Our intelligence can be overcome by illusion, yet it is also the key to overcome illusion
To help us focus our attack, the Gita (03.40) mentions the strategic positions captured by lust: the senses, the mind and, surprisingly, the intelligence. The statement that intelligence is a stronghold of lust is surprising because it is with the intelligence that we comprehend lust’s inimical nature and combat it. Even the Gita itself (03.43) urges us to use our intelligence to conquer lust. So is our intelligence overcome by illusion or is it the key to overcome illusion?
When illusion overruns our intelligence, we indulge in lust “intelligently”, that is, we (ab)use our intelligence to cover our tracks after indulgence so as to preserve a façade of purity.
It is both, for the intelligence lies within the conflict zone wherein the line of control keeps shifting. Sometimes the intelligence is misled by illusion and sometimes it is led by truth. When illusion overruns our intelligence, we indulge in lust “intelligently”, that is, we (ab)use our intelligence to cover our tracks after indulgence so as to preserve a façade of purity.
When our intelligence is guided by truth, especially scriptural truth, then it realizes the folly and futility of illusory indulgences. Being thus illumined, the intelligence resists and repulses the onslaughts of illusion. Of course, intelligence alone is not enough to counter illusion – we need devotion and the omnipotent grace of Krishna that devotion connects us with. Still, frequently it is intelligence that helps us realize the glory of devotion and our need for devotion. Thus intelligence is the key to overcome illusion.
Nonetheless, because our intelligence is always vulnerable to be overcome by illusion, we need to safeguard it by regularly studying Gita wisdom. Such diligent study will make our devotion steadier and our march to victory in the inner war swifter.
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