Sri Adi Shankara… the “original” jnani….
Here’s a wonderful site that focuses on what is considered to be the most arduous yoga approach:
This site is intended for the sincere and open-minded spiritual seeker, whose commitment and experience is deep enough to engage with the issues presented. This site is focused around the concept of jnani, an Indian term meaning insight or wisdom, and used in contrast with the term bhakti, meaning devotion.
Yes, I do detect a little snootiness in the above quote… but back when I went through a lengthy Advaita Vedanta phase (from 1996 through roughly 2002), several well-respected teachers (Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj come immediately to mind) did state that the path of a jnani is the most difficult, but also the quickest for those who are “ripe.”
I found that I was not ripe, and this was a tough realization to accept — but once I accepted it, I was led to the Teacher within, who brought me to the Buddha and his path to attainment. I am now identifying myself with the bhakti approach of devotion mentioned above, and could not be happier.
So it all works out in the end….