Jnana Yoga is the esoteric path toward the attainment of truth and liberation. It is esoteric since it moves inwardly through knowledge rather than outwardly through love and devotion which pertains to the exoteric way of the Bhakta.
Jnana Yoga is designed for the intellectually-oriented aspirant whose temperament is that of detachment and intellection. The aspirant who cannot submit to names and forms must delve directly into the heart of truth by way of knowledge and by means of the intellect. The Bhakta who cannot but be emotionally invested in the path is bound to worship a personal god which is the relative absolute. The Jnanin, on the other hand, aims at the impersonal absolute, for he seeks the truth for the sake of truth and not for any spiritual reward.
Naked truth is veiled since it is unbearable and dangerous for the emotionally invested Bhakta. The Jnanin, however, is prepared to stand the fatal radiation of truth, for he has renounced himself and become the truth. In the face of truth the Jnanin is not surprised at all, for what he sees is not new knowledge; it is only remembrance: He realizes that he has been identical with the truth all along. It is more like an Aha moment for him in which he remains unmoved, though it would be the most shocking, unbearable, and frightening sight for the unprepared.
The Jnana path of knowledge follows the 4 principal attitudes:
1. Intellectual discernment between the real and the unreal.
2. Renunciation of the unreal and concentration on the real.
3. The six virtues of control over the mind, control over the senses, detachment from worldliness, indifference to pain and pleasure, faith and trust, mastery in concentration.
4. Longing for knowledge and the attainment of liberation.
The path of knowledge is of course not a choice for an aspirant; the aspirant must be born into this path, for the path of knowledge is not a hobby or an appendix to one’s life; disinterested pursuit of truth must be the one and the only life of the aspirant; thus he must be born with an intrinsic and irresistible love of truth and wisdom. The Jnanin is the man who must know.