“The intellect is the last thing to agree to the process of enlightenment.”Thom Knoles
Vedic wisdom is full of contrasting ideas. We’re told that evolution is the only thing that’s ever happening, yet we’re also told that the intellect is ‘mistaken’ and that it holds us back from experiencing enlightened forms of Consciousness.
Can both be true? Can we be both mistaken and be playing a role in evolution at the same time? Here’s your chance to find out.
This is another masterclass on the Vedic Worldview, an episode worthy of your full attention and one that you’ll want to listen to a few times over to fully understand what it means for you and your own personal evolution. If you have trouble celebrating your ‘flaws’ this will go a long way to putting that to rest.
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Structure of Human Consciousness – Intellect
Individual Ego and Cosmic Ego
Experiencing Psycho-genesis – the Source of Thought
Transcendance is the Unified Field Itself
Every Thought is a Stream of Energy and Intelligence
Mind Experiencing Dual Awareness
Neuroplasticity of the Brain
Joy of the Combination of Two Activities is Greater than Keeping them Separate
Ritam – Thinking and Being at the Same Time
A Very Fantastic Experience
Neuroplasticity Allows for Stabilization of Two States Simultaneously
The Power of the Mistaken Intellect
Intellect has Handicaps
Intellect Was the Bouncer to the Ego Structure
Rehabilitation of the Sense of Self through Meditation
Intellect is the Last Thing to Capitulate
It Takes a Thorn to Remove a Thorn
Mistaken Intellect Sabotages Our Best Internal Knowledge
Prosecutorial Intellect and Advocacy Intellect
The Resolute Intellect
Pulling Back the String of the Bow
Mistaken Intellect is the Last Thing to Allow Enlightenment to Zoom Forth
Guru – Remover of Darkness
Vedic Meditation Retreats Awakening the Resolute Intellect
Jai Guru Deva
The Role of the Mistaken Intellect in Evolution
Jai Guru Deva. Welcome to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles.
[00:53] Pragya Aparadha
Today we’re going to spend some time getting a deeper understanding of something to which I allude frequently, in our understanding of the evolution of higher consciousness states.
I think that in order for this to occur best, it’s good to zero in on what those higher consciousness states are like. Our subject today will be the mistaken intellect. In Sanskrit it is pronounced pragya aparadha, pragya aparadha, P-R-A-G-Y-A, and then there’s an A next, aparadha, A-P-A-R-A-D-H, and then there’s an A on the end, but it’s silent as in most Sanskrit pronunciations, pragya aparadha. And pragya aparadha means the intellect that is mistaken.
[01:55] Structure of Human Consciousness – Intellect
Let’s go first into the structure of human consciousness. At the level of the mind we have an element called buddhi, buddhi, B-U-D-D-H-I. Buddhi is the word that gave us the name for the great master of some 2,600 years ago. Lord Buddha, who was attributed the name Buddha because buddhi and buddha have a relationship. A buddha is a master of the intellect. So he was a buddha, a master of the intellect.
One of the substrates of the mind layer of human consciousness is the intellect. And the intellect has a job, and its job is to say yes or no to any proposition that comes in through the senses. Any information, any knowledge that comes into the mind, yes or no to the question? Is this of the Self as I know it, or is this not of the Self as I know it?
And we could put in brackets if we wanted to. Is this of the Self as I know it (so far), or is this not of the Self as I know it (so far)? The intellect has this role of taking in information that is proposed from the outside world and then allowing it to trickle into consciousness and make its way eventually into our ego structure.
[03:44] Individual Ego and Cosmic Ego
The ego structure in Vedic psychology bears some resemblances to the ego word in western psychology with a few notable exceptions. Ego is not something you can eliminate in the Vedic psychology concept because ego is that which gives us a sense of identity. Ego lies at the subtlest level of our individuality, our relativity.
Beyond ego lies cosmic ego, beyond individual consciousness that has an ego structure, a sense of self, a sense of what I am, the nature of the knower, beyond that lies the capital K, Knower, that which is transcendent. And we’re going to call that for the purpose of this discussion, cosmic ego.
Cosmic ego is that which lays beyond the usual realm of human experience. Usual realm of human experience is limited by what the senses can bring in and what the mind can think about.
When we learn our practice of Vedic Meditation, we learn how systematically, to settle down to subtler and subtler layers of the thinking process. Think of our thinking process as little bubbles rising from the bottom of an ocean. Because of the great pressure at the bottom of the ocean, the bubble stream is tiny, but as these bubbles, like bubbles you might see in a glass of effervescent beverage, the bubbles get bigger and bigger until they burst on the surface of the ocean of consciousness.
