Gita series – 47. Bhagavad Gita Chapter III. 40-43:

“It is said that lust dwells in the senses, mind and intellect and obliterates the wisdom making the soul passionate. Therefore Arjuna, first control your senses and annihilate that dreadful lust that is capable of destroying wisdom and realization. It is said that senses are superior (to the gross body). Mind is superior to senses, intelligence is superior is mind and atman (the Self) is more superior to intelligence. Arjuna! Thus knowing that the superior atman (the Self) is subtle and powerful than intelligence, containing your mind through intelligence, annihilate the unconquerable enemy known as lust.” Krishna highlights the importance of sensory afflictions. When senses are allowed to wander, it becomes uncontrollable even by its superiors authorities like mind and intellect. When there is no counteracting force to check the senses, they act according to their wishes thereby causing bad karmas that ultimately smite the soul. The soul becomes habituated to lust. The soul afflicted by the evil influences of the senses, is born repeatedly to undergo sufferings and miseries.

When a soul is born again and again, it remains un-liberated. Such an afflicted and habituated soul becomes too powerful to conquer thereby affecting ones intelligence. When sensory influence is predominant, mind goes after seeking sensual pleasures and does not have time for inner search and ultimate self-realisation. Sensory influences can be arrested only through a tamed mind. Intellect is a refined product of the mind and higher in stature than mind. Mind always consults intellect if it is not able to decide on its own. The superiority of mind and intellect is emphasized because they are the available tools by which senses can be controlled. Controlling depends upon one’s ability to utilize them. This is well explained in Katha Upanishad (I.iii.3-7). Atman is seated in a chariot, drawn by horses known as sensory organs or indriyams. Mind is compared to the reins and the driver of the chariot is intellect. Atman as the owner of the chariot commands the driver. Driver, the intellect obeys the commands of his master, atman. Driver carries out the commands of his master, atman by controlling the reins. Reins in turn control the horses. But the question is when atman is veiled by the afflictions of sensory influences, how it can make commands.

The uniqueness of the intellect is its capacity to discriminate between good and bad. Only this singular quality makes the intellect superior to mind. Horses or the indriyams are of no importance in self-realisation. In fact, they have to be desolated if they misbehave by not listening to the commandments of the owner or the atman, the highest in spirituality. Such a command can be realized by the sensory organs only if they realize the ataman inside. Krishna advocates annihilation of lusty desires. It is better to annihilate them instead of controlling them. If they are controlled, at some time it will be back with more power. It is also advocated that self control should commence from gross objects to subtle subject for lasting solution. One should realize that intellect is veiled by ignorance. The level of intellect does not vary from person to person. It is only the individual capacity to remove the veil of ignorance that varies from person to person making some one more intelligent than another. The ways and means of implementing His teachings is dealt with in subsequent chapters.

The point that we should know at this stage is that atman is extremely powerful and it can destroy the afflictions of senses, provided one is able to realize its presence. But atman is not active unless and until He is realised by the mind and intellect, as the atman remains veiled by maya or illusion. Only the intellect is capable of removing the veil of maya. This process is called self-realisation. But why intellect alone is capable of accomplishing this? Intellect not only aware of perceptions, it goes well beyond the levels or perception known as intuition. Potentially this could be due to the power of intellect to discriminate. Intellect knows for sure that lust is a stumbling block in the journey to realising the Self. That is why Krishna advises Arjuna to annihilate lust. Chapter III concluded.