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Gnana Yoga Is Not about Philosophies

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
June 2015
Gnana Yoga Is Not about Philosophies

Gnana does not mean to philosophize, gnana means “to know.” Unfortunately, philosophy is mostly passing off as gnana yoga today. Fundamentally, if you want to pursue gnana, you need a very alert, sharp intellect. Every day and every moment you must slowly sharpen your intellect to a point where it is razor sharp. It misses nothing; it can go through anything, but nothing sticks to it. The intellect must be kept like that—very sharp, but uninfluenced by anything—it does not matter what—that is happening around. If God comes and stands here, you dissect him and see, but you are not touched by his blood. The knife is always clean, never getting cluttered with anything. This is gnana.

If you can keep your intellect like that, it will naturally penetrate through the process of life and show you what is true and what is not true, what is real and what is not real. But today, people have just jumped to conclusions. They have made philosophies. People just openly talk, ‘Everything is maya. It is all illusion, so why worry?’ They are just trying to console themselves.

Talking about the illusory nature of the world, or talking about the Creation and Creator, or believing that the world is like this or that—is not gnana. Gnana yogis cannot afford to believe or identify themselves with anything. The moment they do, the sharpness and the effectiveness of the intellect is over. Unfortunately, today in the name of gnana, people just believe so many things: ‘I am atman, I am paramatman.’ They believe in how the arrangement of the cosmos is, the shape and size of the soul, how it will transcend; they read all this in books. This is not gnana yoga, because you are just believing something. People who walk the path of gnana are people whose intellect is such that they are not willing to believe anything, nor do they disbelieve anything. ‘What I know, I know; what I do not know, I do not know’—this is gnana.

Very few people are capable of pursuing gnana yoga 100%. On the path of pure gnana yoga, most people will not know what is happening; very few people will be able to grasp it. It is very rare to meet such people who have the necessary intellect to pursue gnana yoga 100%. Most people would need a huge amount of preparation because it is very easy to get your energies and emotions moving, but to develop the mind from one level to another is not easy. It is a very time consuming process because the mind is tricky. Emotions are quite simple; energies are very straight forward—whether it is happening or not, that is all it is with energy. But mind is not like that. The mind will create a million illusions. By the time you battle through all that, you do not know where you belong and whether you are going forward or backward. So gnana yoga as a part of your pursuit is okay, but as a whole, it is only for a rare few. Others will completely miss the point.


Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru speaks before millions annually around the globe, including to prominent leadership forums such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the World Peace Congress. From ground-breaking yoga programs to projects for rural communities and the environment, Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation (www.IshaFoundation.org) serves as a thriving model for human empowerment, which is reflected in the Foundation’s special consultative status with the UN.


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