The first two chapters of this copy of the Vivekachudamani are really more of an introduction than anything and so much of what is said feels like the essence of Jnana, as I understand it. I also find what I’m planning to share in upcoming posts to be essential Hinduism if ever I’ve encountered Hinduism’s essence. Surely, the rest of what devotees would identify as Sanatana Dharma has grown from this very knowledge. You’ll see.
Many people mistakenly understand Jnana Yoga to mean hardly anything deeper than intellectual wisdom. Often, in an effort to refute the immense value of Jnana Yoga, people cite texts that point out that book wisdom won’t automatically lead to moksha/liberation. However, Jnana Yoga blows book wisdom (which is highly prone to ego influence) out of the water entirely, and is directly concerned with experiential knowledge of Reality. When I superficially consider what Jnana Yoga might mean for a soul that becomes illumined, I often think of the movie The Matrix.
Neo embarks on a journey of realizing exactly who he is at his center and by the end of the movie, after the realization that the illusion everyone lives in (Maya?) has no real power of its own, we’re allowed to glimpse the new “vision” his illumination has brought. He sees that the essence of everything is The Same… Everything is swirling in binary code, although the distinct forms of various things are still distinguishable.
That is Jnana Yoga. Commitment/Devotion was fuel for the fire that drove him along his journey. His actions were certainly a part of that process, too. The culmination of his entire journey was to arrive back at an experiential knowledge of Reality. With this manifestation of Jnana Yoga, he achieved liberation and was free to not only move about existence as need willed, but could also control the “material” world and was freed from fear. He ultimately attained freedom from Illusion(Maya) as well as those agents who worked within it. Then, as a Seer, he became a bodhisattva – someone who’s vowed to forever assist others on the same journey, until all are similarly liberated.
I’ll soon be sharing some of what I’ve learned in the opening chapters – that eventually bring me to the actual Vivekachudamani in chapter three. It’s lofty stuff, that’s for sure, but it’s also Truth.
“Jnana Yoga blows book wisdom (which is highly prone to ego influence) out of the water entirely, and is directly concerned with experiential knowledge of Reality.” – I don’t think this could possibly be over-stated, and I am glad you stated it so strongly.
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