Gnana Yoga

Q&A and discussion on yoga and other avenues of mysticism

Moderator: Moderators - Public

Gnana Yoga

Postby LD330 » Sat May 18, 2013 9:20 pm

So gnana yoga is the "path of knowledge" method of yoga. I'm curious what exactly that entails? In Crowley's works I only came across it in the "Master of the Temple" paper, Frater Achad's probationer and neophyte diaries. He says:

"About this time Frater V.I.O. appears to have been studying Jnana Yoga. There is a simple entry on November 3oth, “THOU ART THAT,” without any attempt at comment, and on the following day “Ditto, but in a less degree.” On December 4 we find this entry:

The reading of “Jnana Yoga” revives very clearly the state of Unity produced by the practice of Raja Yoga. There is a clearer conception, and the feeling of being very near the Truth. N.B. During meditation the Light above head was beginning to envelope the mind, but was disturbed by R. calling me to come to bed."

Besides that, doing a really cursory google search, most of the websites describing gnana yoga don't really go into actual practice but tend to give a very broad overview of this path. Would an actual gnana yoga practice be something along the lines of neti, neti/not that, not that or using Timothy Leary's circuit model to analyze what you're doing?
User avatar
LD330
Silver Member
Silver Member
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:25 pm

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat May 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Have you, for example, read Vivekananda's book on the subject?

The gist is this: Knowledge, as usually pursued, is Yetziratic. Gnana Yoga (not usually defined this way, but it's what it boils down to) involves thinking thoughts that lead the mind into progressively abstract realms until Yetzirah bridges into Briah. This is commonly done by meditating on certain philosophical ideas that inherently bridge that gap.

Knowledge, in the sense of intellect, becomes gnosis.

Qabalah, practiced right, is one very fully developed path of Gnana Yoga, provided you don't rest in it being a "mind game" in the Yetziratic sense.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com
"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Lost His Marbles
 
Posts: 9579
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:41 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Uni_Verse » Sat May 18, 2013 10:27 pm

It takes a great deal of time, patience and concentration to construct figures with a compass and straight edge :)
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
User avatar
Uni_Verse
Nothing
Nothing
 
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:13 pm
Location: Shaolin

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby LD330 » Sat May 18, 2013 10:39 pm

Thanks Jim, I haven't read Vivekanada's book, I think I started it about a year ago but never got all that far into it, I'll check it out again.

Can you give me an example of what sort of philosophical ideas one would meditate on in order to bridge the gap between Yetzirah and Briah? And what exactly would be the right way to practice Qabalah?

Also the use of the words knowledge and gnosis brings up the idea of Daath, does that have anything to do with this?

Uni_Verse I'm not totally sure what you mean by that but I'm going to think about it. Did you just give me a gnana yoga meditation lol?
User avatar
LD330
Silver Member
Silver Member
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:25 pm

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat May 18, 2013 11:26 pm

For classic Gnana yoga, the best list would be the chapter headings in Vivekananda's book :)
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com
"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Lost His Marbles
 
Posts: 9579
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:41 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby gurugeorge » Sun May 19, 2013 8:04 am

ld330 wrote:So gnana yoga is the "path of knowledge" method of yoga. I'm curious what exactly that entails? In Crowley's works I only came across it in the "Master of the Temple" paper, Frater Achad's probationer and neophyte diaries. He says:

"About this time Frater V.I.O. appears to have been studying Jnana Yoga. There is a simple entry on November 3oth, “THOU ART THAT,” without any attempt at comment, and on the following day “Ditto, but in a less degree.” On December 4 we find this entry:

The reading of “Jnana Yoga” revives very clearly the state of Unity produced by the practice of Raja Yoga. There is a clearer conception, and the feeling of being very near the Truth. N.B. During meditation the Light above head was beginning to envelope the mind, but was disturbed by R. calling me to come to bed."

Besides that, doing a really cursory google search, most of the websites describing gnana yoga don't really go into actual practice but tend to give a very broad overview of this path. Would an actual gnana yoga practice be something along the lines of neti, neti/not that, not that or using Timothy Leary's circuit model to analyze what you're doing?


This is the sort of thing that, with hindsight and greater knowledge of the culture, we can see a bit more clearly than Crowley did. Vivekananda's (and Ramakrishna's) categorisation of Jnana as a Yoga is idiosyncratic.

Traditionally there's Jnana and Yoga as two separate paths. The first is very similar to Can, Zen, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, and some Daoism, in that it's a school which guides you to insight very quickly (THOU ART THAT), and then you're just supposed to get used to it, bring it into everyday experience. Yoga schools, on the contrary, take a "separatist" view from the start, and claim that manipulations and practices of the body and mind have to transform something (e.g. "kill the ego", etc., etc.). This view is transcended, of course, and the ultimate aim is the same knowledge as the Jnanin's.

