Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 17, 2016 Reading time: 5 minutes
The fundamental premise in jñāna-yoga is that all of us are trapped in the material world by our bonds and our need for relevance. Also, our bonds and need for identity/ self-worth (asmitā), ensnare us to keep acting (performing karma). This results in creation of debt which needs to be reconciled in this life or next and trap us into a never ending cycle of birth and death called saṃsāra.
Importantly, our identification of ourselves and the need for relevance in this material world comes from our erroneous belief that the world and our situation, is real. Also, this inability to cognise that the world as transient stems from ignorance of the true nature of Brahman (the source). Jñāna-yoga is that branch of yoga where we try to transcend materiality through introspection and examination of the true nature of the Self.
Significantly, in jñāna-yoga, the opposite of jñāna (knowledge of the Self) is not falsehood, but ajñāna (ignorance). Ignorance is the veil that covers the true state of the Brahman (source/ Truth). This veil, which induces us accept perception of our senses as the true representation of is itself (asmitā) is called māyā or farce. Consequently, when māyā is dispelled, the true state of one’s identity is revealed.
Jñāna-yoga is possibly the simplest yoga to implement, with least number of variables to control.
The concept requires us to isolate impermanent stimulus. Consequently, this isolation will slowly bring out the more permanent aspect of reality.
Obviously, many of these negations will require adjustments to our conditioning (dharma), resulting in strong physical and emotional backlash. Also, we will need to build capability and an emotional reservoir to manage internal change. Additionally, we will need to develop a strong drive to continue despite the pain of loss of closely held views.
The best role model of a modern day jñāna-yoga aspirant is Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi. Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi live in Bharat and was a personification of jñāna-yoga. He has also left an enormous amount of usable information on how jnana-yoga may be practiced.
To build up the ability to discriminate and weed out impermanent stimuli while simultaneously strengthening emotional intelligence, one needs to maintain relationships with likeminded people – getting motivated by their experiences and feeding off their enthusiasm, reading, reflecting and putting into practice the changes to our conditioning which strengthen the ability to say “Not this” or “neti” in Sanskrit.
Internal Tags: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Stress and prana, Awareness measures, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga..