Mera Bharat Mahan 20: Pragyapradh: The mistake of the intellect |
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Mera Bharat Mahan 20: Pragyapradh: The mistake of the intellect
Dr KK Aggarwal,  03 September 2019
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Ninety percent of my happiness lies with me; 45% is based on the past and the remaining 45% is based on my present choices. Only 10% of my happiness is due to my unavoidable external environment.

So, I have a choice to decide at every step.

Any thought is analyzed by the intellect and the ego. If it is directed towards the ego you may get unhappiness but if it directed towards the soul (soul-based decisions) it will always lead to inner happiness.

It is the intellect or the Viveka who decides my decisions.

Verse 1.3.3 of the Katha Upanishad says “Know that the Atman is the rider in the chariot, and the body is the chariot, know that the Buddhi (intelligence, ability to reason) is the charioteer, and Manas (mind) is the reins.”

Verse 1.3.4 says, “The senses are called the horses, the objects of the senses are their paths, formed out of the union of the Atman, the senses and the mind, him they call the "enjoyer".”

It clearly says that the Buddhi or the intellect is the charioteer whose job is to control the reins of the mind and in turn control the senses before doing any action.

“Pragyaparadh means the ‘mistake of the intellect’, which occurs when the intellect is drawn towards and influenced by the material being and loses connection with the self.

Ayurveda define the source of all disease and suffering as pragyaparadh. This occurs when individuals (or even single cells) ‘forget’ their connection with the wholeness of life and believe themselves to be isolated entities.

This term comprises of two words i.e. “Pragya” meaning intellect and “Apradh” meaning crime, thus giving the complete meaning as “doing wrong things in spite of knowing about their negative side effects or consequences that will lead to a disease”.

In Ayurveda, it is said that pragyapradh is the main cause of a disease, especially Janpadodhwans (epidemic diseases).

The various mistakes performed by the intellect can be classified into three groups:

  • Dhi (intellectual)or ‘due to lack of intellect or ignorance’. This refers to diseases occurring due to ignorance. For example, a person indulges in alcohol unaware of its harmful effects.
  • Dhriti (awareness)or ‘when one does wrong things in spite of the awareness’. For example, a person knows that smoking is bad for health but is still addicted to it and is unable to leave it due to his craving or weak will power.
  • Smriti (memory) or ‘smrutivibhrast, which refers to the onset of ailment due to loss of memory. For example, a person who is aware of the harmful effects of refined carbohydrates decides not to eat them in future but eats them anyway forgetting his resolution not to eat.

In all these situations, the body is controlled by the intellect (which is directed towards the ego) and not by the soul; hence, decisions taken are not from the level of consciousness.

Mistake of the intellect involves disobeying the laws of nature. There are three common mistakes listed in the Vedantic literature, namely attachment (or addiction), desires (weak willpower) and show-off (ego).

The basic description of above comes from the epic Ramayana where attachment is represented by Kaikeyi, desires or greed by the golden deer Marich, and the ego by Ravana. If any one of them would have been absent, the story of Ramayana could not have taken place.

Today we know that addictions to refined carbohydrates, tobacco, drugs and alcohol are responsible for most lifestyle disorders.

Desires and greed are responsible for our nibbling habits at functions. And the urge to show-off in parties and marriage gatherings makes us choose costlier fruits and vegetables, which are non-seasonal and not grown locally and, hence, unnatural.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

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