Cleverness and Wisdom
The human mind has two distinct capabilities. They are (1)
the capacity to acquire worldly skills, and (2) the capacity
for Spiritual Discrimination. These two faculties are called
Medha Shakti and Buddhi respectively.
People do not have a clear idea of the difference between
(worldly) cleverness and (spiritual) Wisdom, and often mistake
Buddhi to mean cleverness. This
is not correct.
exclusively related to the phenomenal world,
Medha Shakti would help a person to be shrewd in worldly
matters and achieve success in Society. However, this is no
blessing. A clever man is restless, does not enjoy peace,
and often goes through mental conflicts. He is a slave to
his ego, which casts a veil over the Self and renders Buddhi
ineffective. Cleverness is not an attribute of the Wise but
unfortunately in this Kali age
a clever person alone is regarded as great and accorded much
Modern education lays great stress on the sharpening of the
brain and can certainly help people to become clever. But
it has no positive effect on Buddhi
or the spiritual intellect. Our ancients, on the other hand,
were unanimously of the view that Buddhi
is superior to Medha Shakti,
and is any day to be preferred.
Buddhi is essentially the combination
of Shradda (earnestness), Sathyam
(Truth), Yoga (power of control),
and Mahat Shakti (Divine Power).
Shradda is the product of yearning
and steadfastness. The Sathyam
aspect implies a proper judgement and perspective, with Truth
as the central focus. The third aspect Yoga connotes a mastery
over the senses. One cannot speak of a person being with blessed
with Buddhi, if he lacks sense
and mind control. Shradda, Sathyam
and Yoga together manifest as
Mahat Shakti, the power of the Divine. In short, all
the aspects of Buddhi are verily
Students should understand clearly the difference between
Medha Shakti and Buddhi.
Cleverness would help one in securing good grades in examinations,
and in scoring victory in debates. It is associated exclusively
with worldly skills. Buddhi,
on the other hand, is spiritual in nature and close to the
Atma. Thus, one must never confuse
a Wise person (Buddhiman) with
a clever person.
The hierarchical relationship of the various entities related
to Medha Shakti and Buddhi
is as follows: At the bottom of the totem pole is the physical
plane. Above it are the senses; then comes the mind or Manas.
Buddhi comes above the mind and last of all is the
Atma or the Self.
Buddhi is thus just a "stone's throw" away
from the Atma and is verily a
reflection of the latter. It is thus the height of ignorance
to equate Wisdom (Buddhi) with
cleverness (Medha Shakti). The
latter is associated to the senses and is thus intimately
related to the phenomenal world. It promotes ego, and as long
as ego dominates you cannot understand anything about the
Self. A clever person would never be able to achieve Self-realisation;
only a Wise person can.