Updated: Jun 17, 2020
What takes you towards the Moksha/Liberation or immerses you into Sansara (Maya/World) or keeps you deeply embedded into delusion? What stops you from gaining knowledge? What drives you towards food, drinks, sex, entertainment, money, relationships, sleep?
Buddhi (Intellect) and Dhriti (Perseverance) are two critical factor in achieving success in any efforts that you do. In this article, we are only addressing Buddhi. You can read about Dhriti here. The direction, purity of success is an important matter. After all one could be successful in becoming a serial killer or underworld Don. One may have an absolute intellectual inclination and perseverance towards life destruction in one way or the other. Hence it is not enough to have #Buddhi (#Intellect) or have #Dhriti (#Perseverance), instead Purity of the Intellect & Perseverance are of utmost importance.
What is the meaning of purity here? How do we measure purity?
Well, the purity of Buddhi (Intellect) is measured by its capability to discriminate between Ultimate Truth and Untruth. Ultimate Truth here means Absolute/Shiva/Brahman/Christ Consciousness/Self/That. Untruth here means Ignorance, Delusion, Maya, Relative Reality, Personal/Individual Consciousness/Jeeva/Ego/Aham. The function of Buddhi is "Discrimination". Buddhi/Intellect discriminates, divides; right from wrong, left or right, here or there, everything.
The purity of Buddhi (Intellect) is measured by the power of discrimination for Ultimate Truth and Untruth.
Purity can be measured by the direction one takes in life. It is a directional measure. Purity increases towards the direction of Ultimate Truth and Impurity increases towards the direction of Delusion.
The purity of Buddhi/Intellect is not dependent on gender, age, caste, creed, religion or any other limitation. A child can have a purer intellect and an eighty-year-old may have an impure one. A religious or even the spiritual one may have an impure intellect, while a worldly person may have a pure one. So don't go on appearances, age etc.
Based on the function, power of discrimination, Buddhi is of 3 types; Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamsik.
Who is the Ultimate Truth? Who can measure?
Hence they are good at measuring the purity & envisioning the possibility. No need to probe them though, trust that what they give you is as per your intellect and potential.
Sattvik Buddhi - Pure Intellect - Strong Discriminatory Power
Sattvik Buddhi is also referred to as Pure Intellect/Buddhi as other two are impure ones. #Sattvik Buddhi has very strong power to discriminate between that which is delusional and that which is absolute truth. Such a person becomes like a #Divine Swan who is able to separate the water from the milk even when water is not visible. No matter, in how many nice, pretty layers, faces, actions the delusion, ego, vasanas hide, a person with Sattvik Buddhi is able to see it clearly. They have a clear vision of life. They clearly know what they should and should not be doing. When they should and should not be doing? Why they should and should not be doing?
Only Sattvik Buddhi and Sattvik Dhriti can make a person Sattvik Karta (Doer) who can do Sattvik Karma, and only then Karma Yoga is possible.
Sattvik Buddhi provides the right, true understanding of principles of life, one's actions, ego's drama and the delusional nature of everything that exists. Sattvik Buddhi is courageous in performing life actions and stands for truth regardless of the consequences. Sattvik Buddhi not only gathers the knowledge but also knows exactly how it should be applied in life and in that way Sattvik Buddhi converts bookish-Scriptural knowledge into Life #Wisdom.
Sattvik Buddhi understands #Karma & #Bondage and seeks #Moksha/Liberation. And that is when it is at its peak power of discrimination and such a Buddhi is called #Viveka Chudamani (Crown Jeweled Discrimination Power). Sattvik Buddhi says - If I don’t know myself, I don’t know all that is related to me and all that I see through my vision. Hence first I need to know myself and gets one onto the #Spiritual Path for discovering the True Self. Day by day, action by action, thought by thought Sattvik Buddhi takes one away from Bondage, Attachments (Maya-Jaal) and towards #Vairagya, Liberation/Moksha.
Rajasik Buddhi - Impure Intellect - Intellect driven by Worldly Desires
Rajasik Buddhi cannot see or gain any knowledge "the way it is". It will always be busy finding twists, turns, defects and what not. Instead of gaining the knowledge (#Information) as it is, it will gain the knowledge about knowledge (#metadata) and will miss the point completely. It will look for words and will not grasp the meaning. #Rajasik Buddhi clouds the vision. Such people have no clarity or very less clarity of what they should and should not be doing.
