Instinctive, Intellectual, Superconscious Mind


The Hindu point of view. Everyone has a three-fold nature: instinctive, intellectual and superconscious. Everyone is a divine being. Everyone has the seed of divinity. See what phase of the mind we're in and practice controlling it. Once the instinctive mind is under control then we have to deal with the intellect. Temple worship, devotional worship is very helpful. Without God's grace, God's blessings, everything coming out from God, we couldn't do anything.

Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 48

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Reading from today's Dancing With Siva, Lesson 48.

"Instead of seeing good and evil in the world, we understand the nature of the embodied soul in three interrelated parts: instinctive or physical-emotional; intellectual or mental; and superconscious or spiritual."

"Evil has no source, unless the source of evil's seeming be ignorance itself. [Still,] it is good to fear unrighteousness. The ignorant complain, justify, fear and criticize 'sinful deeds,' setting themselves apart as lofty puritans. When the outer, or lower, instinctive nature dominates, one is prone to anger, fear, greed, jealousy, hatred and backbiting. When the intellect is prominent, arrogance and analytical thinking preside. When the superconscious soul comes forth the refined qualities are born--compassion, insight, modesty and the others. The animal instincts of the young soul are strong. The intellect, yet to be developed, is non existent to control these strong instinctive impulses. When the intellect is developed, the instinctive nature subsides. When the soul unfolds and overshadows the well-developed intellect, this mental harness is loosened and removed. When we encounter wickedness in others, let us be compassionate, for truly there is no intrinsic evil."

I remember, used to get irked when President Bush would talk about "The axis of evil."

I said: "Boy, that's not the Hindu way of looking at it," you know. Just dividing the world into the good guys and the bad guys. And, we're the good guys and certain people are the bad guys and it's okay to kill the bad guys because they're the bad guys; they're evil. They're the axis of evil.

Well it's not the Hindu point of view. Hindu point of view is that everyone has a three-fold nature. Instinctive, intellectual and superconscious. Or, it's said the opposite way. Everyone is a divine being, the soul and along with the soul, because we're living in a physical and astral body, comes the instinctive mind and the intellectual mind whether we liked having it or not. And we're stuck with it. The limitation of the physical body and the subtle body.

Yogaswami has a nice way of saying it. He says: "See everyone as God." Don't say: This man's a drunkard; that man's a criminal etcetera. See everyone as God. The seed is there, s-e-e-d. "The seed is there, ignore the rest."

In other words, the seed of divinity or the soul is inherent in everyone, otherwise, they wouldn't exist. Everyone has to have the seed of divinity or the soul. But that seed may not have sprouted. It's there all right, it's there in potential. The person is potentially a divine being but it's dormant, doesn't sprout immediately. And then it grows slowly. So, that's why we need the process of reincarnation. We need to grow that seed. You know, into a tree eventually. The Kauri Tree is the one in New Zealand that's, lives up to a thousand years old. Well that's impressive. Well we need to grow that over many lifetimes.

Gurudeva here is pointing out instinctive, intellectual and superconscious, how one controls the other. The instincts, jealousy, anger, fear are controlled by developing the intellect. Well, we start developing the intellect by memory. That's why in school the first thing you do is you memorize. Doesn't sound like a big accomplishment but it's getting the intellect going. And I remember one mother was concerned about child. Child was, think about 5 or 6. Child would get very fearful at night. And I said: Don't worry, the child will grow out of it. You know, just education will conquer that. And it happened. Went away after a few more years. Never got fearful again. The development of the intellect naturally quells the instinctive mind. Over fear, anger, jealousy, etcetera.

Therefore the intellect is good. We need a good intellect. After memory we have reason. We need a strong reasoning ability. But, the intellect has it's own limitation. If you've ever tried to reason out a problem you may realize the limitation. You're kind of stuck. Every day you're trying to reason it out and you can't figure it out. The intellect does very well if it can put something into a pattern. And it knows how, okay it fits into this pattern: then it's solved this way. If it falls in this pattern then it's solved this way. If you're doing mathematics just have to categorize it as to what it is and then you can apply that method and solve it. But, if you don't know the method that it fits in you can't solve it, just kind of going around in circles.

And with the intellect, as Gurudeva points out, comes pride. Pride is unfortunately sometimes a byproduct of going to the university. Someone goes in a normal person and they come out very proud. "I'm the smartest person here. I can out debate anyone." That's part of the intellect too. Not only do they get stuck in reasoning now they had, they're proud that they're stuck in reasoning.

Therefore, the intellect is good in that it helps us control the instincts but it's limited. We don't want to just develop the intellect and stay there. Which is what modern education tends to do. It doesn't give us anything more to do. Okay, we've mastered memory, we've mastered reason. We've got pride, got some will-power. That's all there is to do in life.

Well, then we have to start undoing some of that pride. And reliance on reason. And that's where, in Hinduism, temple worship is very helpful. Sometimes in Hinduism you'll see the husband and wife come to the temple. The wife is worshiping and the man is standing in the back waiting for the wife, you know, to finish. He want's to make sure he doesn't get influenced by the Deity so he closes his arms in front of himself you know to lock out all possibilities of getting blessed. So he's waiting to go home and play golf or watch sports, you know, and that's what he enjoys which is okay. But, that's, coming to the temple and worshiping in a sincere way, trying to experience the Deity, get closer to the Deity, cultivating devotion is how we get out of the intellect.

