Can you explain clearly the role of mind, intelligence and consciousness in the path from impulse to intent?

by Chaitanya CharanFebruary 17, 2014

Transcription by: Shalini mataji

Question: Question from KarunaSindhu Prabhu. This is based on the article – Let intelligence guard the path from instinct to impulse, from impulse to intent. Can you explain what exactly is the role of the mind and the intelligence and the whole subtle body in this example. Where is this path starting from, where is this path going and who exactly is the guard and what is the role of the mind, the intelligence and the soul in all this?

Answer: Firstly, we use the terms here in specific meanings. So impulse refers to some idea that comes to us. Now it appears on the territory of our consciousness. It may come from outside in the sense that we may see something externally and thereby feel like indulging in it. So it appears in the territory of our consciousness from some external sensory source or sometimes something may appear on the territory of our consciousness from the subliminal level of our consciousness. In a warfield, some soldiers might be hiding in a trench below the ground level and seeing an opportune moment they suddenly come up. So like that also some impressions might be there also in our subtle body, in our subconscious mind and they come to the conscious level at some moment. So impulses are what appear on the territory of our consciousness, at the doorway, at the start of the pathway. That means that is how we start thinking about them. So we become conscious of them when they come, when they enter in our consciousness either from an external or an internal source. Now as they journey along forward in our consciousness they move forward and they grow bigger and bigger. That means when we become conscious of a particular thing we think about it more and more and our desire for it increases. And as our desire for it increases we start getting carried away by it. We start getting influenced, attached, infatuated, enslaved and finally it becomes an intention which we act on. So in that sense the impulse is what comes on the road at the entry point of our consciousness. So if we consider consciousness as a circular thing then at one point there is an entry into it and then there is a u-turn that it takes and then it comes out. When it comes out it is intent, I will act on it afterwards. So the difference between impulse and intent is our identifying with it and our accepting it and our deciding to do it. So how does this happen? In this whole thing the mind itself can sometimes be the source of the impulse and the mind maybe sometimes the recipient of the impulse. If it is coming from the external world to the senses into the mind then the mind is the recipient. But otherwise the mind can just be the origin because it is coming in the mind from the mind itself. From the subconscious mind it is coming to the conscious mind. Now once we start thinking about it and start feeling it then in 2.62 and 2.63 Krishna talks “dhyaayato vishayaan punsah” – how when we contemplate our desire for it our craving for it becomes stronger and stronger. “sangasteshu upjaayate” – We become attached with it. “sangaat sanjaayate kamah” – and strong desire comes up, the desire goes into anger and that way we fall down to illusion ultimately – “buddhi naashat pranashyati” – thats in 2.63. So the pathway essentially is the pathway through our consciousness itself. And the mind is one starting point of the pathway, something may start from the mind itself or sometimes the pathway may go further behind the mind to the senses and some impulses may come in through the senses to the mind also. So eitherway the main path runs inside our consciousness and intelligence is something which is meant to guard this path. So guarding can happen in two ways – blocking (that way don’t allow something to come in itself ) or if it comes in then- driving out. So the driving out may involve forcibly throwing it away or it may involve killing that also. That can happen by contemplating the consequences of that  particular action, of that particular impulse, praying to Krishna for help and with that combination of wisdom and devotion we will be able to resist temptation. So thats how we understand it from the analytical framework, this particular example.

Thank you, Hare Krishna!

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Chaitanya Charan

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