the seers by reading scriptures, accumulated through millions of years. The knowledge, thus accumulated, is examined by the individual in the light of his own intelligence and then comes to his own realization. After going through this rigorous process of Jnana Yoga, the person seeking the knowledge ultimately gains insight, the ability to discriminate what is true, and what is untrue.
The benefits of Jnana Yoga are manifold. The person, who follows this holistic path of Jnana Yoga, attains tranquillity, which is the art of remaining calm even in the face of adversity. Self-control in one’s own self is attained by following Jnana Yoga. Another benefit of following this holistic path is a cessation, or keeping one’s self-abstained from the actions that are irrelevant to the maintenance of the body and the pursuit of inner-enlightenment. After a significant period, the person even attains endurance. He/she is remains unruffled by the play of the opposites in Nature, such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, praise and censure. Apart from this, the person remains single-minded in all the situations. He/she also becomes able to increase his/her concentration power.