Verse 22: Intelligence

Verse 22 introduces the principle of Intelligence but doesn’t say much about it (that will come in the next verse). There are however a few subtle things going on in this verse:

  1. There is an explicit discernment formed here between consciousness and intelligence. Consciusness has been attributed to a passive witnessing Spirit. Intelligence is here attributed to Nature itself. This is an important distinction that took me time to appreciate and will also be elaborated in the next verse.
  2. The notion of “Special Objects” has been hinted in in the earlier exploration of causality, but I have not really addressed it. Special Objects are objects that have unique qualities – they are the source objects of these qualities. A clay pot is not a special object because in essence it is the same as clay. Milk is not a special objects because it is not essentially different from a cow. Spirit is a special object because it has unique qualities such as unitary (non-divisible), isolated (does not mix or combine with anything else) and conscious. Nature is a special object because it is a composite (made up of the three Gunas). Intelligence is the 3rd (of 25) special object and its qualities will be discussed in later verses.
  3. The numerical overview of Samkhya in this verse points to other special objects which will be described in later verses. The commentaries attempt to offer clarification by naming the special objects that will come. However, I, in the spirit of the generative process have avoided mentioning these in my summary which only contains what is actually mentioned in the verse.
  4. The verse has a numerical quality that will show up numerous times in the text. One meaning of Samkhya is “enumeration,” in this case of the 25 special objects (Tattvas) which make up Samkhya.
  5. The numbers also shed light on the structure of the chain of causality:
    • The conjunction of Spirit and Nature causes one special object.
    • That causes one other special object.
    • That causes 16 other special objects.
    • 5 of those 16 cause 5 other special objects.
    • There are in total only 7 special objects that cause other special objects.
    • There is one special object that causes 16 other special objects.
    • The other 6 special objects that cause other special objects only cause one other special object each.
    • It is a tight spiritual evolutionary tree.

This verse places Intelligence on the Samkhya map, the next verse begins the journey into what Intelligence is.

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