Jnana yoga is one of the four basic paths in yoga (jnana, bhakti, raja and karma.), according to Yoga and Vedanta philosophies.
Jnana in Sanskrit means "knowledge", and is often interpreted to mean "knowledge of the true self". In the Vedanta school of the Hindu religion, to know Brahman as one's own Self is jnana. To say, based on experience "I am Brahman, the pure, all-pervading Consciousness, the non-enjoyer, non-doer and silent witness," is jnana. To behold the one Self everywhere is jnana.
Jnana yoga teaches that there are four means to salvation:
- Viveka - Discrimination: The ability to differentiate between what is real/eternal (Brahman) and what is unreal/temporal (everything else in the universe.)
- Vairagya - Dispassion: After practice one should be able to "detach" her/himself from everything that is "temporary."
- Shad-sampat - The 6 Virtues: Tranquility (control of the mind), Dama (control of the senses), Uparati (renunciation of activities that are not duties), Titiksha (endurance), Shraddha (faith), Samadhana (perfect concentration).
- Mumukshutva - Intense longing for liberation from temporal limitations.
One of the philosophical fundamental pillars of Jnana yoga is nondualism which is a fundamental belief in the unity of the universe, especially of the individual soul atman with brahman or transcendent, all pervasive ultimate reality. This is expressed in Hindu philosophical school of Advaita Vedanta. The desire for liberation mentioned above might be described as "wanting to be one with the universe."