Questioner: In modern medicine and modern science there is a tendency to identify consciousness, mind and brain. Make mind a function of the brain, consciousness a function of the mind and to treat them chemically, and to alter them chemically, and that well-being is good chemistry of the brain, higher consciousness is good chemistry of the brain, and unhappiness is bad chemistry of the brain. Nobody is responsible, but we need to change the chemistry to make it better. Now in the yogic thought brain, mind and consciousness are three different things but they’re related at a certain level. So my question to Sadhguruji is, the nature of brain, mind and consciousness. How we can use the brain and mind in the proper way, without getting stuck in them. And the model of healing that is based on more consciousness than brain chemistry?
Sadhguru: In the yogic sciences there is no such thing as brain. Brian is just body. Like there is a heart, like there is a liver, there is a brain, it’s just body. I think this overly exaggerated sense of what is brain is coming – because as I mentioned in the morning hour here, our education systems have become purely intellectual. We think intellect is everything. Let me – I mean I will try to say it in a very brief way. When you say something very complex in a brief way, there will be holes in it. Please pick the holes if you find them otherwise, I’m okay.
In the yogic system we are looking at the human mind as sixteen parts. These sixteen parts are in four categories. The first one is buddhi. Buddhi means the intellect. Intellect, I’m asking you, do you want your intellect sharp or blunt
Sadhguru: You, all of you must choose I’m going to bless you. You want it sharp. So intellect is essentially like a knife. You use a knife to cut things open. This is the nature of the intellect. Whatever you give it, it will dissect. The entire modern science is coming out of human intellect, so everything is by dissection. If you give this flower to the scientist they will rip it open and see. If you rip it open and see, yes, of course there are many facts you will know about the flower, only thing is you won’t have the flower after that.
And now, if you really want to know something – let’s say you really want to get to know your mother please don’t dissect her. That’s not the way it works, because what you can know by dissection is material aspect of life. You cannot know life by dissection. Only the material and the physical can be dissected. But now we are using our intellect to understand the entire gamete of things, now we try to dissect. We go on talking about unifying the world and unity and enlightenment, everything with intellect – this is like using a knife to stitch something. If you stitch something with a knife, you will leave it in tatters. So you are seeing this, the more knowledge you gather about something the more misunderstanding and further away from truth we are becoming – not because information is bad, because we are trying to stitch with a knife.
So intellect is like a knife, it must be sharp. It is a survival instrument. If you did not have a discriminatory intellect, you would not be surviving on this planet. It’s very, very vital. But survival is all that it can do. But intellect cannot function unless there is a certain volume of memory. If you wipe out all your memory, it doesn’t matter – whatever your IQ is right now, if we take off all your memory you will suddenly look stupid. You may be still intelligent but you look stupid. This always happens in India, people are putting rural children and urban children together and testing them. Just because of the volume of information that the urban child has, he looks smart. A rural child looks stupid, but you put them in real situations, you will see they will come out so smart because their intelligence is fully on.
So intellect looks smart only when you back it up with lot of information, and hence you see information technology and everybody is mad about information. They are not looking into their phone simply for waste of time, because only with all that bits and pieces of data they look smart among their friends, in the society in which they live. It’s only with data they can look smart. Without data they can’t do one thing smart.
I’ll just tell you an example. We have two different types of schools – one is a modern kind of school where thirty percent of the children come in from United States in India. And another is a completely traditional school where we teach them only yoga, classical dance, classical music, kalari payattu – the mother of all martial arts – Sanskrit language and English language. They don’t go through any academics as such. This was a few years ago, little, little ones they all run to the place to hand wash. Hand wash is at this height. Many of these six, seven year olds can’t reach. So all those who are going through modern education, they will go and stand there in a very civilized way, wait for a teacher or somebody to come and put a bench. They will climb on the bench and then wash. These other kids ran there, the older ones bend down, the younger ones climb on top of them, wash and run away.
So, too much orientation towards intellect and the other dimensions of intelligence are completely uncultivated today. So the next dimension of the mind is referred to as ahankara, which we have completely ignored. Ahankara does not mean ego as most people are beginning to think, it means identity. What are you identified with, because intellect is essentially an instrument to protect the identity that you have taken on. If I say “I’m Indian” suddenly my intellect makes me think that way, makes me willing to live and die for it. You will see just a piece of cloth, if you show – I mean a flag – people will have tears in their eyes, just the identity. If you had put them somewhere else, and shown another flag the same thing would happen. In India-Pakistan it’s very, very striking because it was one nation and suddenly somebody drew a line and the entire emotion, the way it works is amazing, simply because you got identified with this or that.
So, intellect is an instrument which protects the identity. Identity is that instrument which allows the intellect to function in a certain way. When I say a certain way – suppose you’re identified just with this [self], me as a person. Your intellect will do only this, to protecting you all the time, all the time. All the time, just doing this. Now I say, “My identity is my family,” now your intellect will do everything to protect that. Or you say a community or race or a religion or a nation. In the name of race, religion, nation how many things we have done which are utterly idiotic and inhuman. But, we do it with great pride, because we are identified, because this is the nature.
