(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
"Buddhi means intelligence. And what is that intelligence? Real intelligence? Real intelligence is to know, to understand that 'Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme, and I am part and parcel.' It is stated here that intelligence means sukhārtha-vivecana-samatyam. Suppose one is very intelligent to drive a car. That is not... That is material intelligence for earning our bread. Real intelligence is sukhārtha, the finer sentiments to understand the finer activities of this nature. That is called buddhi, to understand how things are happening. Just like one is considered to be intelligent when he tries to understand not this physiological or anatomical construction of this body. He wants to see by intelligence what is the active principle of this body that is working. That is intelligence, not that...
Just like a child. A child sees that a nice motor car runs in the street. He thinks that the motor car is running out of its own accord. That is not intelligence. The motor car is not running... In spite of its... Just like here we have got this tape recorder, this microphone. Somebody may say, 'Oh, how fine discoveries are these. They are working so nicely.' But one should see that this tape recorder or this microphone cannot work for a single moment unless a spirit soul touch it. This is intelligence. We should not be wonderful by seeing a machine. We should try to find out who is working the machine. That is intelligence, sukhārtha-vivecanam, to see the finer.
Grossly seeing, that is not intelligence. Oh, man is working; man is living; man is writing books, oh, wonderfully. He is scientist. But what that finer things that at once it is vanished; the scientist becomes fool. No more scientist. Can scientist discover something and place it before his student that 'When my body will be stopped, you inject this thing, and I'll come out again.' Has scientist discovered this thing? No. If scientist could discover such thing then there would have been no scarcity of scientist. Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sir P.C. Raya and so many scientists all over the world, they have discovered very, very... In your country, Edison... They have discovered so many wonderful things. Oh. Then why don't you... O Mr. Scientist, why don't you discover something so that we can keep it as soon as your body will be stopped, and we shall inject this scientific, and you will come out again and work? So this is called intelligence.
The scientist is working, the philosopher is working, not out of his own accord. It is working under the spell of material nature.
Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Prakṛti... By nature's law he's working. Why not everybody scientist? Why not everybody? If it is accidental and it is automatic, why there are so many differences? Here is a scientist; here is a fool. Why? Why this distinction? The distinction is made by prakṛti, by nature.
And what is this prakṛti? That prakṛti is mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram (BG 9.10). Oh. Kṛṣṇa says, 'Under My direction this prakṛti is working.' The prakṛti, nature, is the agent. The real worker is Kṛṣṇa. We are simply instrument. That is our position. If you have got intelligence, then you have to understand that you are simply an instrument. Just like my hand. What is this hand? This is an instrument. I can pick up. So I am working, not this hand is working. I am working. So people do not understand it. Ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā. By false ego he is thinking, 'Oh, I am scientist. I am philosopher. I am Rockefeller. I am businessman, I am swami. I am this.' Sometimes we think, 'I am poor. I am this. I am that.'
No. You are simply instrument in the hands of Kṛṣṇa. That is intelligence. Therefore you should work as Kṛṣṇa desires. That is real intelligence. If you work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is real intelligence. And if you work against Kṛṣṇa, that is foolishness. That is the distinction between intelligent and foolishness. Jñānam. Jñāna means knowledge. Now, so far knowledge is concerned, here is a key packet. If you want to make research who has made this packet, who has discovered it, in which country first it was introduced, in what material it is made, oh, you can write volumes of books. You can speculate in any damn thing, and you can write volumes of books. That does not mean that you are a man of knowledge."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, January 4, 1967)