“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)
Friend1: I like how in the Bhagavad-gita you get the definitive answer to the issue of loss of intelligence.
Friend2: You mean the verses about attachment and anger?
Friend1: Yeah. There is the illusion of material enjoyment. Then you develop attachment to different objects. Anger must follow due to frustration.
Friend2: And from anger you get delusion.
Friend1: Delusion to bewilderment. Then intelligence gets defeated.
Friend2: Which guarantees rebirth.
Friend1: It’s so simple in theory, yet to gain control is so difficult.
Friend2: Arjuna compares it to trying to control the wind.
Friend1: But you can get help, right?
Friend2: “The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant practice and by detachment.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.35)
Friend1: There you go. Constant practice. Detachment. Alright, so here is my question.
Friend2: That’s what I’ve been waiting for.
Friend1: As intelligence is a key factor here, what is the fate of someone with a compromised brain?
Friend2: What’s your definition of compromised? They are born with a defect?
Friend1: It could be that or the situation of old age. Someone has a stroke. They’ve lost their short-term memory as a result. Some would consider the condition to be dementia.
Friend2: Oh, okay. You could throw Alzheimer’s disease into the mix.
Friend1: Right. Through the deterioration of the body memory isn’t what it used to be. What is the hope for such a person to achieve liberation, to break out of the cycle of birth and death?
Friend2: For starters, when Arjuna asked about the difficulties in controlling the mind, after receiving the answer the next question was about what happens to a person who fails to complete yoga to its fruition.
Friend1: Is that where Krishna discusses the next birth for the unsuccessful yogi, how they get to start over from the same place?
Friend2: Exactly. There are a few options. Shuchiman shrimatam gehe. Such a person appears in the house of a pure and pious person or someone blessed with shri, which is opulence.
Friend1: And that is considered good?
Friend2: The conditions of shuchi allow the yoga to continue from the same point. With shri there is some culture in the house and there is no worry over the basic necessities of life. It is not like being rich with material indulgence only. The situation is more like a wealthy family that is devoted to God, that is not bent on atheism.
Friend1: I see. Okay, but what about the person who hasn’t really started on devotional service, bhakti-yoga? Let’s say I meet someone today who has dementia and I want to introduce them to the concepts of the Bhagavad-gita and the science of self-realization. Is that an impossible task?
Friend2: It’s difficult, for sure, but bhakti-yoga wouldn’t be the superior form of spirituality if it were limited by material qualities. Any person, even those appearing in an animal body, have the potential for success.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: The idea is that even a little brainpower can trigger remembrance at the time of death. Consciousness is the key. If a person is conscious of God the person, Shri Krishna, while quitting the body, then the rest doesn’t matter. They could have been sleeping constantly for the last five years. They could have been crippled by disease. They could have been totally engrossed in sense enjoyment. But if they make sure to remember God at that most important moment, they achieve liberation.
Friend1: Is that a possibility? Sure you get the reward if the right consciousness is there, but what are the chances of that happening?
Friend2: You never know. A person of sharp intellect can be into yoga their whole life and still not maintain the spiritual consciousness while dying. Intelligence is an important factor, but only if it allows you to remember Krishna. An easier way is to just chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is the sound vibration representation of God. It is just as powerful as the profound wisdom passed on through the pages of Vedic literature. With just a little brainpower a person can hear this sound and remember it.
Highest intelligence not required,
By pure devotion inspired.
Even when brainpower limited so,
Chance for Shri Krishna to know.
Chant holy names and also hear,
Embedded potency the path to clear.
Way for no longer to be bound,
Liberation through transcendental sound.