No Room for Intellect
Growing up, as we learned and gained knowledge about this world, we were encouraged to ask questions. We developed curiosity and our questions were rewarded with more knowledge. In school, at work, in all our worldly dealings, asking the right questions almost always led to finding answers that helped us grow.
Being conditioned as curious beings, we naturally carry over our habit of questioning as we walk on the spiritual path. We read books, attend satsangs and hear the words of the Master to help quench our thirst for knowledge. We try our level best to understand what the path is about and the commitment that we would have to make should we choose to walk down this road. We are told that the truth can be found – all we have to do is follow one simple instruction: meditate.
Our doubting mind finds this answer difficult to accept. It cannot be that simple. How can all the answers of the universe be found in meditation? How can we possibly end the age-old debates that plague us? In an attempt to find some solace, we take our doubts and questions to the Master. We quote the books we’ve read, the satsangs we’ve heard and the answers he has shared with other seekers, and we beg him to shed some more light on the concepts that we find difficult to understand. Sometimes, we receive replies that satisfy us. Sometimes, we’re left with more questions.
The Masters have never discouraged us from asking questions. They welcome our curiosity. They’ve pushed us to ask all that we must to satisfy our intellect before we make any decisions. But do we ever consider that maybe spirituality is a path where the mind and intellect have to take a back seat?
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna explains: “The senses are superior to the gross body, and superior to the senses is the mind. Beyond the mind is the intellect, and even beyond the intellect is the soul.” In this verse, it is clearly stated that we need to rise above the body, the senses, the mind and even the intellect. The soul, which is the subject of spirituality, is above all the other faculties. It is part of the infinite ocean of love and energy and therefore can never be explained by the finite. How can our minds grasp spirituality when spirituality dictates that we leave the mind behind?
We need to come to a point where we surrender our mind and intellect to the Lord and allow him to lead our soul back home. The more we analyze and struggle to understand, the less we will grasp. Lord Krishna imparts this knowledge to Arjuna when he explains:
Fix your mind on me alone and surrender your intellect to me. There upon, you will always live in me. Of this, there is no doubt.
The function of the intellect is to think, analyze and discriminate. The goal of spirituality is to learn how to surrender. In the book Concepts and Illusions, the author beautifully explains how the Master teaches us to surrender.
He (the Master) anchors us through confusion. While the others say, anchor yourself to remove the confusion, the Master says the opposite: get confused and then you will be anchored. He confuses us to a point where we finally, through sheer exhaustion, drop this mind and say, “Okay, have it your way! I give up.” And that is precisely the moment he is waiting for, for us to give in. That’s why he encourages us to question. He wants us to reach a point of surrender.
So long as we rely on our intellect to understand the spiritual path, the mind will be in turmoil trying to make sense of things. There comes a point when a disciple gives in and surrenders. When he sincerely begins to follow the path, there are no more questions. When the mind surrenders to the Master in absolute faith, there is only calmness and serenity.