इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्य: परं मन: |
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धे: परतस्तु स: || 42||
indriyāṇi parāṇyāhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
indriyāṇi—senses; parāṇi—superior; āhuḥ—are said; indriyebhyaḥ—than the senses; param—superior; manaḥ—the mind; manasaḥ—than the mind; tu—but; parā—superior; buddhiḥ—intellect; yaḥ—who; buddheḥ—than the intellect; parataḥ—more superior; tu—but; saḥ—that (soul)
They say that the senses are superior (to the body), superior to the senses is the mind, superior to the mind is the intellect, but superior than the intellect is He (the Atman).
In the previous verses, sense-restraint is enjoined as the first condition of spiritual progress. But how to achieve it? The Lord answers it in this verse. Unless one stands above his enemy or acquires greater strength than the enemy, he cannot defeat him. So one should understand what the position of the senses is in the organism of the human being. No doubt the senses are superior to the bodily organs like hands and legs because they have a wider range of activity. But the mind is superior to the senses because it has a still wider range of activity and is endowed with higher powers of generating action. But the intellect is superior to the mind because the operations of the mind are subject to the dictates of the intellect which directs the mind in its various activities. But higher than the intellect and greater than all, stands Atma, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, ever-blissful Self. The Self is All-mighty. Nothing can touch it or affect it. In the Sankhya Yoga, the Lord has already described the glory and indestructibility of Atma.
The Atma is the one conscious principle in the Universe. All else is jada- Anatma -a mass of insentience. It is the presence of Atma that gives life and activity to the insentient mass, right from the intellect down to the body. A ball of iron is illumined when fire enters and pervades it. So Atma enters and pervades the whole universe, giving it the appearance of life and activity. All this life belongs to Atma. He is the Reality in everything.
So, keeping oneself in the Atmic state is the most powerful antidote to the intellect. When one acquires a stand in Atma, these lower functional instruments are deprived of the usual ramblings in the world of matter, and so they automatically come to a standstill in their own respective positions. They can no longer draw the person out and entangle him in the meshes of sense-enjoyments. Even the relish or taste for enjoyment is killed when Atma is directly perceived and experienced.
Thus the Lord points out the way to conquer the senses, the mind, and the intellect, all at once. ‘Never descend to the lower plane of the senses. All should ascend to the state of Atma’,- this is the injunction of the Lord. The lower things then cannot trouble the person for he would then understand that he is actually the witness to the modifications of the mind and the senses, and have nothing to do with them at all. ‘We are not the body, we are not the senses, we are not the mind, we are not the intellect, we are blessed Atma, pure and perfect, infinite and ever-blessful.’ When this thought is firmly held, the senses lose their power over the individual and cannot betray him into sinful acts and ways of life.
Question: What is the state of Atma?
Answer: Atma is superior to the senses, the mind, and the intellect. It is the ruler of all.