MEANING OF GNANA OR JNANA YOGA:
The word Jñāna means KNOWLEDGE! This yoga is the path of knowledge. In the Bahavad Gita Lord Krishna explains the different yogas to Arjun, but he specify that THE BEST YOGA OF ALL IS JNANA YOGA. Then if the meaning is Knowledge the question is: What kind of knowledge is it?
There are two types of knowledge:
1- The knowledge you get at school, college or universities.
2- The inner knowledge you get through meditation.
Both are important; but the spiritual development needs the second one. Why?
GNANA YOGA IS THE YOGA OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE.
This yoga pays a lot of importance to self-study and self-discipline.
Buddha taught this yoga making emphasis on meditation as a tool to discover our own weakness and limitations in order to achieve self-knowledge and later enlightenment.
This is the yoga of the great Masters because no body could ever reach enlightenment without this yoga. Who could ever reach the truth without understanding his/her own truth? That is the reason why Lord Krishna pointed out Gnana Yoga as the most important yoga of all yogas.
Yes, if you are not interested in self-knowledge then this yoga is not for you.
YOGA IS A LOT MORE THAN ASANAS AND WITHOUT MEDITATION IT LOSES THE MAIN GOAL.
REMEMBER YOGA IS UNION. YOGA IS THE UNION BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE SPIRIT.
THE OBJECTIVE: MOKSHA (Liberation)
Maya or illusion is the whole universe. So, what is real? Real is what is beyond time and space, that is called ETERNITY and everything that is beyond time. Our body, for instance, is not real because it had a beginning and it will have an end, the same with the planet and the entire universe.
In order to be free from "ILLUSION" first you need the knowledge, actually the self-knowledge. Within yourself is reality: ATMAN. He is beyond time and space. He is eternal and therefore, according to Jnana Yoga, he is real and your soul too.
Socrates said: "THERE IS ONLY ONE SIN: IGNORANCE. THERE IS ONLY ONE GOOD THING: KNOWLEDGE." He was talking about SELF-KNOWLEDGE. We all know the ancient Greeks saying: "MAN KNOW THYSELF AND YOU WILL KNOW THE GODS AND THE UNIVERSE."
You do not need to become a Sadhu (A holy man, in India) to start Jnana Yoga; but certainly you will need a lot of patience, perseverance and humbleness to achieve Moksha.
JNANA YOGA HAS THE FOURFOLD DISCIPLINE:
1> SAMANYASA: Developing these qualities.
- VIVEKA => Understanding the difference between illusion and reality.
- VAIRAGYA => Understanding the illusion of pleasure and pain.
- SHAD-SAMPAT => Developing six virtues:
Sama: Control of the mind (Calmness).
Dama: Control of the senses.
Upariti: Renunciation worldly activities such as fame and power.
Titiksha: Learning to be fine in opposite circumstances.
Shradda: Faith in Atman and the holy books.
Samadhana: The power of concentration.
- MUMUKSHUTVA => having liberation as the most intense longing.
2> SRAVANA: Study deeply the ancient sages and wisdom to learn about Brahman, Atman and the mysteries of the universe.
3> MANANA: Deep understanding of the teachings.
4> DHYANA: Real or true meditation, where the disciple finds the truth of everything, that includes his/her inner truth beyond the body, the senses, the mind, time and space.