Intuition and Intelligence

The only reliable disciplinarian and guide for the ego-self is the true Self, or omniscient soul. "Wisdom never lies."

Soul wisdom
is revealed to man through the agency of intuition,
direct perception of truth,
not by amassing knowledge through the intellect.

The seeker after wisdom should understand the difference between intuition and man's limited faculty of intelligence. (Chapter III, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)


— the Bridge Between the Soul and the Ego

Thoughts and sensations are like searchlights: they throw their rays in front on material objects; they do not reveal the soul behind them. Intuition is like a spherical light, with rays on all sides, revealing the soul and also its outward projections of thoughts and sensations connected with the ego. Intuition is the bridge between the soul and the ego's thoughts and sensations. If one can for a sufficient length of time remain unidentified with thoughts and sensations, and without being unconscious, he will know through the development of intuition the nature of the soul. When one is thus perfectly calm, neither thinking or sentient, nor unconscious, yet knowing he exists—a keenness of joyful being in which the thinking, thought, and thinker have become one (unity of the knower, knowing, and known)—therein is the soul's consciousness.


The advanced student should meditate deeply until his thoughts become dissolved into intuition. In the lake of intuition, free from the waves of thought, the yogi can see the unruffled reflection of the moon of the soul. Forgetting his dreams of the body, he knows that the soul exists behind the screen of thoughts and is therefore unknown to them. When the yogi perceives the soul as made in the image of Spirit, he knows himself to be unchangeable, unmanifested, ever calm, like the Spirit. All devotees should meditate and interiorize their consciousness until they realize the true nature of the soul. (Chapter II, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)


The Power of Intuition

Some behold the soul in amazement. Similarly, others describe it as marvelous. Still others listen about the soul as wondrous. And there are others who, even after hearing all about the soul, do not comprehend it at all.
—The Bhagavad Gita II:29

Ordinary human beings, studying and working with material life, are circumscribed in their understanding by their sense perceptions and rationalizing intelligence. With undeveloped intuition, their limited power of intellectuality cannot truly comprehend matters of the spirit even when such truth is expounded to them. Though colossal intellects and famous theologians may be well read about the soul, they may nevertheless understand little about it! On the other hand, even illiterates given to deep meditation will be able clearly to describe the nature of the soul from their own direct experience. Intuition bridges the chasm between intellectual knowledge of the soul and actual realization of the divine Self.

Soul and Spirit and all inner truths can be apprehended only by developing the power of intuition by regular deep meditation. Intelligence and sense perceptions can perceive only phenomena or qualities of the Eternal substance; intuition alone can perceive the essence of that Substance. Therefore, it is evident that the culture of intuition by meditation must precede true perception.

In the life of every person, two forces of knowledge are operative from birth:

(1) the power of human reason, along with its satellites of sensation, perception, conception, and so forth;

(2) the power of intuition.

The former is developed through social institutions and interactions. The latter usually remains uncultured, undeveloped, because of want of proper guidance and methods of training.

In almost everyone, lower forms of intuition now and again express themselves in otherwise inexplicable experiences of "knowing"—those that come of themselves independent of the testimony of the senses and reason. These intuitive glimpses are so-called hunches, strong inner feelings, premonitions, "prophetic" dreams. These are sometimes the crystallized experiences of former births (for example, certain knowledge about persons or events carried over from the past that have a predictable future), and have no great spiritual value. Other such experiences indicate a little capacity for being calm and intuitively receptive; others indicate just an unusually keen but passive rationality.

All power of knowing borrows its ability from intuition. The highest expression of intuition is that by which the soul knows Itself: The knower, knowing, and known exist as one. When intuition comes in touch with matter, it passes through various stages of evolution. As the soul evolves in expression through five stages, or koshas—as the various qualities of inert matter in minerals, as life without cognizing power in plants, as consciousness and sense perception in animals, as intellect and ego consciousness in man, and as divinity in enlightened man—so also the knowing powers of the soul undergo evolutional progress and refinement through these various stages of soul evolution: as unconscious response in minerals, as feeling in plant life, as instinctive knowledge in animals, as intellect, reason, and undeveloped introspective intuition in man, and as pure intuition in the superman.


The Grasping Power of Intuition

The grasping power of intuition is the fixity of the mind (dhriti) in soul perception—the soul's direct realization of or connection with truth or Reality. Even the sleeping consciousness in the stone and the semi-awake consciousness in the animal never loses its connection with its true nature. Man, the being in whom discrimination awakens, begins in lesser and greater degree to draw on his innate intuition, the underlying source of all his mental powers. The fully awakened divine man, anchored in his true Self, becomes all-knowing through the omniscience of pure soul intuition. (Chapter X, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)

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