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Use of the Higher Faculties


In the Hindu tradition, the [human] structure is described in terms of sheaths, the more outer being the physical, then the dimensions of natural energy and the emotional aspects of the person, then mind-forms and the psychic life, then this intelligence that observes it and that should be the controller of it, and, deeper than that, the awareness itself. The body-mind is described from the periphery to the center as a collection of sheaths, with awareness at the center and body and its field of activities at the periphery. This is simply an educational model to help people understand just how they are functioning in ordinary terms. Understanding the principle, you must oblige yourself to function on its basis. The intelligent awareness must also be informed by Revelation.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj


The four faculties cannot surrender themselves. Activation of the higher facultiesawareness, heart-response, discriminative intelligence, and will — is essential. The right Spiritual functioning of the human being in relation to God only comes about when all the faculties are submitted according to a given, natural hierarchy.

  • The higher faculties are first submitted to the Divine. Awareness and heart-response allow us to come into contact with God and Reality altogether, through the relationship with the Spiritual Master.

  • Discriminative intelligence then forms conclusions about how to re-organize one’s life based on this greater feeling-awareness.

  • Such conclusions would remain mere “good-heartedness” if not for the accompanying presence of a strong will, which connects the higher and the lower faculties. It is by virtue of a developed will that discriminative intelligence submits the lower faculties to God.

When the higher faculties are unconscious and unactivated, there is no regulation of lower faculties by higher faculties. The lower faculties simply indulge themselves and war with each other. The mind says, "I should diet!". The body says, "I just have to eat!" — that sort of endless conflict. This is quite close to models of human structure such as Freud's, which included no higher faculties because the people he was observing and drawing his generalizations from were not the rare, exemplary "saints" in whom the higher faculties were activated, but, rather, ordinary, neurotic (and even psychotic or abnormally neurotic) human beings. What Freud witnessed was an unruly collection of psychic patterns, each with its own fiefdom, duking it out with each other, and no king, no higher ruler. No wonder Freud was rather pessimistic about human potential, with such an anarchic form of self-government! His greatest hope was that his patients could be transformed from abnormally neurotic human beings into normally neurotic human beings, with the assistance of some rudimentary understanding of motives, and some rudimentary development of the will (based on intelligence accepting a "reality principle" that went beyond mere self-indulgence of one's impulses in every moment).

What we are used to identifying with (pretty much exclusively) are the “lower faculties”: mind, emotion, body, and breath. Consider that for a moment. What is “you”? From the standpoint of what you are sensing to be “you” right now (in contrast with what you feel to be “other”), there are thoughts (associated with the mind); emotions; bodily sensations; and breathing (which is related to, and links, the other three down the line of the body, when fully and rightly engaged).

I say “we are used to identifying with” these faculties because generally we don't have any space on these: they are my thoughts; my emotions; my physical pleasures and pains; my breathing; and these sensations both define me and motivate my life. “I’m pissed off at my boss. . .” “My back hurts all the time. . .” “I’m hungry. . .” “I just can’t stop thinking. . .” That stream of sensations from the four lower faculties, and our patterned reaction to them is the substance of and motivation behind conventional life.


When you refer to “yourself”, what “you” are you talking about? The intelligent persona? Or just the bucket, the flesh-body, in its wandering thoughts and emotional changes, occurring in conditional Nature? What “you” are you referring to? What is your point of view? . . .

You cannot relinquish the sheath of intelligence and do anything but suffer and be egoically “self-possessed”. When everything is there but the greater sheath and there is no real exercise of intelligence or anything deeper than that, you present yourself as this troubled body-mind — meaning the lower, natural, functional aspects of your appearance — which is constantly changing and suffering, reacting, desiring, seeking. There are all kinds of habit-patterns, conditioning, wants, inclinations, and tendencies, and you talk about all these, but not intelligently, not to the point of coming to firm conclusions and allowing yourself to be governed intelligently. I am always Calling you to do so, but you do not necessarily activate yourself in that manner. You are habituated to exercising yourself and being conditioned and identified with conditioning in the lower aspects of your appearance here. When Called to exercise yourself intelligently relative to your conditioning and to “consider” it, you tend to become rather silent, or you start babbling and rehearsing your insides, resorting to your conditioned subjectivity, as if that is all there is, as if intelligence has no functional capability, as if you have no greater experience, no greater disposition, no Revelation. . . .