Thought begins in a very subtle place, most of which is missed by us because we haven’t regularly visited that deep, subtle place. This changes when we learn Vedic Meditation. We begin to follow a particular thought bubble, that is the thought bubble of our bija mantra, bija B-I-J-A, mantra M-A-N-T-R-A.
[05:58] Experiencing Psycho-genesis – the Source of Thought
Bija means seed in Sanskrit. It’s a adjective for a particular type of mantra that has no intended meaning, but whose sound characteristics are extremely valuable for taking the awareness from the grosser levels of thinking process into the subtle, and then transcending the subtlest, dropping the mind off in the state of pure Being, silence, cosmic ego, to trigger an experience of transcendence.
And as Vedic meditators, we do this twice every day, if we’re being good. We should meditate for about 20 minutes each morning and each evening, during which time our mind is treated to the experience of moving from the gross conscious thinking level to ever increasing subtlety until experiencing psycho-genesis. The beginnings itself of the mind and processes of thinking, the source of thought.
Experiencing transcendence regularly, a new experience begins to develop in a meditator. In the first few weeks of meditation, it may be that one experiences that transcendental unboundedness very briefly here and there.
There may be moments where one knows one has to start the mantra again. “But hold on for a sec, wasn’t the last thing I was thinking my mantra? And now I have to start it again, so it must have stopped, but I cannot recall any thought having occurred in the interim. And so then I have to start my mantra again, but I’m not quite sure what I was doing or experiencing in the in-between, because the last thing I was thinking was my mantra.”
[07:59] Transcendance is the Unified Field Itself
And so from this we can infer— and I’d like to say here that inference is a very valid means of gaining knowledge— from this we can infer that we may have experienced transcendence. Transcendence is not a thought, it’s not a taste, a touch, a smell, a sight, or a sound. It is not anything that is relative or subject to change.
It is an experience of The Absolute. In transcendence, Consciousness by virtue of being conscious, is experiencing Consciousness. Consciousness is the Knower. Consciousness is the means whereby knowledge is delivered, and Consciousness is the object of awareness. Consciousness, by virtue of being conscious, is experiencing Consciousness, a pure Self-referential state.
But that’s not all it is. Quantum mechanics and physics, the most successful theory of modern physics, tells us that the least-excited state of any system is the Unified Field itself.
So the least-excited state of an atom is the Unified Field. The least-excited state of any of the four fundamental forces is the Unified Field. Unified Field is the least-excited state. The least-excited state of human consciousness is that same one, indivisible, whole conscious field, the Unified Field of consciousness. That is the Totality.
It is that, which is the source of all the thoughts we’re having. We know that thoughts rise in the mind in the tens of thousands per day. Some say as many as a hundred thousand thoughts could rise in the mind in a given waking epoch of time.
[09:59] Every Thought is a Stream of Energy and Intelligence
Every thought is a stream of energy and intelligence. Thoughts are not just an explosion of random energy. Thoughts are energetic. In fact, we can measure some of the artifacts of the energy of thinking in the form of electron sonography, brainwaves that are able to be detected and measured and documented coming from the surface of the scalp.
But thought also has intelligence in it because thought discerns. Thought is not just a random explosion of any old information. Thought is about something specific. And so we see intelligence there.
And when we have hundreds of thousands of streams of energy and intelligence rising in the mind over a period of days, then we must be able to conclude that the source of all that creative intelligence, the source of all that energy and intelligence, must be an inexhaustible reservoir of energy and intelligence.
And so, the source of thought, the quiet, transcendental state, is that source of all of our creativity, all of our intelligence, and it is also the home of all knowledge. Anything that can be known, can only be known by virtue of our being conscious. Consciousness is not only the means whereby we become aware of things, but Consciousness has knowledge embedded in it.
Knowledge is embedded in the field of Consciousness itself. By virtue of transcending, stepping beyond thought, the mind is treated to the Unified Field of Consciousness, treated to the home of all knowledge. And that home of all knowledge also is the home of all the laws of Nature. The Unified Field is that field out of which all laws of Nature zoom forth, and they zoom forth in a way that is expressive of movement from less sophisticated to more sophisticated.
[12:22] Bio-friendly Universe
The laws of Nature give us, for example, our bio-friendly universe. Our universe clearly is bio-friendly since we exist. Against all odds, here we are on one planet, a little tiny blue dot, zooming around a yellow sun, along with another eight planets that are doing the same and multiple asteroids and comets that are all moving around the one same solar sphere.
In a galaxy of billions of stars, all of which are suns, many of which have tiny little planets or big planets moving around them. We call them exoplanets if they exist outside of our solar system.
The likelihood of us being here, having this wonderful ability to think about our place in the universe is not anything which is even conceivably simply a random event. The idea that randomicity has given us life on Earth is a very far-fetched superstition.
