Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, differentiation, discernment, judgement; buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to figure things out.
Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; holding, resolute, courageous, determined and unwavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth:
Buddhi – Reason, Discernment and Judgment
30 — Sattvic Intelligence (correctly discerning)
That intelligence which knows willful action from non-willful action, what is one’s duty and what is not, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and what is binding and what is liberating, is sattvic intelligence.
- Willful action (pravṛitti) – acting to fulfill desires
- Non-willful action (nivṛitti) – renunciation of action as one’s own doing
- Duty (kārya) – required action
- Not duty (ākārya) – action that is not required
There are two fundamental paths of spiritual advancement: pravritti marga and nivritti marga (marga means ‘path’).
The first of these, pravritti marga, the path of the will, is the first path you follow from childhood into adulthood, under the guidance of Guru (your parents are your first gurus, and later your teachers are your gurus).
Ideally, during this time, your spiritual path, your career path and your life path work together. You learn and practice universal spiritual principles that act as the foundation for sustained success in all three — spiritual, career and life in general. During this time, you practice these principles in daily life, find and implement your career, have a family, and practice the teachings of Guru (a teacher that knows the way and can guide you in this). This prepares you for nivritti marga.
Nivritti marga, the path of non-willful action, is called the path of renunciation. What is being renounced is your sense of action as your own doing. This is not a path in which one remains involved with worldly duties and responsibilities. The only required action is the practice of a teaching lineage in which surrender (by any name) to Absolute God (by any name) is the main practice. This God-practice, which Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna, is your only ‘required’ action.
This new lifestyle begins around the age of 50, or when your first grandchild is born, which ever comes first. Because the main practice needs proper conditions, you seek out a proper place and go to that place to live. You are not necessarily estranged from your family, but your Guru and your practice are your first and most important priorities.
Once some headway is gained in your practice, you become experienced and Guru may ask you to teach others. When one will be ready for this path varies from person to person. The age of 50 is a rule of thumb based on what is natural for most people. Here I would cite the exception of Jesus, who began at a very early age.
31 — Rajasic Intelligence (prone to flaw or confusion)
Intelligence that is incorrect in the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, what is right and what is wrong, is rajasic intelligence, Son of Prita.
- Righteousness (dharma) – what is considered to be proper action; right or correct action (kārya).
- Unrighteousness (adharma) – that which is considered to be improper action; wrong or incorrect action (ākārya).
32 — Tamasic Intelligence (incorrect, backwards)
Intelligence that is enveloped in darkness and imagines unrighteousness to be righteousness and has everything backwards, is tamasic intelligence.
When one understands righteousness and unrighteousness backwards and the opposite of Truth, one’s intelligence is tamasic.
You are probably wondering which of these three kinds of intelligence applies to you. But in truth, we all have a little bit of all three, though one will probably be more prominent than the others. Suffice it to say that we can all profit by aiming at complete sattvic intelligence until that time as we attain full enlightenment, which comes by means of the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),