What This Site is About
In the fall and winter of 1999-2000, I posted a series of brief essays on jnana yoga to a couple of discussion lists on the Internet. One of the lists is formed of yogis, who are mainly followers of Yogi Amrit Desai. The other list is a group of hermeticists, who study Qabala, Tarot, alchemy, and astrology, and who are mainly followers of Paul Foster Case. With these two distinct viewpoints, an interesting dialogue emerged from the give-and-take on the two lists. The "Essay on Jnana Yoga" is a compilation of that dialogue. Questions are in italics, for clarity's sake.
The discerning reader will note that, while there is a philosophical tone, this is not a work of philosophy as such. While all assumptions herein are open for examination and discussion, there are certain assumptions on which this is based. Were this intended as a critical or scholarly scrutiny of jnana yoga, this would be out of place. Meant as an exposition of jnana yoga for the use of those who might wish to pursue it, I unabashedly promote certain ideas as true or valuable, and belittle ideas which I find false or valueless. Is this partisan? In the extreme. I make no apologies for that. It is my hope that the scholar or student will nonetheless find something of interest, as well as the seeker or aspirant.
By way of explanation let me say that I will try address several topics on the issue of jnana yoga. The first
is a simple description of it in its classical expression. The second will be a description of jnana yoga as I
practice it, which is a combination of the classical Hindu approach, the Buddhist Madhyamika philosophy, Qabala,
and western philosophy along the lines of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. The third will be how-to rather than description.
I expect the greatest interest will be in the description of the classical Hindu approach. The second will probably
be of interest also. The third, the how-to, may seem boring to someone who is not drawn to this practice.
There is an important piece of the how-to, which will be dry and unfamiliar to most. However, without grasping the meaning of this essay, entitled "The Three Orders of Thought", one will be able to make little or no headway in applying jnana yoga. Clarity of thought is the sine qua non of jnana yoga, and without understanding the 3 orders it is impossible to be clear enough. I am deeply indebted to His Highness, Art Kleps, the late Chief Boo Hoo of the Neo-American Church, for introducing me to these ideas. I even stole some of his more colorful phrases from him. However, this represents my own understanding of these ideas, which has grown in the 25 years since I first encountered them.
In addition, as time goes on and this site refines itself, other pieces seem appropriate. While not explanatory of jnana yoga, they are illustrative of it. Since I lean heavily to the East, I am including some material drawn from the Western tradition to show that Jnana Yoga need not be strictly Hindu in orientation. Since Carl Jung was a student of the hermetic or Rosicrucian lore found in alchemy, Qabala and Tarot, the Jung Material is a natural for bringing in that side of things. I also draw from my training at seminary and experience as a Quaker pastor in some other essays. More will be added as time goes by, so come back every so often and check out what's new.