Ways to Foster Jnana Yoga Consciousness

By Rev. Paraman Barsel

• Remember the Truth — above all, the spiritual path is about remembering, since all the problems originate with forgetting Who You Are!
• According to Sri Swami Satchidananda, the best way to overcome the bondage of delusion is to “Always remember and din into your consciousness — ‘I am happiness personified.’” Thus, you can only be unhappy by looking for happiness from outside.
• One way to din the Truth into your consciousness is to repeat affirmations which affirm the Truth regularly with full zeal, focus and energy.
• You can find lots of such great affirmations on the CD “Guided Relaxation and Affirmations for Inner Peace” and in all the words of great beings. Find one that you love and make it the motto of your life. Repeat it often. Remember it in testing moments. Proclaim it forcefully and boldly to saturate your consciousness with its awakening power. It will become your unfailing friend in times of need, your inner guide, liberator, and awakener. Just one is enough, but you can have as many affirmations as you like with one main affirmation.
• “Ignorance is regarding the impermanent as permanent, the impure as pure, the painful as pleasant, and the non-self as Self.” – Patanjali Yoga Sutras Book II, sutra 5. This state of total confusion is the normal state of affairs for almost everyone almost all of the time. This ignorance is the cause of all the obstacles. The obstacles are the only thing standing between the “you” that you think you are and abiding in your True Nature of unending Peace and limitless Happiness, Love, and Light.
• How to remember the Truth when it is beyond the mind? Start by recognizing what is not true — you are not impermanent, perishable, full of pain and impurity; you are not a separate little self distinct from all others and from the universe. This technique is called neti neti – “not this, not this.”
• Always remember that you are not just the body and mind, you are the Immortal Self, you are Knowledge Absolute, you are Bliss Absolute. You are nothing less than Divine.
• All the practices of Integral Yoga and all spiritual paths are conducive to remembering, or, better, awakening to the Truth. Calming and purifying the mind brings the direct experience of the Truth. This can be done through Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, etc. — all culminate in direct awakening to the Truth of who you are.
• You can be a Jnana Yogi and still be devotional. Some of the greatest Jnana Yogis in history like Sri Shankaracharya were also great bhaktas. They proclaim that “You are That,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy bringing the Divine forth from within you to worship in supreme love for the sheer joy of it. In fact, Sri Swami Satchidananda teaches us that in performing puja (ritual worship) we start by bringing the Deity forth from within our own heart, and end by returning It there.
• One of the greatest and most essential aids on the path to awakening is to keep up your morale. Remembering the Truth and the greatness of the Reality of who you really are will be a constant source of inspiration and enthusiasm.
• Keeping the company of seekers of the Truth is a tremendous aid to this remembering.
• You can also keep this good company (satsang) by studying the words of great beings who have gone before. Study slowly and deeply, chewing over every word. All scriptures are living beings which reveal themselves more and more according to your interest, need, and application.
• Some suggested readings: everything by Sri Swami Satchidananda has the Truth as its core. Likewise for his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda. The great Swami Vivekananda has a very strong and very inspiring Jnana Yoga bent. Almost everything written by Swami Satchidananda’s brother monk Swami Venkatesananda is steeped in Jnana Yoga. Sri Shankaracharya’s great Vivekachudamani – The Crest Jewel of Discrimination – is a great Jnana Yoga scripture. You will find these strong Jnana Yoga teachings referred to as Vedanta or Advaita (non-dualism). It’s not about reading a lot; rather, it’s about going deep. If you go really deep one word is enough!

Other Jnana Yoga Practices:
o Witnessing the mind and the flow of thoughts without judgment — can be done as formal meditation and throughout the day. When you remove yourself to witness, automatically you are freeing yourself from just identifying with the thoughts in the mind. Remember, Patanjali defines this identification as the very essence of not abiding in one’s own True Nature — Book I, sutra 4.
o Inquire, “Who Am I?” Whatever the answer, inquire “Who Am I?” The end of questioning is an experience that is unmistakable. (This is true of all spiritual practices!)
o Analyze the mind’s upsets, find out which mode of ignorance is at the root. Never settle for blaming anyone or anything outside – go to the source. Just shining the light on these mental foibles is enough to free you.

    • Roar:

Chidanand Chidanand Chidanandaham

Hara Halume Alumastu Satchidanandaham

Knowledge-Bliss, Knowledge-Bliss, Bliss Absolute

In all conditions I am Knowledge-Bliss Absolute

Dehonaham Jivonaham Brahmaivaham

Hara Halume Alumastu Satchidanandaham

I’m not the body, I’m not the mind, Immortal Self I Am!

In all conditions I am Knowledge-Bliss Absolute

May you Know Your Self, for then you will surely see your Self in All, Love All, Serve All and be forever the embodiment of Truth and Light just for the sheer joy of It!

Om Tat Sat — Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi

 

Rev. Paraman Barsel has taught Raja and Jnana Yoga, meditation, and all aspects of Integral Yoga for over forty years. He served as director of the Washington, DC, and New York Integral Yoga Institutes and as president of Yogaville–West and Yogaville–East. Presently, he serves on the Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville Spiritual Life Board.

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