Their favourite dialogues are - You never know and never say never. Imagine when a Nation gets the declaration of Independence or No-War and if anyone asks "really, is it true?" and such Rajasik Buddhi people say "Well, you never know". Or when a patient asks a doctor will this surgery fix me? And the doctor says "you never know". Beware of such people, they are found in almost all the professions.
They are unsure about their own life, actions, purpose. Rajasik Buddhi creates a lot of misunderstandings because it cannot gain knowledge the way it is. They have very hard time understanding anything new and letting go of the old. Trying to find faults, defects, excuses, justification in/for everything, happens with Rajasik Buddhi.
They are mostly confused & argumentative by nature and the more they argue further away they get from understanding anything. All so-called modern people have Rajasik Buddhi. The Buddhi that does not understand dharma (righteousness) and adharma (non-righteousness) properly is the Rajasik Buddhi. Trying to gain power, position, money through any means possible is Rajasik Buddhi.
All passionate, ambitious people are strong worldly desire driven people and Rajasik Buddhi is driven by Worldly #Desires (#Kamana). Rajasik Buddhi keeps one indulged in "sensory pleasures" and "ego's demands". Food, drinks, sex, sleep, pornography, partying, socializing, night-clubbing/bars, templism, churchianity, music concerts, sports matches, show-off, high jobs, ambitions, money, status, experiences after experiences keeps one in bondage of insatiable desires, lust. Rajasik Buddhi entangles one into the spider-web of delusion only to suffer in the end.
One has a duty towards not just himself & his family, but towards all humans, all beings, environment, mother earth, Gurus, Spiritual ones (Rishi/Muni/Sadhu/Seekers), towards one's own Soul and one has to fulfil all these duties. Rajasik Buddhi doesn't understand this and is only partially able to fulfil the responsibilities towards one's own family. Rajasik Buddhi is Self-Centric and is full of likes & dislikes.
A person with Rajasik Buddhi is chasing one desire after another. Due to the inability to understand the knowledge the way it is, such a person only creates pain, sorrow, suffering in the end.
Spiritual Seeking when happens due to #Fear of #Death, Fear of Death-Birth Cycle or desire for power, name, fame, knowledge, scriptures, immortality or something else, some other agenda then such a person is having a Rajasik Buddhi and is not a Spiritual Seeker in a true sense. True Spiritual Seeking starts only with Sattvik Buddhi which is fearless, utmost courageous and possesses the ability to grasp knowledge clearly. Spiritual Seekers with Rajasik Buddhi have created another world of delusion for themselves.
Truth, Wisdom of life (Gyan) cannot be grasped by Rajasik Buddhi.
Tamsik Buddhi - Highly Impure Intellect
Tamsik Buddhi is that which understands everything completely in the opposite manner. Even when they see a movie or listen to a Guru, they understand it completely reverse. #Tamsik Buddhi is very strange. One can never explain anything #righteous to them. #Adharma is that which is not good for one individual and it is not good #holistically. #Dharma is taking into account the totality. It is the holistic way of living like a #Cosmic Being. Adharma is understood as dharma and dharma is understood as adharma by Tamsik Buddhi. Such people’s Buddhi is totally covered by #Tamas guna (Darkness). That which is prohibited or is illicit in terms of karmic laws and leads to bondage is what people with such Tamsik Buddhi do.
Tamsik Buddhi people harbour many-many fears about anything or everything. All the important things which have to be understood are understood wrongly. White should be seen as white, Black should be seen as black. But Tamsik Buddhi people see White as Black and Black as White and have a wrong understanding of every life-concept. Their ability to wrongly understand everything creates anger and frustration. Such people create pain, sorrow, grief and live in it most of the time. They have the fire of #suffering burning them within most of the time.
Such people hold grudges for very long. Unfortunately, they have a very good memory. They never forget what bad stuff anyone said to them, or what wrong deeds anyone did towards them. They hold grudges always and remember everything. Such people are highly detail oriented and can provide details of any happening minutely. They are experts in describing past as is.
