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Freedom from the intellect

Every one of us has been endowed with an intellect (buddhi), but only a few use it well. And even those who use it are seldom able to utilize it fully. The tremendous powers of the intellect remain hidden — suppressed, as it were, by several factors like unchastity, lack of goal-orientaion, egoism, prejudices and wrong notions. Freedom from the intellect means freedom from these factors which curb the natural functions and powers of the intellect. In effect it means a thorough purification of the power of reason (Power of intellect)


When a person achieves moral freedom (described earlier), unchastity, egoism etc. are taken care of. But the intellect still remains impure due to the presence of wrong ideas, prejudices and superstitions. Such an intellect cannot be a reliable guide. It is for this reason that the first prayer taught to every child in ancient India was meant for the purification of the intellect(which makes way for freedom from intellect)

A thoroughly refined and purified intellect is called medha or dhi, and it is this that becomes an unerring guide and companion of the soul that wants to approach God. The prayer is well-known — it is called Gayatri. Repeated with fervour and intensity, it washes off all the dross accumulated over the aspirant's intellect, and reveals to him the light of his own inner self.

The seeker must develop simplicity, not merely in his clothes, food, and mode of living, but also in his way of thinking. A large number of problems we face in life can be solved easily if we only approach them in a simple, straightforward manner. Unfortunately, with the passing of days life is becoming more and more complicated and our thinking pattern too is becoming increasingly complex. As a result most people find it difficult to be simple. Before learning anything new, many things have to be unlearnt; all rubbish from, the intellect must be thrown off to make room for positive, life-giving ideas.


Under the guidance of an enlightened spiritual teacher, the seeker finds it easy to purify his intellect. The reasoning of a thoroughly purified intellect alone can light up the path to our spiritual destiny. Only such an intellect endows the seeker with a real 'intellectual freedom' (Freedom from intellect)

When the mind and the intellect are thus freed from all fetters, the aspirant can be said to have undergone a complete inner purification [citta-suddhi). It is only at this stage that the real significance and glory of spiritual freedom (moksha) become fully revealed to him. With freedom from intellect and mind and body, begins his quest for the ultimate freedom.

To be continued

About the author

Swami Tyagananda

'Freedom From Intellect' is an excerpt from Swami Tyagananda's 'Degrees of Freedom' which deals with different aspects of freedom which will have to be realised in order to attain the ultimate freedom.

Story first published: Monday, September 20, 2010, 14:40 [IST]
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