According to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda, which is more important in attaining moksha- Bhakti or Jnana? As far as I know Jnana is more important in Advaita and both were Advaitins. On the other hand, most of the teachings of Ramakrishna seem to stress on Bhakti yoga and most teachings of Swami Vivekananda seems to stress on Jnana. Are their teachings contradicting each other?
They're equally important.
I'm here quoting some relevant quotes of Swami Vivekananda from The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 3/Bhakti-Yoga/Definition of Bhakti:
There is not really so much difference between knowledge (Jnana) and love (Bhakti) as people sometimes imagine. We shall see, as we go on, that in the end they converge and meet at the same point. So also is it with Râja-Yoga, which when pursued as a means to attain liberation, and not (as unfortunately it frequently becomes in the hands of charlatans and mystery-mongers) as an instrument to hoodwink the unwary, leads us also to the same goal.
It is not given to all of us to be harmonious in the building up of our characters in this life: yet we know that that character is of the noblest type in which all these three — knowledge and love and Yoga — are harmoniously fused. Three things are necessary for a bird to fly — the two wings and the tail as a rudder for steering. Jnana (Knowledge) is the one wing, Bhakti (Love) is the other, and Yoga is the tail that keeps up the balance.
There is a little difference in opinion between the teachers of knowledge and those of love, though both admit the power of Bhakti. The Jnanis hold Bhakti to be an instrument of liberation, the Bhaktas look upon it both as the instrument and the thing to be attained. To my mind this is a distinction without much difference. In fact, Bhakti, when used as an instrument, really means a lower form of worship, and the higher form becomes inseparable from the lower form of realisation at a later stage. Each seems to lay a great stress upon his own peculiar method of worship, forgetting that with perfect love true knowledge is bound to come even unsought, and that from perfect knowledge true love is inseparable.
Btw, it is often interpreted that "Bhakti is an extreme love towards Brahman" & "Jnana is the Brahman itself"
Both paths will lead to God.
Bhaktiyoga is the religion for this age. But that does not mean that the lover of God will reach one goal and the philosopher (Jnani) and worker (Karmayogi) another. It means that if a person seeks the knowledge of Brahman he can attain It by following the path of Bhakti too. God, who loves His devotee, can give him the knowledge of Brahman if He so desires.
But the Bhakta wants to realize the Personal God endowed with form and talk to Him. He seldom seeks the knowledge of Brahman. But God, who does everything at His pleasure, can make His devotee the heir to His infinite glories if it pleases Him. He gives His devotee both the love of God and knowledge of Brahman. If one is able to reach Calcutta, one can see the Maidan and the museum and other places too. The thing is how to reach Calcutta.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Wednesday, June 25, 1884
nothing complex in it. before going to answer, i just want to say gyan is not knowledge or intellectual. This is something different. when you are learning from outside word, that is knowledge. gyan is about inner world.
one question, any one can gyan easily? probably no. each everyone dont have capacity to attain gyan. very few only the capacity.
Now i tell the answer. gyan is not needed for moksha. but when a person is preparing for moksha, he will attain gyan. like when i m travelling from one village to another village. i definitely cross over many villages. but those villages are my root , not my destination.
Ramakrishna start from village1. Bhakti. When a person is pure bhakti, it lead to get gyan. He reached village 2. Vivekanda attained gyan from his guru. But both concern was moksha. village 3.
Vivekanda knows gyan is a key to moksha. but ramakrishn knew the root of gyan. that's why advised to be in bhakiti.