But in Jnana or
mystic consciousness, which great Rsis acquire after a prolonged life or lives of
self-abnegation and prayer and spiritual quest, there is no such distinction. In this
experience, as in God, knowing and being are one. In other words, man knows God by
partaking of His nature and becoming divine.
It is unfortunate that there is no English word exactly corresponding to
jnana and that in Sanskrit also the word is used both for intellectual knowledge and for
spiritual realization. Jnana in the higher sense is both knowledge of, and life in, God.
When our jnanacaksus or the eye of wisdom is opened we see ourselves as part and parcel of
an abounding divine life of which no tongue of man can speak adequately.
Our world of time and space then shrinks into a small speck and
may even vanish, and we are carried on waves of a bound less Being far beyond the little
islands of our morality and devotion. To vary the figure, in the ascent of bhakti we know
only a fragment of God with reference to our selves and our childish needs, and like
children we affect to be on terms of familiarity with the Father.
But on the heights of jnana our eyes are opened and we
gradually come to see what He is in relation to the universe and at last what He is in
Himself. It is like the child of a royal house growing 'Into manhood and coming to know
that the father whom he loved and played with is in truth the great ruler of an empire
over which his eye cannot extend.