Jnana is about knowledge, not about experiences. Yoga is about experiences and knowledge. With Jnana, it's acknowledged right from the start that you are the ultimate, and you work with life until this knowledge becomes firmly seated. With Yoga, you induce episodes where you have that knowledge to its fullest extent, but only momentarily.

In fact, neither Crowley nor any of those other pioneers really got in touch with genuine Jnanins. They're all in the school of Shankaracarya, and are basically the spiritual leaders of Hinduism, and they reside at 4 "Maths" or religious academies. It's remarkable that for all the influx of Eastern stuff, this core teaching of Vedanta has actually been witheld until recently (about the 60s and the mission of Chinmayananda). None of the early pioneers knew any of the saints at any of the Maths, and those are the go-to guys for the core teachings of Advaita Vedanta. But more recently those Maths have sent out teachers.

So the teachings we've got from early pioneers like Crowley, are actually more from the DIY end of Hindu spiritualism. Ramakrishna was a folk-saint who lived by an eclectic grab-bad of Vedanta spirituality, and Vivekananda was an educated, inspired and articulate follower. Sri Ramana Maharshi was another folk-saint. Perhaps somewhat more respected and admired by the mainstream Advaitins than Ramakrishna (who has a reputation for homosexuality).

We need to slightly re-jig our evaluation of the history, sociology and doctrines of Hinduism. Basically Jnana is taught in the following manner: a teacher well-versed in an ancient, traditional way of expounding the Sastras and Upanishads, with a long lineage going back into the dim mists of history, unfolds to a gathering (satsang) of well-educated people an extraordinarily sophisticated and archaic philosophy (i.e. this stuff wasn't for hoi polloi, you have to be intelligent and philosphically inclined to get it). Through repetition, it sinks in.

One of the great virtues of Sri Atmananda (another Advaitin well known in the West) is that he was accomplished both as a Jnanin and as a Yogi. Normally, Jnanins do just as much yoga as they need to do to be in a calm state to understand the teachings. They're not trying to "attain" anything by means of Yoga, because they know there's nothing to attain.
********

"To wake up is to wake the world up" - D.E.Harding
User avatar
gurugeorge
Stone of Precious Water
Stone of Precious Water
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:59 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun May 19, 2013 9:19 am

gurugeorge wrote:This is the sort of thing that, with hindsight and greater knowledge of the culture, we can see a bit more clearly than Crowley did. Vivekananda's (and Ramakrishna's) categorisation of Jnana as a Yoga is idiosyncratic.

Traditionally there's Jnana and Yoga as two separate paths.

Yet Swami Vivekananda wrote a book called Jnana-Yoga, and routinely (in his other writings) included this in his list of forms of yoga.

Back to Id330, you asked for topics for such meditations. Now that I have my copy of his book in front of me, I can give you the chapter titles - topics that Vivekananda provided on this subject. In part (the part that makes sense from the chapter titles), they are: The necessity of religion. The real nature of man. Maya & illusion. Maya & the evolution of the conception of god. Maya & freedom. The absolute & manifestation. God in everything. Realisation. Unity in diversity. The freedom of the soul. The cosmos: microcosm & macrocosm. Immortality, The Atman. The real and the apparent man. Practical Vedanta. The way to the realization of a universal religion. The ideal of a universal religion.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com
"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Lost His Marbles
 
Posts: 9579
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:41 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Uni_Verse » Sun May 19, 2013 10:19 am

ld330 wrote:Uni_Verse I'm not totally sure what you mean by that but I'm going to think about it. Did you just give me a gnana yoga meditation lol?


: waggles brows :

I suppose the "hard core" route is start with a circle and attempt to construct everything from there without assistance :)

-

There are other sources that list Gnan/Jnana as a form of Yoga - it may be a matter of technique.
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
User avatar
Uni_Verse
Nothing
Nothing
 
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:13 pm
Location: Shaolin

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby gurugeorge » Mon May 20, 2013 10:32 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:
gurugeorge wrote:This is the sort of thing that, with hindsight and greater knowledge of the culture, we can see a bit more clearly than Crowley did. Vivekananda's (and Ramakrishna's) categorisation of Jnana as a Yoga is idiosyncratic.

Traditionally there's Jnana and Yoga as two separate paths.

Yet Swami Vivekananda wrote a book called Jnana-Yoga, and routinely (in his other writings) included this in his list of forms of yoga.


