There is a popular notion that there are four paths for gaining mokṣa – for the extrovert – karma-yoga, for the emotional – bhakti-yoga, for the intellectual – jñāna-yoga, and for the one who does not fit into these – Hatha- yoga. How far this is true needs to be examined.
Firstly, there are no four independent paths or ways to gain mokṣa. The siddhānta is that knowledge alone is the direct means for mokṣa, so there is no mokṣa without knowledge. However, one needs to gain preparedness to receive and assimilate the knowledge. That preparedness may be gained in different ways. The śāstra talks of two committed lifestyles for a person pursuing mokṣa. One is an exclusive pursuit of knowledge (to the exclusion of karma). This is called sāṅkhya or jñāna-yoga. A second lifestyle is a pursuit of knowledge along with the duties and roles one has to play as a member of the society, called karma-yoga. Both pursuits culminate in mokṣa only through a blessing in the form of knowledge. The following article is a based one of Pujya Swamiji’s class, clarifying the confusion regarding four paths or four yogas.
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