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Lesson 246 - Intelligence, Bhakti and Genius (Audio)
Date: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:33pm
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Is it really possible to increase the intelligence doing Yoga? What is
A: There is so much intelligence manifesting everywhere in nature. For the
most part it is automatic. We can see complex tasks being performed
constantly in the plant and animal kingdoms, not to mention the sustenance
of our own complex human bodies. The intelligence inherent in all things
seems infinite, limited only by the ability of an
earthly plant or creature to manifest it. Some say that the earth itself is
alive and oozing with intelligence.
If we take the point of view that intelligence is an infinite reservoir
residing within all of creation, then the answer to your question is easy.
Yoga opens our nervous system to what lies within us. Here in the lessons we
call it inner silence, pure bliss consciousness, the witness, and many other
things. It can be called infinite intelligence also -- the very thing that
animates all of life. So, can yoga increase intelligence? Theoretically it
seems to be so. Not only that, experientially it seems to happen. Over the
years, there have been numerous studies on meditation that demonstrate an
increase in IQ. The Transcendental Meditation organization has done a lot of
work in this kind of research. See http://www.tm.org/ for
many studies on meditation as it relates to improving the quality of daily
But there is much more to this intelligence thing than simply increasing IQ.
Intelligence is everywhere in everyone. But of what use is it if it is not
applied to a useful purpose? Intelligence unapplied to a useful purpose is
reduced to the level of parlor tricks -- reciting the numbers in the phone
book from memory, or being able to count cards at the blackjack table. We
are designed for far more than that. What it takes is desire -- focused
desire, and this is the province of yoga also. Without the benefit of a high
ideal and focused desire (bhakti) leading us to daily practice of effective
yoga methods, we will not go far anyway, not far beyond the parlor tricks.
So the desire for a higher purpose comes first. Then we can have it all --
the infinite intelligence within us, and the fruit of bhakti combined with
intelligence, which is genius. By surrendering to our higher purpose, we go
to a new level that is beyond raw intelligence.
Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."
This means that genius is more about relentless devotion to one's ideal than
about one's inherent intelligence. Genius is about more than IQ. It is about
constant devotion to our
I think few of us expect to be writing symphonies out of thin air like
Mozart could. Or single-handedly deriving the next level of physics like
Einstein did. Yet, each of us has within us the ability to be a genius in
something -- something that resonates deep in us. We each have a gift to
share, and if we commit to that, we can do it. Our effort may not be seen
and applauded by the world at large. It will not necessarily be on the
evening news. But it will surely be seen by those we love and care for, and
everyone on this earth will benefit greatly. Love, cultivated to its heights
through daily yoga practices and shared in everyday life, is genius. A very
special kind of genius. It is the genius of enlightenment -- the genius of
God -- pure intelligence openly shared as overflowing love. It is ours for
You know, a funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I opened a fortune cookie
at dinner one night, and it made me weep. Here is what it said:
"Intelligence does what it can. Genius does what it must."
Why would a simple saying like that make me weep? Perhaps it touched a
nerve. Clearly intelligence alone isn't the prerequisite for finding
happiness in this world. To be devoted to a high ideal is. That is the
purpose of yoga -- to open us to the highest purpose within us, to aid us in
doing what me must.
So, yoga does much more than simply increase intelligence. It cultivates
genius in us -- intelligence applied relentlessly toward our highest purpose
-- ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love...
With the methods of meditation, pranayama, and the other practices in these
lessons, we can make the journey.
Thank you for your inspiring question. May your yoga carry you beyond
intelligence to genius ... Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on Bhakti, see the
AYP Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.
detailed discussion on
the role of the intellect and intelligence on our path, see the
book. Also see
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