What is jnana yoga? How can we pass through intellectual knowledge to the intuitive knowledge? Jnana yoga means the practice of yoga through awareness. Just as in bhakti yoga you go through the emotional channel, in the same way in jnana yoga consciousness becomes the tool of higher awareness.
Just as in raja yoga you have eight steps, in jnana yoga you have three. The firststep is hearing the truth from the guru. Contemplating on the truth you have heard from your guru is the second. Then dissolving your mind or becoming one with the truth is the third.
Now again in order to change the intellectual significance of jnana yoga and make it more intuitive there are methods in jnana yoga. There are four techniques. The firsttechnique is discerning truth from untruth. The firstis called viveka, discrimination. The second is detachment, vairagya or CIS. The third is special qualities. The fourth is the desire for liberation, passivity in mind.
The firstof the six qualities is achieving equanimity, the second quality is to be able to control the mind and the third one is to be able to withdraw the mind. The fourth one is endurance power – tolerance. The fifthone is faith and the sixth one is having a mind without confusion. These are the six important qualities.
So these are the four techniques which make a complete difference between the intellectual jnana yoga and the intuitive jnana yoga.
The word jnana means knowledge, but this knowledge should not be misunderstood for the intellectual knowledge, here by knowledge we mean the experience. Experience is a very personal thing. This experience which everyone has is obtained through two channels. One is direct, the other is indirect. Direct experience can be had through the senses and the mind. If there is a flower and you see the flower through your eyes this is called direct experience, parokshanubhuti. Then there is another kind of experience that is known as indirect experience, aparokshanubhuti. In this experience you do not need a vehicle of knowledge. The total experience is a subjective process. So in jnana yoga the experience is known as parokshanubhuti and aparokshanubhuti. When you know about the ultimate truth through the books it is called indirect experience but when you know about the truth in samadhi that is called direct experience.
For example if you read in a book about chocolate. The book may have been written so well that you understand what chocolate should be. If anybody asks about chocolate, you can tell them everything about it. This is called intellectual knowledge of chocolate. This is called indirect experience. But even if you have not read any book, but you have tasted a little bit of chocolate, then you have the experience that is called direct experience.
The experience of the truth should be from within rather than from the mind. That is why jnana yoga is a way where you arrive at the highest truth without any intellectual medium.
—17 December 1979