And though those who are in favor of the randomicity concept consider anyone who regards there to be anything such as intelligent or intelligence in Nature to be superstitious, It seems to me that all the evidence is weighted in the direction of there being an intelligence that allows everything to move from less sophisticated to more sophisticated.
Our universe seems to be trying to create biology so that nervous systems can appear, so that conversations like this can be had, where the universe finds itself embodied and is interpreting and learning to understand itself. This is this bio-friendly universe in which we find ourselves. This is the Vedic worldview.
[14:29] Mind Experiencing Dual Awareness
So, let’s get back to where the intellect plays a role in all of this. As one continues regularly to take a dive inside in meditation. Sitting comfortably in one’s chair every day, from time to time, one might experience that no-mantra-and-no-thought state. But there’s another state that begins to develop in every meditator.
Somewhere around six months to a year, people begin to report that during their practice of Vedic Meditation, sitting quietly in the chair, they notice that they have the sense of being as deep as ever they were. They’re in the deepest state that ever they’ve been in, and yet they’re thinking. It’s not the no-mantra-no-thought state.
It’s thinking, going along with an unboundedness. The mind is experiencing a dual awareness. It is unbounded and expansive and infinite in its reach, and it is also thinking about the fact that it’s experiencing this.
With a little bit greater pressure of thought, then the unboundedness gets overshadowed and one comes back into regular thinking awareness.
But that moment of, “I’m very, very deep, as deep as ever I’ve been, and here I am thinking about the fact that I’m deep,” is quite different to pure transcendence where one can only consider having been deep after the fact. In retrospect, as we say, one is able to say, “Yes, that was the deep state, but now something different has happened. I appear to be in the deep state, and able to be in it and think at the same time.”
[16:26] Neuroplasticity of the Brain
This is a great blessing that comes to us through the neuroplasticity of the human brain. Our brain is evolved along lines that cause it to want to combine experiences which, prior to this combination, could only be had exclusively.
So can you play piano with your right hand and play individual notes or chords, and then also do a completely different kind of piano playing with your left hand, playing baseline individual notes or chords? And do both of them simultaneously, even though each hand is striking different keys at different rates, different tempos, and with different dynamism, different levels of pressure?
A skilled pianist can do it, but no one is a skilled pianist the first time they try it. In fact, the first few times you try to play a piano in any kind of functional way, with left hand and right hand, you start to discover what an astonishing, psycho neurophysiological feat simply playing a piano is.
But as one continues to practice and practice and practice, the brain makes arrangements so that the fingers rather effortlessly glide over the keys and one is able to play, if one is talented, a very complicated piece that involves completely different behavior of the left hand and the right hand at the same time.
Doing them individually at first, the right hand is able to do its bit, the left hand is able to do its bit, but then combining them into simultaneity requires our brain to possess a quality which we refer to as neuroplasticity.
[18:29] Joy of the Combination of Two Activities is Greater than Keeping them Separate
Plasticity here is related to the word plastic, but this isn’t like plastic that you find your sandwich wrapped in after you go to the sandwich shop. The word plastic in physiological terms and in most scientific uses of it has to do with adaptability. The adaptability of the brain in being able to combine functions where the joy of the combination is greater than keeping those two things separate, isolated and exclusive experiences.
Playing the piano with the left hand only, quite joyful. Playing the piano with the right hand only, quite joyful. Combination of the two, absolutely ecstatic, amazing.
And so then, our neuroplasticity kicks in as meditators. Our mind, and then therefore our brain, begins to notice that it’s very pleasant being able to let go of thought completely and experience unboundedness exclusive of thought, and then to come out of the exclusive unboundedness and come back into thought again, very joyful.
But then natural human curiosity, would it be possible for some inter-neuronal connections in the brain to get together to manage having some neurons providing the experience of unboundedness (transcendence), while other neurons are providing the experience of thinking, and having the two going simultaneously?
This seems to be an ideal of our human brain. Our human brain never seems to be satisfied simply with having one experience to have it requiring the exclusion of all other experiences. Our brain wants to teach itself how to combine experiences so that we can do many things at the same time.
[20:44] Ritam – Thinking and Being at the Same Time
Neuroplasticity is responsible for a development that occurs in meditation, which we call ritam.
Ritam, R-I-T-A-M, ritam is short for a longer Sanskrit phrase, ritambhara pragyan, which comes from Rg Veda, one of the Vedic texts, in which it is described that if you can be aware, and thinking, if you can be in pure awareness and thinking simultaneously, then you’ve achieved something really great.
