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Svadharma, Spontaneous Response and Intuition
Ganesh: I have a little question about these three words: intuition, svadharma and spontaneous response.
It seems that my understanding about what intuition means or how I define intuition isn’t clear. I read about it, but the difference between this three words or functions seem to overlap in my mind. It seems to me that I have another understanding of the word “intuition.” When I read what svadharma is, it is what I call intuition or spontaneous response… so what is intuition?
It is different from spontaneous response?
Sundari: Svadharma is your inborn nature, how Isvara made the jiva and gave it its personality and certain fixed qualities, like being an artist as opposed to an accountant or being peacemaker rather than a warrior, etc. But intuition and spontaneous response are two terms that can be synonymous and are very much open to interpretation. Both are quite often used in the texts to refer to self-knowledge, which if self-knowledge is firm is correct.
When the knowledge is firm, I will automatically act and live in keeping with my svadharma and will always follow situational and universal dharma in every respect it affects me as a jiva. I do not have to think about my response or the information that is coming into the mind from the Field (Isvara). I unfailingly and automatically respond spontaneously and intuitively as the self.
Karma yoga is instinctive knowledge, no thinking involved, and my actions are always appropriate and timely, in line with Isvara. Life works for me, supporting me, giving me all I need. So my response to whatever is happening in the Field is always the same, meaning as the self, non-dual, even though what is happening is always changing. I do not change.
But if self-knowledge is not firm, intuition and spontaneous response can be very misleading indeed. Intuition/spontaneous response is a highly unreliable means of knowledge without self-knowledge because it changes all the time. And if it is not based on self-knowledge, what is it based on? Ignorance, usually – interpretation. Intuition in this case is like emotion, you cannot rely on it, it comes and goes, always different from one moment to the next.
Taking ignorance to be knowledge people feel moved by their “inner voice” or intuition to be “spontaneous” and do the craziest things. So as always, everything in Vedanta depends on context. Are you asking as the self, a jivanmukta, or as the jiva under the spell of ignorance?
If you are the latter, this morning you might feel intuitively it is ordained that you must murder your annoying neighbour or your parents, for instance! Seriously though, intuition and spontaneous response will be spot on when self-knowledge is absolutely firm, but not before. And if the knowledge is not firm yet, the only means of knowledge you can always trust is the scripture, nothing else.
If ignorance of your true nature reigns, do not trust your intuition, as it will more than likely be wrong! If what we intuit is in alignment with what the scripture says, all is good. But if self-knowledge is not firm, how will we know if what we think is accurate intuition and in line with the scripture is not really our own interpretation of what the scripture is saying?
When it comes to reading other people, very often I can read the causal body and intuit what is going on in someone’s mental/emotional state (microcosmic causal body). In fact often I can read it like a book and be totally accurate. But I am wary of this kind of knowledge because firstly I cannot use it without engaging the ego of the person I am “reading intuitively” and secondly even with self-knowledge it is still possible I am projecting.
So I take note of this kind of information coming in intuitively, but leave it up to Isvara. I had to learn the hard way about this. I used to be far too outspoken about this kind of information.
~ Much love, Sundari