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Different paths one destination

The path of knowledge leads to Truth, as does the path that combines knowledge and love.
The path of love, too, leads to this goal.The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge.
All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth.But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us,
it is easier to follow the path of love.”
-Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Commentary

What is the path of knowledge?

Also called Gyana Yoga, it is using the intellect to reach the divine. It is listening, contemplating and practicing spiritual knowledge, usually aided by the scriptures (any knowledge handed down by realized souls) In the path of knowledge, to the extent the intellect can comprehend and practice the truth, knowledge replaces earlier ignorance and consequently leads to spiritual growth. In this path, God is formless, and to the seeker the world is a mere dream. The seeker understands that he is one entity and the world another. Ultimately, the jnani realizes God to be one with his own consciousness.

What is the path of love?

The path of love is using our emotions to reach the divine – also known as Bhakti yoga or Prayer. It is being in a state of deep love and gratitude for the divine, many times attributing to Him a certain form. Here God can be perceived as an idol, a friend, a lover, a child, a parent, a teacher – basically anything that the seeker can relate intimately with.  The love is usually expressed via practices like chanting His name, singing devotional songs, praying to some form of God etc.

Of the two, why is the path of love easier?

As said in the above quote, both paths are beneficial, even complementary and leads to spiritual growth. Ultimately, in order to attain complete realization, the individual ego needs to be replaced by consciousness of the higher self. The risk in the path of knowledge is that upon gaining some knowledge, the seeker can think of himself as knowledgeable, thereby increasing his ego, and going against the very purpose he is after. On the other hand, Bhakti yoga means being in deep love. A heart full of love gets its joy in merging with the object of love, and never considers itself higher than the object loved. Love is forever ready to serve and lose itself to attain the object loved. Since the ego is naturally surrendered in love, the path of love is easier to follow than the path of knowledge.

(contributed by : A Mohan Rao on 12.03.2011)

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