In the last few decades there has been a phenomenal rise in the standard of living. However, by many measures, the quality of human life has deteriorated. At the workplace there is dissatisfaction, stress, and animosity. At home, spouses are unable to maintain harmonious relationships. Parents find it difficult to communicate with their children, who may be either withdrawn or rebellious. People are plagued with addictions and anxieties, depression, and fatigue. Antidepressants and intoxicants merely provide temporary relief while the underlying cause remains untreated.
The ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta addresses with the individual and his or her relationship with the world. It scientifically analyses the root cause of these problems and provides a permanent solution.
The human personality consists of the outer physical body driven by two inner equipments—mind and intellect. The mind comprises impulses, feelings, likes and dislikes and emotions. Whereas the intellect is the capacity to think, reason, judge and decide.
The nature of the mind is to constantly ramble into the past and the future. The incessant rambling does not allow one to focus on the present occupation and it leaves a person tired and fatigued. The mind is such that it has no direction or dimension; it can ask for anything. Left unattended, it can thus wreak havoc on the personality. It is the mind that falls a prey to addictions and attractions. It is the mind that generates powerful emotions which turn wild and destructive.
The solution lies in developing a powerful intellect. A strong intellect alone can control the mind’s ramblings and ravings. However, there is no plan or program anywhere in the world that deals with the development of the intellect. Few educators or institutions are aware of the necessity and importance of developing the intellect.
Intellect is not intelligence. Intelligence is mere information gathered from external sources such as teachers and textbooks. Whereas the intellect is developed by oneself through questioning and reasoning.
The study of Vedanta enables one to build and strengthen the intellect. Additionally, it provides an explanation of the higher values of life. A developed intellect fortified with these values is prepared to face the challenges of the world and create a life of productivity and peace.
Sunanda Leelaram, known as Sunandaji, is the daughter-disciple of the philosopher Swami Parthasarathy. Under his guidance, she has been studying and researching Vedanta for nearly forty years. Sunandaji’s exposition of Vedanta and its application in human life has been acclaimed by organizations and audiences worldwide including the Young Presidents’ Organization, Ernst & Young, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.