How the mind and intelligence work — and how to make them work for us

Our mind often comes up with impulses such as to eat something or to watch something online. If we start giving into such impulses, we will easily get distracted. And if we are repeatedly distracted, we will end up doing nothing and going nowhere, even while we are meant to be doing some responsible activity such as our studies, our work or our family obligations. Indeed, doing whatever our mind tells us to do makes us irresponsible. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita warns that our mind is often our most dangerous enemy (06.06). 

We become doubly irresponsible if we expect the impulses that arise within us to be naturally judicious. If we thus abdicate the responsibility of the intelligence to the mind, we become like a parent who expects a child to naturally choose child-friendly content on YouTube. The child is unequipped to make that choice and is often inclined to make the wrong choice, because violent or explicit videos might seem more titillating.

Or such abdication by the intelligence to the mind is like the judiciary letting people in general decide the culpability of an accused person. Especially in today’s world, where often the economic systems are complicated, crimes are intricate, and wrongdoings are not so easy to decipher, people may well go by the passion of the moment rather than the actual content of the actions. Mob justice is rarely sound justice. 

Knowing that we can neither uncritically listen to the mind nor expect the mind to do the work of the intelligence, we need to train our intelligence through regular scripture study so that we can choose wisely. 

One-sentence summary:

Listening to the mind without consulting the intelligence is irresponsible; expecting the mind to do the work of the intelligence is doubly irresponsible.

Think it over:

  • Why is giving in to our impulses irresponsible?
  • If we expect our impulses to be judicious, why is such expectation doubly irresponsible?
  • How can we learn to act more responsibly?


06.06: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

To know more about this verse, please click on the image


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  1. You should be mindful to use the MIND

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  2. Thanks sir
    How to purify mind?

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  3. Very well said and very true. Thank you so much for very nicely explaining the mind and its activities.

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  4. Does watching of mahabharat or Ramayanam on TV considered abdication of intelligence to mind? I watch only the spiritual series on tv and that too after all my duties and family obligations are completed. Should I refrain from this?

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