Intelligence means to know what to do when we don’t know what to do

Whenever we have to make decisions, we usually seek guidance from our intelligence. But life sometimes puts us in perplexing situations wherein our intelligence becomes paralyzed. We feel as if we were going along a familiar road and suddenly encountered an unfamiliar intersection. At such times, we need to turn towards someone knowledgeable and reliable for guidance. Consulting such a person amidst perplexity is also a sign of intelligence. 

At the start of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna exhibited such intelligence. His life till then had been running along the track of dharma. But suddenly he came to an intersection wherein he was pulled in opposite directions by two dharmas as a Kuru scion (a member of the Kuru dynasty) and as a kshatriya (a martial guardian of society). Being thus conflicted, he felt baffled, disheartened, intellectually paralyzed (02.06). 

When his intelligence didn’t know what to do, it still knew what to do: turn to the supremely reliable guide, Krishna. He surrendered to Krishna to understand the essence of dharma (02.07). On hearing the Gita, Arjuna situated himself in his eternal identity as a part of the Whole. Thereby, he saw his various dharmas as integrated with and subordinated to his dharma of serving the Whole. Internalizing this vision resolved his dilemma (18.73).

Similarly, when we feel perplexed, we need to turn towards the Gita to remind ourselves of our core identity and our ultimate destiny. Once we become grounded in our fundamental function to serve the Whole, Krishna, we will gain divine guidance to figure out a constructive way through our dilemma (10.10). 

Thus, Gita wisdom expands our conception of intelligence from a guide to decision-making to a guide amidst indecision too, thereby protecting us from intellectual paralysis. 

 

Think it over:

  • Why did Arjuna become intellectually paralyzed?
  • How did the Gita help Arjuna resolve his dilemma of contradictory dharmas?
  • How can the Gita protect us from intellectual paralysis? 

 

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02.07 Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

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