Which is “higher”—mind or intellect

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    Danakeli Dasi

    In Bhagavad-gita 3.42 we hear, “The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” And when we hear of a yogi mechanically leaving his body, we indeed hear that he first merges the senses w/ the mind, then mind w/ intellect, & so on.
    On the other hand, in Srimad-Bhagavatam we hear that the mind is born from egoism in goodness, the intellect is born from eogism in passion, & the senses from egoism in ignorance. Indeed, when we sleep, first the senses (born from ignorance) stop functioning, then intellect (born of passion) ceases, & lastly mind (born of goodness) stops (in deep sleep). This makes mind seem “higher” than intelligence in this regard.
    How to reconcile these two perspectives?

    Danakeli Dasi

    Peehaps my question fell through the cracks? 🙂

    Ashish Dalela

    This is my guess, although I’m not absolutely certain this is the only way to understand it.

    When we look at the world, the mind focuses on something and identifies an individual. For example, you might see a book, and the intellect subsequently identifies that it is BG. If we were able to focus the mind on a particular thing, then the intellect would be focused as well. In short, if we only focused the mind on the BG, then the intellect will focus on the BG. Since the mind’s focus drags the intellect, therefore, by mind control, we can control the intellect.

    However, the reverse is also true. If you start with the intent of looking for something — e.g. your house keys — the intellect has decided what you are looking for and the mind will seek that thing. Therefore, by focusing the intellect on something, the mind also gets focused.

    To focus the mind using the intellect, you must have a predetermined idea of what you are seeking. On the other hand, to focus the intellect using the mind, you must avoid looking at anything else. In the former case, you have decided what you seek, and you use the mind to search it out. In the latter case, you have focused on something and then known it.

    Another example. Suppose you are searching for the answer to a particular question. You type the question into Google search and then you scan for answers. Here, the intellect has decided the question and everything unrelated to the question is ignored by the mind. On the other hand, suppose that you are just browsing some websites like Dandavats without any specific question in mind. Your eyes scan the screen and the mind just attaches to something and the intellect is then used to understand what that thing is. In the former case, the intellect focused the mind on a particular question/answer. In the latter case, the mind focused the intellect.

    So, which one is really superior? If you have decided what you are seeking (i.e. the content), then the intellect is superior and will control the mind. If you are undecided and just looking here and there trying to find something that might interest you, then the mind is superior.

    Some people buy books because they are looking for some knowledge, and the quest for knowledge attracts them to the book. Some people are not looking for this knowledge, but their mind may get attracted to the cover, and they may then want to read the book.

    This is not the perfect sastric answer. I’m just saying from my personal experience.

    Danakeli Dasi

    Great. That’s a better answer than I could come up with. Thanks.

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