The mind that is able fully to think is able also to consider all the needs of the time. What are the needs of the time? Whatever they may be. The genuine evolutionary needs. Evolution is going on and we’re called upon to meet the demands of evolution by having thoughts and performing actions.
And so then we’re sitting in our meditation and we have one part of our mind able to consider what all of the need of the time is, and another part of the mind, simultaneously, experiencing absolute Being and unboundedness, which is the fountainhead of all creativity and intelligence, and the home of all the laws of Nature.
When you can have these two states together in ritam, then what happens is individuality is gifted with impulses of creative intelligence from deep within our consciousness structure that lead us to be in the right place at the right time, and/or to have the right thoughts in the right place at the right time. That is to say the process of the fulfillment of a desirable state.
[22:51] Stabilizing Ritam
So a desire that is able to continue being desirable while we’re down deep in the state of ritam is a desire that is able to come into fulfillment because of the fact of simultaneity of the fountainhead of absolute awareness, along with the experience of the need of the time being something of which one is pivotally aware while in the depths of meditation. And so this really is quite a wonderful state, ritam.
But ritam also can be overshadowed. So supposing, you’re a relatively experienced meditator one year, two years or so, and you’re experiencing ritam— that means you feel very, very deep and yet you’re also thinking simultaneously— but right next door to you, two dogs begin to have a fight and begin barking very loudly right outside your window.
Unless you’re a very experienced and stabilized meditator, it would be quite likely that the sudden loud noise would shock you out of the depths of your meditation and draw your awareness forcibly to the surface, to consider which of the two dogs is barking and fighting and whether or not there’s anything that specifically you need to be doing about it.
And so my point really is, dogs or whatever else the sound is outside, you can be drawn out of the state of ritam, because ritam at this particular stage that we’re hypothesizing is not yet stabilized enough that it can withstand any level of provocation. But with regular practice, morning and evening, we stabilize the state of a ritam, it’s stabilized.
[24:47] A Very Fantastic Experience
And indeed, we may begin to notice, on certain occasions, that when the meditation time has come to a close, it’s time for us to let go of our mantra and let the mind come gently to the surface over the next two minutes. That when it’s time to open the eyes, one might on certain occasions feel, “I’m just as deep as ever I was. I feel deep. I feel completely grounded in the state of Being, and yet here I am with my eyes open.”
With a little bit more practice, the meditator’s capability moves from, “I got disturbed by a sudden loud noise”, or “it was the end of my meditation and I came out. I felt very, very deep, but then that got overshadowed as soon as I stood up out of the chair and walked over to the door.”
This experience begins to be replaced by, “I feel as deep as ever I felt. I have my eyes open, and now I’m walking to the door and the ‘I’ that’s walking to the door is the ritam unbounded state with thoughts simultaneously. And I’m moving and yet I’m also unbounded. Oh, it’s a very fantastic experience.”
But you get to the door and put your hand on the door handle and open it and there are the two dogs and Aunt Molly, you’re being rushed off to have afternoon tea with someone, and then it all gets overshadowed. So you continue practicing morning and evening, morning and evening, and this ritam state becomes more and more stable. Your neuroplasticity is at work.
[26:38] Neuroplasticity Allows for Stabilization of Two States Simultaneously
Your brain is learning how to have its cake and eat it too. Your brain is learning how to have the unboundedness, which has certain amount of bliss chemistry associated with it, which our brain loves, and the thinking process, which also has a certain amount of happiness chemistry associated with it, which our brain also loves.
And to combine the happiness chemistry, and the bliss chemistry in the ritam state gives the brain a special chemical reward of some very yummy chemicals that encourage the brain to continue the process of engaging, even in further neuroplasticity, to allow stabilization of the simultaneity of these two states.
As we continue practicing, the amount of time that we can spend in ritam during meditation not only is extended, but we begin to experience ritam outside of meditation. Maybe we get all the way to the door handle and you know, meet Aunt Molly and go off and have afternoon tea, and the unboundedness and thought combination, the ritam state, may not wear off for hours.
But then it does wear off, so we continue meditating morning and evening, morning and evening, and a day comes where as we get on with our day, that from morning meditation all the way through to afternoon meditation, from afternoon meditation all through the evening and night, back to morning meditation, there’s never a break in which we’re not experiencing ritam.
[28:31] Cosmic Consciousness
When this happy state arrives, we call this all-inclusive awareness. All-inclusive translates into an English word, cosmic, Cosmic Consciousness. Cosmic Consciousness is a state that builds and develops in grades. One could be 25% cosmically conscious and 75% able to be drawn into regular relative thinking or regular relative sleep states if it’s night time.
One could be 75% in Cosmic Consciousness, which would mean for 75% of one’s day, one is experiencing ritam, and for 25% of one’s day, one is drawn into regular relativized thinking or regular night-time experiences, sleep and dreaming and all of that.
