In the August Ah-Man Newsletter, I began a discussion of Honoring Our Intelligence, focusing on the difference between Intellectual comprehension and Intuitive comprehension. This month in the Ah-Man Blog, I’ll continue the discussion.
In the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures), a story is told about the son of a great scholar who went to the King’s Court to participate in a spiritual debate about the Truth. The scholar’s son was Ashtavakra, and he was born with eight curves (or deformities) on his body. (There are several accounts concerning these deformities; to find out more, research Ashtavakra Gita.)
It was difficult for Ashtavakra to gain entrance to the debate because of his deformities, but he finally managed to do so. When the other scholars saw him waddling into the court, they began to laugh at him. He in turn began to laugh as well, even louder than them.
The king was astonished that the young man was laughing, and said “Young man, I can understand why the others are laughing, but I cannot understand the cause of your laughter.”
Ashtavakra became very serious and told the king he was laughing because he could not understand how the king could expect to find the Truth in an assembly of cobblers. The great and pious King Janaka was very angry and asked Ashtavakra to explain himself.
“It’s simple, your Majesty,” explained Ashtavakra. “All these honored guests are no better than cobblers, because they cannot see beyond their skin. They cannot see the Presence within the physical body. If the earthen pot is broken, does the space within get broken? If the pot is misshapen, does the space within get misshapen? My body may be deformed, but I am infinite and limitless.”
The king, who was advanced spiritually, saw at once that Ashtavakra was a completely Self-realized soul and the very next day, at his request, was accepted by Ashtavakra as a disciple.
This story is a superb example of how honoring our intuitive intelligence is honoring others without judgment. There are times we need to listen to our intellectual intelligence, but we can always honor our intuitive intelligence by stepping outside of our egos and pride for a moment and really seeing what is in front of us.