intelligence vs agitated mind

hare krishna,


All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

sometimes, we face a situation where we don't know how to react.We get some reaction in our mind in response to those situations but we don't know whether doing that what mind is saying will diffuse the situation or make it worse.we are indecisive sometimes. What shall a person do in that situation? 

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  • What is the actual difference between mind and intelligence?

    by Chaitanya Charan dasSeptember 23, 2014

    From Krishnanama P

    I would like to know the difference between mind and intelligence. During chanting many thoughts comes and series of background planning activities starts, do not know if this is fantasy or imagination or illusion, but whenever awareness comes back, i realize that thoughts are going on in back ground and chanting is not effective. Whenever, such situation arises, i get doubt what is real difference between mind and intelligence? is mind controlling the intelligence or other way? or intelligence under illusion? etc. How to separate these 2 (mind & intelligence) and how do we effectively apply these for chanting?
    Transcribed by: Shalini Ahluwalia
    Question: Hare Krishna! Question from Krishnanaam Prabhu. What is the exact difference between the mind and the intelligence? When I am chanting I realise that many thoughts come in the mind and planning goes on in the background and when I come back to awareness I start wondering what was happening. Is the intelligence meant to control the mind or is it the mind controlling the intelligence? And how do we exactly differentiate between the two? And how do we apply this knowledge for our chanting?
    Answer: The chain of command or control can go both ways. It can go from the intelligence down to the mind or senses or it can go up from the mind and senses to the intelligence. If we consider the chariot-body metaphor, ideally the charioteer is meant to control the horses through the reins. But if the charioteer is weak or inattentive or incompetent then the horses may run wild and the charioteer will be dragged along and in that case the horses will be controlling, dragging the charioteer along also. Krishna talks about both these possibilities for example in 2.67 in the Bhagavad Gita;
    indriyanam hi caratam
yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate
tad asya harati prajnam
vayur navam ivambhasi
    So indriyanam hi caratam – senses are wandering, the horses are going wild and then yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate- the senses are wandering and the mind focuses, that means the reins go loose and then tad asya harati prajnam – the word prajna is very close to intelligence, its like buddhi, so the intelligence gets carried away. That happens. Now that is how things can happen. But then Krishna also says that what should we do? He talks about the hierarchy in 3.42 when he says;
    indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
    indriyani parany ahur – above dead matter, insentient matter is the senses, above senses is the mind, indriyebhyah param manah, manasas tu para buddhir – then there is the intelligence and then yo buddheh paratas tu sah – then there is the soul. So clearly intelligence is above the mind. And the Krishna expects us to use the intelligence to control that which is lower. That he says in the next 3.43;
    evam buddheh param buddhva
    with intelligence know that you are beyond all these and therefore by situating yourself in spiritual knowledge with spiritual strength;
    evam buddheh param buddhva
    samstabhyatmanam atmana

