by Swami Rama of The Himalayas

Manas is not an appropriate tool for searching for the Truth. The heart also is not competent. The buddhi (intellect), the faculty of discrimination, is qualified to guide you. When the buddhi, the finest aspect of the antahkarana (internal instrument), is sharpened, and a coordination is established between the buddhi and the different aspects of the mind, then one can have a perfect and orderly mind. Such a mind, when coordinated with the power of the emotions, is able to penetrate into the deeper levels of your being.

As a human being you have inherited a vast treasure of knowledge. You can have access to that treasure only if the mind is made one-pointed and inward. Beyond manas is the intellect. The power of intellect guides the functions of the mind.

Unlike manas that always remains in a state of doubt, the intellect is endowed with the power of discrimination and decision. The mind, fully guided by the higher faculty of intellect, becomes a great instrument to achieve peace and happiness. However, you should remember that a dissipated mind never listens to the intellect. The intellect can guide only a one-pointed mind. Therefore, the most important step in spiritual practice is to make the mind one-pointed, so that it can be guided by the decisive faculty called intellect.

The power of discrimination is the greatest of all benevolent forces within. With the help of contemplation and meditation, one should unfold this power and learn to distinguish right actions from unwholesome ones.

One should execute the power of discrimination to analyze one’s inner states. The recognition of strengths and weaknesses should not be allowed to feed the ego, or lead one toward self-condemnation. The purpose of inner analysis is to unfold the good qualities and remove the weaknesses.

One who lacks the power of discrimination performs his actions without being aware of their consequences. Most of the time, he is driven by his desires, whims, and primitive urges. He usually does not know what truth is, and even if he knows, he fails to practice it in his thoughts, speech, and actions.

Without perfect faith in the higher Reality, he cannot attain freedom from his own anxiety and insecurity. Without discrimination and faith, he may perform his actions, but he lives in a state of doubt.

Unless these two principles—discrimination and faith—are fully unfolded, one cannot rise above the spheres of manas and ego. He cannot distinguish right actions spontaneously, and cannot perform his actions wholeheartedly.

He who listens to the voice of the inner soul and performs actions under the guidance of discrimination, rises above egocentric awareness. He attains foresight and the power of discrimination guides him on the path of righteousness.

Through uninterrupted practice of meditation and contemplation, he one day attains illumination. His whole life is driven by the power of discrimination and faith, and he enters into the kingdom of the eternal heart.