Jnana Yoga: The Path of Wisdom

x0512Jnana Yoga is the path of wisdom. It is suitable for people of an intellectual nature. A Jnani Yogi acts with the feeling, “I am not the doer; Nature is doing everything. The body and mind are moving among the objects. I am the silent witness of all that is happening. The work does not bind me, I am free.” All of creation is seen as the play of maya, or illusion. The Jnana Yogi constantly discriminates between the unreal and the Real, the not-Self and the Self. This path requires a sharp and subtle intellect.

Deep in the middle of the ocean of the mind there is no pollution. It is absolutely pure. That part is always contented. It never likes or dislikes. It accepts everything; it is not proud. And this is the real nature of your true Self. Only knowledge of this true nature will free you from the turmoil of this world. It will free you from the petty-mindedness which divides humanity into thousands of names: “I am this; he is that. She is different from me.” People kill each other because they group and divide themselves. They fail to see and know that they are above all these differences.

By knowing your true identity you can also know others. We come together in that knowledge. This goal is expounded by all great philosophies and by all teachings in Yoga. Contemplating and analyzing these points is another form of meditation, called Jnana Yoga or the Yoga of wisdom that comes of self-analysis. It is well-suited to the temperament of analytical people. In this practice you simply sit and analyze everything that has happened and everything that is happening. That way you detach yourself and rise above your limitations. “Who am I? How do I know all these things? I know that I am disturbed. Yet my knowing doesn’t seem to get disturbed. If I am disturbed, who is it that knows something is disturbed in me?”

This knowing is called awareness or consciousness. The true person, the true you is constantly the same because there is no change in that knowing. You knew you were a child. Now you know that you are an adult, and you know you are going to be an old man or an old woman. The knowledge of childhood, adulthood, and old age is the same. You are not really isolated or separated You are only temporarily identifying yourself as the body. If I ask you what you are doing, you can say, “I am sitting down,” but you are not sitting. Your body is seated. When you say “I fell down,” who is this “I”? Certainly not the real I. The differences of the body make your mind feel different, and you identify yourself as the body.

This self-analysis can solve all your problems. You are not your body. You are not your mind because you are the one who is observing them. Whatever it is that is bothering you—anything at all—sit back and ask yourself, “What did I do? What mistakes have I made? Where was I selfish?” When you analyze in this way you will see that your happiness does not come from outside you. Your mind and body continue to go through some changes, but knowing doesn’t change. The peaceful nature is never affected. Only when you forget and identify yourself with the body or the mind do the clouds come and block your view of the sun—the true Self. The sun is always shining whether the clouds are there or not. The mind may pass through some of these cloudy periods, but as the Knower, you can enjoy the show. Enjoy the mind and its play. After all, it’s the mind. There’s nothing wrong with it going through changes. Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes unhappy. You know that. No need to worry about that. Just let it go and enjoy the show. It’s always a beautiful play to be seen.

So watch your mind. Watch your breath. Become an observer, which is the key to this form of meditation. Don’t worry about particular techniques, just sit back observing the breath, mind and thoughts. Just see what is happening within you. Become a witness, which is a wonderful form of meditation. Be still and watch what is happening in your mind and in your body. Maybe you have been repeating a mantra or focusing on one object for a time. You may then relax and sit calmly and watch the mind; observe the peaceful vibrations that come. Listen to the silence completely. Observe your own brain. See how peaceful you are. The mind seems to be totally at rest. You might think the mind is almost asleep, yet you are still conscious of the whole thing. The body is resting. The breath has very much slowed. The mind is almost sleeping but you are aware of everything.

Who is aware of them? What is this awareness? Who knows all these things? That is You. You are totally different from your body, from your mind. You are the witness— what you call the Self; the Pure Self—the witness of the body and mind. If you could maintain this witnessing constantly, still knowing you are that witness all the time, you would have reached self-awareness or self-realization. Keep up this awareness, even in your day-to-day activities. When you are eating, you can still witness: “Here I am taking the food, chewing the food, tasting the food.” You will constantly enjoy supreme peace. Through this you become the master or your own body and mind. You’ll walk like an undisturbed sage.

Find out who you are. Once you know who you are, you will be the best instrument to bring peace and harmony to all. Ultimately you will find you are not somebody who is going up and down, but that you are a permanent entity, an image of God.

All things are just part of nature, which can do anything and everything. The mind and body are also part of nature. Nature changes, so they too must constantly change. Allow them to play their part. Be a witness—the Eternal Witness.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be useless to people. You’ll see that you will be doing things perfectly because you have become a beautiful instrument and everything will want to come to you, to be used by you and to make use of you. You never take sides. You become the total, neutral person. Neutrality is the center or God, the center of nature. From there, according to the need, you can go this way or that way without losing your center.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

~Sri Swami Satchidananda

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