Real knowledge means to discriminate between truth and illusion. Jñāna-yoga is the process by which one becomes eternally fixed on the path of transcendental devotional service to the Supreme Lord, who is the source of the Supersoul and Brahman. Jñāna-yoga should never be interpreted to mean the ascending process of enquiry, the inductive method, through which one aims only at separating reality from illusion by gradually rejecting the unreal. It is impossible to attain perfect knowledge without serving the Supreme Lord, who is full with all opulences and potencies, whose bodily luster is the Brahman effulgence, and whose partial expansion is the Supersoul. The brāhmaṇa Gopāla Cakravartī believed that jñāna, perfect knowledge, is far superior to devotional service of the Lord. But as recorded in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Antya 3.201):
- balāi-purohita tāre karilā bhartsana
"ghaṭa-paṭiyā mūrkha tumi bhakti kāṅhā jāna?"
The priest named Balarāma Ācārya chastised Gopāla Cakravartī. "You are a foolish logician," he said. "What do you know about the devotional service of the Lord?"
If one pretends to be a devotee of the Lord but does not understand the difference between dry speculative knowledge and knowledge of the Supreme Absolute Truth, then such a person's devotion borders on impersonalism and is rank with cheap sentimentalism, which is totally against the spiritual teachings of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Therefore jñāna-yoga is not speculation or empirical research; nor is it the sudden emotional outbursts of upstarts pretending to be devotees. By practicing genuine jñāna-yoga, even an empirical philosopher will develop a taste for hearing purely spiritual topics from the scriptures. Eventually he will come to understand the Supreme Lord's transcendental position and potency, and ultimately he will relish the Lord's form, which is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. He will perceive the Lord as the embodiment of all transcendental mellows. And if the pretentious nondevotee sentimentalists, who like to imitate the empiricists, practice genuine jñāna-yoga, then they too will gain an accurate perspective on the Absolute Truth. They will become firmly established in the understanding that the Supreme Lord's form is spiritual and transcendental, and then they will begin to render unflinching devotional service.