Gian Yoga - the Yoga of Knowledge

Gian yoga advocates the ideal of nondualism, that ultimate reality is unified and that perception of numerous distinct phenomena is a misconception. Is the sofa or the phone real? Gian yogis respond to such questions by stating that all these things are real in relation to your current level of consciousness. However, they are not ultimately real, separate or distinct objects.

The path of gian yoga is highly appropriate for individuals who are gifted with excellent mental and intellectual faculties. This path places great emphasis on the true knowledge regarding the nature of the self and necessitates sharp intellect coupled with intense spiritual longing. Ignorance or avidya obscures the self from attaining mukti, freedom from life and death, by erasing ignorance by discrimination and contemplation on the ultimate reality.

The way of knowledge is about critical thinking, seeking knowledge and sharpening your intellect. Gautama, 2nd century BC, stated that human suffering is due to the ignorance of reality. A method to achieve liberation is via understanding our own true nature.

Should a gian yogi consider that he or she can contribute a new view or darshan to help others, he or she does so. The gian yogi can cite existing views and their merits and limitations.

The Bhagavad Gita considers gian as a great purifier.

'Nothing indeed purifies in this world like wisdom. He who lives in self-harmony finds it 'wisdom' in time within himself, by himself.' (BG 4.38).

Gian yoga teaches that there are four ways to salvation:

  • Viveka or discrimination refers to the ability to differentiate between what is real/eternal (Brahman) and what is unreal/temporal.
  • Vairagya or dispassion refers to the practice whereby one is able to "detach" her/himself from everything that is "temporary."
  • Shad-sampat refers to the six virtues: Sama-Tranquility (controlling your mind), Dama (control of the senses), Uparati (cessation/renounciation of activities which are not duties), Titiksha (endurance), Shraddha (total devotion) and Samadhana (perfect concentration).
  • Mumukshutva is intensely focused longing for moksha, or mukti, liberation from temporal entanglements that bind one to the cycle of death and rebirth.