Author Topic: Mind and Intellect  (Read 11746 times)

Nondogmatic Nondualist

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Mind and Intellect
« on: July 07, 2009, 11:31:36 AM »
How does one distinguish between mind and intellect?  What are the sanskrit terms for these?  Western psychologists and scientists do not (as far as I am aware) make such a distinction; they would consider both to be just mind.  And if they are materialists, they would locate consciousness in the brain, and perhaps say that there is no mind separate from the brain.  Some behaviorists would go so far as to question the existence of consciousness and mind as such, reducing all life to a mere mechanical process.

How is distinguishing between mind and intellect useful in the process of self-inquiry?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 11:34:46 AM by Nondogmatic Nondualist »

Dr. Sadananda

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Re: Mind and Intellect
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 06:19:06 AM »
PraNAms

The subtle body consists of four components - mind, intellect, memory and ego - the Sanskrit names are manas, buddhi, chitta and ahankaara.
Both mind and intellect are flow of thoughts - vRitti dhaara -. Thought is not the mind but flow of thoughts is mind like flow of water is river. The banks of the river are like Buddhi, the intellect and river bed is like vaasanaas. The substantive for all this is pure existence itself since we say mind is, intellect is, etc.

Flowing thoughts can be considered as two types - the emotional thoughts and intellectual or discriminative thoughts. I love her, I hate this, I am angry etc. these are emotionally centered thoughts and are part of the mind. The discriminative intellect that knows right from wrong, analytical and synthetic mind, mind with concepts, math, science etc. all which are non-emotional come under intellect. Hence both mind and intellect are thoughts but their texture is different. Intellect can be considered as boss and mind as the secretary, collecting info from senses and passing onto intellect for judgment and action for execution. If mind overruns the intellect like secretary overruling the boss, the office becomes chaotic. That what happens when I know what is right but compromise myself to do what I feel like doing. Sin is defined as the divergence between mind and intellect. All yogas 'karma, bhakti' etc. try to integrate the two 'mind and intellect' hence what I think and what I feel and what I do are in straight line and not crooked. This is called aarjavam or straightforwardness which is essential for spiritual pursuit, as Krishna says.
Mind operates in the field of known while intellect tries to reach beyond the known to know the unknown. Hence all knowledge is gained by intellect.
But the word mind is also used in generic since to cover all the four components of the subtle body.
Hence all the knowledge takes place with the intellect. There is no other knowledge other than intellectual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is also intellectual and occurs in the directing the inquiry to the fundamental cause.  The fundamental ignorance is what other religions call as original sin.
Hari Om!
Sadananda.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 11:33:17 AM by Dr. Sadananda »

Nondogmatic Nondualist

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Re: Mind and Intellect
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 12:51:50 PM »
Quote
Spiritual knowledge is also intellectual and occurs in the directing the inquiry to the fundamental cause.

Yet is it not also the case that neither the mind nor the intellect can know the Self/God, because if the Self could be objectified then it would not truly be the Self?  Is it the case that the only thing the intellect can do is to determine what is unreal, and therefore arrive at the Real (which is what remains) by negation?  Or, alternatively, is there another spiritual function for the intellect?

Dr. Sadananda

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Re: Mind and Intellect
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2009, 07:38:14 AM »
PraNAms.

It is like this. Neither body, mind or intellect (BMI) each by itself cannot know anything since each one is inert. On the other hand all pervading pure consciousness need not have to realize (or I should say realization has no meaning from its reference, since it is infinite).

 When I say I know my body, mind and intellect, I, who is a conscious entity identifying with the mind, say that I am the BMI. It is not the mind making that statement since mind is inert, yet it is the mind making that statement, is it not? Without the mind, that is when I am in the deep sleep state, I cannot say I am BMI or cannot say anything. Thus the BMI are required for knowing or for self-realization. If I say I am not the mind, or I am not this, that negation is being done by who? Even that negation is done by the mind only, essentially mind is saying I am not the mind. Ego, in essence an identification with the mind as I am this, says that I am not this. This is the reasons why self-realization is very subtle process involving transcendence of the very process itself, since the process is time-bound. It is the same problem with respect to experience as self-realization.

Hence I have been trying to pointing out the subtleties involved and once one appreciates this, then one can easily understand what it involves.  It is similar to the analogy of the seeing the light: here it is the light of consciousness. If you are in a room and light is all over the room, you can see the light only when the light falls on an object and the object reflects the light. If I stretch my hand, one see the hand only because the light is falling on it and getting reflected by it. Looking at the reflected light, I say I am seeing the hand. What I actually see is the light reflected by the hand, and not really the hand. I cannot see the back side of the hand, since the reflected light from the back side of my hand is not reaching my retina. Now the process of meditation involves understanding that the light is, rejecting it is not the hand, but shifting my attention to the light that is reflecting from the hand, because of which the hand is seen; know that alone is the light and not the hand that you see. If I remove the hand, I cannot see the light in the region or place where the hand was there before. Hence to see the light in the region where the hand was, I have to have a hand or object there so that I can see the light getting reflected and the reflected light I can see. Meditations is to reject that light is not the hand or the object, this, that is reflecting the light. The mechanism involving self-realization is exactly the same.

The thought flow is the mind. I can see the thought only when the light of consciousness falls on the thought and getting reflected by the thought.  That constitutes the knowledge of the thought since I say I am conscious of the thought. Now meditation is, shifting my attention from the thought (object) but to that light of consciousness that is getting reflected by the very thought which is locussed on an object. Hence when I say I am not this, this is a thought, but I am that because of which the thought is seen. Without the thought, there may be silence, but I am 'seeing' or conscious of the silence (an object different from the seer or knower of the silence). Hence I am not the silence but that because of which I am conscious of the silence too. Hence the mind as an object is required for consciousness to reflect and I have to shift my attention of my mind to that because of which I am conscious of the mind (thoughts) too.  Now if one asks, Who is seeing that light of consciousness reflecting in the mind?; it is again I, who is identifying with the mind, say that I am seeing the light of consciousness getting reflected by the mind. Hence Vedanta says, mind alone is the cause for bondage as well as for liberation -  mana eva manushyaanaam karaNam bandha mokshayoH| - amRitabindu Upanishad.

Hope this helps.

Hari Om!
Sadananda
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 11:37:03 AM by Dr. Sadananda »