Q. Can you briefly define Jnana Yoga vs Bhakti Yoga and how they relate to Advaita and Vedanta?

Krishna The ignorant speak of yoga as different from the path of knowledge

Q. Can you briefly define Jnana Yoga vs Bhakti Yoga and how they relate to Advaita and Vedanta?

Tom: Jnana yoga usually refers to the use of (intellectual) knowledge in the mind used to remove ignorance, a thorn to remove a thorn, and then the thorn of ‘knowledge’ is itself allowed to fall away; Bhakti yoga is faith, love and devotion from the heart to Self/Guru/God. These 2 yogas seem different at first, but then they quickly merge together to remove ignorance and end suffering, which is what the word ‘yoga’ means of course. Both of the above are part and parcel of Advaita Vedanta as per the Upanishads, Gita, etc.

Q. What about Advaita vs. Jnana?

Tom: Advaita Vedanta, as a traditional teaching is the general term used to refer to the teachings of the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutras and a few other traditional texts. Jnana yoga refers to one part of the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. Other aspects of Advaita Vedanta include Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and several other teachings found in the above aforementioned texts.

Advaita, literally means not-two. Jnana means knowledge. Jnana can either mean relative knowledge in the mind, which is the means of jnana yoga, or it can refer to the Absolute, which is not really knowledge per se as it is beyond ideas/conceptualisation, but the word Jnana is sometimes used nonetheless. This ‘absolute Jnana’ is synonymous with Advaita and points to that which is beyond both Advaita and Jnana, ie. God or True Self! It is also known as Parabhakti (divine love), Aparokshanubhuti (direct experience), Moksha (freedom) and various other terms, none of which fully capture what is spoken of!

One thought on “Q. Can you briefly define Jnana Yoga vs Bhakti Yoga and how they relate to Advaita and Vedanta?

  1. Enjoy your stuff Tom, very helpful.
    Thought you might enjoy another POV I came across.

    Click to access Notes%20on%20Spiritual%20Discourses-%20Menon.pdf

    Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda
    Taken by Nitya Tripta

    63. THE LIMITATIONS OF THE ACCEPTED PATHS

    There are usually three accepted paths to the Truth. They are the paths of devotion, yoga and jnyana. Of these three, devotion and yoga deal only with relative things falling within the sphere of the mind and sense organs, taking into consideration only experiences in the waking state. Their findings, therefore, can only be partial and incomplete. The jnyana path looks from a broader perspective and comprehends within its scope both yoga and devotion. It takes into consideration the whole of life’s experiences –
    The jnyana path looks from a broader perspective and comprehends within its scope both yoga and devotion. It takes into consideration the whole of life’s experiences – comprised in the three states – viewed impartially. It demands a high degree of real devotion, in the sense that the aspirant has to have a high degree of earnestness and sincerity to get to the Truth. This is real devotion, to Truth; and it is infinitely superior to devotion to anything else, which can only be less than the Truth.

    Like

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