Well temple worship, devotional worship is really helpful to getting out of the intellect. To softening the pride, to getting out of the reliance on reason to solve everything. We start to get more in touch with our intuition which is also a faculty of the soul it's the ability to solve things intuitively. Just kind of know the answer, without having to analyze it in great detail and fit it into a predetermined pattern of solution. You just kind of, Gurudeva would say: The answer is attached to the question. You ask the question and the answer is attached. That's when the intuition is functioning strongly. That takes a while.

You can see that the three concepts: instinctive, intellectual and superconscious are very valuable to have and as Gurudeva says: "Understanding is 50% of control." What does that mean? It means, if we understand clearly, in this case the tree phases of the mind: instinctive, intellectual and superconscious or intuitive, are able to identify which one we're functioning in or which ones we're functioning in, it's normally not just one, could be two or three. That's 50% of control.

Just being able to see what's going on, similar to the idea of, Markanduswami gives the sadhana of watching your thoughts. Because that's the biggest challenge everyone has in meditation. They can't control their thoughts. "My thoughts go all over the place. What can I do?" Well, you can watch them. That's what Markanduswami says. Don't panic that they go all over the place. Accept that as what's going on and watching them. Don't miss one. That's what he says. Watch where the mind goes, every single place it goes and don't miss one place. That's the practice. So, that's the first step toward control is seeing what's going on. So likewise in this sense, if we see what phase of the mind we're in, we're willing to admit it: Oh, I'm stuck in reason. Or, that really stimulated anger a bit; I wonder why?

You know, if we're able to see what phase of the mind we're in that's half the way toward controlling it. The other half is practicing controlling it. For example, anger. Anger comes in lots of people when their willpower is frustrated. May it be accompanied by a few words we shouldn't say. Willpower gets frustrated, something doesn't work out, say a few words, we're angry.

Well, if we acknowledge that pattern, that's 50% of control. We see, okay when this type of event happens, I say a few word I shouldn't and I get angry. What is an alternative to that behavior? Well, part of it is not anticipating that something may go wrong. We have to always have that anticipation unless we're really, have mastered something, we've done it so many times you know we can do it blindfolded in our sleep etcetera. Unless we've really mastered something there's always the possibility something could go wrong. As I always say: If something's a little bit complicated it probably takes three times of doing it to get it right. Three times.

So, if we, for example, we've create a new festival. The first time a number of things will go wrong. The second time we do it a little better. But still this is off. The third time we manage to get it all right. It's common pattern. So, expecting something to go wrong is one way of having a different pattern when it does. You say: Oh, something went wrong. How many times have I done this. Oh, twice. Okay well, that makes sense. So we can kind of take it in a lighter sense. And if we're just pushing ahead with shear willpower. As we need to look at the pattern, understand it, and then try and create a different response to what throws us off by understanding it. And by practicing a different response. We can also throw in a little denial, self-denial to make it even more effective.

Gurudeva's self-denial for expressing anger is to skip the next meal. What part of the mind likes to get angry? Instinctive mind. What part of the mind likes to eat? The instinctive mind. Which would it rather do? Get angry or eat? So you give it a choice, like training an animal. You know, you want to get angry or you want to eat? It's up to you. You can't do both.

Well, that's another way of changing a habit pattern is to put in a little self denial. If you do something you're really trying to not do; you can deny yourself something. It doesn't have to be a meal. Gurudeva said: well for those who are really penurious they should give five dollars to an orphanage. Pulling that five dollar out of the wallet, that was just so impressive. I want to keep that five dollars. So, I won't get angry. Well you can have fun. In other words, you can have fun changing your habit patterns. And getting the instinctive mind under control.

Once the instinctive mind is under control, then we have to deal with the intellect, you know. Well, I have a better idea than you. Whoops!

My test for pride is to praise someone and see what they say. "Oh, you really did that well, I've never seen anyone do it as well as you did."

"Well, that's cause I'm smart."

Check off the pride.

"That's cause I had such a good teacher."

Ah, humility right? Well that's all Siva's grace, you know. Without grace nothing could be done. So that's scores for humility as well.

So, we want to make sure that, you know, we attribute things where they should be attributed. You know, without God's blessings, without everything working, coming out from God we couldn't do anything. So we kind of have to give credit where credit's due. Not take the credit ourselves. It's like a leaf blowing in the wind. Saying: "Aren't I great, I'm moving in the wind." But guess whose really causing it to happen. You know, that wind stops, the leaf won't move anymore. So really, that's us and God. You know, without God's blessings we wouldn't be able to do anything. But we kinda forget that the wind is blowing and doing all of these great movements. Look at me!

Well, have a great day.

Aum Namah Sivaya

[End of transcript.]

Photo of  Gurudeva
Things that you cannot face in yourself you will hate when you see them in someone else.
—Gurudeva