What Is Intelligence?
(Srila Prabhupada in his Bowery loft, 1966)

"Real intelligence is that to know 'What I am.' 'I do not want to suffer. Why suffering in this world is imposed upon me?' This is intelligence. Take, for example, nobody wants to die. Why death is forced upon him? Nobody wants to die. If there is now news immediately, 'Now this house will collapse,' immediately we shall fly away. Because we don't want to die. If we understand that this house is going to be bombed immediately, we'll immediately leave. If there is earthquake... So many things.

So nobody wants to die, but death is sure. So what solution they have made? I do not want to die, and death is forced upon me. So what solution we have made? What is, what is the scientists have done in this connection? Psychologically, if I do not want to die, then I must find out some way that death will not bother me. That is intelligence. You are talking of intelligence. Therefore I am explaining what is intelligence. Intelligence means, 'I do not want something, but it is being forced upon me. How to check it?' That is intelligence.

Actually, the whole world is going on, we do not want to suffer. But suffering is there, three kinds of suffering. One kind of suffering is called pertaining to the body and mind. I don't want to be diseased, but there is, all of a sudden, there is disease, diarrhea. I don't want it, but it is imposed. This is suffering due to the body. Some discrepancies. Mind... Body's sound, but mind is not sound. Mind is 'Oh, I don't feel today very nice.' You see.

This is one kind of suffering. Another suffering: other living creature gives you some pain. There are so many. Some of your friends, he turns to become your enemy. He puts you in difficulty. Or there are so many animals, so many insects, they give us trouble. This is one kind of suffering. Another kind of suffering: by nature's... All of sudden, there is drought. Now, just like all, in India there is drought; they are suffering. No rain. All of a sudden there is earthquake. That is also suffering. There is some epidemic, pestilence. You cannot check it.

So in this way, either of these three, suffering's going on. But those who are sleeping, they cannot understand that this is suffering. Just like animals. They cannot understand. That is sleeping stage. And when one is awakened, he will think, 'I don't want all these sufferings. Why they are imposed upon me? How I can avoid?' That is intelligence. So human being, unless he comes to this platform of intelligence, he is animal. The animal cannot do any remedy. You take one animal to the slaughterhouse, he cannot do anything. So sleeping means to remain in ignorance. And awakened stage means in knowledge. So intelligence means one must have knowledge. That is intelligence."

(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation with Educationists, London, July 11, 1973)

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