Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga ( Sanskrit, m. , ज्ञानयोग, jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge), also Jnanamarga, called " path of knowledge " is the pursuit of knowledge of the ultimate truth in order to attain salvation ( moksha ) from the cycle of rebirths. According to Hindu understanding is the root of all evil Avidya, the " lack of knowledge ", and this in turn the cause of rebirth. Not theoretical learning and accumulation of individual knowledge is the goal, but wisdom. The Mahabharata describes the difference figuratively: "Who does not recognize, but much has heard the meaning of the scriptures can not understand, like a spoon not the taste of the soup white" ( MB.II, 55.1 )

According to the Advaita, one of the most popular directions of Hindu philosophy, this knowledge is always present, there is therefore no need to buy, but only raised awareness to be.

The word jnana, knowledge is related to the Greek term gnosis with the same meaning.


Ideally, the practice of jnana yogis divided into three - alternating in cycles - phases.

  • Shravana means listen and thinks teaching in the presence ( Satsang ) a teacher (Guru ), which brings the student closer to the essential understanding in an individual way.
  • Manana means reflection and serves the internalization of the captured knowledge.
  • Nididhyasana that serious sustained meditation. This is to give the student a practical understanding and lead him to knowledge.

The funds

The procedure of the student, which leads to his salvation, is the "four means of salvation " ( Sadhana Chatushtaya ) that build on each other is described.

  • Viveka - distinction between reality - what is immutable - (Brahman ) and illusion - that what is impermanent - ( Maya )
  • Vairagya - aversion to worldly things (including overcoming lower drives ), detachment from what was recognized as transitory.
  • Shad - sampat - The six virtues: Sama ( mind control ), Dama ( sense control), Uparati (renunciation of harmful acts), Titiksha (endurance ), Shraddha (faith), Samadhana - ( recollection, one- directedness of the mind) help in achieving separation and distinction.
  • Mumukshutva - the intense desire for liberation and knowledge is the driving force. It is the last wish, which replaces all other desires, but must ultimately be abandoned in order to achieve liberation.

The truth is expressed by the four Mahavakyas (large awards which are the quintessence of the Upanishads ):

Another means of Jnana Yoga is neti, neti (Na iti, na iti ), which means something like not this, not this. Everything what can be named or understood by the intellect, by definition, is not Brahman, as this can never be the object but only subject. If all objects of consciousness were excluded, all that remains is the left, which can not be named - the immutable truth, the Brahman.

In the Bhagavad Gita Jnana Yoga is described and compared with bhakti, loving devotion to God, called difficult. The Bhagavad Gita extols particularly the path of action karma yoga, but also a person who follows the path of Jnana Yoga, can ultimately lead to the same goal, Krishna says to Arjuna.

The other paths of yoga are: Bhakti Yoga ( yoga of devotion ) and karma yoga ( redemption through acts without attachment ). The fourth way is often added yet Raja Yoga ( " royal yoga ", meditation and contemplation). From the viewpoint of Jnana Yoga these other ways are considered preliminary because of the spirit for the highest knowledge must be cleaned according to the first place. This also classical Advaita from Neoadvaita the current Satsangbewegung is different. In contrast, the followers of the bhakti path are all other ways to prepare and Karmayogis see their way as the most meaningful to.