- Yogananda

How to Get Your Prayers Answered

Do you realize that you may have been praying to an unknown God and may not have been getting any response? Every Sunday you get into the church vibration and pray with both earnest and indifferent souls. You feel religious, and you feel afraid of God… Do you like to talk to a deaf, mute person? Do you want to go on appealing or talking to someone who never replies?

Jnana: A Yogi’s Guide to What It Is and What It Isn’t

Jnana - beyond the intellect

This article on Jnana is taken from “Perspectives on Yoga,” a book by Abbot George Burke to be published later this year.

We must not mistake intellectuality and philosophizing for jnana, as is commonly done. Perfect jnana is Self-realization: liberation here and now.

Jnana is not a set of ideas or even of insights, but a condition of the buddhi itself, the state of enlightenment even in its beginning stages. So a jnani is not a philosopher but a yogi whose inner eye is opened and steadily developing.

Darkness and Ignorance

Darkness is not an entity, but only an absence of light. Therefore, no matter how dark the place, light will still shine forth, even if in a limited manner. Ignorance is darkness, and wisdom-knowledge (jnana) is light. In even the darkest mind if light enters, it dispels at least some of the dark, and the more light the less darkness. By holding on to the knowledge we gain, we make it possible for more to enter and more ignorance to recede. In time we shall be all light, and we can go home to the Light from whence we came. That is why Shankara insists over and over that jnana alone liberates and that it alone should be sought.

Intelligence (buddhi) and knowledge (jnana) are divine powers inherent in us. They are the highest levels of our being which in their totally purified (vishuddha) state actually “touch” Brahman and act as a conduit through which the divine life descends and transforms us. Eventually they themselves merge into Brahman and are revealed as Brahman.

Jnana consists of one thing only: Self-knowledge–not in the sense of philosophy about the Self, but as direct experience of the Self as the Self. And that is experience of Unity.

Attaining Jnana

True jnana results in renunciation of worldly things (vairagya), and adopting the practice of yoga which results in the realization of God. Everything else is elementary and only a reflection of jnana: steps to jnana, but not jnana itself. Only the dispassionate yogi has a hope of gaining Self-realization.

Three things are necessary for the attainment of jnana:

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Real Spiritual Teachers vs. Super-Gurus

krishna quote-qualities of a real super-guruAn excerpt from The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

“The Holy Lord said: When he leaves behind all desires emerging from the mind, and is contented in the Self by the Self, then he is said to be one whose wisdom is steady” (Bhagavad Gita 2:55).

Nothing could be easier to understand: an enlightened person wants nothing, finding total fulfillment in the Self–both individual and Universal.

Therefore when we see people with even “spiritual goals” such as “serving God in others” or exhibiting a veritable passion about a “world mission” or “saving” or “enlightening” others, we can know they are not illumined, and therefore incapable of doing any of those things in a real manner, however fine the exterior machinery might appear.

Qualities of a true spiritual teacher

A true spiritual teacher has no expectation of others whatsoever, much less foisting demands on them. Knowing that all growth comes from within, never from an outer factor–including him–the worthy teacher knows that it is his duty to teach, and that is the absolute end of the matter. From then on it is up to the student to either follow the teaching or not.

If he asks for help or advice from the teacher, it is the teacher’s duty to give the requested assistance and then leave the matter alone. (Swami Sri Yukteswar was a perfect example of this, as was Paramhansa Yogananda. They loved and cared deeply, but they also respected the freedom of those they taught.)

In spiritual life as well as material life there is a division of labor that should be adhered to. Under the guise of “love” or “devotion” there should be no violation of spiritual law. And no authentic teacher will ever break any law.

In contrast

It is virtually impossible to find any popular “guru” that does not live like “the jewel in the lotus”–both materially and socially. Although there is a pretense that their disciples are insistent upon it, it is really the guru that demands continual adulation and material accouterments that would have been considered extreme even for a Di Medici monarch.

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