'Be' with Swami Venkatesananda

Instinct – Impulsiveness – Intellect

Responsiveness to sense-stimuli is inherent in the senses, mind and intellect. All these are the material half of divine nature. Water dissolves salt but not stone. Fire burns dry firewood but not a plantain stem. There is a responsive relationship. This responsiveness is instinct in the senses, impulsiveness in the mind and judgment in the intellect. The same power is given a different attribute when it operates from its different seats. Thought converts these natural responses into pleasure which gives rise to desire, or craving which veils wisdom.

Wisdom refers here to the right knowledge of the nature of desire and also the nature of the witness consciousness within. The effort to curb instincts and impulsiveness and also to restore saner values is meaningful only because the self is forever untouched by desire. This is wisdom.
This wisdom is veiled by the turbulent senses, impure mind and unwise intellect ridden by false values. It is as if we are looking at the bed of a lake through the disturbed surface of muddy water which covers the pearl as also pebbles on the bed. A start must be made somewhere. The desire-aggravating activity of the senses must be curbed first; of course, this is only another way of denoting control of the mind. When the mind and senses are calm, the intellect must be made to abandon its false values.

“With what and by whom is the mind controlled?” is a question that does not admit an easy answer. The desire to give up desire arises in the mind, but when it is rightly understood there is awakening of an intelligence other than the mind.