Every spiritual aspirant realizes the importance of managing the mind because the mind is the cause of bondage as well as liberation. However, in striving to tame it, we often forget to neglect the importance of the intellect in this process. Factually, the human intellect is empowered with the ability to control the mind in a moment.
Consider this example: One parent complains that their child doesn’t study or listen to them. When the child was asked, “Son, why don’t you study?” He says that his mind does not like to study and that is the problem. The mind says, “I don’t enjoy the process.” But the same child, when he goes for his annual year-end exam, for two hours he brings his mind into complete focus and performs at his optimal mental and intellectual ability. During those two hours he does not look out of the window, nor does he look at his neighbor.
Thus, he is concerned with producing the best possible answers to the questions asked. Where did this mental focus come from? It proves that the child always possessed the ability. When the intellect decided, these two hours are critical, it brought the mind under control. If that kind of focus was retained throughout the year, that child would have become a national-level merit scholar. But for the remaining time, the intellect’s decision was otherwise. The child thinks, “Studying is important for my parents, not for me. They don’t know what they are talking about.” When the intellect’s decision was otherwise, even if the child took the mind to studies, the intellect would bring it back — “Come here.”
So, the example reveals to us that we all possess the mind—and beyond that is the intellect. Invariably, there is a fight between the mind and the intellect. The mind wants immediate gratification. The intellect, instead, realizes the value of long-term benefit. What is the way ahead then? We need to use the power of the intellect to control the mind. People complain, “My mind keeps running in the world, it doesn’t go to God.” But the reality is, if you want, you can control your mind in a moment.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
Let us take another example. One man is hungry from the last four days. His mind, intellect and senses are tormented. He is craving for food, food, food! Let’s say we bring him 56 kinds of food items on a silver platter and say, “Sir, eat what you like.” He looks at the gulab jamun (desert) and the mind yearns, “There is this object of pleasure in front, can we eat it?” The intellect says, “I am also in torment, go ahead.” The intellect sanctions the mind, the mind instructs the hand, and he has lifted the object. At that moment, do you think this person can develop detachment? You will say, “Of course not, the object of the senses is right there.” Well, it will not take much time. Just scream, “What are you doing, do you wish to die? Immediately he thinks, ” Die!?”
The intellect decides, there is something wrong out here —“Stop it!” instructs the mind, the mind instructs the hand and he stops. He asks, “What is the matter?” Once we say to him, “Don’t you know there is poison in it?” He exclaims, “Poison?” Immediately the intellect took a split-second decision, “This is harmful, chuck it.” That man tossed the gulab jamun away. This person who was hungry for four days, became detached from that sense object the moment the intellect got convinced that it was harmful to him.
That is the ability of our intellect. Lord Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, explains this as “Buddhi Yog,” or the yoga of the intellect. In other words, if we can empower our intellect with divine wisdom, we will automatically guide our lives in the proper direction. That is why the scriptures instruct us to keep on nourishing our buddhi (intellect) with divine wisdom—either by reading the great scriptures or listening to the wonderful knowledge shared by the Guru and the Saints. Let us, on a regular basis, spend some time listening to the transcendental wisdom of our Guru or reading it through the divine books and the scriptures.
Let us always remind ourselves—not to miss out on intellectual diet which is so mercifully made available to us through the scriptures and the Saints. Let us regularly consume it and provide our intellect with invaluable nourishment, which will be extremely beneficial in controlling our mind. However, to implement this knowledge we need to take yet another step, which we shall discuss as we progress along the journey of the Life Transformation Challenge.