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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Jñāna Yoga

The yoga or discipline based on knowledge (jñana, from the Sanskrit root jña which is cognate with the English word “know”). It is said to be especially suitable for those of an intellectual, analytical, or metaphysical bent of mind, as opposed to a devotional or social action bent (bhakti and karma yoga respectively). One classic source is the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, although that is also classified as raja (“kingly”) yoga. Another classic source is Sankara’s Vivekacudmani. The Pratyabhijñahdayam of KASHMIRI SAIVISM is another [see INDIAN PHILOSOPHY]. The last six chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita are also considered to be about jñana yoga. The basic knowledge, of course, is Self-knowledge or Self-realization. It involves a discipline of discrimination (viveka), desirelessness (vairagya), and fervent desire for liberation (mumuksatva), as well as the acquisition of certain moral qualities (self-control, charity, equanimity, patient endurance, one-pointedness, and faith). It also involves daily meditation.

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