Yoga of intellect and will
Self-realization begins with the most obvious and easy to understand parts of us and then refines our awareness to the more subtle aspects of our being.
Yoga teaches us to follow a mind-based path towards a deeper understanding of the world. Wisdom that is only felt when we feel the truth deep within our hearts.
Many people find that the path from asana, or physical postures, leads to deeper inquiry into the nature and purpose of the universe. It is common to ask the question, “What is this deep feeling that I get from practicing yoga?” or “What is it that I can’t explain?” We turn to Jnana Yoga to answer these questions.
Jnana yoga refers to the path of ‘doubt-free intellectual know-how’. It involves the deep investigation into who we are and the study of texts of Self-Realization. This enables us to understand all the subtle nuances of the mind, its attachment to sense-objects, and how these create the veils of Avidya (ignorance/forgetfulness).
These veils hide our intuitive inner-knowing that is so much greater than what our minds believe us to be. This is done with logic and reason – the mind serves as a tool for understanding itself.
You will find many resources for the journey of Jnana Yoga. The most popular resources are the Upanishads and Patanjali’s Sutras. The Drg Drsya Viveka is a simple resource. Panchdasi is a sensuous Bhairaiva Tantra and the elegant Shiva Sutras are also available.
All points to the same Ultimate Reality, that we are Divine Consciousness expressing itself infinitely in all forms of the Universe.
All things are part of one whole: The Uni-verse (literally translated as One-Song), all dancing together and creating a divine artwork, inspired by consciousness.
Jnana yoga enables us to listen and study these simple, but profound truths in order for our minds to understand how it all works.
It is possible to see clearly the workings and structure of the body-mind and intellect system by dedicating study with a trusted teacher.
Understanding with the mind – Experience from the heart
However, this part of the journey will only lead us to true wisdom. This type of knowledge is not possible with our human minds. Next, we need to let go of mind-based knowledge in order to reach deeper knowing. This can only happen when the heart is present.
This is Vijnana. It’s an experience-based knowledge that can’t be explained by reading a book or listening to lectures. This is the most mystical aspect of yoga and is often forgotten in the search for inner peace.
Life’s greatest mystery is when and how this experiential knowledge will manifest itself. It will reveal the profound intelligence and magic of All Life that goes beyond what words can explain.
It’s an instant of blossoming away from a mind-based identity’ to a feeling experience of being so many more. It is a shift away from the triputi, the 3-way division between subject and object and action, to identify with Life as One. It does not distinguish between knower, knower, or known.
Like all yogic paths we need to practice with sincerity, lightness and joy . Trusting the process without expecting a result is key.