Four Types of Intelligence

Vidyaranya

by Jayaram V

In his work Pancadasi (section 6) Vidyaranyaswami speaks about the four preliminary conditions of Brahman. They are unassociated intelligence, intelligence associated with Maya, intelligence of the intellect, and intelligence associated with the gross bodies.

These four manifest in the macrocosm as Isvara, Brahman, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat respectively. Virat is the world. Hiranyagarbha is the cosmic Self. Isvara is the Supreme Lord and Brahman is the Supreme Self, who is not subject to any modifications.

Just as everything in a painting rests upon the canvass, everything in creation rests upon the Supreme Brahman. Just as the different images in the painting share the same canvas and are identical with it, all beings in creation share the same intelligence of Brahman, which acts as the substratum.

He also explains what Avidya means. Accepting the worldly existence as the supreme object of life and mistaking it as related to Brahman is an error or ignorance. It is removed only by knowledge.

True knowledge is perceiving Brahman as the source of all and the underlying truth of all. Suck knowledge destroys ignorance. With such knowledge one becomes aware of the impermanence of things and the transience of mortal life.

A brief note on Pancadasi: Pancadasi is a medieval work on the Vedanta. It was authored by Swami Vidyaranya who lived in the 14th century and served as the teacher and family priest of Bukka Raya. Prior to his renunciation, he was known as Madhava, Madhavarya, Madhvacharya, and Madhavamatya. Swami Vidyaranya was a great proponent of Advaita, the philosophy of non-duality or monism. Pancadasi reflects his belief in the unitary nature of existence and Brahmas as the only reality.

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