Now we come to the next one: Jnana Yoga. Again we ask three questions. What is the aim, what is the instrument, what is the process?
What is the aim of Jnana Yoga? The aim of Jnana Yoga is to know the Being of God. In Karma Yoga the aim was to know the Will of God. There is a difference between the Will of God and the Being of God. Being is much larger, Will is only an expression. But the Being is the very stuff, the very heart, the very soul, the very self. So the aim of Jnana Yoga is the knowledge of the Self, the Supreme Being, the Supreme Self. And to become that very Being yourself. Just as in Karma Yoga the aim was to discover the will of the Divine and also to be the instrument of the Divine Will. Similarly in Jnana Yoga you discover the Supreme Being of the Divine and to become identical, to be one with that Being. That is the aim.
Now comes the question of the instrument. The instrument is the intellect. You take hold of the intellect as instrument. In Raja Yoga we said that the instrument is the Mind. In Jnana Yoga we are using the word Intellect. There is a difference between the two. Normally we say that mind and intellect are the same. But yoga tells us that there is a difference. Intellect is that part of the mind which distinguishes, which is capable of distinction, which makes a distinction between the Truth and the False. Between what is right and what is wrong. Between what is really real and what simply appears to be real. It distinguishes between reality and appearance. It is that part of the mind which distinguishes between right and wrong which is taken as an instrument in Jnana Yoga. That is why many people think that Jnana Yoga is a difficult one. Because already you must have intellect, you must be aware of intellect, so already you must be sufficiently developed. Hatha Yoga is easier because bodily existence is very easily seen by us and we can manipulate it easily. Desire is much more easy also to see and to manipulate. But intellect already requires a great degree of development. That is why many people think that Jnana Yoga is the most difficult one. Later on we shall examine if this question is easier or not. But anyway it is true that unless intellectually you are aware you cannot practice Jnana Yoga. You must know the instrument of intellect. You must develop the mind up to a certain extent so that it is able to decide, to judge. That much capacity you must already have. That is why all the people who are asked to practice Jnana Yoga are given a long practice in the process of intellect. Intellectual development is the first process. In all process of Jnana Yoga the individual is told to realise intellect first. And for that the process is to think. Thinking is the real starting point of Jnana Yoga.
You might say that from the time that I came to you we have started Jnana Yoga because I gave you many subjects for thinking and you have been put into the practice of thinking. You are already doing Jnana Yoga. We defined many things. And when you define you decide what is real and what is not real. Whenever you define anything you are already judging what is real and what is not real. You are defining exactly what the subject is. We defined what is philosophy, what is science therefore we distinguished between what is philosophy and what is not philosophy, between what is science and what is not science. Your intellect already begins to develop and to decide what is right and what is wrong, what is real and what is appearance. And when you study philosophy — there are many ways of learning philosophy but if you are a Jnana yogi, if you are doing the process of Jnana Yoga, study of philosophy can be by deciding or discriminating what is ultimately real and what is ultimately unreal. This is a true philosophical training.
The first step, the first process in Jnana Yoga is to think. The second process is to think what is right and what is wrong to discriminate between the truth and falsehood, right and wrong, real and unreal, reality and appearance. The third process is to distinguish between ultimately real and ultimately unreal. This is a very long process. It may take ten years. Unless and until you are able to think what is ultimately real and what is ultimately not–real you are not entering into the real gates of Jnana Yoga.
But having done it the prescription is — now comes the real Jnana Yoga, before were only preliminaries — think what is ultimately real and what is ultimately unreal again, and again, and again… and still again and again further. This is called manana in Sanskrit. When you think again and again of what is ultimately real and what is ultimately unreal — there can be many exercises. In India so many exercises have been discovered or created so that they may become a great help to you to think again and again.
The next step consists of a double movement: a negative movement and a positive movement. The negative movement is to say: “I am not unreal.” The positive movement is to say: “I am real.” Normally I think that I am the body. Realise first you are not the body. You have a body, not that you are the body. It is a mistake to think that you are the body. You have a body. So between unreal and real you see the distinction now. The reality is that you are more than the body and you have a body but you are not yourself the body. This is a first meditation you might say. Think of it again and again and again… Whenever you think “I am the body”, remember that you are not the body. You have a body, you are not the body. You are real, this body is only a part of it, this body is only something, you are much more. You are the real Self, the Supreme Self. Remember that you are the Supreme Self, you are not this. As long as you think: I am the Supreme Self you are also wrong because ‘you’ is only referring to your body, to your little self. But that is not the real self. You are neither the body nor the life nor the mind. These are the three great illusions in which we live. We always think that I am the body, I am the life, I am the mind. These are unrealities. There are false ideas. You are not the body, you are not the life, you are not the mind. You have the body, you have the life, you have the mind. But you are not yourself the body or the life or the mind. This is the negative meditation. I am not the body, I am not the life, I am not the mind. Repeat it a thousand times, ten thousand times, one million times.
Then you go to the positive side: “I am the Supreme Self.” But when you say: “I am the Supreme Self”, remember that we should precede it by saying: “I am not I.” What I think is myself is also not myself. Don’t think that the Supreme Self is what you think you are. That is also false. You have to realise that you are not yourself. What I think is myself is not myself. It is only the ego — Aham bhava. You are not the ego. When you say you or I it is not the ego it is the Supreme Self. I am vast. Sri Aurobindo had used the words: “union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent”. Your individuality has to be united with the universal and with the transcendental which is even more than the universal. That Supreme Being is more than the universe. And that is yourself. In which there is no I and no You. It is only One. There is only one reality, one Self, one Supreme Self. Even the statement “I am that Self” is also wrong. There is only the Self. That is all. There is only the Supreme Self. That is the real Reality. So meditate upon this: “I am the Supreme Self”, then cut it out and say: “There is only one Supreme Self”. That is the real reality. There is only one Supreme Self. Having done this, now you say: “This Supreme Self manifests as a universe, manifests as the individual, manifests itself as the mind, as the life, as the body.” When you have done this whole circuit then you have the aim of Jnana Yoga achieved. It is a long programme, a difficult programme but that is what Jnana Yoga aims at. And it is said there is nothing as pure as this knowledge. This knowledge is the purest. If you want to be the purest, as we all should be, then we should remember that there is only one Supreme Self. This very perception delivers you from every impurity.