Yes, but he's wrong, and Thelemites ought to revise the concepts. It's an idiosyncratic view that doesn't jibe with how those terms are used, or have traditionally been used, in Vedanta. Traditionally, Yoga is very distinct from Jnana - not necessarily incompatible, but two very different paths. Jnana is really more comparable with our Qabalah - there is no "Qabalah Yoga", is there? The term wouldn't make sense, except in a vague, loose way (or perhaps as a reference to the "ladders" meditation).

That's why I said it's kind of remarkable that the real, hardcore traditional Advaita wasn't really visible until quite recently - i.e. it's been hidden in plain sight from Westerners until recently. All Westerners saw above the parapet through most of the 20th century were some of the "folk saints" of the tradition, like Ramakrishna or Ramana Maharshi, whose understanding of their own tradition was, as I say, idiosyncratic, not necessarily learned or accurate, and not connected by lineage with the Vedantic tradition going back to Shankaracharya and beyond; so our Western understanding has been a bit skew-wiff. Crowley's teacher seems to have been a Yoga man, and taught him well. But there's not a hint of Advaita or Jnana in that teaching.

One gets the sense that the (Hindu version of the) Yellow School was biding its time to see how things went, and only "came out" when, so to speak, the coast was clear. But when you hear the texts "unfolded" in the traditional way, it's remarkable how it's all there, so to speak. All the subsequent traditions only use bits and pieces of it, it is in itself complete and comprehensive (as complete and comprehensive as Buddhism - and perhaps in part as a reaction to Buddhism).

Another way of putting this: see how Crowley says Buddhism is a complete, comprehensive system, but he prefers hanging things on Qabalah for various reasons? Well, guess what, there was and is a whole Hindu tradition that's as complete and comprehensive as Buddhism, but it's been in the form of a living tradition of exposition of the Upanishads (i.e. it's NOT WRITTEN DOWN) that Westerners haven't known about until comparatively recently. That is the Jnana tradition.

Also, another point: it's exposition in Sanskrit (although modern teachers are tending to put it into English as an introductory form), so to properly get into it you have to learn Sanskrit, which has its own "samadhic language". (The Holy Books are comparable - dense and multi-layered in English, as the Advaita stuff is in its own native tongue, with each word having tremendous depth and precision in its placement.)
********

"To wake up is to wake the world up" - D.E.Harding
User avatar
gurugeorge
Stone of Precious Water
Stone of Precious Water
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:59 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Hermes » Mon May 20, 2013 1:15 pm

gurugeorge wrote:Yes, but he's wrong, and Thelemites ought to revise the concepts. It's an idiosyncratic view that doesn't jibe with how those terms are used, or have traditionally been used, in Vedanta. Traditionally, Yoga is very distinct from Jnana - not necessarily incompatible, but two very different paths. Jnana is really more comparable with our Qabalah - there is no "Qabalah Yoga", is there? The term wouldn't make sense, except in a vague, loose way (or perhaps as a reference to the "ladders" meditation).


Ok but... isnt Yoga, above all, a process? I mean, Yoga is union, so as far as this process is triggered by some way-could be gnana, raja, karma... or even martial arts?- cant we call it Yoga? I mean Qabala or Bhagavad-Gita is knowledge as written, but as soon as one meditates on it properly doesnt it become yoga? Same as in martial arts where we could practice a Do as a Jitsu and a Jitsu as a Do...?! Practicing Karate-Do isnt Do as long as one doesnt meditate on it. For most people it's a sport actually. On the other hand one can practice BJJ or even boxing as a Do ! Isnt it a similar issue there?
Hermes
Ultimate Spark of the Intimate Fire
Ultimate Spark of the Intimate Fire
 
Posts: 451
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:46 pm

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby gurugeorge » Mon May 20, 2013 3:03 pm

Frater Horus wrote:
gurugeorge wrote:Yes, but he's wrong, and Thelemites ought to revise the concepts. It's an idiosyncratic view that doesn't jibe with how those terms are used, or have traditionally been used, in Vedanta. Traditionally, Yoga is very distinct from Jnana - not necessarily incompatible, but two very different paths. Jnana is really more comparable with our Qabalah - there is no "Qabalah Yoga", is there? The term wouldn't make sense, except in a vague, loose way (or perhaps as a reference to the "ladders" meditation).


Ok but... isnt Yoga, above all, a process? I mean, Yoga is union, so as far as this process is triggered by some way-could be gnana, raja, karma... or even martial arts?- cant we call it Yoga? I mean Qabala or Bhagavad-Gita is knowledge as written, but as soon as one meditates on it properly doesnt it become yoga? Same as in martial arts where we could practice a Do as a Jitsu and a Jitsu as a Do...?! Practicing Karate-Do isnt Do as long as one doesnt meditate on it. For most people it's a sport actually. On the other hand one can practice BJJ or even boxing as a Do ! Isnt it a similar issue there?


