Four Ways of Seeking Gnosis

In looking at the Hindu tradition, they suggest that there are four paths to liberation. I would argue that this is not unique to Hinduism but has its place in most of the world religions. For Gnostics I would say that these paths/practices can help one achieve Gnosis.

I will first be listing the Hindu Term then the description with commentary from a Gnostic perspective.

Bhakti Yoga-path of devotion. This path of devotion can best be seen in the Islamic Sufi way of Rumi with his seeking God through passion, song, dance, and the imagery of the love affair. This is the passionate seeking of God until one experiences union with Him. One can find this way active in the mystics in the Christian Church as well. (The poetry and writings of John of the Cross and Hildegard for example)

Karma Yoga-path of service. This path is the patch of doing good of serving others not for the purposes of the ego or attachment but rather as an offering of God. One sees God as the server and the servant. (Francis of Assisi,Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Oscar Romero are good examples of this)

Jnana Yoga - path of meditation. This is the path of the discriminating mind. The apophatic and kenotic path. One empty's the self to gain the Self-that Divine Spark within. This path is exemplified by many of the Eastern Orthodox Saints, as well as Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich.

Raja Yoga- the path of the mind. This path seeks to discipline the body, train the mind's thinking, and seeks to control the mind's thoughts. I tend to think of those who use fasting, body prayers, the daily office, and unceasing prayers (like the Jesus Prayer) as using this method.

Any person can use all or any combination of these. Others may know their temprament leans them toward one or two of them.


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