Yoga of Knowledge

Jnana Yoga is the way of knowledge, of wisdom. Fr Bede said “this is the knowledge of the Self, the Atman, the true Being. It is not a knowledge that can be acquired by reason, or by learning, or even through the scriptures. It is a knowledge which comes from above. The path to it is by metanoia, by returning to the source. There must be a radical detachment from the self, that is, from all selfish attachment in this world, the flesh and the ego…… This is a difficult crossing, the passage to the other shore. Unless the grain of wheat dies, it can not bear fruit. (John 12, 24)He who will loose his life shall save it (Matthew 1625).This is the great paradox behind all life. All methods of meditation are intended to lead to this point. The mind must die to itself, to its concepts, its reason. The surface mind must cease its activity, all thought must cease. Then in the silence, in the stillness, beyond thought, a deeper mind becomes known, the true Self begins to emerge. This is the Para-atman, the Supreme Self, the light of the Word, shining in the heart. By this Light all is enlightened, by this everything is known. This is the end of the journey; beyond this it is impossible to go. For there the human passes into the divine, the temporal into the eternal, and the finite into the infinite. What words can describe this state? What thought penetrate it? It is the ultimate mystery.”(‘The One Light’ Pg.280 Bede Griffiths’ Principal Writings. Commented by Bruno Barnhart. Templegate Publishers, Springfield, Illinois.)

And Paul, in his teachings to the early Christian communities tried to emphasize the importance of this union through the inner experience. It is this experience which comes from the inner life; a life of prayer and grace. St Paul prays in his letter to the Ephesians (1 vs. 17) “I pray that the father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Him, so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His Power for us who believe, according to the working of His great power……and in  chap 3……I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breath and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (1 Corinthians 2 vs10)

This is no ordinary knowledge. This is a knowledge with love. The child may be told “your father loves you. He works hard to bring home the food we put on the table. He works hard and sacrifices so much that we may be comfortable and have a roof over our heads” but that is not enough. The child must feel the love of the father. The human heart can feel love from a very early stage. Without this love even a baby’s brain will not develop. In Montreal’s Children hospital volonteers are needed to come into some children’s wards, children without parents, so the workers may for some time each day hold a baby in their arms to give them love and affection..
It is easy to be told from an early age that God loves you, but unless one has an experience of that love, the heart is never satisfied. It was the great St Augustine who said “My heart will not rest until it rests in Thee O God..”
St Paul experienced that Love.
In his book ‘Saint of the Day’, Fr. Leonard Foley o.f.m.,a Franciscan priest said, ”

“Union with God is the highest possible state that any creature can attain and it is readily attainable if one is single, married, secular, religious or clergy. It is a blissful state amidst any pain, suffering and sorrows inherent in life. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are or even if you are disabled or able. There are no educational requirements for lovers or those who ardently seek union with God except desire, goodwill and charity toward all. God is holy and infinitely desirous of everyone to be robed in that same holiness.

God, you are clothed with light,
As with a garment fair,
And in your holy sight
The saints your beauty wear;
The heav’ns and all therein express
The glory of your holiness.

Give me a robe of light
That I may walk with you:
Bright as the stars are bright,
Pure as their light is pure;
Whose texture sin shall never stain,
But ever undefiled remain.

O Christ, I lift my eyes;
Your love for me I own;
In your great sacrifice
Remains my hope alone;
The robe is mine, my soul to dress,
Of everlasting righteousness.

The above Hymn taken from the “Magnificat” Publication, Edition, May 2003.

The writings of the Apostles to the Gentiles are brought to the attention of the faithful more than any other writer. In the liturgical readings throughout the year Paul’s writings are constantly before us……

Paul’s theology and philosophy are not textbookish. What Paul wrote about, he experienced so much so that he was quite unable to put into words the spiritual experience given to him by God’s Spirit.

Paul often speaks about the heights, depths, width of topics that are beyond his own comprehension. He admits of speaking and writing about a certain wisdom. It is not a wisdom of his times or ours. It is God’s wisdom which is always mysterious and a hidden wisdom. Of this wisdom, “eye has not seen and ear has not heard”, nor has it so much as dawned on humankind what God has prepared for those who love Him.                         God revealed this wisdom to Paul and us today through the same Spirit because the Spirit scrutinizes all matters, even the deep things of God. Paul tells us: who knows a man’s innermost self but the man’s own spirit within him? Similarly, no one knows what lies at the depths of God but the Spirit of God.” (Fr. Leonard Foley O.F.M.)


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