Jñāna yoga (Devanāgarī: ज्ञान योग; the pronunciation can be approximated as "nygaana yoga") or "path of knowledge" is one of the types of yoga mentioned in Hindu philosophies. Jñāna in Sanskrit means "knowledge".
As used in the Bhagavad Gita, the Advaita philosopher Adi Shankara gave primary importance to jñāna yoga as "knowledge of the absolute" (Brahman), while the Vishishtadvaita commentator Ramanuja regarded knowledge only as a condition of devotion.
In the Bhagavad Gita (13.3) Krishna says that jñāna consists of properly understanding kshetra (the field of activity--that is, the body) and kshetra-jna (the knower of the body--that is, the soul). Later in the Gita (13.35) Krishna emphasizes that a transcendentalist must understand the difference between these two.
Jñāna 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.) This was an important concept in texts older even than the Bhagavad Gita, and often invoked the image of a Swan, which was said to be able to separate milk (or Soma) from water, whilst drinking.
- Vairagya - Dispassion: Through viveka, one should be able to "detach" her/himself from everything that is not real and therefore temporal-materialistic.
- Shad-sampat - The 6 Virtues:
- Sama-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 - Intensely focused longing for moksha, liberation from temporal entanglements that bind one to the cycle of death and rebirth.