    So the mind – atmanam atmana – atmanam refers to the mind and the other to the soul. Fix the mind on the soul that means don’t let the mind go downwards and dwell on sense objects and get attracted there. Let the mind turn upwards and fix it on the spiritual reality and thereby conquer lust.
    jahi satrum maha-baho
kama-rupam durasadam
    In this way conquer lust Krishna says. So essentially the point which Krishna is making here is that the chain of command is meant to go upwards. The intelligence should control the mind and senses. The senses are pulling it down but the mind should be turned upwards with knowledge of our transcendental identity and that way we situate ourselves on the spiritual platform. So that is the answer to the first question – Who is to control whom. Yes the intelligence is supposed to control the mind but sometimes the mind may control the intelligence if it gets carried away by sensory image or perceptions. Now we can strengthen the intelligence by scriptural study, by philosophical conviction and that means when the charioteer is strong and its not just a matter of strengthening but its also a matter of training. Now just because a person is a body-builder doesn’t mean the person will be able to be a good charioteer. Person has to be competent. So we not just need to have scriptural knowledge but we also need to know how to get the training to apply that scriptural knowledge for controlling the senses. For the charioteer to use the reins and control the horses. So like that we have to get the training. And that training comes by scriptural study, by enquiring from devotees, by observing our own consciousness. So now there is another Gita Daily article – Look at the mind before you look with the mind. That means whenever the mind wants to look somewhere, instead of just looking over there we first look at the mind. Is this what makes sense? And then we decide whether to look in that direction or not. So that way we can reposition the mind not as the subject of knowledge but as its object. Now how do we apply all this while chanting? Is there a difference between the mind and intelligence? Definitely. From the functional point of view there is a big difference. The mind is driven by short-term emotions, instant pleasures and the mind often runs on predictable patterns based on whatever has given pleasure in the past and it runs also on the predictable patterns of wanting to avoid whatever has caused some inconvenience or misery in the past. So what do we do? We use our intelligence. So intelligence essentially means the faculty to make conscious, rational, scripture-based decisions. And the mind refers to the faculty for emotions which generally is short-term often instantaneous. So now how do we differentiate between the two? One simple criterion is that if there is inner voice which is telling us to do something which is contrary to scripture we can understand that is the voice of the mind. And if there is an inner counsel, inner voice urging us to do that which is right, which is according to scriptures then we understand that it is the voice if the intelligence. Further as we become more and more purified we will be able to differentiate between these voices more and more clearly. Till then it may be a little difficult and that’s why till that time it is good to have our life relatively structured. It means that if we decide that every day I wake up and do my chanting. If that’s what I have decided then even if the mind says – c’mon read the newspaper, watch the TV, c’mon do this, do that – I am not going to do this. You don’t leave much room for the mind to drag us, to mislead us. And there Prabhupada also writes in the kaamesh esha, krodh esha purport 3.37 that one can rise from ignorance and passion to goodness by the method of regulated living and acting. And Prabhupada says in the NOI introduction also that once we come to mode of goodness then how to make further advancement will be revealed subsequently. That means that once the inner landscape becomes less hazy and more clear for us then we will understand ok this is the voice which is impure so this is the voice of the mind. I won’t listen to it. But till then if it is difficult for us to differentiate we try to focus on just doing what the scriptures tell us to do and arrange our lives so that it becomes easier for us to do what the scripture tells us to do. So during chanting when the mind starts wandering too much it can be helpful to try to strengthen our intelligence so that we will have the alertness and the determination and strength to check the mind whenever it starts going here and there. So before chanting we can recite some very inspiring verse about the glory of the holy name, or we can meditate on a scriptural passage we have heard in some class or read somewhere which gives us impetus to fight against the mind, which gives the impetus to strengthen ourselves. And then with that we can feel more confident, more determined to tackle the mind. And also if we find the mind wandering too much in chanting then it may be helpful to take a break. Not a long break where we just walk away and so something else entirely but just a short break maybe to take a few deep breaths or just recite some sweet verses or maybe even sing the Hare Krishna mahamantra in a tune. So basically to get us out of the mind-induced haze because if we are too much in the mind-induced haze then one of the strategies that the mind uses is that it allows us to continue the activity externally while disconnecting our consciousness from it internally. And that sort of chanting is not very fruitful. So taking a break, slight pause, which helps us to re-orient ourselves in our consciousness that can help us to again reconnect with the holy name and chant better. So chanting essentially is a war and we cannot go with a rigid pre-determined strategy in a war. It depends on how the enemy attacks. And we have to find the right weapon for the kind of strategy with which the enemy is attacking to counter that strategy. So some devotees may just sit down at one place and chant sixteen rounds attentively without getting up or doing anything else. Yes that is good if we can do that. But if we are sitting just for the sake of sitting and the mind is wandering all over the universe then maybe just getting up, standing or walking and chanting might be better. Putting some water on the face – that might be better. So I am not recommending breaks in chanting by saying this rather there are already breaks in chanting because of the mind and what we are trying to create by taking physical breaks is create a break in the mind’s spell so that we can actually resume our chanting. So every day we need to observe and learn – how can I concentrate, how can I connect with the holy name and thereby we can become more and more effective in our chanting. In general, that faculty within us which helps us to act according to scripture is the intelligence and that faculty which wants us to act contrary to scripture is the mind.
    Thank you. Hare Krishna!

