Using our ears better helps us better use the thing between our ears

The thing between our ears is our brain, which idiomatically refers to our intelligence. Though we all have intelligence, we don’t always act intelligently; we sometimes act impulsively, even self-destructively.

To use our intelligence better, we need to use our ears better. Hearing regularly from wisdom-books such as the Bhagavad-gita strengthens and sharpens our intelligence. However, instead of using our ears thus, if we rely too much on our eyes, we unwittingly erode our intelligence. For example, if we visually devour advertisements glamorizing luxury products, we get deluded and end up buying things that we can later find no sane reason for having bought.

Someone may object, “But our ears can also delude us, as when we hear mundane propaganda.” Yes, but such hearing is abuse of our ears. How the ears used well enhance the intelligence is demonstrated in the Bhagavad-gita itself.

At the Gita’s start, Arjuna sees his relatives arrayed in the opposing army. That sight clouds his intelligence and weakens his will to do his duty as a martial guardian of society. But when he hears the Gita, his intelligence is restored. The causal relationship between hearing and intelligence is evident in Krishna’s last words in the Gita. Those words are essentially two questions to Arjuna: “Have you heard attentively? Has your illusion been dispelled?” (18.72) The sequence of these questions implies that hearing can dissipate illusion, thereby restoring intelligence.

So, whenever we find ourselves acting thoughtlessly, we can go beyond berating ourselves or resolving to act wisely in future. We can do something much more empowering: increase our hearing of the Gita, not just in quantity but, more importantly, in quality. The ensuing inner alertness will help us realize that hearing better is the best way to make our intelligence better.

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