A Sutra a Day: III-32 – What is Intelligence?

Nov 7, 2012 | Philosophy, Wisdom, XSutras, xTmp, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali | 2 comments

When I was in grammar school, it was common for students to submit to an IQ  test (Intellectual Quotient). I don’t know whether this is done any more, but I felt pretty proud of my score and didn’t mind telling others who asked what it was.
Those who didn’t score well didn’t confess their scores as readily. Was a high IQ a marker for success or happiness? I’m not sure it was.
In recent times, we read about different kinds of intelligence, as in emotional or social IQ. (I’d like to think my social intelligence more than makes up for my lack of ability in numeracy.)
Is there such a thing as spiritual intelligence? I think there is. Here is an appealing definition for spiritual intelligence.

Spiritual Intelligence is the intelligence that makes us whole, that gives us our integrity. It is the soul’s intelligence, the intelligence of the deep self. It is the intelligence with which we ask fundamental questions and with which we frame our answers.

And, here are four ways it might show up in our lives:

1) Transcendence. This means living beyond the ordinary range of perception. It is about being above and independent of the material universe.
2) Heightened Consciousness. It is being fully aware of your surroundings and others. It is to be fully present in what is taking place.
3) Endowing everyday activities with the sense of the sacred. No act is mundane, every action must have meaning and significance.
4) Engaging in virtuous behaviors. Always have forgiveness, gratitude, humility, compassion, and wisdom. – By Robin Downes’ Yoga Flava for Elev8.com
Murdhajyotisi siddhadarsanam

Samyama on the source of high intelligence in an individual develops super normal capabilities.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.


  1. Hi Eve, just a wuick note to tell you how much I am enjoying your Sutra a Day series. Especially these chapter III sutras. It is good to get some deeper insights and interpretations of this more tricky sutras. Thank you.
    With love. Gina

    • Hi there, Gina,
      Thanks for the encouragement.
      I really grapple with teasing out the ‘more tricky sutras’.
      But that is a good thing too.
      I’d love to hear what other people think about Chapter 3. Does it have any relevance for mere mortals?


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