If you are exercising this capability, then, through “consideration”, you come to conclusions, and the conclusions you come to govern your life. Rather than your being governed by the lower functional manifestation with which you tend to identify, which is just conditioning and suffering, you are governed by this intelligence, this responsive intelligence, this heart-based intelligence.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj



You seem to think it is sufficient — and even necessary — to identify with the most rudimentary faculties: physical awareness, general energy in the body, the wanderings of emotion, mind-forms, the wanderings of attention, the movements of desire and breath. You consult these all the time, identify with them, and allow yourself to be governed by them. Your conclusion about Reality is based on your passive identification with these lower faculties.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj


Conscious identification with and activation of the higher faculties (while not dissociating from the lower faculties) gives us the necessary “space” from the sensations which we would otherwise call “me”, but which, from the position of intelligent awareness, is seen to be just “stuff”, and need not rule us:


Not only do you identify with it [the sensations associated with the lower faculties], but you also give it a name. You call it “me” or “I”. Intelligence does not do this. Intelligence refers to itself as “I”, but it does not refer to phenomena as “I”. The faculty of intelligence is in the position of observing the phenomena of the body-mind and its relations. The unintelligent persona calls ordinary mind, emotion, and body “I”. It is not in a position to observe the body-mind and be responsible for it. It is in the position of being identified with the body-mind, and, therefore, it is unintelligent.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj


Will is the capability that links the higher and lower faculties, and brings the two into resonance. It is quite possible to have developed one’s discriminative intelligence to some degree, and yet still be “weak-willed”, i.e., to not require the lower faculties to conform to the conclusions made by discriminative intelligence. This is to be merely "in one's head". So the development of the will is equally important for transformation:


When your intelligence and your active persona are not integrated, the active persona is just a vague teenager. If the will does not connect the intelligence to the life, then, even though the intelligence exists, it is in some sense suppressed by not being brought into life. Then the life is not based on great principles.

I talked to some of you about the will last evening. Well, yes, it’s the will, but it’s not this bearing down thing merely. It’s more like the body-mind responds to your intelligent disposition, which is the core of the whole body-mind anyway. It just sort of falls in line with you very sympathetically — you see? It’s that kind of will where all you do is find when the pattern is right, and then that’s it. You resonate with it. You make changes readily from the core position, the interior of the pattern. Therefore from the inside out you manifest a change in your structuring that corresponds to your heart and mind integrity and significant depth.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Drifted in the Deeper Land


The right functioning of the human being — and the full potential for human transformation — only comes about when, not only all the higher faculties are active and fully developed, but they are submitted according to a given, natural hierarchy. The lower faculties must be submitted to the higher faculties, and the higher faculties must be submitted to the Divine, to Which we are connected via awareness and heart-response:


When you are identified with the common (or daily-ordinary) life, you do not understand Spiritual life in its true sense. You egoically "self"-identify with the "lower" (or merely superficial) functions of the person, and you hardly exercise the greater and central functions. In that case, life is about getting something to make you feel better, or something to perfect your "lower"-based "self"-condition.

On such a basis, false "religion" is made — which is not about Real-God-Realization but about "self"-fulfillment. The common messages of "religion" are not about Real-God-Realization. They are expressions of the hopes of ego-based individuals who want to feel good and escape the worst.

The entire "lower" (or merely superficial) body-mind-complex is to be surrendered and conformed to heart-based Reality-intelligence, and (thus) directed to the Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State, to That Which Is the Very Source-Condition of intelligent awareness — Which is also like intelligent awareness, but Which Is Absolute, the Very "Self" and Self-Condition.

On the basis of this heart-response made intelligent, you discipline the body-mind-complex, you surrender the "lower" dimensions of the body-mind-complex—physical, emotional, and mental—as components of the devotional Yoga that are to be governed by the intelligent heart.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, December 14, 1993


It is creating this human “vessel with structural integrity” — in which the lower is submitted to the higher and the higher is submitted to God — that distinguishes a process of self-transcendence from one of self-fulfillment. Self-fulfillment has nothing to answer to other than self, and so tends to play out the impulses of one lower faculty over and against the other. Self-transcendence involves the mastery of the lower faculties by the higher faculties, and the mastery of the higher faculties by the overwhelming Force and Being of God.


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