Jnana Yoga | Part 7

The question will be asked: ‘Is jnana yoga for me?’ Only you can decide, or your guru. But certainly jnana yoga is for the few; it is a path that is fraught with pitfalls, the greatest of which is that it can so easily degenerate into mere intellectualization. This happens very often; people are so habituated to intellectual thinking that they automatically start to think of intellectual answers to their enquiry. Instead of removing concepts they start to fill their heads with them. They lack the intensity of purpose. The enquiry does not have the intensity to penetrate the deeper realms of being to find a solution. The result is that they resort to intellectual explanations. There are many people who have reached what they feel are relevant answers through mere word juggling. They talk endlessly about God, consciousness, divine beings and so on, but it is all speculation and words. There is absolutely no basis in personal experience. They are replacing experience with mere words. This is definitely not the aim nor the path of jnana yoga. This is where jnana yoga becomes corrupted. The aim is to wipe out superficial, intellectual speculations, not create them. The aim is to empty the mind of concepts, not fill it up The person on the path of jnana yoga has to persevere with the enquiry without giving up or accepting secondhand speculations. You must wait for illuminative experience, which is firsthand experience. When this happens there will be no doubt about its validity.

It is impossible to follow only the path of nana yoga, nor is it desirable. Each person is composed of different aspects, some of which may be more prominent than others. For example, some people are very active; others are more thoughtful; some are prominently devotional. All of these aspects need to be channelled into a unifying force. The follower or jnana yoga is likely to be the thoughtful type with strong willpower. However, this does not mean that he sits and thinks all day. He should also do physical karma yoga and perhaps some asanas, pranayama and meditational practices. This will bring about an overall harmony, which will help him to make more progress on the path of jnana yoga. If you think you are ready to tread the path of mana yoga, then begin right now. But remember, it is only for those people who have a one-pointed mind. Anxieties, phobias, neuroses and other mental disturbances prevent intuition. They act as impediments. If your mind is continuously oscillating and distracted then you cannot fill yourself with the enquiry, it will lack sufficient depth to induce intuitive understanding. Under these circumstances, we suggest that you practise other forms of yoga to make the mind more harmonized and concentrated, in order to prepare you for future practise of jnana yoga. Let us summarize: if you wish to follow the path of jnana yoga then you must believe and accept nothing unless it is based on personal experience, not the experience of others. You should not blindly accept answers that have been given by sages, saints, thinkers and books. You must find out the answers for yourself; while cleaning the mind of conceptual debris you should fill it up with an intense enquiry into your own nature. You should pursue your enquiry through thick and thin until you realize the answer. This is the path of jnana yoga.

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