Passive Intelligence as a Force

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    Danakeli Dasi

    I read  the following comment by Srila Prabhupada in SB 4.29.17: “In the conditioned state, the living entity acts according to his contaminated intelligence. Although he simply remains an observer, he nonetheless acts, being forced by a contaminated intelligence, which in reality is a passive agent.”
    A couple of seemingly contradictory points are found.
    1) The living entity is SIMPLY an observer, yet he acts.
    2) Intelligence is passive, yet it forces us.
    I accept that we are merely observers of the phenomenal world, which intelligence is a component of. How can passive phenomenon (such as intelligence) force a living being? Is it only the modes of nature (that are behind intelligence) that truly act? That is, are the modes the only non-passive agents in this equation? And the living entity’s actions are illusory? That is, he’s really just an observer?

    Ashish Dalela

    The material energy is like an instrument, and we are the users of that instrument. But just by looking at the instrument, a desire is created in us to use that instrument.

    For example, if you are a musician, then sometimes, you get a desire to play music, and then you use the instrument. But sometimes, just by looking at the musical instrument, you get a desire to play the instrument. So, even though the material energy is an instrument it can create a desire in us.

    To properly understand this idea, we should understand that desire exists innately as a possibility in us–we are capable of desire. When we look at the world, the cognition is obtained, and that cognition then triggers a desire (which preexisted as a possibility within us).

    This process of desire creation is exploited by advertisers and marketers. For example, if you go to Walmart (or other grocery stores), at the checkout counter, you will find them carefully placing things that you don’t really need, but you will buy them if you just see them. They will have packs of chocolates, key rings, and other things, that are easy and cheap enough, which you don’t really need, but you will take them anyway. They create a desire in you to buy the stuff you don’t need.

    This is the nature of material energy. When the soul comes into contact with matter, matter creates a desire in the soul. Of course, there is some weakness in the soul, but that weakness is exploited by the material energy. So, it is wrong to assume that if we go to a jungle, then we will be free of material energy. The correct position of liberation is when all kinds of power, pleasure, enticement are right in front of you, and you have no attraction for it. You just smile at that enticement, bow down to the material energy, and say: “thank you, but I am fine”.

    The “intelligence” in material energy is that it will present the most crafty allurements.

    Danakeli Dasi

    Thank you.

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