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Jnana Yoga

Probably the least understood of the four yogas is Jnana Yoga.  It’s often described as using the intellect to gain spiritual knowledge, but that’s a little misleading.  Jnana doesn’t mean the rational mind.  Jnana means using the natural curiosity and tendency to go deeper into things that is often associated with the intellect.  It’s more inquisitiveness than intellect that is involved. It’s often described as the yoga of knowledge and wisdom. Jnana means knowledge in Sanskrit.  It is similar in meaning to the Greek word Gnosis which is described as insight into humankind’s real nature as Divine, leading to the deliverance of the Divine spark within us from the constraints of earthly existence.


This is a great path for introspective people those who are always questioning or trying to understand. 

Good article about Jnana Yoga from Yoga International

Practicing Jana Yoga


Imagine yourself without the things we often associate with our identities: Our jobs, our marital status, our country of origin, our relationships.  Ask yourself ,Who am I without my job, my name, my appearance, my hobbies, everything?  What’s left?

The most famous jnani of the 20th century was Ramana Maharshi.  He used a method known as self inquiry.  This method probes the nature of the Self through the question: "Who am I?".

Shankara and, more recently, Ramana Maharshi are the best known examples of Jnana Yogis.

Who practices Jnana Yoga?

There are those seekers who have a great need to understand - seekers who have lots of questions and need solid answers. These seekers are the best candidates for Jnana Yoga or introspection.

Jnana Yoga is not alien to other systems or religions. One could say that the beginnings of Jnana Yoga are found in Vedanta, the philosophy of Vedic Scripture.  The close relationship between the Bible and Vedanta was also pointed out by Ramana Maharshi, who once said that the whole Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements: "I am that I AM" and "Be still and know that I am God."

Resources for Jnanis

Ramana Maharshi

Nisargadatta Maharaj


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