Are those who abuse their intelligence jnanis and those who use it to serve Krishna jnana-yogis?
Transcribed by: Shalini Ahluwalia
Question: Is a jnani one who abuses the intelligence say for exploiting nature or doing materialistic things and a jnana-yogi one who uses intelligence for serving Krishna?
Answer: Not exactly. Jnani – the word essentially is the opposite to Karmi. There are two broad branches of thought within the Vedic literature. The karma-marg is the marg of enjoying the material world. And there are various religious rituals and other things for enjoying that and then there is the jnana-marg which is the marg of the world-renouncers and they to some extent understand that this world is a place of entanglement and of suffering and they want to get out of it. So karmis are those who want to enjoy the world and jnanis are those who want to renounce the world. Now it is not that all karmis are foolish. The karmis may also have jnana but they use their jnana to control matter. And in the process they become controlled by matter. They become entangled by matter whereas the jnanis use their intelligence to come out of material entanglement. Now the jnana-marg is different from bhakti. So jnana-yogis are not bhakti-yogis. Those who use their intelligence to satisfy Krishna they are bhakti-yogis. They definitely have jnana – infact they have the best jnana, the fullest jnana but they are bhakti-yogis. Now jnana-yogis when they attain perfection;
Bahunaam janmanaam ante
Jnanavan mam prapadyate
Sah mahatma sudularlabha
When jnana-yogis attain perfection and then they surrender to Krishna, understand Krishna to be everything, then they devote themselves to him. So at that time they use their intelligence for serving Krishna, for satisfying Krishna, glorifying Krishna, loving Krishna. But till them the jnanis focus primarily on rejecting the material world by discrimination – I am not this matter, I am not this mind. I am not this particular thing. Na iti, na iti, na iti. And by that they try to find out what is the ultimate reality. When the jnana-yogis come to know that the ultimate reality is Krishna then they become bhakti-yogis, no longer are they jnana-yogis. And in general in the Vedic literature jnana is associated with vairagya. If one has intelligence, one acquires knowledge, one understands that this world is a place of misery, its temporary and its entangling and therefore one will become detached from it. And in fact that was one reason why Jagannath Mishra the father of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said let’s stop the study of Nimai because our elder son Vishwaroop he studied the scriptures and he renounced the world. So jnana led to vairagya. And I want our son to stay with us. I don’t want him to leave the world. So therefore let us stop his study. So the idea is jnana leads to vairagya. So today there are many people who are into very advanced technology, there are many scientifically-minded people, many materialistic people who have their own intelligence and they try to use it to control material nature.
So this kind of people they have intelligence but they are not jnanis, they are karmis. The scientists they may be intellectuals but if they are materialistic scientists no matter how intelligent they are they do not fall in the category of jnanis. They fall in the category of karmis. Because scientists are trying to understand matter so that they can control matter and they can enjoy matter. I am talking about materialistic scientists. There are theistic scientists who fall in an entirely different category. But in general those who abuse their intelligence to control material nature they are karmis. And those who use their intelligence to just try to get out of material nature without thinking what is the ultimate goal, without knowing what is the ultimate goal, without devoting themselves to the ultimate goal, they are jnanis. And those who use their intelligence to glorify Krishna and those who use even the resources of this world including matter and material things to glorify Krishna they are the bhaktas. They are the devotees. They are the bhakti-yogis.
Thank you, Hare Krishna!