What is that one thing, which, when known, all other things are known? It is taught that religious principles must be experienced, and their validity tested. By what inquiry, which path do we take to arrive at the knowledge of that by which all is known in all universes?
atma-gyan: direct knowledge of the Atma; self-realisation; knowledge of the Atmic state.
gyan (jnana): atma-jnana: true learning.
jñān Hin. m. jñāna San. n. (from jñā – to know) true intuited understanding; spiritual wisdom; higher knowledge. ‘What use is information which does not bring about transformation?’ (SSS) ‘Jñāna is that which is beyond mind and speech. What the guru says through his mouth is not jñāna but ajñāna. Just as one thorn removes another, the guru’s verbal teaching (ajñāna) removes the veil of the disciple and the result is jñāna – pure knowledge.’ ‘Jñāna is not something to be attained; it is eternal and self-existent. Remove [ignorance] and what remains is jñāna.’ (SSB) (pronounced gyān in Hindī)
vichara: self-inquiry; contemplation, thought
vichara: inner inquiry as against blind unreasoning faith.
Jnani: wise, liberated person
Question 46: Sir, how is Atmagyan attained ?
Answer: Ramji, Atmagyan can be attained only by thought or contemplation. Pilgrimage, penance and charity help in the purification of the mind but knowledge nor wisdom is not attained with them. Neither it is achieved by the ignorant as a boon, nor is it destroyed by a curse, after it has been attained. When, with contemplation, one practises hard, gyan is attained.
It is not the knowledge of things related to the world, which trains individuals for a living, and is useful only as a basis for a living. To compare Atma-Jnana with such forms of knowledge is a great mistake. Great men are those who do not abuse others, who search for the reality with good intentions. Spiritual matters cannot be understood by those without the power of discrimination, who are puffed up with the authority they have; or by those who are unaware of any atma-jnana, knowledge of the Self.
The knowledge of the Atma is the basic truth. It can only be won by
1. Giving up Vasanas,
2. Uprooting the mind,
3. Analysing one’s experience to grasp the reality
Concentration will enable one, whoever he is, whatever the activity he is engaged in, to finish it much better than otherwise. Whether in material assignments, or in ordinary day-to-day work or in spiritual sadhana, concentration of mental energies is a must if success is to be achieved. It is the key that can open the treasure chest of Jnana. This is the most important aspect of Raja Yoga. It can even be said that it is the only important aspect of that Yoga. Millions of unwelcome, unwanted, unnecessary and even harmful thoughts enter our minds and confound their activities. These have to be kept out. The mind has to be guarded and controlled and kept under our rigorous supervision. Raja Yoga is the one refuge for persons endeavouring to win this victory.
One fact has to be noted here. If a person has this knowledge of the immanence of the Divine, and even of its transcendence, he cannot be honoured as a jnani (wise, liberated person). For, the knowledge has to be digested through actual experience. This is the crucial test. It is not enough if the intellect nods approval and is able to prove that Godhead is all. The belief must penetrate and prompt every moment of living and every act of the believer. Jnana should not be merely a bundle of thoughts or a packet of neatly constructed principles. The faith must enliven and enthuse every thought, word and deed. The self must be soaked in the nectar of the Jnana.