The Fourfold Perfection of the Intelligent Thinking Mind, the Buddhi

The intelligent thinking mind, known as Buddhi, has several types of deficiencies or limitations that need to be addressed in order to gain the highest and most perfect form of action of this instrument. The first major limitation is due to the infiltration of the vital force of desire and preference into the action of the intelligence. The second is due to a narrowness in the construction of the mind’s own action, so that it becomes dogmatic, inflexible and rigid in its views, thereby preventing any more comprehensive or wider truth from manifesting through it. In order to address these limitations, Sri Aurobindo has identified four lines of the perfection of the intelligent thinking mind:

“Purity, clear radiance, rich and flexible variety, integral capacity are the fourfold perfection of the thinking intelligence….”

“The first need is the clarity and the purity of the intelligence. It must be freed from the claims of the vital being which seeks to impose the desire of the mind in place of the truth, from the claims of the troubled emotional being which strives to colour, distort, limit and falsify the truth with the hue and shape of the emotions. It must be free too from its own defect, inertia of the thought-power, obstructive narrowness and unwillingness to open to knowledge, intellectual unscrupulousness in thinking, prepossession and preference, self-will in the reason and false determination of the will to knowledge. its sole will must be to make itself an unsullied mirror of the truth, its essence and its forms and measures and relations, a clear mirror, a just measure, a fine and subtle instrument of harmony, an integral intelligence. This clear and pure intelligence can then become a serene thing of light, a pure and strong radiance emanating from the sun of Truth. But, again, it must become not merely a thing of concentrated dry or white light, but capable of all variety of understanding, supple, rich, flexible, brilliant with all the flame and various with all the colours of the manifestation of the Truth, open to all its forms. And so equipped it will get rid of limitations, not be shut up in this or that faculty or form or working of knowledge, but an instrument ready and capable for whatever work is demanded from it by the Purusha.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 14, The Power of the Instruments, pp. 709-710