One could be 95% in Cosmic Consciousness. That is to say for 95% of one’s time, one feels that groundedness in Being and for only 5% of one’s time, one is drawn into just regular thinking with regular night-time dream experiences and all the rest of it.
When 100% Cosmic Consciousness has arrived, then there is no time, night or day, when one is not experiencing that my inner reality dictates what I really am. My inner reality is this experience of unboundedness going along with thinking. Body sensations, thinking, waking, dreaming, sleeping. Men may come, men may go, but I go on forever. That kind of thing is a saying from William Blake from the last century.
And so we have the capacity as a human to arrive into 100% Cosmic Consciousness over a period of time, as one of the gifts of the marvelous brain that has developed. The brain, like everything else in the human body, made of reconstituted material that came from exploding stars. This is exactly what our body’s made of, mostly carbon from exploded stars. And yet here we are using our brain to contemplate our state and to contemplate the role that consciousness has in an entire universe.
[31:21] The Power of the Mistaken Intellect
Where does mistaken intellect come into all this? Imagine something that had the most enormous power, something that could take an entire ocean and squeeze it into a drop.
Can you imagine the power of that? Something that has the capacity to reduce the most magnificent experience into an experience of doubt? This is the power of pragya aparadha. Pragya aparadha is that state where the intellect has such power that it’s able to convince the mind, the experiencer, that although I’m a meditator and undeniably have had some good experiences with it, I’m really just actually the same old ignoramus that I always was.
Nothing really all that fantastic or new has happened in my life. After all, one does rise in the morning and have to face the morning routines. Same thing yesterday, same old toothbrush, same this, same that. Same greetings, same people around. Same sit down, meditate, same get up, open the eyes. Same low variety of things available for breakfast. Same air outside, same sky, same everything. Everything, same, same, same.
What’s changed? Nothing. Same interactions. You say hello, somebody says something, either indicating that they’re feeling tolerable or not so tolerable. Interactions with people. Then it’s time for lunch, and then you have to go to the bathroom, same thing. Bathroom, same thing. You have to clean yourself up.
You have to start trying to figure out how you’re going to nourish your body for dinner. You have to get from dinner time through the cleanup process and get yourself lying flat on the platform again. And there you are lying flat on the platform.
And there’s still another 150 things that you intended to do in the last week that aren’t done. Same thoughts about that. Same eyes closed, same fall asleep. It feels like 15 minutes. The sun’s back up again, and there you are again.
[34:07] Intellect has Handicaps
The intellect is the assessor of all of this. Even though down deep inside, the experiencer may have mushroomed out into quite a high percentage of Cosmic Consciousness, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%. Undeniable, Cosmic Consciousness is there, but the intellect being so picky just picks on routine.
And our intellect has also another handicap. That is, our intellect is not invited into our depth of meditation. In the depth of meditation, the intellect is not invited. Mantra has no specific meaning. It’s not a noun or a verb or an adjective or a pronoun or an adverb or connecting phrase or an article, any of those fancy word terms.
You can’t do a mantra. When the mantra’s being thought, the intellect’s not invited. As the mantra gets subtler and subtler and subtler, and the mind is drawn inward to the state of Being, the intellect is left behind. It’s not asked to discriminate anything. Our practice of meditation is non-contemplative.
We don’t contemplate anything during our meditation, and so intellect is simply not invited. Intellect being left behind does feel a kind of pride, at least in what it has done. You see, from the time that we were little children, our intellect knew exactly what came in through the senses, what sights, what tastes, what smells, what sounds, and so on and so forth.
[35:52] Intellect Was the Bouncer to the Ego Structure
What experiences came in on the level of words, language from other people. Our intellect has either looked at what it’s seen and said, “Yes, you can go in because there’s other things in there like you.”
Supposing somebody said to you when you were a little child, “You’re a bad girl or a bad boy,” and then intellect’s heard that, but intellect didn’t have anything populating the ego structure yet, and there was nothing in there that would contradict me being a bad boy or a bad girl. And so in goes, intellect agrees, and lets bad boy or bad girl assessment go in, and there it goes into the ego structure.
Now when somebody else says a few weeks later, “Oh, you’re such a good boy, such a good girl.” Intellect hears that and goes, “Nah-uh,” there’s something else already inside the nightclub inside there that says, “bad boy” or “bad girl.” So this good boy, good girl thing, this isn’t really going to sit well with what’s already inside. Not allowed.
Intellect is like a bouncer at the door that gets to add to the ego structure, whatever it feels is already in there based on its memory of who or what it’s already let in. Intellect starts to become the arbiter of what goes in next and like attracts like and intellect knows the likeness of everything that it has allowed in.
