To tread the path of jnana yoga one must be ruthless. This is why it is regarded as a difficult path. It is not easy to believe in nothing. It is not easy to empty the mind of preconceived ideas and dogmas. It is far easier to believe in something, even though the belief may be superficial or even erroneous. Jnana yoga can therefore be practised only by those people with unflinching determination.
Jnana yoga says that if you believe something without personal experience then, in fact, you are autosuggesting the answer to yourself. You are indoctrinating yourself and if you think about this you will agree that it is true. Even in the case of the intestines, your knowledge is really autosuggestion. You do not really know the shape and size of the intestines unless you open up a human body. You accept the description given in books or by physiologists because it is convenient; actually you indoctrinate yourself. But as we have already mentioned, this general acceptance of many things in life is absolutely necessary. We cannot spend all our lives testing and investigating everything; the world would be a graveyard if everyone wanted to personally test if a plant is poisonous or not, or there would be total chaos if every person went to Timbuktu to see if such a place really exists. We have to learn about most things from the words of other people and their personal experience. But this is not the case with investigations into reality. Those who wish to tread the path of jnana yoga should not accept other people’s words, dogmas and preachings on this subject. If you do then you are indoctrinating yourself. You are auto-suggesting an answer to yourself without personal experience. And without the overwhelming proof of personal experience no change will occur in your life. Superficial answers will not illuminate your existence. They merely act as a verbal intellectual tag onto which you precariously grasp, but your deeper being is not fooled. In the core of your heart you will know that you are deluding yourself. Deep down you will know that you have blindly adopted and accepted another
ism’. Your lifestyle will not be changed and you will not be any happier or wiser.
If you wish to follow the path of jnana yoga you should believe nothing. Throw out all beliefs. It was Christ who said: “Empty thyself and I shall fill thee.”
The Zen master Chao-chu was asked: “What would you say to someone who came to you with nothing?” He replied: “Throw it away”.
It is reputed that Lao-tse said: “Scholars gain every day (useless, non-experienced knowledge), but Taoists (sages) lose every day (the accumulation of useless non-experienced dogmas and knowledge)”.
This is the beginning of jnana yoga. Reject all concepts.