If intelligence is higher than the mind, then why does intelligence come from passion and mind from goodness?

by Chaitanya Charan dasFebruary 17, 2012

From Murari Bhagvan Prabhu,

in BG it is mentioned Inteligence is higher than mind , soul is even higher than inteligence

But how is it intelligence comes from the mode of passion. And mind comes from mode of goodness ?

From where false ego comes ?

To hear the answer, please click here

Transcribed (edited) by: Shalini Ahluwalia

Question: In the Bhagavad Gita it is mentioned that intelligence is higher than the mind, and soul is even higher than the intelligence. Then how is it that the intelligence comes from the mode of passion and mind comes from the mode of goodness? And from where does the false ego come?

Answer (short):

  • The intelligence which is described as above the mind in BG, actually is the spiritual intelligence which is guided by guru-sadhu-shastra. Otherwise it is our mind which controls our material intelligence most of the time.
  • Mind comes from the combination of false ego and goodness. Goodness is connected to maintenance and mind’s primary purpose is to maintain our material existence.
  • Intelligence comes from the combination of false ego and passion. Passion is connected with creation and intelligence’s primary purpose is to create newer and newer things for expanding our existence.
  • BG 13.6-7 explains the source of false ego, which is mahat-tattva.

Answer (long): The same word ‘intelligence’ in different context can refer to different aspects of the intelligence. When Krishna is talking in 3.42 (BG);

indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah

That above the senses is the mind, above the mind is the intelligence, and beyond that is the soul, He is referring to the spiritual intelligence that we acquire by hearing from guru-sadhu-shaastra. Such intelligence is above the mind. Such intelligence can control the mind. But if we are not spiritually connected, if we are not guided by guru-sadhu-shaastra, then our intelligence is rarely able to control the mind. In fact, almost always, our intelligence gets controlled by the mind and we use our intelligence not to control the mind but to fulfil the commands of the mind. Srila Prabhupada says famously in a letter – “we are supposed to use our intelligence to control our enjoying mentality but our problem is that we are habituated to enjoying intelligently”. We use our intelligence to fulfil the enjoying mentality that is present in the mind. That is the normal ‘conditioned’ stage and it is this stage that is referred to in the third Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam when it talks about the origin of various elements.

Basically in the narrative of Sankhya given by Lord Kapila Deva to mother Devahuti, it is described that the false ego is the ultimate source of the entire material existence. The false ego is what leads to the creation of all subsequent elements. False ego in combination with goodness gives rise to the mind, in combination with passion gives rise to the intelligence, and in combination with ignorance gives rise to the senses and other things. And in this way the whole network – mind, intelligence, senses, sense objects –is created which entraps the soul.

Now where does the false ego come from?

maha-bhutany ahankaro
buddhir avyaktam eva ca
indriyani dasaikam ca
panca cendriya-gocarah
iccha dvesah sukham duhkham
sanghatas cetana dhrtih
etat ksetram samasena
sa-vikaram udahrtam

Krishna explains in 13.6-7 (BG) where He briefly gives the overview of the elements of Sankhya that the avyakta, the maha-tattva or the pradhaan is the source of the false ego.

Why false ego, when it combines with the mode of goodness, gives rise to the mind?

Because goodness is concerned with maintenance. And the mind’s primary purpose is to maintain our material existence. False ego combined with passion is said to give rise to intelligence because passion is connected with creation. And creation is primarily meant to bring about something new. The material intelligence brings about newer and newer plans for expanding our material existence. So the mind maintains our material existence and the intelligence expands our material existence by creating new schemes for enjoying. The mind basically desires but to implement that desire plans have to be made and planning is the business of the intelligence. That’s why intelligence is said to come from passion.

Now beyond this intelligence, does that mean that the intelligence has two components – one is material intelligence and the other is spiritual intelligence?

Let us understand that the tattva of intelligence, the buddhi, is actually made of material elements. As far as composition is considered intelligence has material composition. But when we are talking about material and spiritual intelligences, we are actually talking of intelligence’s application. As long as the intelligence is used for fulfilling our material desires and enjoying separately from Krishna, that intelligence is considered material. Such intelligence is always subordinate to the mind. On the other hand, when we use our intelligence to plan and execute our services for Krishna and for that purpose we control the mind then such intelligence is spiritual.

To summarise, material intelligence is below the mind because it fulfils the desires of the mind. It executes the desires of the mind. The mind basically maintains material existence and the intelligence expands material existence. The spiritual intelligence is above the mind because it can control the mind and direct us towards Krishna’s lotus feet.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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