If we have to continue that analogy, if intellect is the knife, the hand that holds it is the identity. You tell me in handling a knife – knife is important that it must be sharp, but whether it becomes destructive or productive is determined by the hand that holds it, isn’t it? But in today’s society, in today’s world there is no cultivation of the hand at all. The smaller and smaller identities that we are creating will inevitably cause disturbance within the human being and in the world, there is no other way.
Right from ancient times in eastern cultures always we have been taught to have a cosmic identity – Aham Brahmasmi. At the age of twelve you must know Aham Brahmasmi, this means “I am the cosmos.” Without identifying with a limitless identity, no education should be given. Only after identity is fixed then education, because without the right kind of identity education becomes destructive, because you have a limited identity. We can say whatever we want, but essentially all crime, all evil, all most terrible things that we do is just a question of limited identity, isn’t it? “This is my way, that is your way this is my country, this’s your country this is my religion, this is your religion,” this’s all it is. So without cultivating the identity, we are sharpening the knife. We have an unsteady hand but we are sharpening the knife and arming it with memory.
So the next dimension of the mind is called manas, which is a silo of memory. Here, there are eight dimensions of memory. This starts from elemental memory, atomic memory, evolutionary memory, karmic memory and conscious memory, unconscious memory, articulate memory, inarticulate memory – like this there are many states of memory. As we already looked at this, this body carries the memory of everything that’s happened on this planet. If we pay enough attention, we can know simply by looking at this [self] how evolution has happened.
Only hundred-and-fifty years ago, Charles Darwin talked about evolution by studying life on the planet. But over 15,000 years ago Adiyogi spoke about how life evolved. He said, “First” – Almost every Indian person knows it but not conscious of it, is the ten avatars. You must be studying much of it. The first one is fish or water life. Next one is amphibious. Next one is a mammal. Next one is half-man, half-animal. Next one is a dwarfed man. Next one is a full-grown man but volatile. Next one is a peaceful man. Next one is a loving man. Next one is a meditative man. Next one is supposed to be the mystical man. This is not one man’s story, this is the evolution of life on this planet. So, 15,000 years ago, somebody spoke about this by not looking into the microscope, but looking inward, because the entire evolutionary story is written here [self].
So the yogic system is focused on this, as to how to activate different dimensions of memory, because without that with limited amount of memory you are bound to act in immature ways. So if your intellect becomes super capable, then it’s very, very important your identity is cosmic – limitless identity and your memory is evolved, that all dimensions of memory are active. These three function in a certain way. Some people have evolved it in certain ways but largely it is happening in a very skewed way – too much of intellect and other things are very minimalistic.
The fourth dimension of intelligence is referred to as chitta. This is a dimension of intelligence which is unsullied by memory. See, we must understand this, we are who we are only because of the memory that we carry. From the color of our skin, to what we identify with, what we are, whether we are male or female or everything, everything is a question of memory. It is the memory stored in this [self] which is deciding all these aspects. Whether I am a human being or some other creature is also a question of memory. Memory is a tremendous possibility, but memory is also a limitation and a boundary. What is you, and what is me is right now the boundary of this is just memory. What I remember in my system and what you remember in your system is the boundary.
So memory is also a boundary. Memory is the basis of all forms that have happened. There is a certain memory which creates patterns, which patterns in turn create physical forms. The way we are, the kind of form that we’ve taken is essentially out of the basic memory that is there. Never it got confused. In the sense, suppose you and a cow every day start eating mangoes – never it happens that one day by accident or by lapse of memory, the cow became human or you became a cow. Both of you eat the same food everyday but it will not happen because the memory is so strongly instilled. At various levels we are recognizing eight different dimensions of memory. But chitta has no memory. No memory means no boundary – an intelligence beyond bounds.
In the yogic culture there is a mischievous way of expressing this. We say, “If you touch your chitta, god will become your slave.” Because your intelligence becomes boundless, everything becomes within access.
So, it is very important because this is the first time – we must understand this, this is the first time where our survival process is as organized as it is today. This is the first time, that human beings have so much time to look at things. Otherwise just putting the food together would take twenty-four hours. Once again in affluent societies we are going back to the same thing. As you said in Montana somebody has to work three jobs. When so much land is there, why do you need to do a job to make your food? No, because you want to buy it in a Walmart. I’m saying we’ve just kind of twisted the entire thing.
For the first time our survival – for example, today you go into a super store, what you need for next one year you can buy, bring it home and not step out of your house for the next one year. It’s possible. Never before it was possible. Today morning’s water if you have to get means, you have to walk down to the river or the pond or something. For the first time our survival process is so enormously organized, this is the time for humanity. This is the time for humanity to explore deeper dimensions of life.