Jnana Yoga, Jnana Pada

Distinguishing Jnana Yoga from the Jnana Pada. A significant component of Jnana Yoga, the path of knowledge, is scriptural study. Jnana Pada, actually achieving the goal of Parasiva, is the outcome of Raja Yoga. "Jnana is the fruition of yoga tapas."

Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 40.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

This is from yesterday's lesson, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 40.

"What Is the Nature of the Jnana Pada?

"Jnana is divine wisdom emanating from an enlightened being, a soul in its maturity, immersed in Sivaness, the blessed realization of God, while living out earthly karma. Jnana is the fruition of yoga tapas.

"The instinctive mind in the young soul is firm and well-knit together. The intellectual mind in the adolescent soul is complicated, and he sees the physical world as his only reality. The subsuperconscious mind in the mystically inclined soul well perfected in kriya longs for realization of Siva's two perfections, Satchidananda and Parasiva. Through yoga he bursts into the superconscious mind, experiencing bliss, all-knowingness and perfect silence. It is when the yogi's intellect is shattered that he soars into Parasiva and comes out a jnani. Each time he enters that unspeakable nirvikalpa samadhi, he returns to consciousness more and more the knower. He is the liberated one, the jivanmukta, the epitome of kaivalya -- perfect freedom -- far seeing, filled with light, filled with love. One does not become a jnani simply by reading and understanding philosophy. The state of jnana lies in the realm of intuition, beyond the intellect."

One of the reasons Gurudeva makes that statement there, in the last two sentences, is to distinguish the Jnana Pada from Jnana Yoga. Easy to get them somewhat confused. Let me read Jnana Yoga.

"Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge. It involves philosophical study and discrimination between the Real and the unreal. Though the word jnana is derived from the verbal root jna, which simply means knowing, it has a higher philosophical connotation. It is not only intellectual knowledge but also intuitive experience. It starts with the former and ends with the latter. Jnana yoga consists of three progressive practices: shravana (listening to scripture); manana--thinking and reflecting; and nididhyasana--constant and profound meditation. Four great saying from the Upanishads are often the subject of reflection: 'Consciousness is Brahman;' 'That thou art;' 'This Self is Brahman;' 'I am Brahman.' Swami Chinmayananda taught: 'The goal of jnana yoga is, through discrimination, to differentiate between the Real and the unreal and finally come to realize one's identity with the Supreme Reality.'"

We can see that jnana yoga, significant component is scriptural study. So that's why Gurudeva mentions: "One does not become a jnani simply by reading and understanding philosophy." He also calls it: "Simplistic Vedanta." Somewhere else, not here. Meaning, Vedanta is taken to be just intellectual knowledge about the Upanishads and not taken into the experiential realm.

So we can see the difference. Jnana Pada is the outcome of Raja Yoga.

"It is when the yogi's intellect is shattered that he soars into Parasiva and comes out a jnani."

So one comes, one enters the Jnana Pada, we're doing well in the yoga pada or practicing Raja Yoga and actually achieving the goal of Parasiva. Whereas, in Jnana Yoga we're starting with scripture which is quite often studied in Sanskrit, reflecting on it and then trying to have a realization based upon that structure.

And Gurudeva makes another point in the Siddhanta Course. What was that, 1979, 77, something like that. I was looking on my computer for a word and it put me into the Siddhanta Course.

"Jnana Marga is described variously by many Hindu philosophers. It is a confusing issue because one cannot help but wonder how there can be a next stage of religious life above yoga. For it would seem that through yoga the Realization of Parasiva is the fulfillment of religious life. Well, the Jnana Marga is not a stage higher than yoga in the sense of one attempting a greater realization. It is simply the path or way of life of those who have fulfilled the Yoga Marga."

That make sense? It's not a different practice. It's just what you do when you've been successful in the Yoga Marga. You naturally end up in the Jnana Marga or you're perfecting what you realized in the Yoga Marga. But it's not a new practice. That's why Gurudeva defines it the way he did back at the beginning here:

"Jnana is divine wisdom emanating from an enlightened being, a soul in its maturity, immersed in Sivaness, the blessed realization of God, while living out earthly karma. Jnana is the fruition of yoga tapas. "

Have a great day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The peerless path is commitment, study, discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom.
—Gurudeva