Tag Archives: impersonalism

Which Is the Best Path to Follow?

Question: What is the relation between bhakti marg and jnana yoga?

Answer: Jnana yoga is a technical word. There are many misconceptions because the word jnana has many meanings. It generally means knowledge, but jnana yoga, although it is translated as path of knowledge, refers to a very specific knowledge – the oneness of the self with Brahman. So the path on which one wants to merge into Brahman is called jnana yoga. That does not mean that if one studies scriptures one is following jnana yoga. Jnana is there on every path – whether it is karma yoga, bhakti yoga or astanga yoga. When you follow it, you have to have knowledge of it.

There are three manifestations of God: One is Bhagavan, one is Paramatma and one is Brahman. And there are three main types of transcendentalists. There are bhaktas (who follow bhakti). Their goal is to realize Bhagavan. There are also astanga yogis or raja yogis, whose goal is to realize Paramatma. And then there are jnani yogis who are also called impersonalists or Advaita-vadis. Their goal is to realize Brahman, the impersonal aspect of Bhagavan.

So jnana yoga is the path on which a spiritualist has the goal to realize the impersonal aspect of Brahman and not Bhagavan or Paramatma. Even if they worship Bhagavan, it is only a means for them to realize Brahman. They think that by worshiping Bhagavan, then by His blessings they will be able to merge into Brahman. So their ultimate goal is to realize Brahman. And the word jnana in jnana yoga signifies that the knowledge that the self and Brahman are one.

Question: Can one follow a spiritual path without love?

Answer: You can follow, but without success.

Question: So we cannot really follow a path without love. Even jnanis?

Answer: It will be not successful. Everybody has to take help from love or bhakti.  So better to follow the path of love only.

Question: Do we choose our path according to our own nature or samskara or what?

Answer: Yes, usually you choose according to your samskaras. You may also become influenced by a particular saintly person whom you meet. If you don’t have previous samskaras you may become influenced by such a person and if you have previous samskaras then you will be attracted to the person who is teaching the path which is related to your samskaras.

Question: How did you get your personal relationship with God? How did you choose?

Answer: I came in contact with my guru. He is following that relation and so I also get it from him. He taught it to me.


(from a Question-and-Answer session of an Seminar on “The Art of Love” in France)