The branch of yoga that focuses on answering these and many other questions is Jnana yoga, the yoga of true knowledge and wisdom. In order to discover her nature, the Jnani practitioner uses and develops her mind, intellect and thoughts, studying, philosophizing, and most importantly, experiencing.
The search for self-realization can become mere speculation. But in Jnana yoga, the search for the Absolute Truth is not merely a speculative exercise. The highest spiritual goal is to experience the Ultimate, to embrace the Truth and become part of it. It is a journey of exploration and encounter. The Jnani yogini explores her true nature and what life really is, and along the way re-discovers and works with those attitudes and behaviors that separate her from her goal and generate so much unhappiness.
The Jnani yogi reaches liberation through study and self-examination. It is the path of yoga for those with an inquisitive nature, who seek to understand the why and how of things, that are more introverted.
Ramana Maharshi is representative of this path of yoga. He claimed that the mind will merge with God only by means of self-exploration. An example of his philosophy is the use of his famous phrase, “Who am I?” The repetition of the phrase destroys all other thoughts. When a thought infringes on your meditation, you ask yourself: “where did this thought come from?” The answer will be: “myself”. So you ask, “And who is myself? Who am I?” going back to the meditation. Finally, one day, the mantra (the phrase “who am I”) self-destructs. The mantra served its purpose. The mind stops this individual phase and merges into the All, and it is here that ecstasy is reached.
The main classical text of Jnana yoga is the Brahma Sütras.