They live in past most of their time. They, sulk, become painful by quickly bringing anything from the past. They constantly churn the past events (#Bhoota-Kaal). Tamsik Buddhi people are also called as Bhoota/Bhoot as they live in past mostly. During waking hours, such people's mind is actually either sleeping (absent mindedness) or is dwelling in the past. #Absentmindedness forces them to lose their touch from the reality of anything, any person or event the way it is. They feel #lethargy and #sleepiness when they want to avoid dwelling into the past, throw anger or frustration. Their wakeful hours are nothing but an addiction to memory-repetition of past. Doesn't matter whether they are good/happy memories or painful ones. Such people have long sleeping hours, or they are mostly tired & sleepy.
Very High Tamas Guna people at times are either born with mental-physical disability, or it happens to them soon enough in their adult age and they suffer their own body & mind.
Do I have one type of Buddhi lifelong?
One could be born with any one type of Buddhi, or it could be a mix of Tamsik+Rajasik or Rajasik+ Sattvik. Which type or a mix of Buddhi one will be born with depends upon if one has done anything ever in any past life to "purify" it?
Purification of Buddhi happens through #Yog Sadhana/Spiritual Practices only. Not religious, ritualistic practices, prayers & poojas.
As one becomes adult the type or mix of Buddhi can become even purer or may lose any purity that it may have, depending upon moment to moment life choices that one makes.
Mostly, so-called modern worldly people have a mix of Tamsik + Rajasik Buddhi and they mostly move towards Tamsik Buddhi means devolution happens to them. Their Buddhi is driven by the Worldly desires, and just so that it can keep on running towards delusion and more worldly desires it understands the #Truth, Karma, Life-Principles in a wrong/opposite way. Fear of loss of job, health, money, relationships, self-image is what drives such people. Their Tamsik lust is under the cover of their #Rajas guna (Dynamic Hidden Player).
They prefer to do many of the things in a hideous manner. Most are masters of deceit in one way or the other. They are result-oriented people. If they are not gaining something, they are not doing it. But what they are gaining is understood by the Tamas guna/Darkness part of their Buddhi, hence despite all achievements, ambitions, passion, wealth, relationships, love and everything they live unhappily and die unhappy. Since their actions in the world and life are govern by Tamas guna (#Darkness), it leads them towards Attachment & Bondage. People walking the Spiritual path out of fear or any hidden agenda also possess this mix of Buddhi. They achieve a lot to show, but within themselves, they are empty, disturbed and sick with #Psychosomatic Diseases like Diabetes, High BP, Memory-Loss, Ulcers etc.
Then some are born with a mix of Rajasik + Sattvik Buddhi. They are not just doers but pure thinkers, idea generators, innovators, empaths, healers and positively creative people. Their actions and worldly life is also driven by desires, but it is inclusive of all beings, deep inherent understanding of the Cosmos & Life. They see everything holistically, the big picture. They not only think about themselves but all those whom they are connected or not connected to. Such people may look like worldly people but are Vairagi, #Sanyasi within. They do not belong to the World.
They are mindful about not just what they do, but what they think and say. They can look within themselves. They have good concentration. Their ability to grasp the truth, the wisdom of life further purifies their Buddhi and makes it completely pure - Sattvik Buddhi. Such a person is a Sattvik Karta (Doer) doing the Sattvik Karma. Hence their worldly life is lived in Karma-Yog/Yoga.
They are born as Yogi Within. They lead their life courageously and are able to change themselves quickly. They are an intuitive and live life not from logic but from intuition. Since their actions in the world and their life is governed by the #Sattva guna, sooner or later it leads them to Vairagya (Non-Attachment) and that leads them to the Moksha/Liberation. Sattva-Guna, Sattvik Buddhi is a guide, inner Guru to lead one towards Moksha by either manifesting an external Guru or taking the role of inner Guru itself.
People born with only Pure Sattvik Buddhi usually do not take birth in #Samsara/World or may not stay longer with their worldly parents. They are born #Yogi/Baal-Yogi. Their only goal is to attain Moksha/Liberation as soon as possible, they are not interested in worldly life at all.
People born with Pure Rajasik Buddhi just do, do, do and die. May not live long enough as there is no purpose, they are caught-up in result-oriented action, driven by desire after desire. They look like nice, honest, good, doers. To the world, it may look like "life well lived though short". People born with Impure Tamsik Buddhi usually are highly angry, frustrated, sleepy-heads, get themselves in all kinds of the wrong company of people, #addictions, and may die young.
