by Jayaram V
Buddhi is a word with complex meaning, with no equivalent in
English, and rather difficult to explain to those who are not familiar
with the eastern religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism.
Generally speaking buddhi is a kind of intelligence that exists
in all of us and helps to be smart and intelligent in taking decisions.
Buddhi is discriminating intelligence.
It is one of the tattvas
identified in Samkhya and Hindu philosophical systems.
to the tantric scriptures, Buddhi is the place where the radiance
of Atman is reflected. Buddhi gives us the power to discriminate
and decide what is good for us and what is not.
It is the force
behind our wisdom and our reactions to the outside world. It is
however not just power of discretion and judgment. It is also perception,
comprehension, understanding, intelligence, rationality, wisdom,
discrimination, mindfulness, presence of mind, all working together
to keep us attuned to the world around us and deal with it wisely,
appropriately and effectively to the best of our expectations, beliefs,
intentions and attention.
Buddhi influences the way we understand and interpret our experiences,
take actions and decisions, develop beliefs and prejudices, regulate
our lives, behavior, relationships, learning, speech, expression
and so on.
Buddhi-hina means absence of or deficiency of buddhi,
which is often used to refer to people who are considered to be
stupid or foolish.
According to Hindu scriptures, most of our problems in life can
be traced to the deficiencies in our buddhis.
Buddhi has a tendency
to become clouded by the activity of the senses and our desire for
A man of lesser buddhi is constantly driven by the
senses and the desire for sense objects. He loses his control over
his mind and thoughts and indulges in actions that would bind his
soul to the cycle of births and deaths.
He suffers constantly as
he fails to practice equanimity during the union and disunion of
the senses and the mind with the sense objects.
Suggested Further Reading