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Buddhi is not Intellect alone : An Indic Perspective



On this Buddha Purnmia, in this enlightening piece, Shri Anirvan explains to us, what the real meaning of Buddhi is in Indian tradition. It has been universally admitted that buddhi, whether as a spiritual stage or an instrumentation, is something above the mental plane; It has both a psychological and a cosmic aspect, the relation between the two in spiritual realization being that between a means and an end; and its intrinsic character is in the nature of an illumination granted by divine grace. This is an excerpt of “Buddhiyoga of the Gita”, Prabudha Bharat, 1948.

Buddhi, an important term of frequent occurrence in the Gita, does not occur in the earliest of the Upanisads. It is derived from a root which in the Vedas means ‘awakening, kindling, enlightenment’, and which is invariably associated with Agni, the unaging (ajara) mystic fire. Buddhi, though not precisely defined in the Gita, is still use there in this original sense of spiritual ‘awakening’ or ‘illumination’. It will be interesting to trace the significance of this concept from the earliest time, always keeping in mind that in India there has been an unbroken spiritual tradition from the hoary antiquity up to the present day and that though the outer garb of a concept has changed with the times, yielding to the demands of the analytic understanding, its inner meaning as a concretely realizable mystic experience has always continued as a sutra or a shining strand of inner truth.


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