When Rajas Guna reaches Tamas and Tamas guna reaches its peak one can't live in the body, death happens, rest of the suffering happens to the Spirit/Jeevatma without the body and in next subsequent lives. When Sattva Guna reaches its peak then one's Consciousness, Energy vibrates so high that Enlightenment happens. In death and in Enlightenment, the Consciousness, the Real You exits the body, but in Enlightenment, the Pranic Energy is not lost, hence one loses body consciousness but the body doesn't become inhabitable as it happens in death. Sattvik Buddhi makes one Buddha! 100% Sattvik Buddhi is #Buddha (Enlightened).
Now it's up to you which Guna/Virtue (Sattva, Rajas, or Tamas) you would like to increase in your Buddhi.
How to purify Buddhi?
Your life experiences can make you better or bitter!
Remember the saying? So it is. By living a worldly life for however amount of time, means by playing in the world through the Rajasik Buddhi one can either go onto the Spiritual path towards the Ultimate Truth/Moksha/Liberation (better) through Wisdom/Gyan or one can go more towards delusion and harbour sorrow, pain, grief, grudges (bitter) through the lack of Wisdom/Gyan.
Rajasik Buddhi is a dynamic energy, constantly moving energy and it has to go either side after some time and become less dynamic. On an everyday basis, this shift happens usually in the evening. Some Rajasik people sleep at night with #gratitude for everything they have and count their blessings for the day and not pains & failures, they are sleeping with Sattvaguna/Sattva - Pure Light, so next day their worldly life starts with actions deeply rooted in Dharma/Righteousness & #Courage. While many Rajasik people sleep with grudges, pains, sorrow, grief, hatred, anger and curse others or themselves or sleep with physical pains, sickness. Such people are sleeping with Tamoguna/Tamas - Darkness, so the next day their worldly life actions are rooted in Adharma/Non-Righteousness & driven by Fears of all kinds. They create a lot of bad Karma, enough to last them for hundreds of lifetimes. So sleeping with Sattva-Guna is one very simple way of purifying Buddhi but is a very very slow process, may take one few lifetimes to attain perfect Sattvik Buddhi.
When one has Tamsik or Rajasik Buddhi only, then no Yog Sadhana is possible for such a person, he/she is a lost cause.
People with a mix of Tamsik + Rajasik can start with Yog Sadhana from Mantra Japa and some simple #Pranayams. Such people should take as many #Deeksha/#Initiations as possible and pursue the spiritual practices as advised by the Gurus. Though the Tamsik Part of their Buddhi may tell them - Why are you doing it? What are you gaining? It's a time-waste. You don't need it. Who has seen any life after death? There are so many other important things to do first. Or it may simply tell them - You do not have time for all this. And they may not even be able to start on any spiritual practice at all. Or it may tell them - after a few years you can do it when all of your responsibilities are over. Tamsik Buddhi generates all such excuses and the person stays away from Spiritual Practices. Tamsik Buddhi will not even let them read any book, scripture or article that contains Higher Life Wisdom. Reading anything like that will make them sleep. Or even if they are able to read, they won't be able to apply it into their life. Now it's a chicken and egg situation. Tamsik Buddhi will not let you do any Sadhana (spiritual practice) and Tamsik Buddhi cannot be purified without Sadhana. In such cases "grace from a #Guru" is the only solution if one can get any, to be used in future lives, else this life is a waste. Even if #Grace is received in this life, it is very difficult to use it in this lifetime. Doesn't matter how long one lives. People with a mix of Rajasik + Sattvik Buddhi also can start with Yog Sadhana but the one which is not Yantra (Pooja/Rituals/Prayers) or Mantra or #HathaYoga based.
Instead, the one which is #Tantra/#Kundalini/#Kriya Yoga based. #Yantra, #Mantra, Hatha Yoga are Sadhanas involving more of your Physical Body (#Annamaya Kosha). Tantra/Kundalini/Kriya Yoga Sadhana is done through #Pranamaya Kosha, 2nd layer of the body. It shows you the Vasanas (Inherent Unconscious Patterns) faster, sooner and leads one towards Moksha. People with such a mix of Buddhi are able to do any prescribed Sadhana and do not waiver easily. Due to Sattvik part of their Buddhi, no excuses are generated.
Note: During the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna asks questions about Dharma (righteousness) and Intellect that can understand True Dharma. Krishna explains to him 3 types of Buddhi (Intellect) and Dhriti (Perseverance) in few shlokas which are consolidated in Bhagwad Gita. This article explains those shlokas as well as provides information for Spiritual Seekers.