Excerpts from a discourse by our Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji
Let us consider JNANA YOGAM. If a question arises as to why we should go to temples, do puja etc. the answer is definitely not acquisition of wealth, power or any such worldly benefit. Such benefits are enjoyed even by non-believers. Similarly should we consider accidents/diseases, these also occur irrespective of whether one believes in God or not. Going to temples, performing puja etc. cleanse our mind and a pure mind is essential if one is to attain jnana.
Everyone in this world is endlessly searching for God. A thief, too, is searching for God. Everyone is looking for joy and hence all are looking for nothing but God. But the search is carried out in all the wrong places. True joy lies in God's feet and not in worldly pursuits. If one tries to find joy amidst worldly pleasures, the exercise would be as futile as trying to catch one's own shadow.
The concept of Jnana yoga is to realize that this joy is within one's own self. Just as achaara anushtanam forms the basis of Karma marga, vairagya (dispassion and determination) forms the basis of Jnana yogam. Sanyasa means 'SARVA SANGA PARITHYAGAM'. i.e. to renounce all. When it is difficult for one to forego even betel-chewing and snuff, is it so easy to renounce all ties?