Our intelligence is our guard – and we need to guard it
VIPs have guards to protect them. But they too need to guard their guards – not from attacks, of course, but by providing for their needs such as food. When the guards are properly nourished, they will be strong and alert to do their job.
Similarly, our intelligence is our guard – it protects us from short-sighted desires and ill-informed emotions. If not protected from these, we become our own worst enemies and end up hurting ourselves and hurting others.
For our intelligence to guard us, we need to guard it. How? By providing it adequate nourishment through spiritual study and spiritual practice. The Bhagavad-gita states that when we regulate our conduct according to scripture, refusing to follow our attachments and aversions, we become purified (02.64). Thereafter, we are no longer tormented by our own desires – eat this, watch this, touch this – and then we become cheerful, and our intelligence becomes strong (02.65).
When we study scripture, we understand the nature of pleasure, material and spiritual. Such understanding strengthens our intellectual conviction to live according to scripture by practicing bhakti-yoga. And bhakti-yoga practice connects us with Krishna, the source of all pleasure, enabling us to relish spiritual happiness. Such sublime experiences reinforce our intellectual conviction. However, if we indiscriminately contemplate worldly pleasures, such contemplation powers a sensual spiral that sabotages our intelligence and drags us to degradation (02.62-63).
In contrast, when we nourish our intelligence by contemplating Krishna’s message, it blocks contemplation on temptation: “Nothing doing. My life is meant for better things.” Further, it directs our consciousness to constructive engagements centered on remembering and serving Krishna, thereby taking us to spiritual safety, beyond the lure of temptation.
Thus, when we guard our intelligence by scriptural study and spiritual living, we are guarded by our intelligence.
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