This section continues to delineate the meaning of jnani by introducing two more concepts: via positiva and via negativa. The distinction between via positiva and via negativa (positive and negative paths) is borrowed from Christian theology, but given a different, though related meaning. So far jnani has been presented as a spiritual orientation of the transcendent, that is a way to transcend the limited sense of self via an orientation that includes enquiry, doubt, the will, and understanding. In examining the jnani Masters and traditions it seems that there are two ways whereby the narrow sense of self is overcome (or to put it another way, whereby one attains mystical union):
via positiva: mystical union through identification with the whole, following a progressive identification with more and more of the manifest world
via negativa: mystical union through dis-identification with the whole, following a progressive dis-identification with more and more of the manifest world
In Christian theology the terms via negativa and via positiva are ways of worshipping God: either by denying him any attributes, as in the 'Divine Darkness' of Dyonisius the pseudo-Aeropagite, or by attributing to him all goodness, as in the more conventional theology of the Catholic Church. The use of the terms via negativa and via positiva to describe spiritual paths that may or may not be God-centred (theocentric) is an expansion of the older meaning. For example, although Therevadan Buddhism has no God or gods, it is clearly via negativa, at least in the form originally proposed by the Buddha.
Hinduism has two terms which sum up the difference between the two paths: 'thou art that' for via positiva, and 'not this, not that' (neti, neti) for via negativa. 'Thou art that' (a motto adopted by Osho to sum up his early teachings) indicates the state in which the usual ego-state of separation is lost, and one become all things. 'Not this, not that' sums up the renunciative path where one disidentifies with one's body, mind, and past, and hence also loses the sense of separation with all things.
As with the distinction between jnani and bhakti, the distinction between via positiva and via negativa is about paths that lead to the same spiritual goal. However it may be that one can exercise more informed choice over the two paths than over the two orientations. Again, as with jnani and bhakti, the two paths are not separable, at least in their fulfilment.