We have been introduced to the highest of spiritual Yogas, Jnana Yoga, through the inspiring teachings of Ramana Maharshi in the east and on the west by Lester Levenson.
What is Jnana Yoga?
Jnana yoga is the philosophical path – the path of wisdom or direct path, which is not to be mistaken for intellectual knowledge. It’s instead the unlimited knowledge, which emerges as intuitive glimpses into the truth of the Self. This highest yoga bring us to the simplicity of the Direct Path. Therefor it’s required an intense reflective, meditative openness on the Self.
In the life of a human being, there is always a moment when one wonders about the reality of things. Naturally after a painful event or after years of passivity, we start to sense the question’s vibrancy and the purpose of existence, the worth of what we have achieved or what we have settled for in our lives. The questions of death and what comes after death arise in the mind. Behind these crises, awakens a deep search for meaning. And these existential questions exists and will always exist. And because of what we truly are, One is able to go beyond the self imposed imagined limitations, we hold in mind. When we are confronted to such questions, each One has the choice, to either ignore or look directly into the true purpose of life. If we ignore this choice which follows is a rejecting reaction or fear of the unknown, then we will have to find new motivations to live. But if instead we feel a deep and intense need to go further in this quiet quest for meaning, we will have to wonder what is permanent in this ever changing world. If this interest remains and becomes strong enough, it leads you to the path of Jnana yoga, insofar as one can not any longer seek comfort in the usual remedies and palliatives, the world offers. This implies to look within for the Reality behind appearances, the Being beyond the body, mind and the world.
Jnani’s knows that duality is ignorance. They only look to the Self , because it’s impossible to looks outside the Self. So what is it that prevent us from knowing our real Self. and the truth behind the world? What is called in Jnana yoga, Maya -the veil of illusions- or in the direct Path what we call filters, which is not other than the mind. (thoughts, feelings, perceptions)
Ramana Maharshi’s teachings
Ramana Maharshi is the perfect symbol of the Jnana yoga path. His simple question “Who am I ?” This question is the core of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings. However, for him were not mere words but an actual experience, it was not intellectual gymnastics producing philosophical and speculative ideas. It was not a matter of asking himself the question once a day and let go after some time and then switch over to something else. His whole sense of Being was permanently permeated with this quest, consciously or unconsciously. The intensity was such that his whole being was entering into a particular vibration. Day and night, he was at the edge of the abyss, the void of emptiness and he received enlightenment at the very moment when he got out of his depth.
The question “who am I ?” must become vital to be really a Jnana yogi. The urgency and the insatiable need to find the true answer are key. This question remains always within us in a dormant state and sometimes, it begins to vibrate. It’s only when we begin to free ourselves from the sense of separation and its chain of definitions that we can really open to its message, which takes place outside the thinking-mind. This field of questioning is therefore very intimate, it concerns oneself in relation with oneself. The only subject is how to discover the eternal and unchanging reality, beyond the world of diversity and change.
A Jnana yogi rejects dogmas, preconceived ideas and second-hand answers. One does not believe in anything but only his or hers personal experience is the guidance. One in his search. The jewels of intellect, logic and reasoning are not relevant means on the Direct path of Jnana yoga. Their reach is limited and they are based on objective facts. Therefore, they lead us away from the fundamental quest on Reality. Only intuition, our inherent psychic capacity, can reveal the transcendental truth.