God and Path of Gyana Yoga


What is the role of God in life of a person who follows the path of jnana yoga, because he intends to merge his soul in the spirit by self effort. Such a person has nothing to do with God( dynamic aspect). He doesn’t depend on anyone and burns his ego in the fire of knowledge. Can such a person succeed even without God’s grace?

—Sam, India


Dear Sam,

Many have asked that question. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be the President of a Superpower Country. For starters, it would not be easy to imagine such a person and such a role without some experience of it. Imagine, further, that you seek to be become the President of a Superpower Nation. How easy is that? Could you do it in one lifetime? Could you do it without having made a name for yourself; without the support of thousands, even millions, but especially even of people of power, influence and wealth? Of course, not!

To seek to merge into the Infinite is to become One with all that is! How powerful would that be? Can we imagine what Infinity is? What infinite Power is? Love? Bliss?

Don’t you see that what you are asking and seeking is something very great? Can you imagine doing this by the power of ego alone when the very state of Being that you seek is Infinite compared to the tiny, self-serving ego, attached as it is to one mortal body?

Upon whom did you depend in order to obtain human birth? Your parents, certainly? Upon whom did you depend to protect, feed, and teach you from infancy to adulthood? Upon what power of nature do you depend upon for the production and consumption of food?

A true Gyani, for example, Ramana Maharshi, had no interest in food or anything. After his awakening he sat for long periods of time; someone came and fed him; he wouldn’t feed himself or seek help of any kind. Have you achieved this state of gyana?

Krishna is asked by Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: which is the best path to the Supreme: meditation on the absolute or the I-thou relationship? Krishna replies that for embodied beings, the I-thou relationship is easiest. To meditate on no one and no thing; and no and no thing of which you have even the slightest experience of, is beyond difficult. For all but the most advanced souls, it is impossible, practically speaking.

Philosophical purity must learn to be practical. “It takes a thorn to remove a thorn.” A true guru comes to awaken us to our own Self-realization. The ego is infected with its own delusion. Satsang, discipleship, seva, and swadhaya are useful and appropriate for those of us on the inner path. Meditation alone can feed the ego, when there is no devotion. The greatest gyani I have ever heard of, Swami Sri Yukteswar, wrote in his one and only book, The Holy Science, that without devotion we cannot take one step on the spiritual path.

So, please do re-think your aspirations and expand them to include God in whatever form may come to you (the “Ishta Devata”); to expand your heart, too, in the service of God through others and through your duties (nishkam karma, action without expectation or attachment to the results).

May your path take you swiftly to the shores of the Infinite!

Nayaswami Hriman

Seattle WA USA