Jnana Yoga – Yoga of Knowledge
Jnana (wisdom or knowledge) is considered the most difficult of the four main paths of Yoga, requiring great strength of will and intellect. In Jnana yoga, the mind is used to inquire into its own nature and to transcend the mind, body and intellect. The fundamental goal of Jnana yoga is to become liberated from the illusionary world of maya (thoughts and perceptions) and to achieve union of the inner Self (Atman) with the oneness of all life (Brahman). This is achieved by steadfastly practicing the mental techniques of self-questioning, reflection and conscious illumination that are defined in the Four Pillars of Knowledge.
- Viveka (discernment, discrimination) is a deliberate, continuous intellectual effort to distinguish between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the temporary, and the Self and not-Self.
- Vairagya (dispassion, detachment) is cultivating non-attachment or indifference toward the temporal objects of worldly possessions and the ego mind.
- Shatsampat (six virtues) are six mental practices to stabilize the mind and emotions, and to further develop the ability to see beyond the illusions of maya.
Shama (tranquility, calmness) is the ability to keep the mind peaceful, through moderating its reaction to external stimuli.
Dama (restraint, control) is the strengthening of the mind to be able to resist the control of the senses, and the training of the senses to be used only as instruments of the mind.
Uparati (withdrawal, renunciation) is a simple lifestyle that contains no or minimised worldly distractions from the spiritual path.
Titiksha (endurance, forbearance) is the tolerance of external non-conducive situations that are commonly considered to produce suffering, especially in extreme opposite states (success and failure, hot and cold, pleasure and pain).
Shraddha (faith, trust) is a sense of certainty and belief in one’s guru (teacher), the scriptures and the yogic path.
Samadhana (focus, concentration) is the complete one-pointedness of the mind.
Mumukshutva (longing, yearning) is an intense and passionate desire for achieving the liberation from suffering/wheel of life and death. In order to achieve liberation one must be completely committed to the path, with such longing that all other desires fade away.