Illusions: mental and intellectual

We live in a world of illusion. Here, so many temptations allure us with pleasure and then leave us at best disappointed when those pleasures turn out to be nowhere near their hype. Or they leave us devastated when those very pleasures create impressions that impel us toward repeated indulgences that eventually become compulsive or even addictive. Such illusions usually prey on our mind. 

Different from such illusions are the illusions that prey on our intelligence: they allure us with a sense of intellectual superiority. Under their influence, we start thinking that we know better than others. 

Pointing to those who are intellectually deluded, the Bhagavad-gita states that they think they know the conclusions of the Vedas (02.42-43) when they actually know only the preliminary Vedic teachings about material piety and material elevation, not their conclusive teachings about spiritual purity and the supreme liberation in divine love. Their intelligence is lost in Vedic words, which become for them like a bewildering forest (02.52). 

Today, a similar illusion may come to us in the form of scientism, the ideology that claims science alone has the answers to all questions. Going beyond and even contradicting the scientific spirit of open-minded inquiry, believers in scientism dogmatically claim that life has no spiritual dimension. They derisively dismiss spiritualists as being irrational sentimentalists. 

The intellectually deluded reject as deluded those who are wiser than them and who are their well-wishers. Thus, they stay lost about life’s essential meaning and ultimate purpose while believing that they are progressing.

Because mental illusions soon leave us disappointed or even addicted, they are relatively easier to recognize as illusions. In contrast, because intellectual illusions make us feel superior, they are particularly difficult to recognize as illusions.

 One-sentence summary: 

The illusions that delude the intelligence are far more deceptive than the illusions that delude the mind.

Think it over:

  • Why are mental illusions relatively easier to identify as such?
  • Why are intellectual illusions tougher to identify as such?
  • What intellectual illusion afflicts people nowadays? 


02.52: When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.

Author: Chaitanya Charan

Share This Post On


  1. Hare Krishna Prabhu.

    I can’t resist to glorify your creativity in demystifying the secrets of Bhagavad-Gita in a very simple way with inspirational examples.

    Although I am insignificant to praise you , Please accept my genuine obeisances and comments that may motivate you to serve more.

    Thank you,
    Marisetty Gopi.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for your heartfelt appreciation. Yes, it certainly encourages me to serve the Gita by sharing its wisdom.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *