However deep your knowledge of the scriptures,
it is no more than a strand of hair in the vastness of space;
However important appears your worldly experience,
it is but a drop of water in a deep ravine…
“Sarva-Shruti shiro-ratna virajit-padambujah.
Vedantambuja Suryo yah tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.”
My Salutations to that glorious Guru, who is like a Sun for the blossoming up of the lotus of Vedanta; and at whose lotus feet lie the beautiful flowers, symbolizing the best of jewels of all divine revelations.
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
Knowledge is power if we know. But do we know the different sources of knowledge? As we are exploring about mind, its good to know about these different sources of knowledge.
Inspiration, revelation, insight, intuition, ecstasy, divine sight and eternal bliss are the seven planes of knowledge. There are four sources of knowledge, viz., instinct, reason, intuition and super-intuition or Atma-Jnana (Self Realization).
When an ant crawls in your right arm, the left arm automatically moves towards the right arm to drive away the ant. The mind does not reason there. When you see a scorpion in front of your leg, you withdraw your leg automatically. This is termed instinctive or automatic movement. As you cross a street, how instinctively you move your body to save yourself from the cars!
Instinct is found in animals and birds. In birds, the ego does not interfere with the free divine flow and divine play. Hence the work done by them through their instincts is more perfect than that done by human beings. Have you not noticed the excellent work done by birds in their building of wonderful nests?
Reason is higher than instinct and is found only in human beings. It collects facts, generalizes, reasons out from cause to effect, from effect to cause, from premises to conclusions, from propositions to proofs. It concludes, decides and comes to judgment. It takes you safely to the door of intuition and leaves you there.
Belief, reasoning, knowledge and faith are the four important psychic processes. First you have belief in a doctor. You go to him for diagnosis and treatment. He makes a thorough examination and then prescribes certain medicines. You take them. You reason out: Such and such is the disease. The doctor has given me Iron and Iodide. Iron will improve my blood. The Iodide will stimulate the lymphatics and absorb the exudation and growth in the liver. So I should take it. Then the disease is cured, by a course of these drugs, in a month. Then you get knowledge of and perfect faith in the efficacy of the medicine and the proficiency of the doctor. Then you recommend to your friends this doctor and his drugs.
Intuition is spiritual experience. Intuition is the immediate knowledge of the Absolute, obtained through the eye of wisdom, as opposed to the knowledge of the external objects derived through the exercise of the senses and the intellect. There is direct perception of truth or immediate knowledge. You know things by a flash. Intuition transcends reason, but does not contradict it. Intellect takes a man to the door of intuition and returns back. Spiritual flashes and glimpses of truth come through intuition. Inspiration, revelation, spiritual insight come through intuition.
The mind and the senses require time and space to function, but the Reality which is beyond this temporal, spatial and causal order of things, can only be grasped and apprehended by intuition. Intuition is beyond relativity.
Self-realization (Atma-Jnana) means knowledge of the self or soul. The reason the term ‘realization’ is used instead of ‘knowledge’ is that jnana refers to knowledge of self based on experience, not mere intellectual knowledge.” Atma-Jnana, literally “knowledge of the soul or supreme spirit”. Atma-Jnana is above intuition. It is the highest form of Knowledge. It is the only Reality.