[37:39] Rehabilitation of the Sense of Self through Meditation
Meanwhile, the meditator has gone beyond the intellect and had these experiences of ritam; transcendence and thought simultaneously.
Intellect doesn’t get invited to that party. And as the growth of inner unbounded awareness continues and continues and continues, our intellect is still convinced that the knower inside, the experiencer, the ego structure, is only populated with the things that I allowed in there.
Meanwhile, in our meditation, when we experience, “I am unbounded,” there may be a moment where we have that experience, unboundedness. Things that are already in the ego structure that don’t sit well with unboundedness like “I’m a bad boy,” Those things get dissolved. They spontaneously neutralize. And once again, the intellect is not invited to that party of neutralizing that which is no longer relevant.
And so the internal structure of our sense of self has gone through complete rehabilitation, renovation, and has had its restoration of dignity. But the intellect, residing on the surface of all of this wonderful internal transformation, is yet still operating on an old model.
It’s operating on the model of ‘yes, but.’ You know, I hear people saying, “Oh, you behave so well and you don’t get overawed by problems and you’re so cool headed and you’re so fast and you’re so accurate and you’re so calm under pressure. I hear that.” But intellect knows, “Yes, I have them all fooled, I’m actually a bad boy because I can remember bad boy going in there.”
[39:44] Intellect is the Last Thing to Capitulate
What intellect doesn’t know is that ‘bad boy’ got dissolved completely inside that internal structure of ego, not there anymore. Intellect assumes it is there and is going to try to continue coupling and pairing ‘bad boy’ with other things that come from the outside that equate with that, that resonate with that, even though that’s not there in the ego structure anymore.
And those things that are put in inappropriately by the intellect, keep getting dissolved every time we meditate. But intellect isn’t involved in all of that. It’s not involved in the upgrade that’s occurred from the inside out.
And so the intellect is the last thing to agree to the process of enlightenment. Even though the inner experiencer and the physiology may have been completely purified. Physiology may have been completely purified of accumulated stress, the internal ego structure may have been completely purified of unsustainable personal reckonings, but the intellect is still hanging onto its old model.
And its old model is based on its memory of what went in, what went into the structure. It’s not aware of what’s happened down deep inside, near and about the transcendental layer.
And so this is what we call pragya aparadha, mistaken intellect.
And the intellect then will continue to operate as if I’m a person who’s living in ignorance. Even if a relatively high percentage of Cosmic Consciousness is already present, someone could be internally enlightened and still be operating with a mistaken intellect that continues habitually to make the same old reckonings, to operate via the same old habits that served it throughout a lifetime. Intellect is the last thing to capitulate, allowing enlightenment to occur.
[42:05] It Takes a Thorn to Remove a Thorn
So that sounds like the bad story. What’s the good story? Our intellect can be rehabilitated, but it can’t do it just by itself. There’s a beautiful saying in Sanskrit that translates into English as, “It takes a thorn to remove a thorn.”
Our intellect, like a thorn, if you get a thorn embedded in your flesh, you might need a needle to dig it out. That’s the thorn removing the thorn, right? And so it takes a thorn to remove the thorn. It takes the powerful intellect itself to act as the means of correcting the mistaken intellect.
There’s a certain point in our meditation practice where our intellect has a schism. It divides into two. There’s that part of the intellect that is convinced, “I’m still the old ignorant self I always was, and I’m the only one who knows it, and everybody else who thinks I’m better than that, I’ve just somehow kind of fooled them and it seems to suit me for a while. So I’ll just let people continue on believing whatever they wanna believe.”
That’s a very classic mistaken intellect statement of an advanced meditator or some words akin to that. I think you get the basic picture and the drift here that, “No matter how much meditation I’ve done, no matter how much depth of experience I’ve had, no matter how convincing and persuasive the whole experience may be, I still seem to default intellectually to old habits and I get stuck.”
[43:42] Mistaken Intellect Sabotages Our Best Internal Knowledge
So, for example, when I have a problem and then I hear the podcast and I hear Thom say, “Problem is a consciousness state. It’s not a reality situationally of the outside world. Problem means you’re not in a consciousness state yet where you can see the solution or see that there is no problem.”
“I hear that, I love the logic of it,” one might think, “but I just can’t live by that, I still have a problem.” You know, “My budget only allows for this amount of dollars and I’ve spent more than that and now I don’t have enough dollars. I have a problem. So it sounds lovely to hear what Tom says about problem being a consciousness state, but actually I’m going back to the old way of thinking now. I have to solve this problem in a different way. It’s an external thing to me, and it’s not a consciousness state.”
