Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge-not knowledge in the intellectual sense-but the knowledge of Brahman and Atman and the realization of their unity. Where the devotee of God follows the promptings of the heart, the jnani uses the powers of the mind to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the transitory.
Jnanis, followers of nondualistic or advaita Vedanta, can also be called monists for they affirm the sole reality of Brahman. Of course, all followers of Vedanta are monists: all Vedantins affirm the sole reality of Brahman. The distinction here is in spiritual practice: while all Vedantins are philosophically monistic, in practice those who are devotees of God prefer to think of God as distinct from themselves in order to enjoy the sweetness of a relationship. Jnanis, by contrast, know that all duality is ignorance. There is no need to look outside ourselves for divinity: we ourselves already are divine.
What is it that prevents us from knowing our real nature and the nature of the world around us? The veil of maya. Jnana Yoga is the process of directly rending that veil, tearing it through a two-pronged approach.
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About the Author
Born in a noble Bengali family, Vivekananda espoused the path of spirituality early in life. Right from a young age, he was fascinated by ascetics and took to practicing meditation. However, life wouldn't have been the same for this spiritual genius had he not met his mentor and guide - Sri Ramakrishna.
Ramakrishna was the powerful force behind Vivekananda who channelized the commanding intellect and power of this young man to unite with God. The two shared an extraordinary bond amongst themselves which became one of the most unique guru-disciple relationships in the history. Vivekananda spent most of his life preaching the Vedanta philosophy to people across the world. A globe trotter, he became a sanyasi at the young age of twenty five and since then devoted his life for the betterment of mankind. He advocated the importance of secular and spiritual education, which he thought was the only way to enrich and inspire the life of the masses.
Table of Contents
The Four Paths of Self-Realization
I. The Path of Knowledge
II. The Path of Self-Knowledge
III. The Path of Selfless Action
IV. The Path of Devotion
The Path of Devotion
Chapter I Prayer
Chapter II The Philosophy of Ishvara
Chapter III Spiritual Realisation, the Aim of Bhakti Yoga
Chapter IV The Need of Guru
Chapter V Qualifications of the Aspirant and the Teacher
Chapter VI Incarnate Teachers and Incarnation
Chapter VII The Mantra : Om, Word and Wisdom
Chapter VIII Worship of Substitutes and Images
Chapter IX The Chosen Ideal
Chapter X The Method and the Means
Para-Bhakti or Supreme Devotion
Chapter I The Preparatory Renunciation
Chapter II The Bhakta’s Renunciation Results from Love
Chapter III The Naturalness of Bhakti Yoga and its Central Secret
Chapter IV The Forms of Love : Manifestation
Chapter V Universal Love and How it Leads to Self-Surrender
Chapter VI The Higher Knowledge and the Higher Love are One to the True Lover
Chapter VII The Triangle of Love
Chapter VIII The God of Love is His Own Proof
Chapter IX Human Representations of the Divine Ideal of Love
Chapter X Conclusion