are seven stages of Jnana or the seven Jnana Bhumikas. First, Jnana should
be developed through a deep study of Atma Jnana Sastras and association
with the wise and the performance of virtuous actions without any expectation
of fruits. This is Subheccha or good desire, which forms the first Bhumika
or stage of Jnana. This will irrigate the mind with the waters of discrimination
and protect it. There will be non-attraction or indifference to sensual
objects in this stage. The first stage is the substratum of the other
stages. From it the next two stages, viz., Vicharana and Tanumanasi will
be reached. Constant Atma Vichara (Atmic enquiry) forms the second stage.
The third stage is Tanumanasi. This is attained through the cultivation
of special indifference to objects. The mind becomes thin like a thread.
Hence the name Tanumanasi. Tanu means thread - threadlike state of mind.
The third stage is also known by the name Asanga Bhavana. In the third
stage, the aspirant is free from all attractions. If any one dies in the
third stage, he will remain in heaven for a long time and will reincarnate
on earth again as a Jnani. The above three stages can be included under
the Jagrat state. The fourth stage is Sattvapatti. This stage will destroy
all Vasanas to the root. This can be included under the Svapana state.
The world appears like a dream. Those who have reached the fourth stage
will look upon all things of the universe with an equal eye. The fifth
stage is Asamsakti. There is perfect non-attachment to the objects of
the world. There is no Upadhi or waking or sleeping in this stage. This
is the Jivanmukti stage in which there is the experience of Ananda Svaroopa
(the Eternal Bliss of Brahman) replete with spotless Jnana. This will
come under Sushupti. The sixth stage is Padartha Bhavana. There is knowledge
of Truth. The seventh stage is Turiya, or the state of superconsciousness.
This is Moksha. This is also known by the name Turiyatita. There are no
Sankalpas. All the Gunas disappear. This is above the reach of mind and
speech. Disembodied salvation (Videhamukti) is attained in the seventh
Remaining in the certitude of Atma, without desires, and with an equal
vision over all, having completely eradicated all complications of differentiations
of 'I' or 'he', existence or non-existence, is Turiya.
Jnana Yoga is the path of self-realization. It involves the exercise of
understanding the wisdom associated with discriminating the real from
the unreal. Jnana Yoga is a technique for seeking liberation in which
identification with the real Self (rather than with the body or ego) is
developed by a steady effort to differentiate between pure awareness and
the objects of awareness. The main purpose of jnana meditation is to withdraw
the mind and emotions from perceiving life and oneself in a deluded way
so that one may behold and live in attunement with reality, or Spirit.
The principle on which the jnani, the yogi, meditates is to patiently
release or put aside all thoughts and feelings until the luminous glow
of the soul dawns into the mind and heart and is allowed to do a work
of transformation and enlightenment within the immersed meditator. This
is the most difficult path of Yoga. It requires tremendous strength of
will and intellect. It involves knowing oneself. Taking the philosophy
of Vedanta, the Jnana Yogi uses his mind to inquire into its own nature.
We perceive the space inside and outside a glass as different, just as
we see ourselves as separate from God. Jnana Yoga leads the devotee to
experience his unity with God directly by breaking the glass, dissolving
the veils of ignorance. Before practicing Jnana Yoga, the aspirant needs
to have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths - for without
selflessness and love of God, strength of body and mind, the search for
self-realization can become mere idle speculation. Jnana yoga consists
of seven chords namely conscience, intellect, philosophy, physic guidance,
wisdom, discernment and remembrance.