Definition - What does Jnani mean?

Jnani is a Sanskrit word that means “knowing,” “wise,” “sage,” or “one possessing wisdom.” It is typically used to describe someone who possesses higher Self-knowledge, or the knowledge of liberation that is gained from yogic meditation and/or study of the scriptures.

An atma-jnani is someone who has realized the true self and helps other yogis achieve moksha (liberation from the bondage of the cycle of reincarnation) through the path of knowledge. A jnani realizes the relationship between the Self and Brahman or the higher Self is one of unity.

Yogapedia explains Jnani

Hindus believe liberation or salvation releases one from the recurring life-death-rebirth cycle. There are a number of paths to achieving liberation. The Hindu religious text the Bhagavad Gita lists three:

  • Karma-marga – the path of action (following rituals and duties)
  • Jnana-marga – the path of knowledge or Self-realization (meditation, contemplation and study to gain insight)
  • Bhakti-marga – the path of devotion (showing pure love for a personal god)

A jnani is someone who follows jnana-marga. This path often involves the assistance of a guru, who guides the yogi on his journey of self-discipline, contemplation and knowledge.

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