This is how mistaken intellect sabotages our very best internal knowledge. The knowledge that has grown over a period of months and years of practice of Vedic Meditation, is able easily to be sabotaged by the snarky mistaken intellect, pragya aparadha.
When this schism appears, the schism is, “There’s a part of me that really understands the whole enlightenment process. And I agree that from time to time I’m experiencing things that could only be explained as growth of Cosmic Consciousness. Absolutely agreed. And yet there’s another part of me that thinks that all this is just rubbish and that perhaps I’m just kidding myself, and maybe I’m, subjected to the brainwashing of Thom Knoles. Washy, washy, washy. I’m, prize member of a cult that likes to think of itself as better than everybody else.” Mistaken intellect statement.
And then the process through which one goes, can be filled with sensations. It’s sensational. Somebody might say painful. I don’t really agree that it’s painful, but it’s certainly filled with sensations. The sensations of flip flopping back and forth between what is real? What is my actual reality inside? And in this schism, when the thorn is removing the thorn, what happens is, our intellect demands evidence.
[46:32] Prosecutorial Intellect and Advocacy Intellect
It’s almost like a court case. You have the prosecutorial intellect that is prosecuting a case for you being an ignoramus but one who’s a better actor perhaps than you used to be, perhaps a convincing ignoramus. And then there’s the advocate. The advocate is that phenomenon that represents you inside, the advocacy intellect that says, “Actually, there’s every bit of evidence that I’m growing into enlightenment here and leaving behind all of that dysfunction and that tendency to make arrangements for myself to suffer.”
And as with everything, the sooner the unsustainable argument runs out of evidence, the quicker that the jury arrives at a conclusion about who’s right and who’s what, and what’s what.
We allow the rambling mistaken intellect to continue, and we challenge it to continue tabling as much evidence as it can table about how we’re not actually gaining enlightenment. Let it exhaust itself. And what we’ll notice is a trend, the arguments for our ignorance become more and more convoluted and tortuous. They require convoluted and tortuous logic in order for them to arrive at their conclusion.
And the advocate aspect of the intellect simply quietly sits and tables it’s evidence of your ever-increasing growth, of being expansive, living your personal role in the evolution of things, and also the garnering of, without even hoping for it, but the garnering of accolades from all those who surround us, who are concerned with our daily life.
And what happens eventually is that the mistaken intellect runs out of arguments, and at a certain point, our mistaken intellect will capitulate. And when it capitulates, there are no more two intellects, there’s just one intellect.
[48:51] The Resolute Intellect
Vyavasaya atmika buddhi, the intellect that is ready to do business, ready to transact. The resolute intellect, one intellect. And that one intellect then is the crest jewel of discrimination, it’s the crest jewel of discernment, the crest jewel of differentiation. It’s that intellect that has the ability really to understand what you are at the highest possible level to harness that and to offer that up to the need of the time, allowing you to become an agent of progressive change.
An agent of progressive change is someone who meets the need of the time interactively and successfully. And with joy, and with ever-greater joy and responsibility. Becoming an agent of evolutionary change is a very important thing.
Someone may have asked the question, “Well, how is the existence of the mistaken intellect, how is it obedient, its existence obedient to the idea that everything that exists is a mechanism of evolution?”
Even if you haven’t yet practiced archery, and I highly recommend that everybody who listens at some stage of the game takes at least one archery lesson whenever next you come across the possibility of it. It’s a wonderful art form. You take the arrow and you knock it onto the bow string and there’s a little click when the two little divisions on the back end of the arrow where the feathers are, click onto the bow string.
[50:46] Pulling Back the String of the Bow
And then you place some fingers over the bow string and you extend your arm that’s holding the body of the bow, extend it straight, and then you begin to draw back with your hand that is pulling back on the bow string. And you draw back and you draw back and you draw back until you’ve drawn back as far as you’re able to draw.
There are physical limits on how far back your hand can go with your arm in that full draw position, and yet there’s something holding back that bow string. Something holding it back that is allowing the bow string to build a dynamic propensity for release.
The arrow is aimed right at the target. The bow string is drawn fully back, and yet there’s something that’s restraining the bow string and keeping it from allowing the release so that the arrow can fly with a flat trajectory, ballistically right into the target right where you were pointing it.
And what is that? Those fingers represent only a tiny percentage of the whole operation of the archer’s body. The archer’s body in every other respect, is all in favor of allowing the arrow to move forward. But there are just these two or three fingers holding everything back until the go-ahead signal goes. To do this in the very proper Vedic archery way, once you have decided that your arrow tip is pointing exactly at the place you want it to go, then you allow the bow string to roll off of the fingers with the same indifference that a drop of water that has built up and built up on a bamboo leaf rolls off of that bamboo leaf, a drop of water rolling off the bamboo leaf. What a great image.
