WHAT IS JNANA?
Divine Wisdom is the release from the trammels of one’s own mind. Such a release alone leads to the attainment of Moksha or Liberation. The mind becomes of the nature of Jnana (Wisdom or Knowledge) by dint of the efforts towards spiritual direction; but becomes of the nature of the universe through Ignorance. If the mind is bathed in the water of Jnana and cleansed of all its impurities, then the shining Moksha will disclose itself in its native effulgence to those who strive after it. The real bliss is that which arises when the mind, divested of all desires through the eternal Jnana, destroys its subtle form.
THE GLORY OF JNANA YOGA
A Hatha Yogi starts his practice with the body and Prana. A Raja Yogi starts his spiritual practice with the mind. A Jnana Yogi starts his spiritual practice with the Intellect and Will. To be more accurate a Jnana Yogi starts directly with Supreme Soul. He repeats constantly: ”Aham Brahmasmi – I am Supreme Soul”. He who is attempting to fix the mind on Supreme is really doing the highest Karma Yoga, highest Yajna, highest duty and highest charity. He need not visit temples. He need not distribute charity.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE STUDENT OF JNANA YOGA
A complete detachment from the outward things, the manifold objects of sense, together with a capacity for metaphysical abstraction and concentration on inward things are demanded from a spiritual aspirant or an earnest seeker after Truth. The voice of the pure spirit cannot be heard till all superficial organs cease to exist.
For the aspirant in the Jnana-Yogic path, you have the Four Means of Salvation. One of the four means is six-fold virtues. Of these six virtues, Sama, Dama and Samadhana are really Yogic practices to control the mind. Sama represents the Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha of Raja Yogis by giving up subtle desires, Dama corresponds to Pratyahara. Samadhana is Ekagrata of Yogis. Yoga and Jnana are the two wings of the Hamsa bird (Moksha).
Sama (calmness of mind through giving up subtle desires) and Dama (restraint of the Senses) are two important items of six-fold virtues. Sama and Dama are really yogic practices. When this practice is over, you will have to take recourse to Sravana (Hearing of Srutis) and Manana (reflection of what you heard). When you take to deep meditation, seclusion is necessary for three years.
The purification of the mind will not, by itself, bring about Soul-Wisdom. The purified mind is rendered fit to receive the transcendental light and bliss. You will have to take refuge in Sravana, Manana and meditation after purifying the mind.
Hearing of Srutis, reflection and then meditation on Supreme are the three Vedantic processes for the attainment of Jnana. This is the ladder with three rungs through which the aspirant ascends to Supreme. If you do hearing of the Srutis once, you must do Manana ten times (reflection of what you have heard) and a hundred times or a thousand times Nididhyasana (profound and constant meditation). Then only real fruit is attained.
A man with inward flowing thought waves, changed angle of vision, Vairagya and Mumukshutva is alone fit for the study of Vedanta and the practice of OM and Jnana Yogic contemplation. Such a man only will be really benefited. When a man gets a firm conviction that names and forms are unreal and the Adhishthana at their back is real, then it is said that his angle of vision is changed. It is only through your dauntless energy and own indefatigable efforts that you can get Soul-Wisdom. Guru and Sastras can show you the path and remove your doubts. Anubhava of Aparoksha kind (direct, intuitive knowledge) is left for your own experience. A hungry man will have to eat for himself. He who has a severe itching will have to scratch for himself.
Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda