Gyana (Jnana) Yoga

/jñāna ˈjoʊɡə - ज्ञान योग

“Others, by discrimination, offer up their sense activities, and the energy within those activities, in the fires of self-control.” —The Bhagavad Gita (4:27)

Union with the Divine through wisdom (1) or knowledge of the Divine (2). It is also sometimes referred to as the path of discrimination. (3).

A practitioner of gyana yoga, known as a gyana yogi, seeks the answer to the question, “Who am I?” They stand mentally aside from their own body and mind, and become the silent observer of their own self. Gradually they will feel inwardly detached, and will accept that they are the divine soul merely dreaming everything that happens to its individual-seeming consciousness, meaning that nothing besides the soul truly exists; that all else is temporary. (3)

Gyana Yoga is not what many philosophically minded seekers imagine it to be. It is not a path for intellectuals who want exact, carefully worded definitions. It begins and ends with the task of demolishing the sense of “I” and merging it into the divine consciousness.

In pure Gyana Yoga there can be no analysis of Truth, for the simple reason that the intellect itself is not part of Absolute Reality. To live in this state of awareness is difficult for most people. Affirmations of abstract truth, without practical assistance from spiritual methods, can be helpful for very few. To break the bonds of attachment to body and senses by mental effort alone is a lengthy process indeed.

Most self-styled gyana yogis fall far short of the gyanic ideal. They conceal beneath a pretense of sagacity the fact that they lack heart quality. Even the gyana yogi needs to awaken love in his heart. (4)

  1. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 18, “The True Yoga.”
  2. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: Verses Only, Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 4, “Gyana Yoga.”
  3. a b The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 16, “The Supreme Science of Knowing God.”
  4. Rays of the Same Light, Swami Kriyananda. Week 43, “God: Form or Formless?”