And then that whole thing happens. This is pragya aparadha.
[53:05] Mistaken Intellect is the Last Thing to Allow Enlightenment to Zoom Forth
The last thing to allow enlightenment to zoom forth into activity is the mistaken intellect. It is akin to the fingers of the archer, drawing back the bow string, and when all else is ready, all else, then those fingers allow the bow string to slip off, and then there goes the arrow of the mind straight into the target.
And so even the mistaken intellect and its restraining quality have a role to play in the building of that cosmic propensity to allow a dramatic release. You see, this is the way that almost everything in Nature works.
When you see a big thunderstorm building up and building up, and the clouds getting bigger and they go from being white to being a kind of light gray, then a dark gray, and then a blackish-blue color. Then the lightning comes and then the thunder and then, at a certain point, the cloudburst and it’s dramatic. Everything builds up, and then there’s a sudden release of propensity.
Michelangelo lying on his back up on the scaffolding, looking at the blank canvas of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Under pressure from the Medici and from the Pope who had financed this whole thing of him being up there and there were others who could possibly paint it faster than he could, but they were committed and so was he. And calling out from the ground up to Michelangelo, “When are you going to make a start?” To which Michelangelo replied, “When I’m finished.” Meaning, when the arrow is ready to slip off the bow string fingers.
[55:07] Guru – Remover of Darkness
We can’t rush our enlightenment. What helps us in the case of pragya aparadha, mistaken intellect, is a Guru. Guru, G-U-R-U Guru. Gu in Sanskrit means darkness. Ru means remover. A darkness remover. Someone who sheds light.
Someone who says to you like Guru Deva, said to us You deserve the best. Never feel unworthy or not justified in having the best. I tell you, this is your heritage. But you have to accept it. You have to expect it. You have to claim it. To do so is not demanding too much.”
That’s a Guru. Helping you understand things and getting right down to what the intellect loves. What’s the logical sequence?
You deserve the best, but you have to accept it; step one. You have to expect it; step two. You have to claim it; step three. Beautiful. Three steps in a sequence. Accept, expect, claim. You know that old saying that meditators have, “Take it as it comes”, beautiful. Let’s move the words around a little bit and make it say the same thing, but with a different slight intent.
“As it comes, take it.” That’s the accepting part. Accepting, expecting, and claiming. The best arrives, to what extent are you reaching out for it? Or to what extent are you falling back onto, “I don’t deserve, I don’t deserve, I can’t accept, I can’t expect, I can’t claim.” And only a Guru can really help somebody dislodge the illogical aspect of pragya aparadha, mistaken intellect.
[57:16] Vedic Meditation Retreats Awakening the Resolute Intellect
Mistaken intellect does play a role in evolution. It plays the role that the bow string fingers of the archer play, restraint until the moment of perfect release time. The ideal moment of the build up of maximum propensity, pragya aparadha and ritam.
We learned a lot of words today, ritam, pragya aparadha and Guru. Probably we’ve really shed some light on that subject now.
Listening to podcasts, coming away on retreats, especially the retreats because there you get knowledge and direct experience. Not just any old retreat, you know, where you learn some pilates and do some knitting. A special Vedic Meditation retreat that is operated by Vedic Meditation initiators, who are in good standing with me, who’ve learned the methodology and teach the methodology that was brought down from time immemorial from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and from his tradition going back thousands of years.
How to do a special technique, which we do in a retreat setting, known as rounding, where you borrow from the self health traditions of India. Learn to do asanas. Asanas are often mislabeled in the west as “yoga.” You can’t really do yoga. Yoga is a consciousness state of that realization of individuality meeting unity.
It’s another word for that name that we gave to it today, ritam, yoga. You can’t do ritam, you can’t do yoga. Somebody began calling asanas, asanas means the physical bending and stretching positions and these asanas ended up being called yoga in the West.
In India today, if you say I want to do yoga, some Indians who’ve had some contact with westerners know what you’re talking about. But the real traditionalists, the scholars, will tell you that yoga is an experience, it’s not a doing. You can’t do it. Asanas will help with creating the experience of yoga.
So asana, pranayama, administering the prana to yourself, the life force in the air, meditating, lying down, this is what we call a round. And you learn how to do multiples of a round in a retreat setting.
And since you can’t do rounding or meditation very effectively when you’re full of food, and since we do feed you lunch and dinner, at least even those who want breakfast can have it. During the time of digestion, we give you intellectual knowledge and answer all of your questions.
These retreat settings are absolutely the best for awakening the resolute intellect from that sleepy pragya aparadha that’s so habit bound and stuck in its old ways of thinking, the ever-repeating known.
Jai Guru Deva.