The Mental Framework Provides the Initial Leverage For the Yoga of Knowledge

The Yoga of knowledge begins with the basic capabilities of the mind in order to experience and eventually identify with the Supreme. The mind has the capacity to withdraw itself from the events and forms and experiences of the outer world, to become a quiescent witness or passive observer of things and events. This is the first essential characteristic required for the path of Jnana Yoga. This attitude of the mind corresponds to one of the aspects of the Supreme: “There is an Essence that is in its nature a quiescence, a supreme of Silence in the Being that is beyond its own development and mutations, immutable and therefore superior to all activities of which it is at most a Witness.”

Some liken this status to a type of substrate of existence, or to put it another way, like a “canvas” upon which the artist creates his painting. The mind, of all human core capacities, is the closest to being able to grasp, in some manner, this background or framework of creation. “For in its most characteristic movement it is itself apt to be a disinterested witness, judge, observer of things more than an eager participant and passionate labourer in the work and can arrive very readily at a spiritual or philosophic calm and detached aloofness.”

“Armed with its functions of gathering and reflection, meditation, fixed contemplation, the absorbed dwelling of the mind on its object,…, it stands at our tops as an indispensable aid to our realisation of that which we pursue, and it is not surprising that it should claim to be the leader of the journey and the only available guide or at least the direct and innermost door of the temple.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 1, The Object of Knowledge, pp. 274-275

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