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    Directory - Alphabetical
    Chaitanya Charan Das explains that we humbly attempt to bridge the deep chasm between the two mountains of human achievement: science and spirituality
    • Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    • Watch your words; they become actions.
    • Watch your actions; they become habits.
    • Watch your habits; they become character.
    • Watch your character; it becomes your destiny ==> so basically we must watch our thoughts  as a first step ! Think twice before u say something. Sometimes we fall in to some situation right where we are indecisive and we consult people and elders for help. Sometimes we even go to God and seek help from Him. 
    • Gita is said to have all answers for all life situations.  According to Gita we can say one thing for sure. If the result which gives happiness to many people then it is good decision. IF the result gives happiness to only you alone and causing problems to others around you than the decision which you took is based on ur senses and ur mind. Buddhi or intellect guides the reigns of horses( Mind) and Mind orders the senses ( horses) to go in right direction.
    • Basically your decisions are made by ur intellect. If the intellect is in Krishna Consciousness it will makes right decisions which would be beneficial to humanity as a whole and  not just limited to  your own selfish interest.
    • Actions which are beneficial to whole humanity is considered to be best of karmas.
    • Secondly, the action which are beneficial to ur own family and kith or kin is second best form of karma.
    • Least important are those decisions which are with selfish motive.
    • Krishna said to arjuna to fight without thinking of his personal emotional interest When the decision is for a bigger cause like establishment of fallen dharma Lord even risked his own army( Narayani Sena) and his own people's lives.  So decision making always must end in benefit for masses/ general population.
    • Hare Krishna.
    • Like Lord Suffered pain for His devotees. In Kurma avatar, supporting a Mandarachal Mountain on the back. And carrying Govardhan giri and standing for 7 days and 7 nights for the sake of his devotees. SOmetimes  our decisions may give us pain but when u see the bigger cause and becoz of ur decision many people are benefited then its better to endure pain also.

      Hare Krishna.

  • Thank you prabhujis and matajis for your guidance. Keep guiding me like this in my spiritual journey.



  • Hare Krishna! Dandavat Pranam!

    All of us are under the influence of 3 gunas - Satva, Rajas, Tamo. The action & reaction depends on these gunas. Please read Bhagavad Gita (esp. chapter 14 and thereafter) to get to know the nature of the gunas and how these gunas influence us. By chanting, worshipping the lord, eating saatvik food and taking devotees association, one can slowly get rid of Rajas and Tamo gunas.

    Sarvam Sri Krishnaarpanam!

  • Volunteer

    If we don't know how to react or respond in some situations the best action we can do is to approach a person who could guide us. 

    We all tend to commit mistakes. Sometimes because of ignorance we may become slaves of anger or hatred and loose valuable things or people in our lives. That is why, it is very important to get help from others whom we trust. 

    Your servant, 

  • Hare Krishna,

    Few months back I posted a question which seem to me of similar sort, so thought of sharing that here. I got a beautiful answer there in the response from Felix Künneke prabhuji : 

    "even if we can't get in what way that can be useful. everything happens for our spiritual growth and ultimately in the service of sri krishna :)...

    In every situation we can ask ourselves: how can this be useful for krishna? why is this happening to me? what does he want to show me?"

    Full answer to that question can be read here:

    -Haribol !!

  • There is wisdom even in your question, as it gives discription to the nature of good intelligence as peacefulness. As to the nature of the mind as discrined by Krishna to arjuna as restlessness & unsteady, & as also percribed by Him "by our good intelligence we should bring it back under the control of the self, a liborating purafying activaty such as Chanting the Mahhamantra sounds like a very good next / 1st step.?
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