From the Jnana point of view, there's no question of "union" with anything, no question of process; from the Jnana point of view that's misconceived. You are that, you are that now, there's no meaning to union with something you already are. That's why "Jnana Yoga" would be understood by an Advaitin as kind of nonsensical.

One of the great virtues of the pioneering work of people like Crowley and others in the 20th century was that it started a process (or continued a process that started with Blavatsky) of the West coming to understand Eastern teachings. It would be expecting too much for the initial contactees to have gotten the full picture. That has only emerged with time, and with more and more contact.

One major gap in a lot of the early contactees' work was a lack of clear understanding of what are called "non-dual" teachings (Advaita, Can, Zen, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, some forms of Daoism). All non-dual teachings start by telling you the exact, stark truth, that you are God (or whatever du jour term you may choose). That being the case, there is no "path" and nothing to be done. The most you could say is that, after hearing the Truth, it's just a process of getting it to "sink in" (the method of Advaita, and to some extent other philosophical schools like the Tibetan Gelugpa form of Buddhism), or "getting used to it" (Zen, Dzogchen, Daoism).

Non-dual teachings are the most recent and final arrival from the East - they are the deepest treasures of Eastern teaching, and the fact that we have access to them now is incredible (that's what I suggested above to Jim - if you think about the "Schools" of Magick, as per AC's essay, this stuff that's come over to us in fuller form more recently is the Yellow School finally publicizing its teachings, which have hitherto been pretty secret or exclusive even in their own culture (Can is one of the notable exceptions, it did become very popular).

As you can see, this is quite a different paradigm from one where there's something there and you have to achieve union with it; where there's a question of transformation into something greater, or whatever.

Now, non-duality is part of the A:.A:. curriculum, but the main emphasis in the A:.A:. is to take people step by step, so non-duality isn't really a topic until higher up on the Tree. Different way of thinking - on the one hand, with Jnana, or Zen, or Dzoghchen, you introduce the truth at the start, get people used to it; on the other hand, with Yoga, with Western Mystery schools, Hermetic schools, you don't worry about revealing the Truth until a person is ready.

In fact, in reality, in the Jnana schools there's a good deal of preparation (there are quite stringent desiderata for the character qualities of someone you should teach), so the final Result usually is the capstone of the Pyramid. They just start the nominal "teaching" at that point, and take a slightly Social Darwinist point of view, whereas with our School, the preparation is part of the nominal "teaching", and like the US Marines, we leave no man behind.
********

"To wake up is to wake the world up" - D.E.Harding
User avatar
gurugeorge
Stone of Precious Water
Stone of Precious Water
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:59 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Gnana Yoga

Postby Hermes » Mon May 20, 2013 4:21 pm

Thanks a lot, very interesting... i'll have to look deeply into that to grasp it better but already it helps.

From the little i got, it seems there are "degrees" of similitude with that approach in the western systems. For instance, when i first read some hermetic material(didnt know the lineage back then but i'm pretty sure author was from ogdoadic tradition now) it really strike me this way. I "felt" this non duality to a great extent, like "that's it", that was a crazy feeling. From there i knew it was a matter of "getting used to it" like you phrase it. If i had to tell what was my genuine neophyte initiation now, i'd say it was that thing, as crazy as it sounds. All i had done before and did after was not that clear. It was like preparations and confirmations.

The A.'.A.'. material seems to come right after this approach in the straightforwardness from the little i know. But there is a difference. I dont know if it is "normal" in the ogdoadic tradition to teach this way or if it was that guy's style but it definitely felt the way you describe it.

Very powerful, mindblowing, but on the other hand i couldnt make any use of the knowledge until i got started into structured G.'.D.'., yoga, and A.'.A.'. training. So basically that initiation(from a "simple" reading :o ) shook me like an earthquake and left me "naked" for a year or something, until i got my hands on something "workable" and progressive. Way too advanced and confusing otherwise. That could drive a man literaly crazy in my opinion. What's funny is i sent the stuff to some people back then, and nobody felt that way. I could have send a novel instead. :? So i guess there must be some conditions for it to work by itself.

Very nice to be able to put words on what i felt.

Dont you think it is great to combine both approaches?

Looking forward to understand better this stuff !

Cheers.
Hermes
Ultimate Spark of the Intimate Fire
Ultimate Spark of the Intimate Fire
 
Posts: 451
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:46 pm


Return to Mysticism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron