Jnana & Spiritism

Jnana Yoga, Automatic Expression and Spiritism

Does the practice of Automatic Writing, Automatic Drawing, Automatic Painting or any other “Automatic” form of expression have any value from the perspective of Jnana Yoga or any other transcendental discipline? Does any spiritist practice such as Channeling, Voodoo, Candomblé, Santeria, or any other similar “otherworldly” contact have any value from that perspective as well? Does either of those two groups of practices have any practical value from a perspective of plain reason?

Before I start elaborating on the answer to those questions, I would like to clarify a couple of points.  First, I know that some artistic work can be conceived during mental states other than our common day-to-day state of consciousness and, second, I know that there are certain phenomena out there whose occurrence may defy any logical explanation.

In acknowledging the validity of those two points, however, I’m not professing that they have any value for any transcendental purposes. I’m just stating that I’m aware that such situations and events take place.

So let me start by defining a few relevant premises and concepts that will help us to elucidate an answer to the questions presented above. First, let me define Jnana Yoga.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga is one of the four main branches of Yoga. Jnana Yoga basically proposes that it is only through the systematic discrimination between what’s real and what’s unreal that we can regain direct knowledge of the Eternal Source of our consciousness while alive. The main exponents of Jnana Yoga are Shankaracharya and Ramana Maharshi.

In this context, Real is anything that is unchanging, permanent, absolute and eternal. Unreal is anything that is changing, impermanent, relative and ephemeral. (1)

Everything that we see, hear, do or say; everything that we touch or feel; everything that we think, imagine or dream and everything we perceive or express through our senses and organs, all of these things come to be known to us only through our minds. Whether those things are impressions perceived through our senses and sent to our minds, so that our consciousness may gain awareness of them, or whether they are images, thoughts and ideas emanating from our minds and sent to our means of expression, so that the external world may perceive them, their clear destination and their clear place of origin is always the mind.

Simply put, the mind is the screen on which all external and internal phenomena are projected.

But the mind is finite. It is impermanent, it is changing, it is relative and it is ephemeral, therefore it is “unreal.” It follows that everything that is projected on our minds is as unreal as the mind itself. For this reason, according to Jnana Yoga, the mind has to be discarded in order for the “real” to shine directly onto our consciousness.

But why would anybody want to discard their mind? The mind is arguably the most precious advantage all human beings enjoy over the rest of creation. Why would anybody want to get rid of their most precious asset? Because the mind is clearly not equipped to perceive in a direct manner the Eternal Source of its own consciousness.


(1) This is not to say that “Unreal” things don’t exist.

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