Jnana Yoga — The Way of the Mystic (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

Carl-Jung-mod

Carl Jung as a young man. Carl Jung would be the exemplary Jnana yogi of modern times.

Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge, the way of the mystic (4 Yogas Main). It is the yoga best suited to the reflective type of person.

The process of Jnana yoga is:

1. Research the theory of the soul.
2. Realize its truth by metaphor.
3. Identify with the soul, not the body. Be the witness — observe your Self as if from an impartial observer.

The theory of the soul.  In modern terms, one may benefit from learning dream interpretation and studying  Gestalt therapy.  Properly ‘psyche’ means ‘soul,’ and psychology therefore means the study of the soul.  Modern psychology that is framed in the terminology of hard science, considering consciousness to be an effect of chemical reactions in the brain, is less useful for these purposes.

Therefore you might read Carl Jung or study dream interpretation.  Dream interpretation is particularly useful here because it is the study of metaphor.

Carl Jung is a master of understanding dreams as parables, and sees them in the same light as myths.  They are part of the uncanny working of the human mind.

Why metaphor?  Metaphor is a kind of reverse dream interpretation.  Here you are using the same symbolic meaning encoding process to realize a teaching with your dreaming mind.

Identify with the soul.  The soul is that which radically survives death.   Hindus believe that the bodily spirit in some part and to some degree survives death, to become reincarnated as a new person.  But it is the nature of the bodily spirit to become embodied, and that comes along with inherent problems.  Things for embodied people don’t work out, or when they do work out it is by its nature temporary. More

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Introducing the 4 Yogas of Hinduism Series

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in...

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in Madurai, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hinduism teaches there is a basic pattern to human development. The cosmology teaches people are reincarnated, and (often) that a person is born into their place in the social hierarchy depending on how far along they are. I’m not getting into that part.

There are 4 Yogas, four basic modalities of human spiritual development. They are independent of one another, and appropriate to different kinds of people, according to their characters.

Before the adoption of a yoga, there is the process by which a normal person develops into a spiritual seeker.

As one becomes a spiritual seeker, there is a preliminary clearing-out step in which one adopts the 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances.

The spiritual seeker will then be drawn to one of the 4 Yogas:

The Way of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga) – note:  links go hot as articles are posted.
The Way of Love (Bhakti Yoga)
The Way of Work (Karma Yoga)
The Way of Meditation (Raja Yoga)

These are basic types, not rigid categories. They are forms by which the human psyche may attain the Divine — either Being with the Divine, or Becoming One with the Divine. Seekers usually have a preference. More

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